Give it a couple more years and we might be at the stage where every big budget film slots somewhere into the Marvel universe. After a shaky start in the movie business when they licensed their property into dispiriting duds (Daredevil and Fantastic Four anyone?), the venerable superhero factory line took control back. And having tapped the big names, we’re onto the interesting odds and ends. Throw in decent art-house offerings and this week’s looking up.
It’s amazing how quickly those dark clouds have dissipated. Fears only heightened when British director Edgar Wright – he of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy fame – walked away from a project that seemed tailor made for his winning combination of action chops and quirky humour. With Peyton Reed installed behind the camera, and Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas in front, everything might just be working out though. Reviews are pretty good as Rudd’s rogue dons a super suit to turn into the titular pint-sized hero – well ant sized really. Who needs the Avengers!
Hitler remains a figure we just can’t leave alone. Flamboyantly grotesque, he’s as mocked as his actions are justifiably vilified. He barely features in 13 Minutes but Georg Elser does, a man who came so close to killing him in 1939. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel, who made the brilliant Downfall, returns to the era with this high quality drama that traces the decline of Germany in the 1930’s until it reached a point where Elser had to try and do something no matter the cost. We all know he failed, but the fact that people were willing to try shouldn’t be forgotten.
After tiny American heroes and German villains, we head to Italy where the Rohrwacher’s grew up keeping bees. Alice Rohrwacher’s heavily autobiographical tale The Wonders, also starring older sister Alba, follows a honey producing family in the remote countryside struggling to make ends meet and cling to a way of life that’s becoming increasingly untenable. Not always the most robust vehicle narratively, it’s an interesting peek into a dying way of life. And even if that weren’t the case, it would be worth watching just for the embarrassing TV show that rolls into town offering salvation and Monica Bellucci in a wig.
Compared to the interesting array of releases in the cinema, home entertainment is lacking this week. You could always try Unfinished Business, the latest in a line of under-performing Vince Vaughn comedies. This one throws in Dave Franco and Tom Wilkinson for a business trip to Berlin. It even starts pretty well before collapsing in a heap of tired set-ups and offensive stereotypes. Still, as far as comedy goes this year, at least it isn’t Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
That’s a wrap. Next week is Pixar: that’s all you need to know.