Hello and welcome to this week’s #AtTheFlix, our weekly trawl through the latest cinematic releases in Birmingham.
Paper Towns (12A)
With the huge success of The Fault in Our Stars, John Green’s latest novel to get a big screen adaption has been getting a lot of pre-release publicity and advanced screenings.
Promoted as a coming-of-age story, the film leads Quentin on a hunt for her mysterious neighbour Margo goes missing after an all-night adventure. Margo leaves behind cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher leading to an adventure of sorts to find her and of course, to find love.
Pitched at the teen audience, the film has received some good reviews, praised for its portrayal of adolescent behaviour and the threat (to kids and adults) of becoming grownups, as well as approaching its characters with thoughtfulness and charm. Other critics find the youthful romantic obsessions a little too much, bordering on mawkish and have criticised how roundly drawn the female characters actually are.
Sinister 2 (15)
I didn’t see the first Sinister but this plays as something of a continuation in theme. The plot involves a protective mother and her 9-year-old twin sons find themselves in a rural house marked for death as an evil spirit called Bughuul proceeds to do his frightening thing!
The general setup, locales and themes will sound familiar to horror aficionados and if you’re partial to the original, then this might rock your boat. Critics have noted that the film lacks the impending dread of the original – and opts for quite a few Saw style antics.
For me, it just sounds like the ‘obvious’ horror rulebook being played out in front of you.
There is arguably an over-abundance of nostalgia driven films being made by Hollywood! The term ‘over-abundance’ applies because when it’s reboot or remake, then you can’t help but feel a tad cynical about the motives, other than the dollar signs that producers want to see!
One of the first things I noted about this film was that Chevy Chase appears in a cameo. It makes you wonder how this film really represents any kind of cinematic progress on the National Lampoon model of three decades ago.
Of course, when you realise it is a remake of sorts and an attempt to kickstart a franchise, and that it features the character Rusty Griswald, the son of Chevy Chase’s iconic character, then you realise this is no coincidence.
The film definitely craves to have the same levels of success.
I have a soft spot for some of the National Lampoon films – they were actually funny but mainly because you bought into it and that you cared a little bit for the characters. From the trailer for Vacation, I’m certainly not sharing the same sentiment. Furthermore, being penned by the writers to Horrible Bosses, it fills you with even less hope.
Bad Education Movie, The (15)
The latest TV series to get a big movie upgrade is the BBC Three series Bad Education, definitely not to be confused with the excellent Almodovar film Bad Education!
Jack Whitehall’s character Alfie Wickers, gets a shot at the big screen to demonstrate he is the worst teacher ever, taking his class on school trip, effectively as one last hurrah to confirm his disgrace!
The question is how much of the disgrace is the film as well as the character. The film has yet to receive hardly any reviews which is often not a good sign.
Strange Magic (U)
Lucas film’s Strange Magic is fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Using popular songs from the past six decades, it tells the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.
On paper, this sounds quite endearing but sadly it doesn’t appear the critics agree, apart from a few.
Elsewhere this week, Manglehorn (12A) is showing at the mac (21-27 Aug), a chance to see Al Pacino in David Gordon Green’s story of lonely locksmith falling in love with a bank teller (Holly Hunter). Many critics have commented that this one of Pacino’s best performances for a while! Also at the mac (21-25 Aug) Looking for Love (15) is a new documentary from filmmaker Menelik Shabazz explores relationships within the UK’s black British community, a frank consideration of love, sex, intimacy, psychology and forgiveness.
A Dozen Summers (PG)
Finally, thanks to Kenton Hall for sharing a preview of his upcoming film A Dozen Summers.
This is a low budget indie teen comedy with a subversive and charming heart. The film follows Maisie and Daisy.
From the moment a regular fairy tale monologue intro by Colin Baker is interrupted in a fantastic fourth wall break by the film’s two leads, Maisie and Daisy you realise that this is a very quirky and fun film.
The film is a reminder of Tracy Beaker in the way it reflect the lives of teenagers and how they think and talk. It’s at its best with its fun sketches and cutaways and an ability to really tap into the imaginations of teenagers, especially the film’s two leads.
The film will be rolling out city by city in to UK cinemas, starting with a 4-night run in Leicesters Phoenix cinema on August 21st-24th. I hope too see it released in Birmingham too. Find out more at dozensummersmovie.co.uk
That’s it from me. As always, any comments or quibbles, please come find me @timmy666 on Twitter. Until next week, have a great week at the cinema.