Sometimes it feels like every new release is the same. If not superheroes, it’s Disney turning the entire animated back-catalogue into live action cash cows, or studios churning out a series of sequels to films no one really remembers in the first place. At least this week there’s a little variety with nonsense blockbusters, crazy fairy tales, sleeping soldiers, and however one describes Deadpool.
Hollywood kind of likes the old Gods, as long as it doesn’t have to do anything but turn them into vaguely mystical action heroes. In Gods of Egypt, Gerard Butler is busy taking over the Egyptian empire and trying to fend off rivals who don’t seem too keen on being subjugated. It cost a lot of money, it’s undoubtedly incredibly dumb, and despite shocking reviews, it’s also probably quite enjoyable. Just don’t go expecting anything other than trash.
Matteo Garrone is best known for bringing us Gomorrah, the gritty Neapolitan crime drama from 2008. Whatever you thought of that, don’t expect Tale of Tales to be even remotely similar. Drawing on an excellent cast that ranges from Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassel to John C. Reilly, Toby Jones and Alba Rohrwacher, Garrone’s new film is a collection of baroque fables. It’s eccentric, exciting and well worth trying.
Unlike Garrone, Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been making weird and wonderful films for years. Cemetery of Splendour is no different, combining long takes, careful framing and a dirty sense of humour as he leaps between big ideas and deeply personal thoughts. In the Isan region of Thailand, a group of soldiers working on a Government dig have succumbed to a strange sleeping disease. That’s the set-up and it explains almost nothing about a film that includes figurines coming to life, ancient battles, and pointed comments on Thai politics. Weerasethakul usually creates work that defies easy explanation. This is no exception, but don’t let that put you off.
Earlier this year Ryan Reynolds finally managed the box office hit that’s eluded him for years. A competent action lead and gifted comic actor, he puts both to great use in Deadpool playing the wise-cracking, dirty-minded anti-hero in a spin-off from the X-Men franchise. After racking up huge returns, especially for a film that didn’t scrub up to get the 12A rating, expect to see more of Reynolds’ hero. But for now, with the film out on DVD, you can re-watch at your own leisure.
That’s all I have. Check back next week when you might just find the aliens returning.