In a week, where we celebrated the Future, aka 21st October 2015 and the new Star Wars trailer broke YouTube, there’s the biggest franchise of them all returning to the big screen from Monday.
Pretty much blitzing anything else mainstream hitting the screens this week, Bond 24 hits the screens on Monday, Daniel Craig’s fourth outing with Sam Mendes returning to the helm following the astronomical success of Skyfall. Expectations are high to follow-up on one of the very best Bond films. I have no doubts that Mendes wouldn’t have returned if the story, the characters and the scripts weren’t up to the kinds of standards set by Skyfall! With that expect an even more blatant blend of Bond from the classic to the contemporary. Judging by clips and the vibe emanating from Bond HQ, this feels like a greatest hits of Bond brought to life. Roll on the 26th.
Meanwhile, until Monday you can get your cinematic fix with the following offerings ….
Last Witch Hunter, The (12A)
Vin Diesel is your man … yes he is, especially when he’s a witch hunter and (judging by the 25% tomato meter rating) at the time of writing, it’s going down a storm with the critics. There are forces in our world intent on unleashing the Black Death on the world. Vin Diesel plays Kaulder, a warrior who have for centuries gone after ‘rogue witches’, including the Queen Witch (who Kaulder had slain) but who comes back to life to seek revenge leading to a big battle that will determine the survival of the human race. Clearly channelling a sort of Game of Thrones vibe, albeit with a slightly more family friendly nature, the only reason I’d possible watch this is for Vin Diesel, who amidst the absurdity and bad CGI, is often a likeable presence although you do have to question his judgement between good and bad films. I suspect you’ll need to have a certain tolerance for the things that are ‘cheesy’ in this film to get something meaningful out of it.
Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension 3D (15)
I’m not sure how many Paranormal Activity films there have been so far! I’ve lost count … rumour has it, it’s the fifth. It feels like the 20th. Anyhow, the producers of this film clearly think there’s mileage left in the live/found footage jump-athon style. Cast your mind back to the original Paranormal Activity - this was at a time when found footage type films were still a little bit novel, basking in the glory of The Blair Witch Project. Indeed, I vaguely remember Paranormal Activity being rather effective too and with a few really good jumpy bits. Now, I begin to believe you get more jumps from guys doing “found footage” inspired clips on YouTube and therein lies, for me, a slight issue with the genre. It’s nothing that anyone really goes wow about in an age where we are daily exposed to the live capture of video clips of all sorts of craziness, scary or otherwise, everyday by the usual social media changes.
Sadly, I fear that this entry might only be derivative as a result and the trailer hasn’t given me any other impression.
Mississippi Grind (15)
Outside of Spectre, this week’s other most interesting looking film could be this intriguing slice of Southernness (US style that is) - part road movie, part film about addiction. Beneath the obvious trappings that both genres can fall into, this appears to have captured the imaginations of critics Stateside, garnering glowing reviews and praise for the lead performances of Reynolds and Mendelssohn! In the past few years, there have been quite a few gambling movies which have hit the mainstream but have failed to really tell me anything gripping or provide characters to care about. I’d hope in this case that the film has a level of watchable addiction, at least on a par to the addictions that the film covers. Even if the film is no more than a trip in nostalgia to great gambling flicks like The Gambler, the critics have indicated it’s far better than many of the recent attempts to capture that spirit.
Paper Planes (U)
This lovely sounding Australian film is a children's film about a young Australian boy's passion for flight and his challenge to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan. Clearly arriving in time for half term, I’m intrigued to see a kids film that has a ‘real world’ situation, once that for once isn’t an animation or a fantasy or a film rife in commercial tie-ins. Wishing the film every success over half term and for a few weeks beyond!
Mia Madre (15)
Showing from Friday 23rd to Monday 26th October at the mac, this is a chance to see Nanni Moretti’s well-received exercise in ‘meta’ film making, exploring all sorts of issues such as familial loss, ageing, gender roles and the process of filmmaking itself. Fundamentally, it’s a very filmic exploration of what it is to be human.
Also showing at the mac next week, don’t miss out on Willem Dafoe’s performance as 70s filmmaker Pasolini. Directed by the great Abel Ferrara, expect a film awash with style and a clear intrigue in the complexities of Pasolini as a person.
That’s it from me this week. I’m off to make a coffee, neither shaken nor stirred. As always, any queries or quibbles can be directed to me on twitter @timmy666.
Have a great week at the cinema!