Big muscles are flexing, weapons are loaded and wise cracking one-liners abound on this week's At The Flix! So, why not settle down with a vat of popcorn and a barrel of coke with the following cinematic delights:
The Expendables 3 (12A)
You sort of have to tip your hat to Stallone! This franchise does have legs and this has most to do with his ability to assemble such a ridiculous cast of action heroes, and by ridiculous, I mean a gargantuan level of ridiculousness.
Anyone over the age of 30 will likely go as a sort of 'ode' to those folks we loved growing up shooting things and beating people up. In a sense, this is a bit like going to watch your favourite bands from your upbringing tour again and roll out the greatest hits.
My hope is that it'll be a fun homage to all things 1980s. My concern is that for all of Stallone's energy and passion for capturing the spirit of days gone by, can the whole band of action heroes match his level of old-school action, or does it become one giant in-joke, at the expense of a really entertaining experience?
With news that the fourth film is already down for release (Pierce Brosnan is rumoured), if ever there was a critic proof franchise, it's this one!
Stallone isn't looking like running out of willing action legends just yet!
The Rover (18)
The film is set ten years after a global economic collapse, a cold-blooded drifter traverses the scorched Australian outback on a mission to track down the men who stole his last remaining possession - his car. When he crosses paths with a badly wounded member of the gang, he takes the vulnerable, naïve young man along as his unwitting accomplice.
For me, this is tough, uncompromising but completely unmissable and there's something I always really find appealing about certain Australian directors who make films that don't flinch in making their home territory a truly tough place to be, from Peter Weir and George Miller in the 70s and 80s through to John Hillcoat and now David Michôd in the 00s and 2010s.
Fair dinkum I say!
Blood Ties (15)
Set in 1974 New York, this thriller from director Guillaume Canet is a film of family ties, brothers and crime. Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released after several years in prison following a gangland murder. Waiting for him is his younger brother Frank (Billy Crudup), a cop with a bright future. Chris's descent back into crime leads Frank to try and cast him aside but of course, they are brothers, so he finds himself bound to his brother etc, etc, etc.
Canet is a top French director and actor. His film Tell No One was one of my top 10 films of 2006, and in this, he is clearly channelling his inner-Scorsese, more than hinted at in the film's setting, characters and the use of soundtrack. The great cast alone is a draw but here's to also hoping the film's story and characters hold together and aren't a mishmash of cliches.
The Unbeatables (U)
We have The Expendables out this week, and to not get confused, we also have The Unbeatables too, which on imdb is called Underdogs (more confusingly)! And in the week of the return of Premier League football, it almost feels apt to have an animation whose focus is on football, produced by a team of Argentinians and Spaniards to make an animation movie whose theme is football. The other reason to be interested is that the film is from the hands of Juan José Campanella who brought us the magnificent film The Secret in their Eyes, a top 3 pick from 2009.
A Summer film with a kick, one might say!
This one has almost disappeared under the radar of this week's At The Flix. Maybe that's saying something about the film, especially as there's been so little publicity about in a week dominated by the new Expendables film. Simon Pegg is the latest actor to find happiness on the big screen with supposedly hilarious consequences in this Brit comedy. Pegg plays Hector, a psychiatrist whose relationship with girlfriend Clara (Rosamund Pike) is on the ropes.
He decides to go on a global adventure to find out what makes people truly happy and on the way bumps into a cynical banker Stellan Skarsgard, a former girlfriend Toni Collette and a few other folks played by Jean Reno and Christopher Plummer amongst others. It's kind of an excuse for a series of set pieces and cameos, the rest is in whether they're entertaining and funny.
That's it from me. As is always the convention at this point every week, if you have any qualms, queries, quibbles or questions, please drop them my way via twitter on @timmy666.
I'll be back next week for more At The Flix action. In the meantime, in the words of John Rambo, "Live for nothing, or die for something!"