Miles Ahead leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e April 22nd 2016

Miles AheadThis weekend there are nine new films out for you to choose from: Don Cheadle excels as Miles Davis in Miles Ahead, there’s a British football comedy in Kicking Off, Idris Elba takes a day off being Luther to star in Bastille Day, there’s Finnish comedy in The Grump, drama with Jesse Eisenberg in Louder Than Bombs, a new Western in Jane Got a Gun, substance abuse drama in The Adderall Diaries, horror in Friend Request, and Slumdog Millionaire’s Freda Pinto in Desert Dancer.

Miles Ahead had the working title of Kill The Trumpet Player and is billed as an exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis, portrayed by the brilliant Don Cheadle .

Ewan McGregor is Dave Brill, the reporter attempting to interview him about his rise to fame, and the cast also includes Keith Stanfield (Dope, and as Snoop Dogg in Straight Outta Compton), Michael Stuhlbarg and Emayatzy Corinealdi.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Kicking Off centres around Cockney football fans Wigsy (Warren Brown Luther) and Cliff (Greg McHugh Fresh Meat), as their team are on the verge of relegation with the season coming to a close.

A decision by referee Anthony Greaves (Alistair Petrie The Night Manager, Utopia) goes against the team in the dying minutes, and their fate is assured, much to the annoyance of the pair, plus everyone in the pub. So, they kidnap him…

Hit or Miss? Read our review here.

Bastille Day is what Idris Elba does on his day off when he’s not DCI John Luther, but this is basically him being Luther but with a dodgy American accent. He’s joined by Game Of ThronesRichard Madden, looking practically pint-sized next to Elba, as terrorists kick off in France, blah blah blah. Yes, it’s the well-worn tale which we’re soon to experience based in our own capital city for London Has Fallen.

Directed by James Watkins (The Woman in Black) and written by Andrew Baldwin, it also stars Kelly Reilly, Charlotte Le Bon and Anatol Yusef, and is released in the UK this week. Bastille Day, itself, is held on July 14th in France, and the film is released there the day before.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Grump is a man from the past. A man who knows that everything used to be so much better in the old days. Pretty much everything that’s been done after 1953 has always managed to ruin The Grump’s day. Our story unfolds as The Grump takes a fall from his basement steps, hurting his ankle. He has to spend a weekend in Helsinki to attend physiotherapy. The Grump doesn’t like this for four reasons: 1) He has to take a taxi. 2) He can’t take daily care of his wife, an Alzheimer’s patient. 3) He can’t drive, which means he might have to sit in a car with a female driver. 4) He has to spend time with his family.

Starring Antti Litja in the lead role, plus Petra Frey and Mari Perankoski, I align completely with Grumpy Old Men, but this guy doesn’t look half as grumpy as I’d have expected, so for now, let’s put it down as…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe

Louder Than Bombs is a potentially interesting drama where an upcoming exhibition is celebrating the life of photographer Isabelle Reed (Isabelle Huppert), three years after her untimely death, bringing her eldest son Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg) back to the family house, forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene (Gabriel Byrne) and withdrawn younger brother Conrad than he has in years.

With the three of them under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently.

Also starring Amy Ryan (Birdman), Rachel Brosnahan, Ruby Jerins and David Strathairn, but I’m in two minds as to whether it’s a decent drama and worth a look.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe

Jane Got a Gun stars Natalie Portman as Jane Hammond, a woman who has built a new life with her husband Bill “Ham” Hammond (Noah Emmerich) after being tormented by the ultra-violent Bishop Boys outlaw gang. She finds herself in the gang’s cross-hairs once again when Ham stumbles home riddled with bullets after dueling with the Boys and their relentless mastermind Colin (Ewan McGregor).

With the vengeful crew hot on Ham’s trail, Jane has nowhere to turn but to her former fiancé Dan Frost for help in defending her family against certain destruction. Haunted by old memories, Jane’s past meets the present in a heart-stopping battle for survival… it says here.

Also starring Rodrigo Santoro and Boyd Holbrook, this is one Western trail I will not be following them upon, as it looks dull as ditchwater.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Adderall Diaries stars James Franco as Stephen Elliott, a writer stymied by past success, writers block, substance abuse, relationship problems and a serious set of father issues, whose cracked-out chronicle of a bizarre murder trial amounts to less than the sum of its parts.

Not long into the 2007 trial of programmer Hans Reiser, accused of murdering his wife, the defendant’s friend Sean Sturgeon obliquely confessed to several murders (though not the murder of Reiser’s wife). Elliott, caught up in the film-ready twist and his tenuous connection to Sturgeon (they share a BDSM social circle), makes a gonzo record of the proceedings. The result is a scattered, self-indulgent romp through the mind of a depressive narcissist obsessed with his insecurities and childhood traumas.

However, unless I wasn’t paying too much attention, the trailer didn’t get a lot of that clear at all, so I’m not sure what I’d make of the full film, which is written and directed by Pamela Romanowsky – based on the memoir of Stephen Elliott, and also stars Amber Heard, Christian Slater, Ed Harris, Wilmer Valderrama and Cynthia Nixon.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Friend Request sounds like the sort of thing that would never ever happen, as Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) unfriends the mysterious Marina (Liesl Ahlers) on Facebook and finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends…

And as the trailer shows, Marina has seemingly topped herself, so how is she killing everyone from beyond the grave? You’ll struggle to care.

Written by Matthew Ballen, Philip Koch and Simon Verhoeven, the latter of whom also directs, the film also stars William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, Sean Marquette, and a load of other people you’ve never heard of before and never will again.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Desert Dancer tells the tale of Afshin Ghaffarian (Reece Ritchie) and his friends, who, despite the dangers, form an underground dance company where, via hacking into YouTube, they learn from the very best – Michael Jackson, Pina Bausch, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev.

Reveling in the freedom of expression that dance gives them, they set upon putting on a performance deep in the desert, away from the watchful eyes of the military police.

Desert Dancer prides itself as (get ready to pass the sick bag) “a classic hero story about brave young people risking their lives to rebel against their government and fight for their dreams….” I told you.

Also starring Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), plus Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Cullen, Marama Corlett and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Simon Kassianides, Desert Dancer I’m not rushing to see this, and clearly the studio haven’t been rushing to release it, since I first saw the trailer for this in January 2015!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!