Mistress America leads the new cinema releases & trailers – w/e August 14th 2015

mistress-americaThis weekend there are seven new films out for you to choose from: comedy in Mistress America, British comedy/drama in Captain Webb, alleged comedy in Pixels, The Man From UNCLE and Trainwreck, teen-angst drama in Paper Towns and censored alleged comedy in Absolutely Anything.

Mistress America

Tracy (Lola Kirke), a lonely college freshman in New York, is rescued from her solitude by her soon-to-be stepsister Brooke, an adventurous gal about town who entangles her in alluringly mad schemes. Mistress America is a comedy about dream-chasing, score-settling, makeshift families, and cat-stealing.

Directed by Noah Baumbach (While We’re Young, Frances Ha, The Squid And The Whale), who co-wrote it with Greta Gerwig, and she co-stars with Seth Barrish, and this trailer cracked me up far more than the supposed big-hitters out this week, so I’d very much recommend this. It’s just a shame it’ll get sidelined at the cinemas.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Captain Webb, is Matthew Webb, the first-ever person to successfully swim the English Channel in 1875 equipped only with his moustache, doses of Brandy and a wire wool swimsuit.

Now, the idea for this didn’t exactly jump out and grab me, but given it’s a British film with a fantastic cast including Hannah Tointon, Steve Oram (Sightseers), Terry Mynott (The Mimic) and Luther‘s Warren Brown as the titular character, and it looks well worth a watch, again far more than most things out this weekend.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Pixels has the daft premise that when messages of peace, including video feeds of classic arcade games, are misinterpreted by intergalactic aliens as a declaration of war against them, they attack the Earth, using the games as models for their various assaults.

President Will Cooper (Kevin James) has to call on his childhood best friend, ’80s video game champion Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler), now a home theater installer, to lead a team of old-school arcaders (Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad) to defeat the aliens and save the planet. Joining them is Lt. Col. Violet Van Patten (Michelle Monaghan), a specialist supplying the arcaders with unique weapons to fight the aliens.

Downsides: Adam Sandler and Kevin James are in this (and their EIGHTH collaboration, would you believe!!)

Upsides: It’s Pacman! And other videogame characters!

Directed by Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Harry Potter 1 & 2) and also starring Jane Krakowski, Ashley Benson, Sean Bean, Brian Cox and Jared Sandler, the videogames link with this had me wanting to see it initially, but since I first saw a trailer, I’ve seen lots of clips and spoilers and I feel like I’ve seen the whole thing, so given that…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is the big-screen reboot of the TV series which ran from 1964-68, starring Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo and David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin, and this time the two lead roles are filled by Man of Steel‘s Henry Cavill and The Social Network‘s Armie Hammer.

In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.

The film also stars Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), Hugh Grant, Jared Harris, and a rumoured performance from.. er.. David Beckham. Really?

While it looked okayish initially, again like Pixels, after seeing too many trailers and clips, I think we’ve seen the best of the film, especially in this one below!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Trainwreck sounds like it should be the name of an action film, but perhaps it’s more apt for an apparent comedy which comes from the producers of Bridesmaids… a chick flick I have no interest in seeing, and which looks dreadful.

Since she was a little girl, it’s been drilled into Amy’s (Amy Schumer) head by her rascal of a dad that monogamy isn’t realistic. Now a magazine writer, Amy lives by that credo – enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment – but in actuality, she’s kind of in a rut. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she’s writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), Amy starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something.

John Cena, Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller, Brie Larson, LeBron James, Marisa Tomei and… er… Method Man, and is directed by Judd Apatow (This is 40, Knocked Up)

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Paper Towns is a coming-of-age story, adapted from the bestselling novel by author John Green, centering on Quentin (Nat Wolff) and his enigmatic neighbor Margo (Cara Delevingne), who loved mysteries so much she became one.

After taking him on an all-night adventure through their hometown, Margo suddenly disappears – leaving behind cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher. The search leads Quentin and his quick-witted friends on an exhilarating adventure that is equal parts hilarious and moving. Ultimately, to track down Margo, Quentin must find a deeper understanding of true friendship – and true love.

This film centres on one of those most interesting facets of life – when you’re young and you just can’t get it together to even talk to, let alone ask out, the girl of your dreams.

However, John Green also wrote The Fault In Our Stars, which I have no interest in seeing due to its syrupy sweet teen romance nature, and which Peter Bradshaw referred to as “Manipulative and crass”. That said, there is a curiosity with the premise of this film.

The film is directed by Jake Schreier (Robot & Frank) and also stars Halston Sage, Cara Buono and Caitlin Carver.

Also, oddly, this film is NOT out on Friday, but actually next Monday (17th). WTF?!!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Absolutely Anything is CENSORED, and stars Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) as Neil Clarke, a man who is granted the power to do absolutely anything, but just as an experiment. He’s granted this by a group of eccentric aliens, voiced by the entire Monty Python cast – Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones.

The film has a huge cast including Kate Beckinsale, Joanna Lumley, Eddie Izzard, Rob Riggle, Emma Pierson, Alexa Davies, Robert Bathurst, Judy Loe, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Professor Brian Cox, Georgie-May Tearle, plus the late, great Robin Williams as the voice of Dennis the dog (trust me, it’ll make sense when you see the trailer).

Absolutely Anything is directed by Terry Jones, who also co-writes with Gavin Scott, and while it looked like it might be worth a watch, it’s time for a collective sigh as the film has been censored. Normally, it’s 20th Century Fox doing this, with films such as Taken 3 (and the previous two), A Good Day To Die Hard, The Maze Runner and Kingsman, but now it’s the turn of Lionsgate.

It could’ve been an uncut 15-certificate, but it’s been slashed back to a more family-friendly 12A by snipping out the swearing.

The BBFC website confirms: “This film was originally seen for advice. The company was advised the likely classification was 15 but that their preferred 12A could be achieved by reducing the quntity of strong language. When the film was submitted for formal classification, the number of uses of strong language had been reduced and the film was therefore classified 12A.”

Hence, I won’t be seeing this on the big screen, but may check it out on Blu-ray if Lionsgate grow a pair and release it uncut. Why on earth should customers pay out good money in the cinema (and it’s not cheap!) to watch a censored movie?

I hope Simon Pegg and Terry Jones can do something about this.

(Note that the BBFC site also said “BBFC Insight for this work will be available on or after 04/08/2015”, but when I checked, it had no additional info other than what’s above.)

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!