Returning to beloved classics is a risky business involving a gauntlet of irate fans and unflattering comparisons. But cinema does love to recycle so the studios must be used to the process by now. This week we have the reimagining of an old favourite alongside Japanese family drama, Mexican madness and the butchering of another old favourite.
Everyone knows The Jungle Book right? Even if you aren’t familiar with Rudyard Kipling’s original stories, the 1967 Disney film cornered the market in definitive editions. Well here’s a new version mixing live action and CGI to retell the story. Bigger on the whole action adventure angle and a little scarier than before, it’s racking up positive reviews to date. Add in a voice cast ranging from Bill Murray to Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken and it should have more than just the bare necessities.
When it comes to the intricacies of family life, no filmmaker is currently better at putting it on screen than Hirokazu Koreeda. The Japanese director returns with Our Little Sister, launching in the UK after premiering in the main competition at Cannes last year. It tells the story of three older sisters who have to make adjustments when a 14-year old half-sister they knew nothing of comes to live with them. Beautifully observed and emotionally engaging, it’s yet another high quality film from one of the best directors working today.
With his career on the rocks, the great Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein ended up voyaging to Mexico in 1930 to make a great sweeping epic. Peter Greenaway’s mad new film, Eisenstein in Guanajuato follows him through his failed odyssey where a lot of film was shot, a lot of money wasted, and no one seemed pleased with the outcome. Greenaway’s latest is only partly successful, but it’s crazy enough to remain intriguing.
If that all seems a little too much, you can dumb down with Victor Frankenstein on DVD. Told from the perspective of Frankenstein’s assistant Igor, played by Daniel Radcliffe, it revisits the famous story. There’s also James McAvoy as Frankenstein, but he can’t save a critical and financial bomb. However, it might just be bad enough to join that elite list of trashy Saturday night home entertainment options.
Well that’s all we have this week. See you next time when Natalie Portman gets armed.