5   +   10   =  

After all that seriousness last week, a batch of lighter releases arrives to see out the dying end of the summer period. It’s a mixed bunch to be sure, but there’s good stuff if you look in the right place.

Everyone loves Amy for the second time in the last month. First Amy Poehler received a series of glowing press articles in the UK following her turn as the voice of Joy in Pixar’s Inside Out. Now fellow American comedian Amy Schumer takes the limelight, starring and writing Judd Apatow’s latest comedy, Trainwreck. She plays a commitment phobic journalist, struggling to adjust her lifestyle. Neatly subverting a few stereotypes along the way, it’s received good reviews and strong box office returns already. Expect more of the same.

With Russia rattling sabres again, Hollywood can go running back to that perennial favourite, the Cold War. Guy Ritchie takes the reins for a feature film update of the 1960s spy show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The basic premise, a CIA agent and a KGB operative are partnered up to fight greater threats remains, as Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer come together to thwart a Nazi nuclear bomb plot. Uneven and purposefully shallow, there’s plenty to enjoy in this glossy, spy romp, particularly the chemistry between Cavill and Hammer who straddle this action/thriller/comedy with style.

It’s comedy of a different nature in Pixels, and by different I mean not very funny. The name Adam Sandler should set alarm bells ringing, but he’s not entirely at fault in this tepid science-fiction farce. The central concept is enjoyably madcap. Aliens have mistaken a recording of a 1982 arcade games tournament for a challenge and have arrived on Earth to attack with a combination of gaming classics from Pac-Man to Donkey Kong. The problem comes with characters that are either annoying, bland, or both; the almost complete absence of plot; and a large number of misfiring jokes. I suppose any film that has Sandler as saviour of the world, and Kevin James as the US President is always going to struggle. I need not say what the reviews have been like so far.

Poorly reviewed comedy continues on DVD with Get Hard in which Will Ferrell hires an altogether more appealing Kevin (Hart), to prepare him for life in prison after he’s convicted of a tiny bit of white collar crime. There was certainly potential in the set-up, and the leading men find enough laughs to at least warrant a look. Scratch beneath the surface and it all starts to get a little unpleasant however, unless good old fashioned gay panic is your thing, which it really shouldn’t be.

Well that’s it for now. Have a good week laughing (or not depending on which films you watch). See you soon for Chevy Chase redux.

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