Let's face it, this week's offerings are really exciting, well at least a few of them are, and certainly far more so than last week's very mixed bag.
I really liked the first Hunger Games film, not only because I think it had a terrifically dark underbelly and premise for something considered to have a 'teenage' audience. It pushed every bit of its 12A to the limits - and I liked that. Jennifer Lawrence who is pretty much great in everything was the perfect person to play Katniss Evergreen because she is full-blooded and believable. She is supported by a well-considered cast, including the great man Donald, I think it was far, far more than what reviewer has called a "bloodier version of It's a Knockout".
I hope that the drive of the first film is continued and stepped up another gear - keeping the brutality, working up the love angle with Peeta Mellark, and we get to see more of the world under the power of President Snow. I am looking forward to seeing how Francis Lawrence (taking over the director's chair from Gary Ross) handles it all.
PS. And Stanley Tucci hamming it up is worth the admission ticket in its own right! :)
The second film I really want to see this week is this - this Palme d'Or winning powerful drama is an art-house portrait of a young girl and her experience, in particular that of falling in love. Much has been made of the film's unflinching sex scenes - but this is the deal, it is a close portrait of actress Adele Exarchopoulos, close-up,the camera follows her every move in virtually voyeuristic detail, and her relationship with Lea Seydoux.
The film is three hours long and this is the invitation for a cinematic audience: to embrace following another person's life for a few hours and be capitvated by it. It's bravery from the leads and commitment from a director to ask this of his leads.
Given that critics and audiences have all been raving about it so far, I'm for one looking forward to it.
The Family (15)
As a teenager, I was a huge fan of Besson. He was a rare French director prepared to embrace his American directorial heroes whilst still having a complete respect for his Frenchness. Over a period running from Subway through to Leon, he made one eye-catching film after the other. He had an ability to make every scene feel like a set piece.
Nikita is one of my favourite films - far more classic, in my opinion, than Leon - it's a point in time, where the sexy Gallic chic and Hollywood style just meshed together deliciously. His output since the mid-90s then has been a more mixed bag - he set up his own studio Europa and has made his name far more as a producer and writer, including a lot of B-Movie action stuff, which have benefited from likeable leads like Jason Statham.
It's the fandom of Besson in my teen years that keeps me coming back with films like Angel-A and The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (yep, remember them!) and he remains prolific in quantity if not quality of output.
Perhaps a similar tale can also be said of DeNiro since the 90s, where we have not seem anything like his classic output, and once in a blue moon, he gets a role that hints of something substantial.
So with the story of the Marzoni family, a mafia clan relocated to France, and struggling to fit in, I'm not feeling at all hopeful of classic Besson or DeNiro, but maybe that's not the point - maybe it's just to have fun and get flourishes of humour, action/violence, and parody
Let's see if that blend works, but I'm not hopeful, sadly.
50 years since Kennedy's assassination, Parkland recounts the events leading up to and after his death with an all-star cast playing a number of ordinary people put into extraordinary situations - from the nurses attending to Kennedy to a cameraman, who little did he know, would capture one of the most viewed and examined pieces of film footage in history.
A part of me feels it is a little opportunistic or ideal to have managed to bring out a film about the subject matter at that time, and the film has received ok reviews but nothing amazing.
The big thing for me is - does the film having anything new to say? Is it just a faithful account of what happened or does it dare to take a new stance? If it is the former, then the stories and performances of the characters need to be extremely strong.
Let's make parallels to JFK. One of the things that makes JFK such a captivating film, and possibly Oliver Stone's best film, is that is totally had an opinion, it wasn't afraid to be conspiratorial and take sides. It was controversial film making and it was so gripping!
Finally, I'm really jealous of those of you going to watch Doctor Who's The Day of the Doctor at the cinema over the weekend. I shall be celebrating my birthday whilst watching it on the old school terrestrial box, as it were.
That's it from me. Remember to keep your juicy orange running like clockwork!
Happy cinema viewing. Till next week!
Do comment below or tweet Tim on @Timmy666