8   +   1   =  

In an ideal world, the line between what’s popular and what’s good shouldn’t exist. It doesn’t work out that way though. Just look at the career of Michael Bay. Dan Brown is another in this category, selling millions of books while receiving widespread opprobrium for the quality of his prose. Something of this carries over into glossy mediocre film adaptations that still find an audience. There’s more of that this week alongside a bit of honey, big-budget animation and another critical pummeling.

If Robert Langdon arrives in town, it’s best to run away. Dan Brown’s superstar, played by Tom Hanks, returns for a third outing in Inferno. As with his last two appearances, where Langdon goes, death and destruction follows. It might be the other way around but there’s definitely a worrying correlation. Here he starts in Florence, and aided by Felicity Jones, gets involved with Dante and world-ending plagues. Like those before, Ron Howard’s latest instalment has taken a critical kicking. It will probably do ok.

Andrea Arnold may have left our shores for America but it’s no surprise to find the director of Red Road and Fish Tank continuing to plow her independent path free from Hollywood. American Honey sends Shia LaBeouf off around America selling magazines. When a teenage girl joins the crew, they head off partying through the Midwest. Reviews have split between pretty good and excellent which makes it a solid bet.

Storks is the latest in a line of big budget CGI kids films, this one expanding the old adage that storks deliver newborn babies. Except they don’t anymore when the stork delivery business closes down the baby department. Needless to say it will be reopened at some point in Warner Bros. generally well-received film. A decent voice cast including the likes of Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer and Jennifer Aniston help keeps things ticking over nicely.

We have a cautionary tale to close on. Stepping up to a mega budget is no easy task. Duncan Jones came off the back of the excellent Moon and good Source Code to try and bring Blizzard’s massively popular Warcraft series to the big screen. A fan himself, everything looked good. Then the film arrived, tanking at the box office (at least in North America) and receiving a series of negative reviews. Out now on DVD, maybe you’ll find more to this tale of warring orcs than first met the eye.

That’s another week completed. See you next time for more Tom Cruise/Jack Reacher.

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