The Legend of Barney Thomson and Southpaw lead the new cinema releases & trailers – w/e July 24th 2015

the-legend-of-barney-thomsonThis weekend there are seven new films out for you to choose from: Comedy/drama in The Legend of Barney Thomson, boxing drama in Southpaw, zombie drama in Maggie, light comedy/drama in Ruth And Alex, music drama (yes, a lot of drama this week) in Eden, CGI comedy in Inside Out, and horror in The Chosen.

The Legend of Barney Thomson

Barney Thomson (played by Robert Carlyle, who also directs) is an awkward, diffident, Glasgow barber, who lives a life of desperate mediocrity and his uninteresting life is about to go from 0 to 60 in five seconds, as he enters the grotesque and comically absurd world of the serial killer.

Also starring Emma Thompson as his mother Cemolina(!), plus Ray Winstone, James Cosmo, Ashley Jensen, Martin Compston and Tom Courtenay, the trailer for this made me laugh a lot so I definitely want to see this. Of course, it’ll be overshadowed at the multiplexes by Terminator Genisys, Ant-Man et al, but see this if you can.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Southpaw shows Jake Gyllenhaal rarely puts a foot wrong – as seen in the recent Nightcrawler, here as Billy Hope, a boxer who fights his way to the top, only to find his life falling apart around him.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Olympus Has Fallen, Training Day), Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal – who is one of the best actors of his generation) is has a fancy house and a loving family, and despite his career, his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams), pleads for him to quit so he can spend time with his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence). He announces his retirement during a party, but when Maureen is accidentally killed during an altercation with another boxer, his world falls apart. When he loses Leila to child protection services due to his destructive behavior, his last hope is returning to the world of boxing with the help of trainer Titus “Tick” Wills (Forest Whitaker) in order to reunite with Leila.

Also starring Rita Ora, Naomie Harris, 50 Cent and Victor Ortiz, this is a definite must-see.

Oh, and “southpaw” is a boxing term that designates the stance where the boxer has his right hand and right foot forward, leading with right jabs, and following with a left cross right hook. It is the normal stance for a left-handed boxer. The corresponding designation for a right-handed boxer is orthodox, and is generally a mirror-image of the southpaw stance.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Maggie is the name of both the film and a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) in the Midwest who becomes infected by an outbreak of a disease that slowly turns the infected into cannibalistic zombies. During her transformation, her loving father, Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger), stays by her side.

In what looks like part-drama, part-zombie movie, I do like the look of this, and while Arnie’s wasted his return in Terminator Genisys, he proved last year that he can also do a decent bit of action/drama in the engaging Sabotage. And did anyone get the “You enjoy your cups”, line, from that film? I still don’t understand it.

Maggie also stars Joely Richardson, Laura Cayouette and Raeden Greer.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Ruth And Alex, played by Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman, are about to sell up and move away, having spent almost all of their married lives in the same Brooklyn apartment for more than 40 years. The film is known as 5 Flights Up in the US.

And that’s about it for the plot. Cynthia Nixon co-stars. But is it any good? Well, read our review!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Read the review, I said!


Paul (Félix de Givry), a teenager in the underground scene of early-nineties Paris, forms a DJ collective with his friends and together they plunge into the nightlife of sex, drugs, and endless music.

Also starring Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne, Hugo Conzelmann and Zita Hanrot, this looks intriguing and has been getting good reviews, so I’ll say it’s a…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Inside Out is normally what I expect to hear when the occasional regional TV programme is about to be broadcast.

In this case, it’s a new Pixar film where growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life.

As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

I generally avoid CGI kids films, but then I saw that comedian and Daily Show regular Lewis Black is in it! However, even the trailer alone was starting to give me a headache.

The rest of the cast includes Diane Lane, Amy Poehler, Kyle MacLachlan, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader and Phyllis Smith.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe…

The Chosen

When a child-stealing demon attaches itself to a little girl, her family is thrust into a battle against time in order to save the girl and send the demon back to hell.

Starring no-one famous, this looks like a right load of old fanny.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!