Hello one and all and welcome to this week's At the Flix. As it's Easter, I will purposely avoid the use of seasonal clichés and puns.
Nonetheless let's crack open the creme egg and see what glorious cinematic gooeyness awaits, especially as this week is particularly glorious and gooey in equal measure.
Ok, I lied about the puns.
The Amazing Spider Man 2 (12A)
Available in both 2D and 3D, this week's 'big big' film is the return of Columbia's largely dependable Spider Man franchise, or should I say, Amazing Spider Man franchise.
Peter Parker played by Andrew Garfield plays off against the company Oscorp who sends up a slew of super villains against him, impacting on his life and the lives of his fellow New Yorkers, including Electro, played by Jamie Foxx.
Despite my reservations about a resurrection of a recently resurrected Spider Man franchise, I am once again looking forward to seeing Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone rekindle their roles as Peter Parker and Gwen respectively. Their relationship is every bit as strong, if not stronger, than the Maguire/Dunst match up from the original franchise.
Indeed, aside from the mis-step which was Spiderman 3, I have enjoyed both Spiderman franchises, and applaud the decision to move the franchise into a new era post Sam Raimi and into the hands of director Marc Webb.
The first Amazing Spider Man felt very rooted in character and I'm hoping that the sequel continues that, albeit with its obligatory quota of Spidey action and dastardly deeds from the villains.
Sadly showing only at The Electric (please correct me if I'm wrong), following his last feature, The Guard, it is fantastic to welcome writer/director John Michael McDonagh back to the big screen in partnership again with Brendan Gleeson.
The story tells the story of Father James Lavelle (played by Gleeson) who, after being told he will be murdered in one week's time, sets out to determine who his killer is and put his affairs in order. Driven by his 'seal of confessional' which prevents him from going to the police, Father Lavelle engages with his parishioners, each a character in their own right, to find out who it is that is wanting to kill him and to dissuade that person from doing so.
This film is all about characters, and whilst the tone is far more weighty and powerful than The Guard, it is still a film which has darkly comic substance that only a film from a McDonagh brother can deliver. Its setup means you know what's going to happen, but in the middle is a gripping game of blind man's buff where Lavelle has to determine who it is and whether his preconceptions are correct.
This film premiered at Birmingham's Cineworld this week and, given the film's plot, this is no coincidence. In Steven Knight's second directorial feature, Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a construction engineer, who gets in his BMW to drive from Birmingham to Croydon. What ensues is largely a series of conversations by telephone. No other actor on screen but you do hear both sides of the conversation but crucially you have Tom Hardy in the role of Locke.
It's such a simple setup for a gripping thriller and an opportunity for Tom Hardy to shine - a regular, ordinary man whose crisis is what makes this a cinematic experience. I won't ruin the plot line but what intrigues me about this film is the opportunity to see Hardy eek out drama and nuance in every character he plays.
Credit also to the director, Steven Knight, who wrote Locke in a week and shot it in two, and whose ability to write thrillers is now matched by his directorial skills. He is as dependable as the concrete that Locke deals with. Knight's previous writing credits include Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things and David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, two very dark underground thrillers. In this film, we follow Locke driving a car in the dark and all we focus on his face - for me, that sounds like a great great way to spend 85 minutes.
The Love Punch (12A)
Following Joel Hopkins' 'middle-aged' romance Last Chance Harvey, I guess he is hoping to keep the 'middle-aged' theme in this film, albeit a lighter antic ridden comedy starring likeable stars in picturesque French locations.
Unfortunately early reviews for the film haven't been particularly great so the strength of the cast might well be the crucial draw over whether or not the film has any attraction for the public to pay their money to see this.
The mac are showing a series of films as part of the Shout Festival from next Wednesday and into the week after next, starting with G.B.F. (which stands for Gay Best Friend), an American comedy telling the story of Tanner, who is outed by his classmates and becomes the title "gay best friend" for three high school queen bees.
That's it from me this week. Any comments or quibbles or Easter Eggs, please send them my way - @timmy666 on twitter.
In the meantime, whatever you do over this Easter, be sure to find time to watch a film.