Alien Covenant leads the new cinema releases and trailers May 12th 2017

Alien CovenantThis week, there are SEVEN new films out for you to choose from: otherworldly action in Alien Covenant, an enchanting tale of mismatched people in Away, boxing drama with a heavyweight cast in Jawbone, political drama in Miss Sloane, a lot of weird stuff going on in The Levelling, a German drama set a century ago in Frantz, and a really tedious drama in The Last Face.

Alien Covenant seemed hit or miss as to whether Ridley Scott would be directing again, or just hanging about for the producer reins a la Blade Runner 2049, but he’s back in the hot seat for the long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s Prometheus, which I loved in IMAX.

Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the synthetic David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.

With a script from Michael Green, John Logan and Jack Paglen, and a cast also including Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them), James Franco, Callie Hernandez, Billy Crudup, Carmen Ejogo, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, plus returning stars Noomi Rapace and Guy Pearce, I was hoping we’d get a 1.90:1 digital 3D IMAX print as we did with the previous one from Scott, but while there are conflicting reports (and trailer) about the ratio, it’s only been shot in 2D.

Someone speculated that with Fox’s other recent R-rated big movies – Deadpool and Logan – they’ve also only been avaiable in 2D, rather than 3D. Looks like 3D is going out of fashion, again.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Away is where everyone wants to get to, once in a while, but here, it’s the mismatched pairing of widower Joseph (Timothy Spall) and ex-junkie Ria (Juno Temple), as they meet in a film which drew me in and I found to be very enchanting, and which also stars Hayley Squires, who won a Best Supporting Actress BAFTA nomination for her powerhouse role in the brilliant I, Daniel Blake.

Read our cinema review here!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Jawbone centres around former youth boxing champion, Jimmy McCabe (Johnny Harris), a man in search of hope but looking in all the wrong places. When he hits rock bottom he turns to his childhood boxing club and the only family he has left: gym owner Bill (Ray Winstone), corner man Eddie (Michael Smiley) and promoter Joe (Ian McShane). Back in training, years after anyone thought he was a contender, he risks his life, as he tries to stand tall and regain his place in the world.

This looks superb from the trailer and has a class cast to match, including Smiley, most recently seen on the big screen in Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Miss Sloane stars Jessica Chastain (Interstellar) in the titular lead role as a ruthless and highly successful political strategist, Elizabeth Sloane, who exposes the cutthroat world of Washington D.C lobbyists on both sides of the gun control debate.

New legislation requiring more stringent background checks for gun ownership is gaining traction in Congress, and Sloane is approached to spearhead the campaign, pitting her against the formidable power of her political opponents. Deploying her notorious skills – and driven by a desire to win at all costs – she jeopardises those closest to her, and puts her own career at risk.

This looks pretty interesting, not quite sure it’s going to be the “riveting political thriller” that the billing states, however.

Directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), from a screenplay by Jonathan Perera, the film also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Mark Strong, John Lithgow, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jake Lacy and Sam Waterston.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Levelling

Somerset, October 2014. When Clover Catto (Ellie Kendrick) receives a call telling her that her younger brother Charlie (Joe Blakemore) is dead, she must return to her family farm and face the man she hasn’t spoken to in years: her father Aubrey (David Troughton). She is shocked to discover her home changed forever by the devastating floods that destroyed the area six months earlier, and Aubrey a tormented shadow of his former self. As she learns what has been going on in her long absence she and her father forge a new understanding, but can it withstand the troubles that they face on the ravaged farm as well as the truth of what drove Charlie to take his own life?

Written and directed by Hope Dickson Leach, I wasn’t wowed by this. It might be okay, but the trailer wasn’t setting me on fire.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!


In 1919 Quedlinburg, Germany, a young woman named Anna is still mourning the death of her fiance, Frantz Hoffmeister, in the Great War while living with his equally devastated parents. One day, a mysterious Frenchman, Adrien Rivoire, comes to town both to pay his respects to Frantz’s grave and to contact that soldier’s parents. Although it is difficult for both sides with the bitterness of Germany’s defeat, Adrian explains that he knew Frantz and gradually he wins Anna and the Hoffmeisters’ hearts as he tries to connect with them. Unfortunately, Adrien and Anna discover the truth of his motives and things seem shattered for all.

However, when Adrien leaves, Anna has her own struggles with the truth and her feelings until she sets out to find Adrien in France. With that, Anna has her own journey to make in more than one sense, even as they both realize that neither have easy answers to their complex personal conflicts with each other and the dead man linking them.

The more this trailer went on, the more it felt like an advert from the ’80s spoofing French black-and-white films! I couldn’t warm to this at all.

Director: François Ozon
Stars Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Last Face looks like particularly tedious fare, as Charlize Theron (Fast and Furious 8) plays Wren, a director of an international aid agency in Africa who meets relief aid doctor Miguel (Javier Bardem) amidst a political/social revolution, together facing tough choices surrounding humanitarianism and life through civil unrest. Throughout the entire trailer, I was struggling to stay awake… but good job I did since I was standing up at the time.

Directed by Sean Penn, from a script by Erin Dignam, the film at least has a good cast, as it also stars Jared Harris, Jean Reno and Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Colour).

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!