4   +   2   =  

The return of a certain galactic juggernaut has sent everyone running to the hills, leaving an oddly quiet weekend of releases. However, alongside smaller efforts, there’s clever programming as one film jumps forward to capitalise on the quiet spell, and plenty of explosive action to watch from home.

Bumped up to sneak into the gap ahead of Star Wars comes Sisters, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the reigning champions of comedy. The friends play, you’ll be surprised to hear, two sisters at the opposite ends of maturity, planning one last party in their childhood home. There’s an SNL presence at the heart of the film with Maya Rudolph joining Fey and Poehler on screen, along with a screenplay from Paula Pell, an SNL and 30 Rock writer. There’s not been much to laugh at in the cinema recently. Hopefully the dream team can fix this.

By the Sea seems to be getting unfairly tagged as a vanity project for Angelina Jolie Pitt. It’s true that she writes, directs, produces and stars in a film that also has her husband taking on acting and producing roles, but that ignores the move into directing she’s made in the past couple of years. Branching away from war zones, her third feature is a period romance set in 1970s France, examining a declining relationship between a married dancer and writer. The reviews have not been positive but you can’t fault her ambition.

For further branching out into the unknown, there’s also Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room to enjoy. Ever experimental, Maddin’s latest falls somewhere along the romantic mystery comedy-drama field. Which says nothing really. There’s bandits, child soldiers, a submarine crew and a surgeon journeying towards the meaning of life in a beguilingly non-linear manner. If you want something easy, stay well clear. If you’re up for something more, expect to be rewarded.

And then if you’re looking for a bit of excitement in the comfort of your own home, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation arrives on DVD after a successful summer run. Two decades on, Tom Cruise is still going strong as superspy Ethan Hunt battling all-comers, often while clinging off planes or riding a motorbike recklessly. In this energetic instalment, he’s going rogue himself to fight a rogue agency of evil spies (see what they did there with the title). They’ll be plenty of fights, as many close shaves as you can shake a stick at, and even a bit of confusing face mask action.

Well that’s it for now. Next week we’ll have what apparently the whole world has been waiting for. See you then.

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