Trumbo leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e February 5th 2016

trumboThis weekend there are six new films out for you to choose from: Oscar-nominated drama in Trumbo, alleged comedy remake in Dad’s Army, action remake in Point Break, an old idea renewed in Goosebumps, biopic drama in I Saw The Light, and dull drama in Strangerland.

Trumbo tells the tale of the successful career of novelist, Hollywood screenwriter and director, Dalton Trumbo (Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston), which comes to an end when he is blacklisted in the 1940s for being a Communist.

All I knew about Dalton Trumbo prior to this is that he wrote the novel and screenplay, and also directed, one of my all-time favourite films, Johnny Got His Gun, starring Timothy Bottoms, as a World War I soldier whose story was summed up succinctly by Metallica in their powerful 1989 track “One”.

This movie is directed by Jay Roach (all three Austin Powers movies), and is written by John McNamara, adapted from the book by Bruce Cook, with a cast inlcuding Elle Fanning (About Ray), Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Alan Tudyk, John Goodman, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Louis CK, and I’m definitely intrigued into checking out the full story about Dalton Trumbo, who died in 1976 following a heart attack.

Check out our review here.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Dad’s Army is the classic TV series from the 1960s which, shock horror, just did not do a lot for me as it was before my time, but my parents loved it.

Led by Arthur Lowe, who I remember from the Mr Men books narration, as Capt. George Mainwaring, the sitcom ran for nine series, from 1968 to 1977, including a 1971 movie. It was set in the fictional south coast seaside town of Walmington-On-Sea during World War II, featuring gentle character comedy as well as broad slapstick, and told of the misadventures of the local voluntary defence force, aka Home Guard, consisting of men too old or ‘unfit’ for military service.

Then, someone had the bright idea (not) of remaking it for a 2016 movie where the platoon have to deal with a visiting female journalist and a German spy, as World War II draws to its conclusion. And in watching this second trailer, I did NOT laugh once! Whatever next – Allo Allo: The Movie?!

This time round, MarvellousToby Jones takes the lead as Captain Mainwaring, with Bill Nighy as Sergeant Wilson, Michael Gambon as Private Godfrey, Mark Gatiss as Colonel Theakes, The InbetweenersBlake Harrison as Private Pike, Tom Courtenay as Lance Corporal Jones, Daniel Mays as Private Walker, Bill Paterson as Private Frazer, and a role for the only suriving cast member, Ian Lavender, as Brigadier Pritchard.

In addition, there’s Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alison Steadman, Emily Atack, Sarah Lancashire, Annette Crosbie, Holli Dempsey and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa‘s Felicity Montagu.


But, of course, they have. And it’s out in UK cinemas now, and given how anything showing in January and February, which isn’t an Oscar and/or BAFTA contender, is only shoved there because it’s a stinker, it doesn’t take long to figure this out, does it? And in watching this trailer, never mind 1944, in 19*94*, I had more laughs in dealing with a perianal abscess!!!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Point Break – the original is one of my all-time favourite action films, focusing on FBI agent Johnny Utah who goes undercover to catch a gang of bank robbers-cum-surfers, known as the Ex-Presidents (because of the masks they wear). It’s a pile of tosh but there’s chemistry between Keanu Reeves and the late Patrick Swayze, plus great support from Gary Busey and John C McGinley, aka Perry in Scrubs. It’s such an iconic movie, too; a boys’ own action adventure… so it’s even more surprising that the director was female – Kathryn Bigelow, who later went on to direct the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, even though I thought it was mostly dull.

But in this age of remakes, occasionally, they’ll try and redo the classic (hell, even Psycho couldn’t escape that treatment!)

For this one, the surfers are now extreme sports athletes, but Utah still has to infiltrate Bodhi’s gang, whilst also banging his girlfriend, Tyler (Teresa Palmer).

Still, at least we’ve got big names for this one, right? Well, Utah and Bodhi are played by Luke Bracey (who?) and Édgar Ramírez (who?), while Gary Busey’s role as Angelo Pappas is filled by Ray Winstone, stopping by to pick up the cheque in his lazy years.

This whole thing sounds like a script which was written, failed quality control, and was stuck with the Point Break moniker by studio executives with hot dogs for brains.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Goosebumps is sort-of the movie version of the late ’90s series which told of horror anthology stories based on the children’s books by R.L. Stine.

I say sort-of as in this film, a young kid, played by Andrew Goodman, teams up with Hannah (Odeya Rush), the niece of young adult horror author R.L. Stine (Jack Black) after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Greendale, Maryland.

The cast also features Halston Sage, Dylan Minnette and The Wire‘s Amy Ryan (aka Beadie), who also recently starred in the Oscar- and BAFTA-winning Birdman.

And there’s also an appearance from Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine, himself.

Goosebumps looks like predictable fluff, but in the UK it’s been CENSORED from a 12A down to a PG certificate, so give this one a miss.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

I Saw The Light stars Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak) as the legendary (and womanising) Hank Williams.

It’s the story of the country and western singer who, in his brief life, created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

Directed and written by Marc Abraham (In Time, 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead remake, and the incredible Children Of Men), based on the biography by Colin Escott, this film also features Marvel co-star Elizabeth Olsen as Hank’s wife, Audrey Mae Williams, plus David Krumholtz and Bradley Whitford.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Strangerland stars Nicole Kidman as Catherine Parker who, with her husband, Matthew (Joseph Fiennes), are newcomers to the remote Australian desert town of Nathgari. Their lives are flung into crisis when they discover their two teenage kids, Tommy and Lily, have mysteriously disappeared just before a massive dust storm hits. With Nathgari eerily smothered in red dust and darkness, the townsfolk join the search led by local cop, David Rae (Hugo Weaving).

It soon becomes apparent that something terrible may have happened to Tommy and Lily. Suspicions run riot, rumours spread and public opinion turns savagely against the Parkers. With temperatures rising and the chances of survival plummeting with each passing day, Catherine and Matthew find themselves pushed to the brink as they struggle to survive the mystery of their children’s fate.

Based on the trailer… I really failed to care about anything that happens to anyone in this film.

Strangerland hasn’t yet got a UK or USA release date. In fact, IMDB just currently states “2015” for Australia. Helpful(!)

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!