Independence Day Resurgence leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e June 24th 2016

Independence Day ResurgenceThis weekend there are ten new films out for you to choose from: the return of the aliens in Independence Day Resurgence, comedy in Elvis and Nixon, British drama in Remainder – put back from four weeks ago, strong drama with Penélope Cruz in Ma Ma, Susan Sarandon being the saving grace of The Meddler, Norwegian war drama in The Last King, engaging horror in Baskin, Italian gangster drama in Suburra, Danish drama in The Shamer’s Daughter, and CGI nonsense for kids in The Secret Life Of Pets.

Independence Day Resurgence is a terrible title for the sequel to Independence Day, which took a fortune back in 1996 and was actually a decent piece of sci-fi entertainment, even though it was complete nonsense at times, particularly the way they bumped off the aliens by uploading a virus from a laptop….

This new movie is set 20 years after the first one – a good idea, since it IS 20 years since the first one, and sees the return of Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner… yes, Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation didn’t really die!!

The new cast members are Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Sela Ward and Maika Monroe (It Follows, The Guest), who plays Bill Pullman’s daughter. As President Thomas Whitmore, he, yes, used to be the President, but now that character will be played by Sela Ward, as President Lanford. Monroe said: “I work with Sela at the White House and have to live up to my dad. He was huge and I want to make him proud and I’m also a fighter pilot. I’m kind of a badass, I think”.

As the blurb says, we always knew they were coming back… This sequel will deliver global spectacle on an “unimaginable scale” (that means everything will be bigger). Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.

I take it that means they cannot be defeated by a crappy laptop this time.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Elvis and Nixon tells the untold true story, on a December morning in 1970, behind the meeting between the King of Rock ‘n Roll (Man Of Steel‘s Michael Shannon) and President Nixon (Kevin Spacey, no stranger to The White House as Congressman Francis Underwood in House Of Cards), resulting in this revealing, yet humorous moment immortalized in the most requested photograph in the National Archives.

Also starring Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks, Evan Peters, Sky Ferreira, Tracy Letts, Tate Donovan and Ratter‘s Ashley Benson, Elvis and Nixon is directed by Liza Johnson, its been made by Amazon Studios has been put back until now, but it does look worth a watch.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Remainder tells the tale of a London man who loses his memory when he’s struck by a falling object develops a way to reconstruct his past.

Directed by Omer Fast and starring Tom Sturridge, Cush Jumbo, Ed Speleers, Shaun Prendergast and Arsher Ali (Line of Duty), this looks a gripping drama and I definitely want to see this.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Ma Ma is a touching drama about Magda (Penélope Cruz), a woman suffering breast cancer, who reacts with a surge of newfound life that engulfs her circle of family and friends.

Written and directed by Julio Medem (Sex and Lucia) and also starring Luis Tosar, Asier Etxeandia, Teo Planell and Anna Jiménez, the topic is a road we’ve been down before many a time, but it looks like there’s enough in there to make a competent drama, based on the trailer.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Meddler is normally the kind of film I’d expect to hate as it could look like one of those syrupy sweet dramas from which I’d be running away a mile, but… Susan Sarandon is a fabulous actress and still looks hot as she’s about to turn 70!

She plays Marnie Minervini, an aging widow from New York City who follows her daughter, Lori (Rose Byrne), to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away.

Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World), the cast includes JK Simmons (Whiplash) as suitor Zipper, plus Megalyn Echikunwoke, Billy Magnussen, Jason Ritter, Michael McKean, Lucy Punch, LA Law‘s Harry Hamlin and Randall Park, most recently famous as North Korea despot Kim Jong-un in The Interview.

And there’s also the wonderful Laura San Giacomo, who came to the fore in 1989’s Sex Lies and Videotape, but whose light has rather dimmed since then.

Susan Sarandon will clearly be what *makes* The Meddler and the film also appeals to the ‘grey pound’, a growing market with movies like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Last King is set in the year 1206, when Norway is raged by civil war. The King’s illegitimate infant son, Håkon Håkonsson, which half the kingdom wants killed off, is guarded in secrecy by two men. A story which changed the course of the country’s history.

Starring Anders Dahlberg, Åsmund Brede Eike and Elg Elgesem, this trailer was very, very loud. Still looks good, though.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


A squad of unsuspecting cops goes through a trapdoor to Hell when they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building.

Starring Mehmet Cerrahoglu, Gorkem Kasal and Ergun Kuyucu, this comes from the same people as The Human Centipede and The Babadook, both films that I know I should watch, but I still haven’t seen them. That said, this definitely looks like it’s encouraging me to catch up.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


A gangster known as “Samurai” wants to turn the waterfront of Rome into a new Las Vegas. All the local mob bosses have agreed to work for this common goal. But peace is not to last long.

Starring Pierfrancesco Favino, Greta Scarano and Braquo’s Jean-Hugues Anglade, this looks like an absolute corker in terms of action and drama, but there’s no sign of Anglade in the trailer. Is his just a minor part? Either way, this film is also a pilot for a forthcoming Netlix series, so I hope that’s as good as this looks.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Shamer’s Daughter, Dina, has unwillingly inherited her mother’s supernatural ability. She can look straight into the soul of other people, making them feel ashamed of themselves. When the sole heir to the throne is wrongfully accused of the horrible murders of his family, Dina’s mother is lured to Dunark under false pretenses to make him confess. Neglecting to use her ability for the wrong purposes, she is taken prisoner. It is now up to Dina to uncover the truth of the murders, but soon she finds herself whirled into a dangerous power struggle with her own life at risk. In a semi realistic medieval fantasy world with Dragons and Witchcraft, Dina and her family are thrown into the adventure of a lifetime in order to put the rightful heir to the Kingdom of Dunark on the Throne.

Starring Allan Hyde, Jakob Oftebro and Borgen‘s Søren Malling, I can see this looks worth a watch, but I’m at a bit of a disadvantage as the only trailer I could find where I could make sense of what was going on, was badly dubbed into English. And the only original language trailers did not have English subtitles, so I’ve used the former.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Secret Life of Pets takes place in a Manhattan apartment building, Max (voiced by Louis CK) finds his life as a favorite pet is turned upside down when his owner brings home a sloppy mongrel named Duke. They have to put their quarrels behind when they find out that an adorable white bunny named Snowball is building an army of abandoned pets determined to take revenge on all happy-owned pets and their owners.

The Secret Life of Pets also stars Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks, Hannibal Buress, and is directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, and did make me laugh. If it could sustain that for the whole 90 minutes or so, only time will tell.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!