Rogue One: A Star Wars Story leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e December 16th 2016

Rogue One This weekend there are five new films out for you to choose from: something about the Deathstar in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Daisy Ridley narrates the documentary The Eagle Huntress, French comedy/drama in The Son of Joseph, Russian-based on-the-streets drama in Ivan and the Dogs, and another week, another Nicolas Cage movie, as this time, he thinks he can capture Osama Bin Laden in Army Of One.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story proves the cash-cow force is strong in this one.

In this movie, rebels set out on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star, led by Felicity Jones, so good in The Theory of Everything, and we have a much stronger set of actors taking part this time, given how Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens saw Daisy Ridley and John Boyega fanny their way around, while Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher just turned up to collect the cheque.

The strong cast also includes Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna, Jonathan Aris and Four LionsRiz Ahmed.

Gareth Edwards (2014’s Godzilla – oh dear) directs a script from Chris Weitz, based on a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta.

I wasn’t wowed by The Force Awakens, but hopefully this will be an improvement.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Eagle Huntress

In the week that Rogue One is released, The Force AwakensDaisy Ridley narrates a spellbinding (it says here) documentary which follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl who is fighting to become the first female eagle hunter in twelve generations of her Kazakh family. Through breathtaking aerial cinematography and intimate verite footage, the film captures her personal journey while also addressing universal themes like female empowerment, the natural world, coming of age and the onset of modernity.

It looks okay, but it’s had a number of good reviews, so I’ll err on the side of…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Son of Joseph

A discontented Parisian teenager in search of a father with (Mathieu Amalric The Grand Budapest Hotel) and (Fabrizio Rongione) as his, respectively, callous and gentle alternative paternal options, and (Natacha Régnier) as his single mother.

Written and directed by Eugène Green, and also starring Maria de Medeiros (Fabienne in Pulp Fiction), the trailer looks like the film will tread just the right line of “looks too arty for its own good”, if that makes sense. Watch the trailer, and it might.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Lek and the Dogs (aka Ivan and the Dogs)

Award winning artist and filmmaker Andrew Kottig adapts Hattie Naylor‘s curriculum, award-winning play, Ivan and the Dogs, for cinema. Based on the extraordinary true story of Ivan Mishukov, who walked out of his Moscow apartment at the age of four and spent two years living on the city streets where he was adopted by a pack of wild dogs. In the recession-ravaged city, the human world is dominated by deprivation and violence. When social breakdown from extremes of impoverishment, cruelty and selfishness starts to set in, a homeless child’s only hope is to turn to feral dogs for company, protection and warmth. This spellbinding story of survival and need conjures the streets of Moscow in the 1990s through the eyes of a child. With innocence and fear, Ivan’s perceptions of the world are beautifully described, from the acute awareness of hunger and fear, to the innocent understanding of chemical abuse in the ’empty eyes’ of children and the ridiculed ‘Bombzi’.

The premise sounds preposterous, but having visited Russia during a school trip 30 years ago, and still wanting to return, I’d love to see it on the big screen (although it’ll most likely be on Blu-ray or DVD). Given how the content of the film is a bit daft, I’ll say it’s…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

Army Of One centres around one man’s (Nicolas Cage) wildly true quest to capture Osama Bin Laden. Also starring Rainn Wilson (Super) and Matthew Modine (The Dark Knight Rises), and with Russell Brand as God, when you watch the trailer, it doesn’t seem like a wholly terrible idea of a movie.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!