Vox Lux leads the new cinema releases May 3rd 2019

Vox Lux
This week, there are EIGHT new films out for you to choose from, led by Vox Lux. Here are the titles, with more info below:

    Vox Lux
    Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
    Long Shot
    The Curse of La Llorona
    Hotel Mumbai
    A Dog’s Way Home
    Woman At War

Vox Lux makes you feel really old, because this is the film where Natalie Portman plays a mother, even though she was only about 13 in Leon, released in Frances and the US in 1994, and that was about five minutes ago.

The film follows the rise of Celeste from the ashes of a major national tragedy to pop super stardom, and spans 18 years, tracing traces important cultural moments through her eyes, starting in 1999 and concluding in 2017.

In 1999, teenage Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) survives a violent tragedy. After singing at a memorial service, Celeste transforms into a burgeoning pop star with the help of her songwriter sister (Stacy Martin) and a talent manager (Jude Law). Her meteoric rise to fame and concurrent loss of innocence dovetails with a shattering terrorist attack on the nation, elevating the young powerhouse to a new kind of celebrity: American icon, secular deity, global superstar.

By 2017, adult Celeste (Portman) is mounting a comeback after a scandalous incident which derailed her career. Touring in support of her sixth album, a compendium of sci-fi anthems entitled Vox Lux, the indomitable, foul-mouthed pop saviour must overcome her personal and familial struggles.

An unconventional film, this has also been shot in the (at these times) unconventional aspect ratio of 1.66:1. It also features new music by Sia, which is sung by Ms Portman, including the track I Crumble.

Writer/Director: Brady Corbet
Also stars: Christopher Abbott, Willem Dafoe, Jennifer Ehle, Maria Dizzia, Erik King, Matt Servitto, Natasha Romanova, Daniel London, Fred Hechinger, Sahr Ngaujah, Christopher Dylan White

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is the crazy-long title for a new film which chronicles the crimes of serial killer Ted Bundy, and from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, who refused to believe the truth about him for years.

What may well be shocking is that Bundy is played by Zac Efron, yes, he from High School Musical and slacker comedies like Dirty Grandpa, while Elizabeth Kloepfer is known as Liz Kendall, and is played by Lily Collins.

The name of this film came from a quote from the court judge on Bundy’s trial, who said “The crimes were extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile, and the product of design to inflict a high degree of pain.”

This looks bizarre, but I definitely want to check this out.

Director: Joe Berlinger
Also stars: Jeffrey Donovan, Dylan Baker, Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment ,Terry Kinney, Leilani Barrett, Jim Parsons, John Malkovich

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Long Shot looks to be rather a rarity – a slacker comedy which actually looks pretty decent, but also one of those films you’ve clearly pretty much seen from the trailer, although as Charlize Theron aims to become President in 2020, we know it’s going to be Trump again.

Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is a gifted and free-spirited journalist with an affinity for trouble. Charlotte Field (Theron) is one of the most influential women in the world. Smart, sophisticated, and accomplished, she’s a powerhouse diplomat with a talent for…well, mostly everything. The two have nothing in common, except that she was his babysitter and childhood crush.

When Fred unexpectedly reconnects with Charlotte, he charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte impulsively hires Fred as her speechwriter, much to the dismay of her trusted advisors. A fish out of water on Charlotte’s elite team, Fred is unprepared for her glamourous lifestyle in the limelight. However, sparks fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance and a series of unexpected and dangerous incidents.

Director: Jonathan Levine
Also stars: June Diane Raphael, Alexander Skarsgård, Andy Serkis, Randall Park, O’Shea Jackson Jr

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Tolkien… JRR Tolkien…

This film explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school, and stars Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Apocalypse).

This brief trailer doesn’t really give too much away, other than remind us that he wrote The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit, and so it could be worth a watch in due course.

Director: Dome Karukoski
Writers: David Gleeson, Stephen Beresford
Also stars: Lily Collins, Mimi Keene, Genevieve O’Reilly, Pam Ferris, Craig Roberts, Derek Jacobi, Laura Donnelly, Colm Meaney

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

The Curse of La Llorona – Yes, it’s jump-scare time again.

This features like The Conjuring, Annabelle and The Nun. Apparently early on, there’s a priest from the first Annabelle movie, so that proves this film is tied together with the others, but then you could tell that from the jump scares anyway.

La Llorona. The Weeping Woman. A horrifying apparition, caught between Heaven and Hell, trapped in a terrible fate sealed by her own hand. The mere mention of her name has struck terror around the world for generations.

In life, she drowned her children in a jealous rage, throwing herself in the churning river after them as she wept in pain.

Now her tears are eternal. They are lethal, and those who hear her death call in the night are doomed. La Llorona creeps in the shadows and preys on the children, desperate to replace her own. As the centuries have passed, her desire has grown more voracious…and her methods more terrifying.
In 1970s Los Angeles, La Llorona is stalking the night—and the children.

Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm. Their only hope to survive La Llorona’s deadly wrath may be a disillusioned priest and the mysticism he practices to keep evil at bay, on the fringes where fear and faith collide.

Beware of her chilling wail… she will stop at nothing to lure you into the gloom.
Because there is no peace for her anguish. There is no mercy for her soul.
And there is no escape from the curse of La Llorona.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Hotel Mumbai takes a true-life terrorist attack and turns it into ‘Hotel Has Fallen’ with crap dialogue such as when the staff are told it’s okay if they go home to their familes, and one replies, “I’ve been here 35 years. THIS is my home”. Oh dear…

But as per the billing: A gripping true story of humanity and heroism, Hotel Mumbai vividly recounts the 2008 siege of the famed Taj Hotel by a group of terrorists. Among the dedicated hotel staff is the renowned chef Hemant Oberoi (Anupam Kher) and a waiter (Dev PatelThe Last Airbender), who choose to risk their lives to protect their guests. As the world watches on, a desperate couple (Armie HammerCall Me By Your Name, and Nazanin BoniadiBen Hur 2016) is forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to protect their newborn child.

Director: Anthony Maras
Screenplay: John Collee, Anthony Maras
Also stars: Jason Isaacs, Angus McLaren, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Tilda Cobham-Hervey

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

A Dog’s Way Home isn’t – as I thought, a follow-up to 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose, and thanks to Jami (below, in the comments) for the confirmation that that film was followed up by A Dog’s Journey, and a 2008 indirect sequel, The Dogs of Christmas.

However, for this film, it all feels very familiar as we hear the inner monologue of a dog! Oh, we’ve never seen that before!

Apparently, A Dog’s Purpose wasn’t completely terrible, but when so many films are released, I’ll keep track of those I want to see.

In the trailer for this, there’s some godawful CGI as the dog’s shown alongside wild animals, as if they’d really tolerate each other so well, but then this is a Disneyfied movie.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom‘s Bryce Dallas Howard takes the ‘dog lead’ role of Bella, as she travels 400 miles in search of her owner.

Director: Charles Martin Smith
Screenplay: W Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon
Novel: W Bruce Cameron
Also stars: Ashley Judd, Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, Wes Studi

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Woman at War

Halla becomes a determined environmental activist, but this threatens a long-held hope of hers.

Oh, no, enviro-mentals. I’ve said all I have to on that with my review of David Attenborough’s Climate Change: The Facts.

Director: Benedikt Erlingsson
Writers: Ólafur Egilsson, Benedikt Erlingsson
Stars: Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, Jóhann Sigurðarson, Juan Camillo Roman Estrada

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!