7   +   8   =  

Remakes, remakes, remakes; it’s the Hollywood mantra these days. Why come up with a new idea when you can simply revive one that worked fine last time around. It’s even better if enough years pass between films to allow whole new generations to emerge (take note Spider-Man) without the brand disappearing completely. That’s exactly what we get this week alongside new releases destined for cult audiences, and a disappointing comedy sequel.

Everything else has been remade so why not the original National Lampoon’s Vacation series? Chevy Chase even turns up again reprising his old role, although the baton has been handed to Ed Helms as his son who tries to revive troubled family relationships on a cross-country trip to the theme park of the original. Chaos ensues on the road with his wife, played by Christina Applegate, and two sons. The reviews are negative, but there are enough decent cameos from the likes of Charlie Day, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth to keep the laughs rolling.

Films about films are commonplace, but a film about a bunch of kids practically raised on them is a different proposition. The Wolfpack focusses on the seven children of the Angulo family, homeschooled and rarely ever allowed out of their parents Manhattan apartment for fourteen years. Pretty much locked away, most of their cultural understanding came from movies, and with little else to do, they took to re-enacting their favourite films. It promises to be a strange documentary experience, one made all the more effective by the children themselves, who have been a massive hit on the publicity tour.

Alejandro Jodorowsky does not make films by half. The Chilean director is almost the epitome of a cult filmmaker, packing his movies with strange imagery, heavy symbolism and surreal diversions. Over two decades since his last effort, he returns with The Dance of Reality, a musical fantasy autobiography retelling his childhood. Featuring a number of his family, including Jodorowsky himself at times, it centres on the tempestuous relationship between young Alejandro and his father in his hometown of Tocopilla. There’s a heavy theatrical feel as characters burst into song (his mother never stops), assassination plots go awry, and Alejandro tries to walk between an abusive macho father and his own inclinations. It’s a wonderful experience.

To call Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 a disappointing sequel is not exactly accurate. The first one was just as rubbish as the follow-up, now out on DVD. Kevin James, a man whose appeal remains mystifying to me, though he clearly has a substantial following, returns as the incompetent hero who must rise to the occasion in the face of criminal enterprise. It’s Las Vegas benefitting from his talents this time as a luxury hotel comes under threat. The film is pretty terrible throughout yet it proved a financial success, though substantially down on the first outing. If you want to attempt to work out why, be my guest.

Well I make it time to say goodbye again. See you next week for the triumphant rise of N.W.A.

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