Victor Frankenstein leads the new cinema releases & trailers – w/e December 4th 2015

victor-frankensteinThis weekend there are seven new films out for you to choose from: horror-ish in Victor Frankenstein, chess-based drama in Pawn Sacrifice, comedy in The Night Before, horror in Krampus, drama in Sunset Song and The Lesson, and risible attempts at comedy in Christmas With The Coopers.

Victor Frankenstein tells the tale from the stance of Igor Strausman (Daniel Radcliffe), with James McAvoy as the titular character, where the radical scientist and his equally brilliant protégé share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality.

However, Victor’s experiments go too far and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.

Watching this trailer, Victor Frankenstein gives the tale a comedic tone with modern parlance, and it looks… okay with a lot of impressive visuals, but not outstanding and nothing that you’re not expecting, hence so much for 20th Century Fox’s claim that this is a “dynamic and thrilling twist on a legendary tale”.

However, there is an impressive cast including Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Louise Brealey, Mark Gatiss, Freddie Fox and Daniel Mays and it’s directed by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin, Gangster No.1 and The Acid House).

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

Pawn Sacrifice centres around the legendary chess match between American champion Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) and Russian Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber).

Yes, chess doesn’t exactly sound the most interesting concept for a film, but in director Edward Zwick‘s hands, it looks a compelling drama from the trailer, and also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Lily Rabe and Michael Stuhlbarg.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Night Before (aka X-Mas) stars Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Avengers: Age Of Ultron‘s Anthony Mackie, where, in New York City, for their annual tradition of Christmas Eve debauchery, these three lifelong best friends set out to find the Holy Grail of Christmas parties since their yearly reunion might be coming to an end.

Also “brought to you by the makers of” Neighbors and This Is The End, The Night Before also stars The Interview‘s Lizzy Caplan, plus Lorraine Toussaint and for some reason, Miley Cyrus. The director is Jonathan Levine, who put the two white leads together for the surprisingly good 50/50, back in 2011.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Krampus is basically what Americans refer to as the evil version of Father Christmas, or Saint Nicholas as they call him. Why? God knows.

When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

The film is headlined by Toni Collette and Adam Scott, also stars Allison Tolman, David Koechner, and is directed and co-written by Michael Dougherty.

In the trailer for Krampus, what starts off as an amusing comedy, goes well down the comedy/horror route and I’m looking forward to this.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Sunset Song… and as this doesn’t grab me from the trailer, I’ll let Helen Jerome do the talking on this one from her recent London Film Festival review, as she’s seen the full movie:

Adapted from the Lewis Grassic Gibbon novel of the same name, it starts out promisingly enough, with the likes of Peter Mullan as the bullying, abusive patriarch making his mark (literally), and enough rural fate, faith and farming to fill a milking pail. But when the focus shifts solely to the central character of Mullan’s thwarted daughter, Chris Guthrie, played by Agyness Deyn, she simply cannot sustain our interest across the two-hour-plus film. The landscape is stunning. Brilliant character and supporting actors surround Deyn, but although Terrence Davies might have thought that casting a pretty blank canvas in their midst would work, it simply doesn’t.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Lesson

In a small Bulgarian town Nadezhda, a young teacher, is looking for the robber in her class so she can teach him a lesson about right and wrong. But when she gets in debt to loan sharks, can she find the right way out herself?

Starring Margita Gosheva, Ivan Barnev, Ivan Savov, Stefan Denolyubov and Ivanka Bratoeva, I wasn’t gripped by this, based on the trailer.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Christmas With The Coopers (formerly Love The Coopers) is an alleged comedy so unfunny, based on the trailer, that it will make you HATE the Coopers. However, the title is set out on the poster so that it’s more like “Love, the Coopers” but without the comma.

When four generations of the Cooper clan come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday.

Yes, there are lots of jolly japes to be had, not least in the oh-so-unhilarious plot line that the stunning Olivia Wilde can’t get a boyfriend, and so has to ask a random male stranger to be her boyfriend for the vening. You know EXACTLY how that will play out, and they’ll end up making babies before the night ends. Oh, my days(!)

There’s a large, well-known cast to this which also includes Amanda Seyfried, Marisa Tomei, Ed Helms, Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Anthony Mackie, Alan Arkin and June Squibb.

Americans began to suffer this on November 13th when it was released over there, while we have managed to put it off until now… and it was let loose on Tuesday of this week to try and steal some extra takings ahead of the Friday releases. Do NOT give it your hard-earned!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!