Chappie and Still Alice lead the new cinema releases & trailers – w/e March 6th 2015

chappieThis weekend there are six new films out for you to choose from: sci-fi in Chappie, dementia drama in Still Alice, crime thriller in Kill The Messenger, French farce in Life of Riley, alleged comedy in Unfinished Business, and tedious drama in White Bird in a Blizzard.

Chappie is the latest film from Neill Blomkamp, director of the superb District 9, and also Elysium.

Before I get started on it, bear in mind that if you go to the cinema to watch this, DO NOT see it in IMAX. Why? Yet again, it’s a film where NONE of it was shot in IMAX. So you’re paying extra for NOTHING. Okay, let’s move on…

Every child comes into the world full of promise, and none more so than Chappie: he is gifted, special, a prodigy. Like any child, Chappie will come under the influence of his surroundings – some good, some bad – and he will rely on his heart and soul to find his way in the world and become his own man. But there’s one thing that makes Chappie different from anyone else: he is a robot.

The first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. His life, his story, will change the way the world looks at robots and humans forever.

As with The Voices, I’m in two minds as to whether this will be any good. It’s got a great director, and also high-profile cast (Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Dev Patel, plus Sharlto Copley doing the motion capture for Chappie, himself), but it feels like we’ve been here before with Short Circuit. On balance, I’ll err on the side of…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Still Alice stars Julianne Moore as Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. As the trailer goes on, you learn she’s developing Alzheimers Disease.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t look at all interesting, so you soon begin to develop ennui and slip into a coma.

If you want to have that feeling, then watch the trailer below and wonder why Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and WeedsHunter Parrish also signed up to this tripe. And another reason not to watch it was, on Channel 4 News recently, when they were talking about it and described EVERYTHING that happens in the film!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Kill the Messenger stars Jeremy Renner in a new crime thriller about reporter Gary Webb, who becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA’s role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California.

There’s a large cast on show including Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Paz Vega, Michael Sheen, Robert Patrick, Tim Blake Nelson, Ray Liotta, Michael K Williams, Barry Pepper, Andy Garcia, Rosemarie DeWitt, Oliver Platt and Richard Schiff, and this does look worth a watch.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Life of Riley

In the midst of rehearsals for a new play, amateur dramatics proponents Colin and Kathryn receive the shattering news that their friend George is fatally ill and only has a few months to live.

Starring Sabine Azéma, Hippolyte Girardot, Caroline Sihol, Michel Vuillermoz and Sandrine Kiberlain, and based on the play by Alan Ayckbourn, this looks like a bit of a daft French farce adaptation, but on balance, it’s worth a…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Unfinished Business stars Vince Vaughn in yet another gross-out comedy, this time alongside Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco, as they go on a business trip to Europe, to close the most important deal of their lives. But what began as a routine business trip goes off the rails in every imaginable – and unimaginable – way, including unplanned stops at a massive sex fetish event and a global economic summit.

The trailer looks amusing enough, but Vince Vaughn films are never a by-word for great comedy and so take it all with a pinch of salt. It’s also directed by Ken Scott, also responsible for the Vaughn-starrer Delivery Man. Hmmm… I’m even less convinced of a good film now.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

White Bird in a Blizzard is set in 1988 and stars Shailene Woodley as a teenage girl whose life is thrown into chaos when her mother, Eva Green, disappears.

The trailer didn’t do a lot for me as you can tell it’ll focus mostly on Woodley, although it might be worth a watch if there’s a decent amount of screen time for Christopher Meloni (Bound, Oz) in the anguished father/husband role. The rest of the cast is rounded out with Thomas Jane, Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, Shiloh Fernandez, Sheryl Lee, and it’s directed and written for the screen by Gregg Araki, based on the novel by Laura Kasischke.

Overall, though, I think it’s only been brought out now to cash-in ahead of Shailene Woodley’s forthcoming no-doubt-a-hit sequel, Insurgent, which follows on from the dire Divergent.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!