7   +   7   =  

x-men-days-of-future-past-posterIt looks like summer is finally on the way. Rising temperatures and golden rays are overrated though leading instead to sunstroke and sunburn. Better to play it safe and remain in the safe confines of an air conditioned cinema for another week of intriguing titles.

The X-Men franchise is fast becoming the superhero equivalent of the Royal Family. It’s been knocking around for a while now and there are so many hangers on that it’s hard to keep track. If they aren’t careful, they’ll be more films about the mutants than there are actual mutants. X-Men: Days of Future Past strives to tilt the balance back by throwing pretty much everyone into the mix across generations. Drawing from the sentinel storyline, it brings together Magneto and Xavier old and new alongside a big supporting cast. And of course Hugh Jackman in his annual Wolverine outing. Reviews are positive suggesting the new lease of life sparked by X-Men: First class continues.

Look away if you’re squeamish. In fact, just stay generally clear if that’s the case. There is a torture scene in Mexican crime drama Heli that promises a rough ride. Amat Escalante’s third feature picked him up the Best Director award at Cannes last year for this searing portrait of lives stained by drugs and corruption. While it’s fair to say it has split opinion, no one can accuse Heli of being boring.

It has been a while since Woody Allen last chose to act in a film directed and written by someone else. In Fading Gigolo, he takes on a leading role alongside writer and director John Turturro as the improbable pimp to Turturro’s gentleman of the night. Not one to avoid vulgar and crude references, it offers a fascinating headline duo in somewhat unlikely roles. Worth a look for the curiosity factor alone.

In an incredibly strong Oscar year, one film still managed to stand above the rest. Out on DVD this week, The Wolf of Wall Street is a riotous journey through the rise and fall (and kind of rise again) of stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Living the life with an income to make the eyes of mere mortals’ water, a beautiful wife and a heady drug fuelled lifestyle, he partied hard on the ill-gotten gains of his penny stock boiler room. Martin Scorsese is on top form drawing one of the finest performances yet from Leonardo DiCaprio. Packed full of so much energy that the long running time flies by, it deserves to be owned and watched time and again.

If you get through that lot then maybe catch a bit of sun to prepare for sci-fi madness, comedy in the west and Disney revisited next week. See you then.

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