The Gunman, Mommy and Insurgent lead the new cinema releases & trailers – w/e March 20th 2015

the-gunmanThis weekend there are eight new films out for you to choose from: an action/thriller in The Gunman, French-Canadian drama in Mommy, young adult sequelitis in Insurgent, supernatural nonsense in Dark Summer, Studio Ghibli animation in The Tale of Princess Kaguya, CGI animation in Home, Doctor Doolittle meets serial killer in The Voices, and Jason Statham beating up the bad guys yet again in Wild Card.

The Gunman leads with Sean Penn playing Jim Terrier, an international spy who must clear his name in order to save himself from the organization that he used to work for.

The film also stars Idris Elba, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone and Mark Rylance, but never mind them because also in the cast is the wonderful Sarah Moyle aka the awesome Valerie from BBC’s Doctors! And although Valerie has left The Mill Health Centre recently, I trust she will return before too long! Until then, you can also see her in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – The Musical at the Playhouse Theatre in London, booking until August 2015 at present.

The Gunman looked like a great film from the trailer anyway and with a stellar cast, but I’m hugely looking forward to seeing Sarah on the big screen. More please!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Mommy is a French-Canadian drama about a widowed single mother (Anne Dorval), raising her violent son alone, who finds new hope when a mysterious neighbour inserts herself into their household.

Also starring Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Suzanne Clément, Alexandre Goyette and Patrick Huard, this film is written and directed by Xavier Dolan.

It’s also filmed in an odd ratio, as it’s not quite 4:3, and it’s kinda like it’s been shot with a mobile phone held vertically, rather than horizontally (the proper way). However, it definitely looks worth a watch.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Insurgent is the follow-up to the incredible tedious Divergent which graced UK cinemas earlier this year and, like the incessant Hunger Games series, is coming out on an annual basis.

This time round, one choice can transform you, or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) must continue trying to save those she loves – and herself – while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris’ initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors.

War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable – and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships. Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Also starring Jai Courtney, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Maggie Q, Zoë Kravitz, Ray Stevenson, Suki Waterhouse and Octavia Spencer, the time for UK cinemas to suffer a second blast of this tripe has come.

I know I’ll end up seeing this at some point, simply because the trailer looked quite cool, but I know, overall, I will be disappointed with it.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Dark Summer

A 17-year-old is on house arrest for the summer while his mother is away on business. A horrifying incident occurs leaving an ominous presence in the house.

The film stars Peter Stormare, Keir Gilchrist, Grace Phipps, Stella Maeve and Maestro Harrell, and looks a bit daft, but anything with Stormare in it usually worth watching. Dark Summer faces stiff competition for screen timm in your local multiplex this weekend, but for my money, it’s a…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya is a new film from Studio Ghibli where an old man makes a living by selling bamboo.

One day, he finds a princess in a bamboo. The princess is only the size of a finger. Her name is Kaguya. When Kaguya grows up, 5 men from prestigious families propose to her. Kaguya asks the men to find memorable marriage gifts for her, but the 5 men are unable to find what Kaguya wants. Then, the Emperor of Japan proposes to her.

The film is directed by Isao Takahata, and voices are provided by Beau Bridges, James Caan, Dean Cain, Caitlyn Leone, Lucy Liu, James Marsden, Oliver Platt, Mary Steenburgen and Chloë Grace Moretz as Princess Kaguya.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


When Oh, a loveable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And while he changes her planet and she changes his world, they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.

Starring Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jennifer Lopez, very few CGI kids films work for me, and this one doesn’t.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Voices stars Ryan Reynolds as Jerry, that chipper guy working 9-5 at a bathtub factory, with the offbeat charm of anyone who could use a few friends. With the help of his court-appointed psychiatrist, he pursues his office crush (Gemma Arterton).

However, the relationship takes a sudden, murderous turn after she stands him up for a date. Guided by his evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog (plus other animals, also voiced by Reynolds), Jerry must decide whether to keep striving for normalcy, or indulge in a much more sinister path.

Watching the trailer, I’m not 100% sold on it – it looks like it’s trying to be a kids movie and a new version of Doctor Doolittle at first, but then the serial killer aspect comes in and those two worlds colliding just don’t really seem to work.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Wild Card is the latest in a never-ending line of Jason Statham action movies where he plays the good guy, beating seven bells out of each bad guy.

Statham plays Nick Wild, a Las Vegas bodyguard with lethal professional skills and a personal gambling problem. When a friend is beaten by a sadistic thug, Nick strikes back, only to find out the thug is the son of a powerful mob boss. Suddenly Nick is plunged into the criminal underworld, chased by enforcers and wanted by the mob. Having raised the stakes, Nick has one last play to change his fortunes… and this time, it’s all or nothing. From two-time Academy Award-winning writer William Goldman (Best Original Screenplay, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969; Best Adapted Screenplay, All the President’s Men, 1976).

Wild Card stars Hope Davis, Michael Angarano, Dominik García-Lorido, Milo Ventimiglia, Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Sofía Vergara and Anne Heche and is released in the US on January 30th but doesn’t yet have a UK release date.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!