Hollywood’s all about franchises these days. We now live in a world where Spider-Man seems set to perpetually re-start every few years and that middling The Fast and the Furious B-movie has morphed into an all-conquering box office champion. So it’s about time the dinosaurs came back. You won’t be able to miss them this week in fact, though if you look hard enough there are a few other gems sprinkled out there as well.
First they took the park, now the world. Over a decade after the last instalment, the dinosaurs come roaring back in Jurassic World. Having moved on from the dicey early days, the whole dinosaur theme park thing has become so safe it’s starting to bore visitors. So naturally, those bright science sparks decide to create a genetically modified variant that then runs amok. New man of the moment Chris Pratt must team up with Bryce Dallas Howard’s park boss to save the day. After a disheartening trailer, reviews are decent. It might be a return to the same playing field the original roamed in. Here’s hoping.
Joshua Oppenheimer struck bizarre and disturbing documentary gold with 2012’s The Act of Killing, a unique take on the mass state sponsored killings that took place in Indonesia in the 1960s. Following the premiere in Venice last year, a sequel arrives in the form of The Look of Silence. Delving once more into this murky period, Oppenheimer unearths a further array of shocking material. More conventional than its predecessor, it’s still an excellent film.
With one giant blockbuster scaring away all big budget rivals, space opens up for smaller films to creep into cinemas. One such example is the controversial London Road documenting in song the 2006 discovery of a number of dead women in Ipswich. Directed by Rufus Norris, the current Artistic Director at the National Theatre, and starring Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman, it should have enough pedigree to handle the extremely sensitive subject matter.
For once I’m going to say ignore the cinema though. Inherent Vice is out to own. After baffling and frustrating audiences in January, Paul Thomas Anderson’s take on reclusive author Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name (the first time his work has been put on the big screen) is the kind of film that deserves a second watch. And then a third, fourth and fifth. Capturing the dying days of hippy America, chock full of top-drawer performances, and most of all just great fun, it’s destined for cult and classic status at the same time. If you didn’t like it first time, try again. And if you did, you’ll love it on repeat.
That brings another week to a close. With everyone still fleeing dinosaur chaos, Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes might be the best refuge when I next see you.