4   +   3   =  

The ludicrous twin argument as to whether women can headline films and be funny continues to rumble on in the more unpleasant corners of discourse. This week provides yet more evidence to back a case that should be blindingly obvious to anyone not living in a previous century. Not only is proving doubters wrong a hell of a lot of fun, there’s also smart comedy/drama, Pierce Brosnan shooting again and J.K. Simmons shouting again to enjoy.

Who needs James Bond when you can send Melissa McCarthy into the field? Teaming up with Bridesmaids director Paul Feig and co-star Rose Byrne, and with the added bonus of Miranda Hart, Jason Statham and Jude Law, Spy promises plenty of thrills with twice the laughs. McCarthy is the desk worker thrust into frontline espionage in a bid to bring down Byrne’s villain. Expect genre send-ups, the usual mix of physical comedy and one-liners, and a great unexpected comic turn from Statham.

As CGI explosions fill screens across the country, literate cinema can sometimes be hard to find. Listen Up Philip, the third feature from American writer/director Alex Ross Perry promises just that as Jason Schwartzman’s author wanders through New York life while awaiting publication of his next novel. Darkly funny and well-observed, it also brings a new breakout star in Fluffy the cat who has been across the internet recently as Perry raised funds to pay for the feline superstar’s medical treatment.

Liam Neeson still holds the aging actioner crown even as others try to wrestle it from him, but Pierce Brosnan is heading down a road of enjoyably throwaway thrillers too. Survivor might just manage to lift him higher as Brosnan’s sinister hitman tries to track down Milla Jovovich’s agent before she can prevent a terrorist attack. It’s not likely to live long in the memory but with any luck it will at least offer a fleeting good time.

What a breath of fresh air Whiplash was when it burst into the awards race at the start of the year. Damien Chazelle’s drumming drama plays like a stripped down thriller as Miles Teller attempts to hit the big time under the possibly dubious guidance of J.K. Simmons. Simmons is brilliant as the abusive teacher, the brightest light in an already bright film. It came out on DVD on Monday. If you haven’t bought it already, what’s wrong with you?

That’s all for now. Next week it’s dinosaurs. I need say no more.

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