So, let's kick some *** and delve into this week's releases ....
The Raid 2 (18)
The Raid was one of those rare films which fit under the category of "genre defining". With its sequel out this week, the Raid is now becoming a franchise to reckon with. Welcome back rookie Jakarta cop Rama who clearly thought it was done and he could resume a normal life. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Let's not beat about the bush, let's beat about the amount of beatings! The original Raid was an awesome spectacle - violent, brutal, relentless energy and martial arts sequences to make you whoop and wince in equal measure. As action films go, it was arguably one of the more important action films in the last ten years and all in one tower block (a nod to Die Hard?).
Expanding the canvas beyond a building, the platform for something even more all-encompassing is there. I'm excited to see it. The Raid 3 is also in the works.
The Quiet Ones (15)
The Quiet Ones is based on a true story of an unorthodox professor played by Jared Harris who uses controversial methods and leads his best students off the grid to take part in a dangerous experiment: to create a poltergeist, much like my history lessons at University.... kidding!
This is the first Hammer Film since Daniel Radcliffe's star vehicle, The Woman in Black, which I thought was an effective suspense fest for Radcliffe with its fare share of appropriately placed jump type scare sequences and decent characters. If The Quiet Ones can follow similar and scary plot lines and the characters are strong, then it should be another success for Hammer
There's something in this film's title which fills me with a certain level of dread, along similar lines to when De Palma's Mission to Mars came out. Let's hope The Last Days on Mars isn't as lost in space as that film.
The plot follows the first manned expedition to Mars as it uncovers a discovery - namely that of fossilized evidence of life... had it escaped their attention that Bowie was already here on Earth?
A series of disastrous plot developments then ensure…. to paraphrase another space classic, "in space, nothing is quite what it seems!"
In the words of Arnie, I'm not about to utter "get your ass to Mars!", more get your ass out of the cinema. This release doesn't inspire.
Half Of A Yellow Sun (15)
No doubt Ejiofor's now much propelled star factor as a result of 12 Years A Slave has enabled this film to get a wide release this week. Half of a Yellow Son is a war drama focusing on prosperous Nigerian twin sisters Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose). Set against the backdrop of the harrowing Nigerian civil war in the 1960s, the consequences of their chosen life paths are explored including the "revolutionary professor" played by Chiwetel Ejiofor.
The jury is out on this one. Outside of the Film Festival circuit last year, there has been relatively little press on this film, but the film's civil war context, powerful plot and famous leads make this a hopefully enticing draw this week.
Khumba (3D) (U)
It's the holiday season, so yes, time for another animated feature. The tagline - "Khumba’s gotta earn his stripes!" - is a hint at what the film is about! The story follows Khumba, a young zebra, born with only half his stripes, rejected by his superstitious herd and blamed for a sudden drought affecting the land. What a mean bunch of zebras!
Anyhow, Khumba sets out on a mission across to find the waterhole where the first zebras got their stripes meeting a host of colourful characters along the wide. I'm sure there will also be some ecological and vaguely educational context in which to influence the kids watching too.
On a bit of observation, I've spotted very few cinema reviews but plenty of DVD or Blu Ray review, which makes me suspect this is a 'straight to blu ray' film which has managed to secure a big screen slot. Most of the time this is a reason to be reticent, but I hope to be wrong ... for the kids sake.... there's always Rio 2 as an alternative option though.
The Lunchbox (PG)
Showing from 11-22 April at the mac, this looks a fun feature. The plot follows a mistaken delivery in Mumbai's famously efficient lunchbox delivery system which connects a young housewife to an older man as they build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox.
This film just oozes the characteristics of a heartwarming love story and it has been widely praised everywhere. Sounds like a definite watch at the mac this week.
Have a great cinema viewing weekend!