Ben-Hur 2016 leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e September 9th 2016

ben-hur This weekend there are eight new films out for you to choose from: chariot race action in Ben-Hur, stylish animation in Kubo and the Two Strings, a horror movie that actually looks scary in Don’t Breathe, Chris Pine and Ben Foster in a great-looking thriller in Hell Or High Water, engaging World War II thriller Anthropoid, movie documentary The Final Reel, ponderous French pretentiousness in The Blue Room, and a world away from Marvel and DC Comics in Captain Fantastic.

Ben-Hur is best known in the movie world in its 1959 multi-Oscar-winning form starring the late Charlton Heston and directed by the even later William Wyler.

This time round, Jack Huston (Hail Caesar!, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) takes the lead of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince in Roman-occupied Jerusalem who is betrayed and falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell) and is sentenced to a life of slavery.

Ben-Hur loses everything and spends five years in the galley of a Roman slave ship and later takes on the Roman Empire and avenges his adoptive brother in a grand chariot race while finding redemption and being forever changed after a series of encounters with Jesus Christ (Rodrigo Santoro).

Direcyed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), with a screenplay by Keith R Clarke and John Ridley, based on the novel by Lew Wallace, the cast includes Nazanin Boniadi, Haluk Bilginer, Pilou Asbæk, David Walmsley, James Cosmo and Morgan Freeman.

Check out our review!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Read the review!


Kubo and the Two Strings is a forthcoming animation where the titular Kubo, voiced by Art Parkinson, lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta.

This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.

Directed by Travis Knight (lead animator on The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman and Coraline), it’s written by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler, and this film also features the voices of Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Minae Noji, Brenda Vaccaro, George Takei and Rooney Mara.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


Don’t Breathe looks to be one of those rare things – a horror movie that’s actually scary!

The film centres around a trio of reckless teenage thieves who break into the house of a wealthy blind man, thinking they’ll get away with the perfect heist. The man’s quick actions prove, quite conclusively, that they’re wrong. If anyone’s going to survive, it’s him, but how many of the wayward teens will kick the bucket in the process?

Directed by Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead 2013 remake), who wrote the script with Rodo Sayagues, the film stars Daniel Zovatto, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Jane Graves, Katia Bokor plus Stephen Lang (The Hard Way, Avatar) as The Blind Man.

Don’t Breathe certainly looks worth a watch; and note that Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake wasn’t entirely without merit, so I’d recommend checking that one out too.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


Hell Or High Water centres around divorced dad Toby (Chris Pine) and his ex-con brother, Tanner (Ben Foster), who resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s farm in West Texas.

Directed by David Mackenzie (Starred Up), from a script by Taylor Sheridan, the film also stars Katy Mixon and Kevin Rankin. Based on the trailer, it simply looks… ok. Not terrible, but I can’t get excited about it, either… other than the fact that scriptwriter Taylor Sheridan previously wrote the wonderful Sicario.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


Anthropoid is based on the extraordinary true story of Operation Anthropoid, the World War II mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich. The Reich’s third in command after Hitler and Himmler, Heydrich was the main architect behind the Final Solution and the leader of occupying Nazi forces in Czechoslovakia whose reign of terror prompted self-exiled Czech and Slovak soldiers (Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan) to hatch a top-secret mission that would change the face of Europe forever.

I love the look of this and definitely want to see it.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


The Final Reel

This feature length documentary tells the fascinating story of how cinemas and cinema-going have developed and flourished over the years – even in some of the most rural parts of England. Along the way we will meet some of the colourful characters that are a key part of this narrative and hear the tales of how they kept the audience coming back. For many people their local cinema is their favourite place in the world, their second home, and their last community space.

The Final Reel is a film that celebrates local cinemas – past and present – and our timeless obsession with the buildings, films, film stars and the people that spend their lives in-thrall of them. The Final Reel features a mix of actuality, interviews and archive material and offers an entertaining overview of the history of cinema-going in Norfolk and a snapshot of cinema-going in England today. It also asks the question; Is this the Final Reel in the story of cinema or just another chapter in its continuing.

Based on the trailer, this looks like a fascinating documentary.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


The Blue Room

A man and a woman, secretly in love, alone in a room. They desire each other, want each other, and even bite each other. In the afterglow, they share a few sweet nothings. At least the man seemed to believe they were nothing. Now under investigation by the police and the courts, what is he accused of?

Directed by Mathieu Amalric, he also stars alongside Léa Drucker, Stéphanie Cléau and Laurent Poitrenaux, but this trailer makes it look like one of those adverts which spoof a pondering, pretentious French movie… and now we have the real thing.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


Captain Fantastic

Nothing to do with Marvel or DC Comics, but for this film, in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

Starring Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler and Annalise Basso, this film looks dull as ditchwater, so give it a…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.


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