Birdman and The Theory Of Everything lead the new cinema releases & trailers – w/e January 2nd 2015

birdmanThis weekend there are seven new films out for you to choose from: drama in Birdman, The Theory of Everything and Dying of the Light, a thriller in Enemy, horror farce in The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Sound and the Fury, and comedy/drama in Are You Here.

Birdman actually looks like a return to form for Michael Keaton, after his recent dicking about in the likes of the Robocop reboot and Need For Speed.

Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero called Birdman, and who must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory. But will he go the whole hog and deliver Birdman 4?

Birdman also stars Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Ryan.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Theory of Everything is a look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking (Birdsong‘s Eddie Redmayne), and his wife, Jane (Felicity Jones, most recently seen in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2).

The film also stars David Thewlis, Charlie Cox and Maxine Peake, and does look worth a watch with a decent performance from Redmayne. However, it will be a hard task to match up to Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in the TV drama Hawking.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Dying of the Light

When a devastating illness threatens to end Evan Lake’s (Nicolas Cage) career in the CIA, he goes rogue to hunt down a terrorist who tortured him during a mission gone awry years ago.

Also starring Anton Yelchin, Alexander Karim and Irène Jacob, this is quite a terrible film which has even been disowned by Cage, Yelchin and director Paul Schrader, thanks to studio interference.

You can read our review here.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Enemy stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a man who seeks out his exact look-alike after spotting him in a movie, and it also stars Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon and Isabella Rossellini. I’m curious about it, so it looks well worth a watch.

This film was also meant to be released on May 16th but seems to have disappeared for months and is now finally out.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

I never saw the original film, starring Daniel Radcliffe, and this sounds like a cheap cash-in on what was a successful film, even if they censored it down from a 15 to 12 – why release a horror film with the horror dumbed down? At least this 15-cert is uncut.

In this sequel, set 40 years after the first haunting at Eel Marsh House, a group of children evacuated from WWII London arrive, awakening the house’s darkest inhabitant. It stars Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox, and looks about as scary as someone saying boo to a goose.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Sound and the Fury is the only film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco (the latter also directs) which will get a release over this winter without getting the back up of Kim Jong-un, as per the recent and contraversial The Interview.

Also starring Joey King and Danny McBride, the film captures the lives and passions of the Compsons, a once proud Southern family caught in a tragic spiral of loss and misfortune. Based on the novel by Nobel Prize winner author William Faulkner and considered among the 20th century’s greatest works, The Sound and The Fury encapsulates the universal theme of the death of honor, social injustice and forbidden love.

There’s no trailer for this, strangely, but there is a clip, which you can see below.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Are You Here

Two childhood best friends embark on a road trip back to their hometown after one of them learns he has inherited a large sum of money from his recently deceased estranged father.

Starring Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler and Paul Schulze (Ryan Chappelle in Seasons 1-3 of 24), this is a very low-key release for such a cast, and looks low on interest as well.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!