At The Flix with @Timmy666

Welcome to this week's round up of the local cinema offerings otherwise known as At The Flix with me @timmy666.

 '71 (15)

This powerful film stars the excellent Jack O'Connell as a young British soldier who is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the deadly streets of Belfast in 1971. What ensues is a hellish survival thriller through the streets of the city, a sort of cross between the realism of Ken Loach and the action-documentary style of Paul Greengrass. Unlike Greengrass and his film Bloody Sunday  the film plays a morally ambiguous card concentrating on each situation portraying partisan behaviour on all sides.

Director Yann Demange has been widely praised for capturing Belfast as an alien environment for O'Connell's character and I look forward to seeing it.

The Rewrite (12A)

This is familiar territory for Hugh Grant. He's a very capable and likeable comic actor. He plays an Oscar-winning writer in something of a slump who leaves Hollywood to teach screenwriting at a college on the East Coast, where he falls for a single mom taking classes there. He teams up again with writer/director Marc Lawrence for whom he collaborated on Music and Lyrics and Two Weeks Notice.

With a co-star like Marisa Tomei  this gives me a little more optimism - and with that, a hope for a likeable comedy partnership - if it's predictable or cheesy, then that's part of the game for movies like this. The key is in the chemistry! Let's hope it has it.

Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG)

Yes, that is the title - and with that what are we really to expect from a film where a dysfunctional family comedy setting looks awfully familiar, at least on the surface?

The film follows 11-year-old Alexander who experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life — a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. When Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him. He soon learns that he’s not alone when his family is having their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

With such a setup, the key is in the humour. Will it be funny? Will we like the leads? Will it avoid typical references to pop culture and go for gross out over actual funny moments? The PG rating inspires a little more confidence that we won't get gross out.

Also, with Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner as parents, you're also hoping they're matched by strong leads from across the whole family.

Reviews have been 'ok-ish' - so, put it down as a 'safe' piece of family entertainment, probably!

Annabelle (15)

Annabelle follows a couple who begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll (of course, it's a doll!) shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists (of course, as is customary). It's a horror film ladies and gents! Oh yeah, it's in a house with a scared housewife filled with bags of ennui! Nothing is what it seems (blah)!

So, with the boxes ticked off, the next bit is whether the film is actually good, and whether the horror bit is actually effective.

This is a staple diet for producer James Wan, whose name is an association for quite a bit of the Hollywood horror output for a number of years now.

I have to admit the trailer which followed the chronological order of the film was really well put together and seemed effectively scary.

Sadly though, judging by a number of critics, the trailer might just be an edited highlights package - with the film's script, wooden leads and predictable formula amongst a number of reasons for its criticism.

The Calling (15)

The Calling stars Susan Sarandon as a detective in a sleepy town and then a string of gruesome murders in the surrounding countryside calls her to action and face to face with a serial killer driven by a higher calling.

This sounds like typical thriller fare with a strong cast and a mix of 'out there' characters, 'deep-rooted' adult themes, religious overtones and a splattering of blood as well as lots of weapons of choice.

With that said, reviews have been fairly mixed and despite the cast, its execution doesn't match its ambition. 

Elsewhere, the Electric have a limited showng of Pawel Pawlikowski's award-winning 2013 film Ida (15) which follows Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, who is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the Nazi occupation. At the mac, Mystery Road (15) is an Australian thriller about an indigenous detective who returns to the Outback to investigate the murder of a teenage girl in a small town. 

That's it from me! All complaints and criticism to @timmy666 as always. Have a great week at the movies and see you for #AtTheFlix next week.