Raw leads the new cinema releases and trailers April 7th 2017

RawThis week, there are THIRTEEN new films out for you to choose from: cannabilism drama in Raw, a future Oscar winner in Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience, a must-see documentary in I Am Not Your Negro, ’60s-set drama with David Tennant in Mad To Be Normal, the occult strikes in A Dark Song, Cynthia Nixon takes the role of poet Emily Dickinson in A Quiet Passion, there’s American small-town drama with Anna Friel in Tomato Red, Riz Armed is a private eye in City of Tiny Lights, there’s a low-budget British thriller in House of Afflictions, crime caper remake for the oldies in Going In Style, Arnie deals with a plane crash in Aftermath, the tale of a Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet in Neruda, and Anna Kendrick’s sat at Table 19.

Raw (aka Grave)

When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her.

This French-Belgian film is written and directed by Julia Ducournau, and stars Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf and Rabah Nait Oufella, this film has had critical acclaim and certainly looks great from the trailer, so I definitely want to see this.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience

With Ghost in the Shell released last week, and Fast & Furious 8 not due until next Wednesday, there’s only one big release this weekend…

Join Peppa in this exciting new preschool cinema experience, with plenty of snorts, giggles and jumping up and down in muddy puddles! Leading with Peppa Visits London, the first of the never-before-seen episodes, Peppa and her friends hop on board a double-decker red bus as the Queen takes them on an unforgettable tour of iconic London landmarks including Big Ben, Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square.

The other new ‘oink-tastic’ episodes include The Police, Canal Boat, The Zoo, Move to the Music and a four-part story in which viewers will join Peppa on an Australian holiday to visit her old friend, Kylie Kangaroo.

Ooh, a four-parter?

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

I Am Not Your Negro

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, “Remember This House.” The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, with narration from Samuel L Jackson.

It’s difficult to simply clarify this as a ‘Hit’, but based on the trailer and the good word this film is getting, it looks a must-see.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Mad To Be Normal tells the story of world-renowned Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing (David Tennant Broadchurch) and his unique community at Kingsley Hall, East London, during the 1960s.

Written by Robert Mullan and Tracy Moreton, the former of whom also directs, the film also stars Elisabeth Moss, Michael Gambon, Gabriel Byrne, David Bamber, Trevor White and Olivia Poulet, Tennant rarely disappoints, and this does look engaging from the trailer.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

A Dark Song

A determined young woman and a damaged occultist risk their lives and souls to perform a dangerous ritual that will grant them what they want.

Written and directed by Liam Gavin, and starring Mark Huberman, Susan Loughnane, Catherine Walker and Steve Oram (Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers), the trailer doesn’t give a huge amount away, but Steve Oram’s always worth a watch and this certainly looks intriguing.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

A Quiet Passion

The story of American poet Emily Dickinson (Cynthia Nixon) from her early days as a young schoolgirl, to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognised artist.

Written and directed by Terence Davies and also starring Jennifer Ehle and Duncan Duff, I know nothing about the poet, herself, but Nixon strikes quite an imposing figure and I was drawn in by the trailer. This film is also getting some criticial plaudits.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Tomato Red

When small town drifter Sammy Barlach drives into town on the search for his next cold beer and the bunch that’ll have him, he gets a lot more than he bargained for. Food, lodging and the possibility of a better future thanks to redheaded Jamalee and her brother Jason who dream of hitting the big time. But breaks aren’t easy to come by if you live in Venus Holler. Finding themselves powerless against the forces of corruption and prejudice, the hardest thing Sammy has to fight is the demons inside his own head.

Written and directed by Juanita Wilson, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, the film stars Julia Garner, Jake Weary and Anna Friel, I wasn’t wowed from the trailer, but I wasn’t put off, either.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

City of Tiny Lights

In the teeming, multicultural metropolis of modern-day London, a seemingly straightforward missing-person case launches a down-at-heel private eye into a dangerous world of religious fanaticism and political intrigue.

Starring Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Billie Piper (Doctor Who), it looks okay but nothing more than that. It’s a quiet week for releases, but sadly like a lot of films out this weekend, there’s no room at the Inn… or multiplex, for them.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

House of Afflictions takes place in the late 1970’s and tells the story of Kate Beckley (Michelle Darkin-Price) once UK’s best selling crime author but it has been years since her last novel due to a tragedy which befell Kate and her husband John, their daughter Julia disappeared… Kate is coming to terms with the fact that Julia may never be found and has decided to start writing again, unfortunately Kate is finding it difficult to get back into writing due to constant distractions around her so decides to hire a temporary home to write. Almost instantly Kate begins experiencing paranormal occurrences, has Julia come back? or is there something more sinister lurking in the house preying on a grieving mother?

Also starring Stefan Boehm, Penelope Butler and Lindsey Parr, this looks like it could be a decent low-budget thriller but I’m not 100% sold based on the trailer.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

Going In Style stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin as three pensioners losing all their money in pension scams and the economy tanking in general, yet still desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones. They’re lifelong friends and attempt to risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money, after seeing such an event on the news, but done by younger men.

This film all looks so predictable. The only saving grace, perhaps, is that it’s directed by Zach Braff, star of Scrubs and director of great indie flicks like Garden State. I’m sure he had a ball working with Freeman and Caine, but every other film seems to pair them up, these days, most recently the dire Now You See Me 2.

With a screenplay by Theodore Melfi, based on the same by Martin Brest and Edward Cannon, this is a remake of the 1979 movie they wrote which starred George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg, a film which scored 7.2/10 on IMDB from just over 2000 votes, so was hardly crying out to be brought back to the big screen.

Also starring Joey King, Christopher Lloyd, Ann-Margret, Matt Dillon and Peter Serafinowicz, there’s a lot of big names in this who should really know better.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Aftermath sees Arnold Schwarzenegger in a rare drama, originally entitled ‘478‘, as it’s based on the airline accident that happened in July 2002 and on the events that took place 478 days later.

Arnie is a husband to a dead wife, and a father to a dead daughter, who’s about to give birth to a grandson because they were originally alive until they took a trip on that plane.

Directed by Elliott Lester, from a script by Javier Gullón, and also starring Maggie Grace, Kevin Zegers, Hannah Ware and Glenn Morshower, it all looks a bit ridiculous as Arnie wants to meet the man he blames for offing his family – air-traffic controller Paul Bonanos (Scoot McNairy), since based on what’s on show it’s more than accident than anything malicious.

Aftermath has got ‘straight to DVD’ written all over it.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


An inspector hunts down Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, who becomes a fugitive in his home country in the late 1940s for joining the Communist Party.

Starring Gael García Bernal, Luis Gnecco and Alfredo Castro, it looks pretty reasonable, but I’d need to see it to be 100% sure.

Note that this film was put back from the original release date of January 6th.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

Table 19 is where disgruntled ex-maid of honor Eloise (Anna Kendrick) finds herself after being sacked of her task, following on from being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via text, and she decides to attend the wedding anyway. However, this table is where all the ‘random’ guests are stuck together, so she finds herself with ‘him from Hot Tub Time Machine‘, ‘her from Friends‘, ‘him from The Office‘, ‘him from The Grand Budapest Hotel‘ etc.

Based on this trailer, with a random bag of numpties put together, it’s not exactly The Breakfast Club.

And, besides, I try to get invited to as few weddings as possible. Unless they’re for family, they’re a complete waste of a day.

Directed by Jeffrey Blitz, with a script by Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass, the cast also includes Amanda Crew, Lisa Kudrow, Wyatt Russell, Stephen Merchant and Tony Revolori, and I’ll be giving this a wide berth…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!