It’s a shame the Bank Holiday fell last week because the cinema is positively bursting with new releases now. So many that you poor film lovers risk being overwhelmed. So here’s a little taste of this week’s releases (and no, none of them are Angelina Jolie in full panto mode).
Turning up in his regular summer blockbuster, Tom Cruise remains in the realm of science-fiction with Edge of Tomorrow. At least this one promises more action than last year’s deathly dull Oblivion. Teaming up with Emily Blunt, Cruise appears to stumble into a futuristic Groundhog Day allowing him to re-fight earth’s alien invaders repeatedly until he manages to get it right. Unsurprisingly, he also gets to ride around on a motorbike. I wonder if he specifies that in his contract beforehand.
Although his stint hosting the Oscars drew a less than stellar response, it appears to have given Seth MacFarlane a taste for the centre stage. He takes the lead in his latest comedy, A Million Ways to Die in the West, supported by a high profile cast that includes Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson. Playing a cowardly sheep farmer who is encouraged to step up to the plate when Neeson’s gun slinging villain comes to town, MacFarlane aims for his usual collection of broad visual gags, crude verbal humour and odd non-sequiturs. It’s received a mixed response so far but there’s bound to be some good jokes in there somewhere.
In a more serious vein, Hany Abu-Assad’s Oscar nominated Omar arrives on British shores as well this week. Returning to Palestine for the first time since 2005’s Paradise Now (the first Palestinian effort to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars) it tells the story of young freedom fighter Omar who finds himself torn between friends and enemies after an attack on an Israeli soldier leaves him facing a lifetime in prison unless he goes back on the streets as an informer. Working both as a compelling thriller and an intimate examination of the impact life in Palestine has on normal relationships; it’s another powerful achievement for Abu-Assad.
So for all those that don’t fancy sitting in a room with strangers, what’s out for you to watch from the comfort of your own home this week? The answer is Inside Llewyn Davis. Unfairly left without the parcel when the music stopped during awards season, the Coen Brothers film about fictional folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) and the poor decisions he repeatedly makes that prevent him ever getting beyond the odd gig at the Gaslight Café is one of their very best. Beautifully acted, beautifully shot, beautifully written and packed full of haunting music. What more could you want?That’s enough to occupy anyone for a week. Check back next Friday when Tatum and Hill return to Jump Street and the film Cannes 2014 loved to hate arrives.