Straight Outta Compton leads the new cinema releases & trailers – w/e August 28th 2015

straight-outta-comptonThis weekend there are five new films out for you to choose from: biopic/drama in Straight Outta Compton, action in Hitman: Agent 47, drama in 45 Years, musical-related drama in We Are Your Friends, and alleged action in Barely Lethal.

Straight Outta Compton tells the tale of the rap band N.W.A., aka Niggaz Wit Attitudes, and begins in the mid-1980s on the streets of Compton, California, which were some of the most dangerous in the USA.

When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton tells the story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.

I was in school, aged just 16, when “Fuck tha Police”, got a lot of airplay amongst friends (although obviously not on Radio 1). It’s a protest song against police brutality and racial profiling, but to us, in Manchester UK, it was just loud and featured a lot of swearing, and sounded superb, and sounded like it was rallying against the establishment.

And upon seeing the trailer for this film, I’m quite fascinated that they’ve made a movie which not only looks back at the band’s beginnings, but also features actors portraying the band members, including Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre and Ice Cube.

Straight Outta Compton is directed by F Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen, The Negotiator) and stars Paul Giamatti, Alexandra Shipp, Rebecca Olejniczak and Keith Stanfield as Snoop Dogg.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Hitman Agent 47 is a second attempt to bring the videogame franchise to the big screen following 2007’s so-so movie starring Timothy Olyphant in the lead role, and this time the assassin is portrayed by Homeland‘s Rupert Friend, and it looks good, but whether it stays close to the games… nah, let’s not even pretend it will.

The film centers on an elite assassin who was genetically engineered from conception to be the perfect killing machine, and is known only by the last two digits on the barcode tattooed on the back of his neck. He is the culmination of decades of research ­ and forty-six earlier Agent clones – endowing him with unprecedented strength, speed, stamina and intelligence. His latest target is a mega-corporation that plans to unlock the secret of Agent 47’s past to create an army of killers whose powers surpass even his own. Teaming up with a young woman who may hold the secret to overcoming their powerful and clandestine enemies, 47 confronts stunning revelations about his own origins and squares off in an epic battle with his deadliest foe.

Hitman Agent 47 is directed by Aleksander Bach, who has no other credits to his name, according to IMDB, is written by Kyle Ward (Machete Kills) and also stars Zachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann and Hannah Ware, and the character of Diana seems nowhere to be found. Hmm…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

45 Years tells the tale of Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) and her husband Geoff (Tom Courtenay), who are just one week away from their 45th wedding anniversary, with the planning of their party going well. But then a letter arrives for her husband, detailing how the body of his first love has been discovered, frozen and preserved in the icy glaciers of the Swiss Alps. By the time the party is upon them, five days later, there may not be a marriage left to celebrate…

Also starring Geraldine James, Dolly Wells and Richard Cunningham, you can tell from the trailer that the two strong leads are going to put on a towering performance during a testing time in their characters’ marriage, and the film has already won awards for Silver Best Actor and Actress for the two leads from the Berlin International Film Festival 2015, as well as a Best Performance in a British Feature Film for Ms Rampling at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015, and The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film for director and screenwriter Andrew Haigh.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

We Are Your Friends stars Zac Efron as Cole Carter, an aspiring DJ who looks to make it in the L.A. electronic music scene.

Sounds hugely thrilling, doesn’t it? Well, when I saw the first trailer I thought – no, me neither, and that for any women watching it, no doubt he’ll take his top off at some point and then you can all wet yourselves silly. However, the second trailer that was released turned me around a bit, and I still love clubbing even at the mere age of 43, so I may well take a look at it.

And if you’re wondering where the title, We Are Your Friends, comes from, it’s a track from Justice vs Simian which went through a number of guises but only became a commercial hit in 2006 when it was released in its best-known form.

The film also stars Jonny Weston, Emily Ratajkowski, Wes Bentley, Shiloh Fernandez and Jon Bernthal.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Barely Lethal centres around a teenage special ops agent coveting a “normal” adolescence, who fakes her own death and enrolls in a suburban high school. She quickly learns that surviving the treacherous waters of high school is more challenging than international espionage.

The big names in the cast are Jessica Alba as arms dealer Victoria Knox, and Samuel L Jackson as shouty, bossy authority man… you know the type.

Then there’s also Sophie Turner, Jaime King, Hailee Steinfeld and the bizarrely named Dove Cameron.

As for the title, yes, there’s a brand of porn movies out there called “Barely Legal”, so these filmmakers have gone with the HILARIOUS(!) title of Barely Lethal!

Overall, even with the strength of the two leads, this looks pretty dire, so I’ll give this a…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Also check out my video of the above here: