Red Sparrow leads the new cinema releases and trailers March 2nd 2018

Red SparrowThis week, there are SIX new films out for you to choose from: Jennifer Lawrence portrays a Russian spy in Red Sparrow, Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams gamble a bit too much in Game Night, will there be strength found in Samson?, there’s a mammoth shark known as The Meg, there’s lazy CGI for kids in Monster Family, and a transexual tale in A Fantastic Woman.

Red Sparrow centres around Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika Egorova, a woman who is many things. A devoted daughter determined to protect her mother at all costs. A prima ballerina whose ferocity has pushed her body and mind to the absolute limit. A master of seductive and manipulative combat. When she suffers a career-ending injury, Dominika and her mother are facing a bleak and uncertain future.

That is why she finds herself manipulated into becoming the newest recruit for Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people like her to use their bodies and minds as weapons. After enduring the perverse and sadistic training process, she emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow the program has ever produced. Dominika must now reconcile the person she was with the power she now commands, with her own life and everyone she cares about at risk, including an American CIA agent who tries to convince her he is the only person she can trust.

Everyone’s doing dodgy Russian accents in this, but on the other had, Ms Lawrence proved what a versatile actress she can be in mother!, so I’ve no doubt she can pull this off, too.

It’s directed by Francis Lawrence, who’s no relation to Jennifer, but he directed her in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.

Also stars: Joel Edgerton, Mary-Louise Parker, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeremy Irons, Ciarán Hinds, Charlotte Rampling, Joely Richardson, Thekla Reuten

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Game Night centres around a group of friends, who meet regularly for game nights, then find themselves trying to solve a murder mystery after one decides they’re going to have a different kind of game, but as you’ll see from the start of the trailer, playful intentions lead to mishaps they’d rather forget about.

A film with two directors (John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, responsible for 2015’s Vacation and the forthcoming sequel, Vacation Guide to the Solar System) rarely works, but between this and the teaser, I got a lot of laughs from them both, so I hope they’re not the only laughs in the movie. That said, since the new one runs for almost 3 minutes, I feel like between the two of them, I’ve seen the whole movie. I remember Mark Kermode saying how 10-second trailer clips in Vacation were strung out to seven minutes with no extra comedy, so that doesn’t bode well.

Writer: Mark Perez
Stars: Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman, Jesse Plemons, Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Kylie Bunbury, Sharon Horgan, Camille Chen

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!


A Hebrew with an unusual gift of strength must respond properly to the call of God on his life in order to lead his people out of enslavement. After his youthful ambition leads to a tragic marriage, his acts of revenge thrust him into direct conflict with the Philistine army. As his brother mounts a tribal rebellion, only Samson’s relationship with a Philistine seductress and his final surrender – both to the Philistines and to God – turns imprisonment and blindness into final victory.

Well, if you’re into religion, you may get something out of this, but from the trailer, everyone looked bored to be present on set.

Directors: Bruce Macdonald, Gabriel Sabloff
Stars: Jackson Rathbone, Billy Zane, Taylor James, Rutger Hauer, Caitlin Leahy, Lindsay Wagner, Frances Sholto-Douglas

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Meg

Not Meg from Family Guy, but five years ago, expert sea diver and Naval Captain Jonas Taylor encountered an unknown danger in the unexplored recesses of the Mariana Trench that forced him to abort his mission and abandon half his crew. Though the tragic incident earned him a dishonorable discharge, what ultimately cost him his career, his marriage and any semblance of honor was his unsupported and incredulous claims of what caused it – an attack on his vessel by a mammoth, 70-foot sea creature, believed to be extinct for more than a million years.

But when a submersible lies sunk and disabled at the bottom of the ocean – carrying his ex-wife among the team onboard – he is the one who gets the call. Whether a shot at redemption or a suicide mission, Jonas must confront his fears and risk his own life and the lives of everyone trapped below on a single question: Could the Carcharodon Megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive … and on the hunt?

This is easily one of the worst-titled movies of the year so far, and has been hanging around as an idea since 1997, but didn’t want to compete with 1999’s Deep Blue Sea. With a budget of $150m, it’s a good job they didn’t rush it out, eh?

On watching the trailer, I was waiting for the big payoff, the big scary moments, but…. there was NOTHING!

Director: Jon Turteltaub
Stars: Ruby Rose, Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson, Robert Taylor, Jessica McNamee, Bingbing Li, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Monster Family

In an attempt to reconnect as a family, the Wishbone family’s Mum and Emma plan a fun night out. However, her plan backfires when an evil witch curses them, and they’re all turned into monsters.

Looks like lazy CGI to me, and the trailer confirms that.

Director: Holger Tappe
Stars: Emily Watson, Jason Isaacs, Nick Frost, Jessica Brown Findlay, Celia Imrie, Catherine Tate

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

A Fantastic Woman

Somewhere in Santiago at a dimly-lit nightclub, Orlando, the kindly and well-off owner of a textile company, locks eyes with Marina, a hopeful singer and the roughly half-his-age love of his life. But, unfortunately, after Marina’s birthday celebration and a night of passion, Orlando falls gravely ill, and by the following morning, he dies in hospital. In the wake of her companion’s untimely death, Marina will soon realise that, from now on, everything is brought into question: her involvement in Orlando’s death, their unconventional relationship- since a transsexual woman; and above all, her right to mourn her beloved deceased. In the end, what was Marina’s crime; a deed so hideous that would rob a fantastic woman of her respect, her dignity, and ultimately, her identity?

This film has had critical acclaim, but I just didn’t get it from the trailer.

Director: Sebastián Lelio
Screenplay: Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza
Stars: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!