Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e November 18th 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemThis weekend there are NINE new films out for you to choose from: JK Rowling magics up more wizardry in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe team up in the horrendously violent Dog Eat Dog, there’s compelling Czech drama in I, Olga Hepnarová, superb low-budget British drama in Panic, mediocre ’50s US drama Indignation, Mexican horror in We Are the Flesh, Studio Ghibli-style animation in Your Name, stark Polish drama in United States of Love, and an Iggy Pop documentary in Gimme Danger.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is JK Rowling‘s latest foray into fantasy nonsense, telling the adventures of writer Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards, seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

I still haven’t got round to seeing a Harry Potter movie, but while I’ve no desiree to sit through all eight, the one I *do* keep meaning to catch up with is the third one, Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban, as is was directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who had some fantastic one-take scenes in Children Of Men with Clive Owen, one lasting around 20 minutes. Mr Cuarón also made a little-known space movie called Gravity.

David Yates (The Legend Of Tarzan and the last four Harry Potter films) also directs Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Ron Perlman, Jon Voight, Samantha Morton, Katherine Waterston, Carmen Ejogo and HumansGemma Chan.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Dog Eat Dog tells the story of three men, just fresh out of prison and trying to get back to civilian life.

The California three strikes law looms over them, but what the hell, they’re going to do it, and they’re going to do it their way. Troy (Nicolas Cage), an aloof mastermind, seeks an uncomplicated, clean life but cannot get away from his hatred for the system. Diesel (Christopher Matthew Cook) is on the mob’s payroll and his interest in his suburban home and his nagging wife is waning. The loose cannon of the trio, Mad Dog (Willem Dafoe), is possessed by true demons within, which lead him from one situation to the next. One more hit, one more jackpot, and they’ll all be satisfied. Troy constructs the perfect crime and they pull it off, but in the aftermath, they keep finding the law surrounding them wherever they go.

Directed by Paul Schraeder, from a script by Matthew Wilder, and based on the novel by Edward Bunker, who also starred in the flesh in Reservoir Dogs (as Eddie Bunker), the film also stars Paul Schrader, himself, as Grecco The Greek, and it looks like it could be good, but then Scraeder also directed Cage in Dying of the Light, and that was terrible. And it’s been a long time since he wrote Taxi Driver.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Read our review!

I, Olga Hepnarová

Raised in Prague, Olga Hepnarová was a timid by nature and troubled child with no friends, that was frequently bullied by her classmates. Living in a strict family environment, feeling alone and unable to cope with life’s issues, she gradually alienated herself. Unable to fit in, she felt a raging hatred growing inside her towards the indifference of a society that left her destroyed by people. Rejected by everyone and marginalised, she meticulously plotted against society, declaring her intention for revenge against her family and the world…

Directed by Petr Kazda and Tomás Weinreb, who also wrote the screenplay, and starring Michalina Olszanska, Martin Pechlát and Klára Melísková, I was captivated by what happens in this trailer, so I definitely want to see this.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


Troubled journalist Deeley is obsessed with Kem, his beautiful neighbour. But when Kem is kidnapped Deeley must confront inner demons while searching for a woman the world has forgotten about.

Written and directed by Sean Spencer, the film stars David Gyasi, Pippa Nixon and Jason Wong, there’s a Rear Window-style dilemma that leaves you speculating how they should proceed. It looks like a cracking low-budget drama.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


Set in 1951, the story follows Marcus Messner, the idealistic son of a humble kosher butcher from Newark, N.J. Marcus leaves for Ohio to study at a small, conservative college, where he finds himself at odds with the administration, grapples with anti-Semitism and sexual repression and pines after a troubled girl.

Another week, another film based on a novel by Philip Roth, this one is directed by James Schamus, and stars Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon and Tracy Letts, but didn’t grab me at all.

Oh, and for fans of The Chase, Tracy Letts is the male ‘Tracy’ that no-one had heard of in The Chase on Thursday, especially smug get ‘Sinnerman’ (whatever that means), Paul Sinha.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

We Are the Flesh

After wandering a ruined city for years in search of food and shelter, two siblings find their way into one of the last remaining buildings. Inside, they find a man who will make them a dangerous offer to survive the outside world.

Written and directed by Emiliano Rocha Minter, and starring Noé Hernández, María Evoli and Diego Gamaliel, it looks weird as hell but very intriguing.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Your Name

Mitsuha is the daughter of the mayor of a small mountain town. She’s a straightforward high school girl who lives with her sister and her grandmother and has no qualms about letting it be known that she’s uninterested in Shinto rituals or helping her father’s electoral campaign. Instead she dreams of leaving the boring town and trying her luck in Tokyo. Taki is a high school boy in Tokyo who works part-time in an Italian restaurant and aspires to become an architect or an artist. Every night he has a strange dream where he becomes…a high school girl in a small mountain town.

Directed by Makoto Shinkai, who also wrote the script (with an English script by Clark Cheng) and starring Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi and Ryô Narita, I haven’t seen a Studio Ghibli film before, and while I know this isn’t from them, the style certainly apes their work, so while it looks reasonable, I’m unlikely to make it my first choice of the week.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

United States of Love

Poland, 1990. The winds of change are blowing in Poland. The first euphoric year of freedom, but also of uncertainty for the future. Four apparently happy women of different ages decide it’s time to change their lives, fight for their happiness and fulfill their desires. Agata is a young mother, trapped in an unhappy marriage, who seeks refuge in another, impossible relationship. Renata is an older teacher fascinated with her neighbor Marzena – a lonely former local beauty queen, whose husband works in Germany. Marzena’s sister Iza is a headmistress in love with the father of one of her students.

Written and directed by Tomasz Wasilewski, and starring Julia Kijowska, Magdalena Cielecka and Dorota Kolak, it took a couple of watches to get into this trailer, but I think there’s enough in there to make it a film worth watching.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Gimme Danger is a new documentary from Jim Jarmusch giving an in-depth look at punk band The Stooges.

Iggy Pop, Mike Watt and Ron Asheton are some of the artists featured, and this looks very intriguing, indeed.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!