Criminal leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e April 15th 2016

criminalThis weekend there are eight new films out for you to choose from: Kevin Costner leads the drama Criminal, God is living in Belgium but his daughter is creating new laws in The Brand New Testament, Jeno Reno leads a French cop unit in The Sweeney: Paris, Peter Greenaway brings a new comedy to the screen in Eisenstein in Guanajuato, Helen Mirren ‘drones’ on in Eye In The Sky, there’s Russian affairs in Despite The Falling Snow, family affairs in Our Little Sister, and a new version of The Jungle Book that completely misses the children’s holidays.

Criminal looks to be Kevin Costner‘s best movie in years as he plays an unpredictable and dangerous convict where the memories and skills of a deceased CIA agent are implanted into his mind.

Also starring Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Gal Gadot (Batman V Superman), Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises), Scott Adkins (Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning), Tommy Lee Jones (Jason Bourne), Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break) and Robert Davi (Game Of Death). The film is also directed by Ariel Vromen, and written by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Brand New Testament has the bizarre premise that God lives in human form as a cynical writer with his young opinionated daughter in present-day Brussels, Belgium. She concludes that her dad is doing a terrible job and decides to rewrite the world, which leaves God angry, powerless and adamant to get his power back.

Watching this trailer, it gripped me from the start, with “sod’s law” laws being created, such as the other supermarket queues always moving faster than yours, but then his daughter does something that trumps anything he can do, and it looks bloody marvellous!!

The film stars Benoît Poelvoorde, Catherine Deneuve, François Damiens and Yolande Moreau, and this looks like one of the best things out this week.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Sweeney: Paris is a title which made me think that Ray Winstone’s terrible 2013 movie reboot had been given a sequel, but thankfully it isn’t. It’s actually a new cop movie starring Jean Reno, about a French police unit trying to stop a group of criminals, and it looks very good, but I don’t know why they’ve slapped an old title on it.

The film also stars Alban Lenoir and Caterina Murino, and is also known as Antigang, which could be the UK title but IMDB is claiming it’s the one above.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Eisenstein in Guanajuato

Rejected by Hollywood and facing pressure to return to Stalinist Russia, filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein (Elmer Bäck) travels to Mexico to shoot a new film. Chaperoned by his guide Palomino (Luis Alberti), he experiences the ties between Eros and Thanatos, happy to create their effects in cinema, troubled to suffer them in life.

Written and directed by Peter Greenaway, this looks weird but amusing, so I’ll certainly check it out at some point.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Eye In The Sky stars Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya. Through remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Powell discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from “capture” to “kill.” But as American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute, reaching the highest levels of US and British government, over the moral, political, and personal implications of modern warfare.

Alas, despite looking to be one of Alan Rickman‘s final films, this looks like a long, drawn-out version of last year’s Good Kill, so why bother?

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Despite The Falling Snow: Moscow, 1959. Katya is young, beautiful and a spy for the Americans. When she begins spying on Alexander, an idealistic Communist politician, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with him. Her choice between love and duty leads to a nail-biting conclusion that Alexander can only unravel decades later in Boston. His journey back to the dangerous streets of Moscow uncovers a love triangle and betrayals from those he trusted most.

I love Moscow, but the trailer for this romance/spy drama, starring Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation‘s Rebecca Ferguson, is doing nothing for me.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Our Little Sister

Three sisters live together in their late grandmother’s house in the city of Kamaruka. They have lived together since their dad left home for another woman. They have lived together since their mum imitated her husband by running off with another man… Sachi, 29, the oldest Koda sister, a nurse at the local hospital, acts as a substitute mother to Yoshino, 22, and Chika, 19.

One day, the threesome learn of the death of their “traitor” father and it is only halfheartedly that they go to his funeral. But in Yamagata something unexpected happens: they meet their half-sister Suzu, 13, there and immediately fall for the spell of this exquisite young creature. Sensing that Yoko, her father’s widow, will not be a fit guardian. Sachi invites Suzu to move to Kamakura home…

Maybe this film is for some, but the trailer did nothing for me. In fact, it makes it look like a Channel 5 ‘TV Movie of the Week'(!)

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Jungle Book is best known for the 1967 Disney animation, although a live-action version was made in 1994 with Jason Scott Lee in the lead role of Mowgli, but this time round it’s a small amount of live action packed full of CGI, as an orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.

Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), and written by Justin Marks from the Rudyard Kipling book, the film reunites Lost In Translation‘s Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray as Kaa the sssssssssnake, and Baloo the bear, respectively. There’s also Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, plus Giancarlo Esposito, Lupita Nyong’o and the wonderful Christopher Walken as King Louie.

The Jungle Book just missed the Easter holidays, so that’s bad timing. It looks interesting given the cast, but it does show that when it comes to Hollywood’s ideas, the well has run dry yet again.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!