Welcome to your weekly digest of this week's mainstream cinema releases plus a splattering of those things world and alternative! It's no excuse to forego your regular cinema trip just because England might be playing. Make time as there are some interesting, and less interesting, releases out this year.
Inspired by a true story, period drama 'Belle' tells the tale of an illegitimate aristocratic mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral who is raised by her great-uncle. She lives a paradoxical life, privileged thanks to her bloodline and wealth, yet undesirable because of her race. In later years she influences her great uncle, the Lord Chief Justice, as he rules on a pivotal slavery case.
'Belle' is the second feature from actress-turned-director Amma Asante and critics have praised the performance of Gugu Mabatha-Raw onto which much of the film hangs.
Devil's Knot (15)
Set in 1993, it centres on the cold-blooded murder of three children and the subsequent trial of three local teenagers. In the community, rumours of satanic rituals abound and three local teens are accused of the heinous crime and a controversial trial begins, one that polarises public opinion.
One could argue that given the extraordinary nature of the real story that the film writes itself, and anything less than the sum of its true parts will be sub-standard. Many reviews from critics Stateside have unfortunately reflected this.
'Oculus' is the first big film for Karen Gillan since Doctor Who, and is a horror-filled tale of two siblings determined to get to the bottom of a brutal family tragedy, which resulted in the death of their parents.
Both siblings are haunted by the tragedy. One of the siblings, Tim, is convicted of their murder, whilst Kaylie the other is determined to exonerate him.
It so happens that an evil antique mirror continues to wreak havoc on their lives, as Kaylie sets out to prove the supernatural cause of her parents' death.
Yes, an evil mirror, but remember it's what's inside the mirror which causes all the havoc!
This film has taken a while to reach these shores, having been filmed in 2012, shown at the Toronto Film Festival last year and only reaching us now.
Critics have praised its careful pacing and looks as well as its horror leanings going for the gradual build to intensity and all round unpleasantness, it looks like director Mike Flanagan has plenty of horror chops!
Jean-Pierre Jeunet is one of my favourite directors and his magical new film follows the adventures of a young genius called T.S. Spivet played by Kyle Catlett, who lives on a remote ranch in Montana.
He is a gifted child with a passion for science and, typically one might say for a Jeunet film, he has invented a perpetual motion machine, for which he has been awarded the prestigious Baird Prize by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. He leaves a note for his family and hops a freight train to make his way across the United States and receive his prize. But he has a very dark secret... and that's for you to find out.
Jeunet's films are often as close to fairy tales as they can get and I look forward to being back in his move universe again.
Mistaken For Strangers (+ live satellite Q&A with Matt & Tom Berninger) (15)
Mistaken For Strangers is a rock documentary delves into the joys and struggles of brotherhood.
Following the rock band The National, lead singer Matt Berninger invited his younger brother Tom to join them as a roadie...and Tom also brought his camera comes along for the ride.
Tom pokes the camera where it’s not wanted and rather than the band living the 'rock and roll' lifestyle, it is him that lives in Matt's shadow playing little brother by drinking, complaining, and struggling to balance his ambition with his responsibilities.
Critics have praised this film for its honesty and intimacy. In the screening at The Electric, and reciprocated at cinemas across the UK, Matt Berninger of The National will take part in a live satellite Q&A with his brother Tom, the director of the film.
Showing at the mac, this is the new film starring Daniel Autueil and Kristin Scott Thomas. Auteil plays s successful surgeon Paul, who finds himself the recipient of the grateful attention of a former patient. Initially flattering, the behaviour soon becomes confusing and eventually threatening. His wife Lucie (Kristin Scott Thomas) is at first supportive but becomes increasingly suspicious of her husband’s behaviour resulting in a chasm opening up between the couple, exposing the previously ignored fault lines emerging in their marriage.
Ok. That's it from me this week. Given it's such a varied mix of cinema releases this week, I'd be very keen to know what you think.
Drop me a line with your queries or quibbles @timmy666 on twitter.
In the meantime, have a great time at the cinema and see you next week for more At The Flix!