Welcome to this week's #AtTheFlix munch as we sizzle our way through the frying pan of cinema, holding onto the good, fresh celluloid ingredients and chucking the bad ones in the smelly trash can. Yes, that's right, I'm your cinematic sous chef!
Sadly, this week feels like the first week after all the Oscar films have come out and as a result, feels somewhat mediocre in comparison to previous weeks. Nonetheless let's cast our eye on what's out.
Lone Survivor (15)
Director Peter Berg has pedigree as an action director (think The Kingdom, Hancock et al, try not to think about Battleship.) He's also got an affinity for directing films with a focus on military and values of courage, honour, bravery etc, etc..
So, for those reasons it stands to reason that he's at home in this film starring Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell, who leads a team to Afghanistan to kill a notorious al Qaeda leader. The mission goes horifically wrong and we follow the brotherly relationship between the solders.
Just from the trailer, the film does have a slightly jingoistic sentiment, but again I think that's quite deliberate even with what looks a film which doesn't shy away from its apparent horrors.
Crucial to the film's success is that it shows genuine humanity beneath the horrors.
I, Frankenstein (3D) (12A)
As one critic has commented, when the trailer proclaims a film is from the producers of Underworld, how is one expected to get excited about that? Not me. I'm not a devotee to that particular film franchise, cat suit or no cat suit, and in the absence of Kate Beckinsale, we have Aaron Eckhart, an actor surely far too serious for comic book style meets gothic PG-13/12A action..
... Yes with a cast list with Bill Nighy and Miranda Otto, you've got some serious actors - and it is with the word 'serious' that I have a sneaky suspicion that the film will be taking itself as such... and not anywhere nearly as much fun as it should be.
I want to be proven wrong but I'm feeling less than luke warm to this, even though any film with Frankenstein in it should surely wet my appetite.
Just from the trailer I get the impression that this Frankenstein pays little attention to its source material and has virtually no relation to its true Gothic or horrific feel.
Instead, go revisit the much under-appreciated Branagh version of Frankenstein.
Out Of The Furnace (15)
Christian Bale, method actor to the max, last seen overweight and with a combover/wig combo in American Hustle, is back, playing Russell Baze, a guy who has a rough life as a blue collar worker by day, caring for his terminally ill father by night. His brother Rodney (played by Casey Affleck) returns home from serving time in Iraq, and gets lured into crime rings and then mysteriously disappears. Baze goes on the hunt for him, and not being helped by the police, takes justice into his own hands.
With a stellar cast including Willem Defoe, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker and Zoe Saldana, it's hard to not to be turned to this film by this cast alone. Bale allegedly tones down his method acting tendencies and is very measured in the lead role as Baze.
That said though, the film is set in the same industrial area as The Deer Hunter - and its tale of crime and repression and bad luck isn't something particular new to Hollywood. Critics have commented on its sense of familiarity and lack of pace, and again this feels like such a shame, especially considering the acting talent on board.
That Awkward Moment (15)
There are many awkward things about this film on the surface - it's a bro-mance, supposedly a comedy and it has Zac Ephron in it. Anyhow, to make matters worse, it is the cheese-ball of a plot which makes me wonder who this is actually for?
The film is about three best friends who find themselves in a place where the cinema-paying audience have all been ... at that "moment" in every dating relationship when you have to decide "So...where is this going?"
I know where this is going .... and for me, it is to another screen.
With a Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes sitting on 24% at the time of writing this, I would heavily suggest that scepticism and horror is well placed. Yet, I expect that Zac Ephron fans will still go in there in droves. I've yet to meet one though. I might have to fight my way passed them to go and see one of the more serious, and better offerings out this week.
If you're a fan of horror, you must head over to Shock and Gore's showing of Big Bad Wolves on Wednesday 5th February, described by Quentin Tarantino as the Best Film of the Year, a revenge thriller with more teeth than even the most vicious of wolves!
Question of the week, and already discussed on twitter: what film do you think is the better than the book from which it has been adapted? I have a list of films.
As always, please let me know what you think, by dropping me a tweet @timmy666.
Until next week, may your cinematic games be particularly hungry ones!