Underworld V: Blood Wars leads the new cinema releases & trailers January 13th 2017

Underworld V: Blood Wars This week, there are SEVEN new films out for you to choose from: It’s Werewolves vs Lycans again in Underworld V: Blood Wars, there’s musical fun in La La Land, family drama for Casey Affleck in Manchester By The Sea, great Irish comedy in The Young Offenders, French doctors comedy in Irreplaceable, say hello to horror in The Bye Bye Man, and Casey’s older brother, Ben Affleck, writes, directs and stars in another movie, Live By Night.

Underworld V: Blood Wars is the fifth movie in the never-ending tale of vampire death-dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale), aside from No.3 which starred Rhona Mitra, but Kate returned for No.4 after she realised she had a tax bill to pay, or something.

In this film, she fends off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance), she must stop the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice!

(But you know she’ll be fine, as they’ll want to make more films!)

I have a concern, this time, that the first four films were gory 18-certificates, and now this one is a 15-cert. Dumbing down to get more bums on seats? I hope not.

Directed by Anna Foerster (Outlander), the film also stars Lara Pulver, Tobias Menzies, Bradley James, Alicia Vela-Bailey and the brilliantly-named Daisy Head.

I do want to see this, but given how Underworld Awakening was a bit iffy, but then again, Kate Beckinsale will be donning the leather outfit again…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

La La Land, from the writer/director of 2015’s Whiplash, Damien Chazelle, and stars that year’s other big Oscar hit Birdman‘s Emma Stone as Mia, an aspiring actress who serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz musician, who scrapes by playing cocktail party gigs in dingy bars, but as success mounts, both of them are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.

Also starring JK Simmons, Finn Wittrock, Rosemarie DeWitt, Sonoya Mizuno, Sandra Rosko and John Legend… yes, the singer, but despite him, this does look like an engaging watch.

Aiming for the BAFTA/Oscar crowd next year, this one is a…
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Manchester By The Sea

Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is a brooding, irritable loner who works as a handyman for a Boston apartment block. One damp winter day he gets a call summoning him to his hometown, north of the city. His brother’s heart has given out suddenly, and he’s been named guardian to his 16-year-old nephew. As if losing his only sibling and doubts about raising a teenager weren’t enough, his return to the past re-opens an unspeakable tragedy.

Another one in the running for Oscars, this looks as entertaining as standing in a blizzard with no clothes on.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Young Offenders

Inspired by the true story of Ireland’s biggest cocaine seizure in 2007, The Young Offenders is a comedy road movie about best friends Conor and Jock, two inner-city teenagers from Cork who dress the same, act the same, and even have the same bum-fluff mustaches. Jock is a legendary bike thief who plays a daily game of cat-and-mouse with the bike-theft-obsessed Garda Sergeant Healy. When a drug-trafficking boat capsizes off the coast of West Cork and 61 bales of cocaine, each worth 7 million euro, are seized, word gets out that there is a bale missing. The boys steal two bikes and go on a road trip hoping to find a missing bale which they can sell so as to escape their troubled home lives….But Sergeant Healy is in hot pursuit.

Written and directed by Peter Foott, with a cast including Hilary Rose, Chris Walley and Ciaran Bermingham, there were a lot of laughs to be had in this trailer, but I had to play it back a second time as the dialogue is spoken so fast, and I would have to watch a whole film with the subtitles on, such is the strength of the cast’s accents.

Note that this film was put back from w/e September 16th 2016.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Irreplaceable (aka Médecin de campagne)

All the people in this countryside area, can count on Jean-Pierre, the doctor who auscultates them, heals and reassures them day and night, 7 days a week. Now Jean-Pierre is sick, so he sees Natalie, a young doctor, coming from the hospital to assist him. But will she adapt to this new life and be able to replace the man that believed to be irreplaceable?

Directed by Thomas Lilti, who co-wrote the screenplay with Baya Kasmi, the film stars François Cluzet, Marianne Denicourt and Christophe Odent, and looks a reasonable, light comedy, so I’ll veer on the side of…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Bye Bye Man is a supernatural entity unwittingly unleashed by three college students who move into an old house off campus. ?He comes to prey upon them once they discover his name. The friends must try to save each other, all the while keeping his existence a secret to save others from the same deadly fate…

And despite this being classed as a ‘teaser’, I think its brief 94-second running time is perfect and gets everything across just right. So many trailers run on for far too long, but while this movie doesn’t look particularly original, if it’s as snappy as this trailer suggests then it’ll definitely be watching, even though the film was put back from last June into the Jan/Feb slot where crap films go to die.

Stacy Title directs a screenplay by Jonathan Penner, based on a story by Robert Damon Schneck. The cast includes Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Doug Jones, Faye Dunaway and Carrie-Anne Moss.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Live By Night is one of those films written, directed by and starring one main person, this one being… Ben Affleck, whose recent box-office success hasn’t been brilliant in my eyes.

I’ve yet to see Gone Girl, but Argo was the last film I enjoyed with him in it, and he also directed it so perhaps there’s mileage in this one, since there wasn’t a great deal in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or The Accountant, and while Suicide Squad was great, that cannot be attributed to his cameo.

So, onto this film and it’s Boston, 1926, during the roaring ’20s. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin (Affleck), the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing.

Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw. But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one-neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover-can be trusted. So, it’s Mafia on the big screen.

Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, and also starring Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, Scott Eastwood, Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall, Brendan Gleeson, Titus Welliver, Chris Cooper, Robert Glenister and JD Evermore, and based on the trailer, this looks like it could go either way – either great, or terrible.

Also, when I saw the first trailer on Youtube for this film, it was preceeded by an advert… for this film! Yes, the very same trailer!!!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!