Free Fire leads the new cinema releases and trailers March 31st 2017

Free Fire This week, there are NINE new films out for you to choose from: gangster shootouts with an all-star cast in Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, live-action anime remake with Ghost In The Shell, horror films with a variety of success with The Void, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and Don’t Knock Twice, the afterlife is discovered in… The Discovery, there’s a Marmite drama in Graduation, and a complete waste of time with Smurfs: The Lost Village and Boss Baby

Free Fire is the latest Ben Wheatley movie, following the critically-acclaimed High-Rise and great movies such as Kill List and Sightseers.

This one is set in Boston in 1978, where there’s no honour amongst thieves or gangster-types as one group go to buy guns from the other group, and clearly things go wrong as, in this deserted warehouse, it soon turns out into a very funny shootout, as well as a game of survival. And while this looked like a 90-minute movie from the trailer, according to IMDB, it is!

Wheatley wrote the script with his usual collaborator Amy Jump, and the film stars Room‘s Brie Larson, plus Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Babou Ceesay, Noah Taylor, Jack Reynor, Mark Monero, Patrick Bergin and the brilliant Michael Smiley, a regular of Wheatley’s.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


Ghost In The Shell is one of those works of which I’ve always been aware, but which I’ve never experienced in any form, whether comic book or animated movie.

Originally, the film was under protests from fans of ‘white-washing’ (denied by the director and producers) – as the main character is Asian, yet actress Scarlett Johansson is not. Apparently, Hollywood thinks a lot less people would go and see this if there was an Asian female lead, even though Asian women are the hottest on Planet Earth – everyone knows that; it’s a scientific fact! After all, just look at the success of Channel 4’s Humans, adapted from the Swedish drama Real Humans, led in the UK by Gemma Chan.

The film follows the Major (Johansson), a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.

And in this second trailer, I’m not hugely sold on it, but I’ll probably see it as I know it’ll look good on the big screen.

Directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman), from a script by Jonathan Herman and Jamie Moss, based on the original manga by Masamune Shirow, the film has a great supporting cast of also stars Michael Wincott, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Rila Fukushima, Pilou Asbæk and Takeshi Kitano.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!


The Void

When police officer Carter (Aaron Poole) discovers a blood-soaked man limping down a deserted road, he rushes him to a local hospital with a barebones, night shift staff. As cloaked, cult-like figures surround the building, the patients and staff inside start to turn ravenously insane. Trying to protect the survivors, Carter leads them into the depths of the hospital where they discover a gateway to immense evil.

This is the first in a number of horror-style thrillers out this weekend which all look kinda similar in that weird stuff starts happening and gets more and more intense from there.

The Void is written and directed by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, and stars Ellen Wong, Kathleen Munroe and Kenneth Welsh, and looks to be certainly the most gruesome-looking of the lot, but overall, does look worth a watch.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch play father and son coroners who receive a mysterious homicide victim with no apparent cause of death. As they attempt to identify the beautiful young “Jane Doe,” they discover increasingly bizarre clues that hold the key to her terrifying secrets.

Also starring Ophelia Lovibond and Olwen Kelly as Jane Doe, smilarly, this is all a bit weird as hell, but a bit more Hollywoodised. I’ve heard good things about it, though, so on that basis…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


Don’t Knock Twice

Sculptor Jess (Katee Sackhoff) unsuccessfully tries to retrieve the custody of her teenage daughter Chloe (Lucy Boynton). During the night, Chloe and her boyfriend Danny play a prank challenging an urban legend: and they knock twice on the door of the witch Mary Aminov. Soon Danny is hunted down by a fiend and vanishes. When Chloe is haunted by the evil spirit, she flees to the house of her estranged mother and her husband Ben (Richard Mylan) to stay with her mother. Soon the demon finds her and haunts the house while Ben is traveling…

Alaso, this appears to be the Poundshop equivalent of the horror genre out this week. Looks terrible. Avoid.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


The Discovery is a love story set one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified… not that you’d get that from the trailer, bizarrely.

Writer-director Charlie McDowell returned to Sundance with a thriller about a scientist (Robert Redford) who uncovers scientific proof that there is indeed an afterlife. His son is portrayed by Jason Segel, who’s not too sure about his father’s “discovery”, and Rooney Mara plays a mystery woman who has her own reasons for wanting to find out more about the afterlife.

Also starring Mary Steenburgen, this is another case of the trailer starting normally, but then the creepy coming in bit by bit. Out on Netflix, this could be okay.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!


Graduation (aka Bacalaureat)

Romeo Aldea (age 49, played by Adrian Titieni), a physician living in a small mountain town in Transylvania, has raised his daughter Eliza (Maria Dragus) with the idea that once she turns 18, she will leave to study and live abroad. His plan is close to succeeding – Eliza has won a scholarship to study psychology in the UK. She just has to pass her final exams – a formality for such a good student. On the day before her first written exam, Eliza is assaulted in an attack that could jeopardise her entire future. Now Romeo has to make a decision. There are ways of solving the situation, but none of them using the principles he, as a father, has taught his daughter.

This has had good write-ups, but I couldn’t really get a handle on it from the trailer.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


Smurfs: The Lost Village

The third one in the series about blue creatures. Looks like it’ll fit somewhere inbetween Boss Baby at the bottom of the scale of things to entertain yourself with…. and at the top end…. trapping your fingers in the car door.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


Boss Baby

Alec Baldwin voices a baby who dresses like a company boss in what looks to be one of the laziest CGI kids movies made all year. Avoid.

It’s also being released on Saturday April 1st (so, not a funny joke) and will benefit from a 9-day ‘weekend’ given as it’ll count with NEXT weekend’s box office.

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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