This week, there are FOUR new films out for you to choose from: James McAvoy has 23 different personalities in Split, Natalie Portman is JFK’s widow, Jackie, Vin Diesel returns to pay his tax bill in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, and heartstring-tugging drama in Lion.
Split stars the versatile James McAvoy (back with a bald head again, after X-Men Apocalypse) as Kevin, a man with at least 23 different personalities, including a 9-year-old boy called Hedwig. He abducts three teenage girls under one guise, then in another tells them, “Don’t worry, he’s not allowed to touch you. He knows what you’re here for.” Reassuring(!!)
Eventually, a final personality – “The Beast” – will materialise…
Written and directed by M Night Shyamalan, who’s best known for his feature-length debut The Sixth Sense, for which I had the twist spoiled prior to watching it – although you can still view it from the other side of the coin and get into it that way, I found it merely okay. I later saw Unbreakable, but didn’t go a bundle on that. Since then, I haven’t seen any of his films as I haven’t been grabbed by them, but McAvoy’s always worth a watch.
Split also stars Haley Lu Richardson, Brad William Henke and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) and is released in the UK on January 20th 2017, so clearly casting an eye towards the forthcoming Oscars/BAFTAs.
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!
Jackie. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, to be precise, and portrayed by Natalie Portman, is a forthcoming drama based on the days immediately following her husband’s tragic assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of “Camelot” that they created and loved so well.
Directed by Pablo Larraín (2012’s No), and with a great cast that includes Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, John Carroll Lynch and Richard E Grant, I definitely want to check this out.
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage sees the return of… erm… Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), from 2002’s original movie, while the 2005 sequel, The Next Level, brought in Ice Cube.
Samuel L Jackson returns as Agent Augustus Eugene Gibbons and, this time round, Xander is left for dead after an incident, although he secretly returns to action for a new, tough assignment with his aforementioned handler.
Check your brain at the door for xXx 3 and don’t expect Citizen Kane, as DJ Caruso directs a script written by F. Scott Frazier and Chad St John, and the cast also includes Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Rory McCann, Toni Collette, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa.
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is out now at a time for non-Oscar/BAFTA releases which usually means they can’t cut it as summer blockbusters, but then again, Taken 3 made a truckload of cash in January 2015.
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!
Lion stars Dev Patel in the tale of a five-year-old Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.
Also starring Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman, this has had a lot of critical acclaim as it attempts to tug at the heartstrings, but I’m at a complete loss as to work out where the love is for this.
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.