Spooks: The Greater Good (15)
I’m a bit of a Spooks geek so I'm only too delighted to see a big screen outing. For 10 years the TV series was compulsive and gripping. The question is how it adapts its own TV format for the big screen and whether it does so convincingly enough to make it successful outside the UK and a few other places.
The marketing campaign for the film has compared it to the usual suspects - Bond, Bourne and M:I all being mentioned, and it would be magnificent if Spooks can become a franchise and even fleetingly have the traction that those franchises have.
Bringing Kit Harrington, fresh from Games in Thrones, into a big screen role, flexing his muscles in a cross between Cruise and Bloom is fine and might bring a younger audience to Spooks.
That said, I suspect it will be the TV fans who will flock to this in droves. The TV series had more quintessential thriller elements of characterisation and dialogue even if action was part of the deal. I hope that’s not compromised even if they want (and have) to step up the action and sell it as such. Balance is crucial though. That said Harry Pearce is back... and frankly, that's a good thing.
The Age of Adaline (15)
This is the story of 29 year old Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), who has remained 29 for eight decades - living a solitary life. The secret is tested when she falls for a philanthropist played by Michiel Huisman - his parents (Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker) threaten to uncover the truth!
This is a Hollywood tale premise that has been told before in different ways - think Time Traveller’s Wife, Benjamin Button etc - the age old idea that time is fleeting and how someone deals with being granted immortality.
Otherwise reviews have been a mixed bag - much depends on how seriously one takes the premise and cinematic construct (or conceit). Sure, it is clearly a preposterous subtext but acceptance of that is vital to one’s enjoyment.
The big draw is arguably to see Harrison Ford’s performance, many critics saying it is his finest in a while.
Big Game (12A)
Samuel L Jackson plays the badass president and proceeds to kick ass too. That’s the plot line isn’t it? It’s a bit more than that. The president’s plane crashes in Finland and he buddies up with a Finnish kid, with a group of kidnappers hot on the trail.
It sounds fun and absurd … because it clearly wants to be. First, the 12A certificate suggests a goofier approach. Sure, it looks obvious and slight but clearly plays for laughs. If nothing else, Samuel L Jackson is a master of B movies and poking fun at everything he does.
I think one’s enjoyment of this film will depend on how ‘witty’ you find it! Critical response has been surprisingly positive. I’m quite looking forward to seeing this.
Opening up on limited release in Birmingham, Rosewater was a massive hit at film festivals last year and is Jon Stewart’s long awaited directorial debut. As one might expect, the film tackles an area interlinked with Stewart’s clear mastery of satire - political freedom!
The film is based on Maziar Bahari's bestselling memoir "Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival”. Bernal plays Bahari, a broadcast journalist who returns to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the prime challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bahari sends footage of street riots to the BBC - which leads to his arrest and torture over a number of a months by a man codenamed Rosewater.
The film follows this and the attempts of Bahari’s wife and Western Media to secure his release, which eventually happens under a six figure bail figure.
Critics have pointed out the film’s straight ahead hard focussed approached designed to show it on a non-flashy level. The film has a lighter touch (including a happy ending) than one might expect but not without power and poignancy.
The film’s power is also bolstered by the presence of the great Bernal in the role of Behari.
If nothing else, Rosewater is clear proof than Jon Stewart has many talents to give outside of The Daily Show and a future as a scriptwriter and film director, if that’s where he chooses to go.
Heaven Adores You (15)
Showing at The Electric, the film is described as "an intimate, meditative inquiry into the life and music of Elliott Smith (1969-2003).”
Under the artful direction of Nickolas Rossi, the film explores the music through the cities of Portland, New York City and Los Angeles where Elliott lived. The film explores his song-writing the impact on fans, friends and musicians.
Also at The Electric, it is great to see Shock and Gore doing a showing of Kevin Smith’s intriguing take on the body horror genre, combining a lot of terror with Smith’s trademark slacker comedy.
This week, be sure to also catch The Invisible Life (PG) at the mac, Vítor Gonçalves 2013’s film about life, death and how to change one’s life for the better.
That’s it from me. As always comments and quibbles are always welcome at @timmy666. Until next week, have a great time at the cinema!