It Follows and Focus lead the new cinema releases & trailers – w/e February 27th 2015

it-followsThis weekend there are seven new films out for you to choose from: horror in It Follows, a lack of comedy or thriller in Focus, bizarre drama full of dogs in White God, thrillers without thrills in The Boy Next Door and A Dark Reflection, a meandering mess in Hinterland, and comedy in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

It Follows stars The Guest‘s Maika Monroe as Jay, a 19-year-old girl whose autumn season should be about school, boys and weekends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, or something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her teenage friends must find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind…

And here we have a potentially intriguing horror thriller. The film also stars Linda Boston, Caitlin Burt and Heather Fairbanks, and I’m not 100% sold on it on the first viewing of the trailer, but I think the proof will be in the eating. In the meantime, I’ll err on the side of….

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Focus is sadly not a documentary about the Dutch prog rock band, but instead stars Will Smith as Nicky, a veteran grifter who takes a young, attractive woman – Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie, from The Wolf of Wall Street) – under his wing, but things get complicated when they become romantically involved.

While the trailer started off okay, with a bit of typical buddy movie humour, it was nothing new and soon degenerated into something that didn’t look particularly good. Also, for no apparent reason, it has TWO directors – Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.

Oh, and if you do go and see it, bear in mind that NONE of it was shot in IMAX, so why is it being displayed on IMAX screens? Utterly pointless! You are paying extra for NOTHING!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

White God

Thirteen-year-old Lili fights to protect her dog Hagen. She is devastated when her father eventually sets Hagen free on the streets. Still innocently believing love can conquer any difficulty, Lili sets out to find her dog and save him.

Starring Zsófia Psotta, Sándor Zsótér and Lili Horváth, seeing dogs apparently taking over the world is a bizarre premise, and it might come across as a daft kids film at times, but it does work in a strange way.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Boy Next Door fulfils this week’s quotient for “trailer that shows a thriller without any thrills”.

The film basically plots Jennifer Lopez as a divorced woman who has an affair neighbouring teenager Noah (Ryan Guzman), and everything goes wrong. However, if you watch this trailer it’s a perfect case of everything being given away within.

Kristin Chenoweth also gets caught up in the rubbish and it’s directed by Rob Cohen, who was once responsible for reasonable escapist fluff Daylight and Dragonheart. Then again, he’s also responsible for Alex Cross, the third Mummy film which no-one went to see, and the original Fast and the Furious movie.

And The Boy Next Door must be really bad, because it was due to be released at the end of January, so has been delayed an extra month, but either of these are during the time of year when all the rubbish gets junked.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

A Dark Reflection

A journalist digs deep into the world of aviation and discovers some uncomfortable truths. And a conspiracy trail dating back to 1954. But why is no one saying anything?

The film stars Star Trek: The New Generation‘s Marina Sirtis, plus Stephen Tompkinson and Joelle Koissi and I wasn’t at all impressed. It was more like a Channel 5 afternoon movie!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


Harry Macqueen’s directorial debut is a tender and honest exploration of love and change. When Harvey (Harry Macqueen) hears that his old friend Lola (Lori Campbell) is returning home after years abroad he arranges to take her away for the weekend to the sea-side cottage where they spent so much of their youth. What follows is a touching and beautiful story of a old friendship rekindled within a new context. Hinterland is a poetic journey of self-discovery and heartbreak in contemporary Britain, a very original and visually stunning road-trip film.

Alas, the trailer just meandered without any real direction and I have no interest in watchng the finished result.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel proves that a successful film breeds a sequel with a stupid name, as two hopeful new arrivals at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, but quickly learn that there is only a single room left to rent.

The sizeable cast features Richard Gere, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Dev Patel, David Strathairn, Tamsin Greig, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton and Ronald Pickup, and if you’re in what they called “the third age”, then this will probably be for you, but it certainly isn’t for me.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!