X-Men Apocalypse leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e May 20th 2016

X-Men ApocalypseThis weekend there are eight new films out for you to choose from: sci-action threequel in X-Men Apocalypse, music and comedy combine for Sing Street, Tom Hanks has A Hologram For The King, the bizarre Laurie Anderson brings her bizarre documentary to the big screen – Heart of a Dog, drama with Yasmin Paige in Chicken, videogames virtual reality in The Call Up, and a double-hitter of drama with great British leads – Juliet Stevenson in Departure, and Damian Lewis in The Silent Storm.

X-Men Apocalypse concludes the trilogy for the ‘young X-Men’ (and girls) and this film will pick up 10 years after the timeline of X-Men: Days of Future Past, with Professor X (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) still estranged from one another. Their paths are forced back together when Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) awakens in his tomb and, finding the 1980s era wanting, decides to give the world a forced evolutionary jumpstart.

His assistants, the Four Horsemen, are mutants familiar to X-Men comics fan. Apocalypse finds Ororo Munro, a.k.a. Storm (Alexandra Shipp) on the streets of Cairo. Angel (Ben Hardy) is participating in a fight club in Berlin. Psylocke (Olivia Munn) is working in Eastern Europe for Caliban, a mutant power broker. The final Horseman is Magneto, who has been attempting to live a normal life in Poland with a woman he loves.

Meanwhile, Mystique has been helping to rescue oppressed mutants, including Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and becomes involved in the struggle against Apocalypse when she hears what happened to Erik. This leads her to Charles Xavier, whose school for gifted youngsters has grown significantly over the past decade. His students include young Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops (Tye Sheridan).

So, it sounds like there’s a lot going on, but while I’ll go and see this anyway, I felt completely and utterly underwhelmed from the first trailer and not particularly impressed by the second one below. Still, it could surprise me.

X-Men Apocalypse is again directed by Bryan Singer, responsible for both the original X-Men movie as well as X-Men: Days of Future Past, and also stars Evan Peters, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, Josh Helman, Monique Ganderton, Lucas Till, Lana Condor and Rochelle Okoye, and is released in the UK tomorrow, a whole NINE days before the US get it.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

Sing Street is a title which very nearly put me off this film as it’s dreadful and makes it sound like it’s going to be the next Pitch Perfect (I know they’re successful films, but I can’t stand them). Thankfully, while there’s music featuring within, it’s not insipid.

With a cast led by Aiden Gillen (The Wire, Queer As Folk, The Dark Knight Rises) and Maria Doyle Kennedy (The Conjuring 2, The Commitments), the film centres around a boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s, who escapes his strained family life by starting a band and moving to London.

Written and directed by John Carney (Once, Begin Again), while I keep meaning to get round to watching Once, and while Begin Again really doesn’t grab me, Sing Street did from the moment the trailer began. It looks like a great comedy and I’m very much looking forward to it.

The cast also includes Jack Reynor, Lucy Boynton, Kelly Thornton, Lydia McGuinness, Kyle Bradley Donaldson, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Mark McKenna and Pádraig J Dunne.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

A Hologram for the Kingstars Tom Hanks as Alan Clay, a failed American businessman looking to recoup his losses by travelling to Saudi Arabia and selling his idea to a wealthy monarch.

However, the trailer is the most predictable two-and-a-half minutes you’ll ever sit through as it’s clearly a bit too hot for him, then he makes a terrorist-related joke, there’s a love interest, and it all goes along like jolly hockey sticks! Pur-lease!

Written and directed by Tom Tykwer (Cloud Atlas, also starring Hanks), adapted from the novel by Dave Eggers, the film also stars Ben Whishaw, Tom Skerritt, Sarita Choudhury and Borgen‘s Sidse Babett Knudsen.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Heart of a Dog is a bizarre-looking documentary where multimedia artist Laurie Anderson reflects on her relationship with her beloved terrier Lolabelle.

Remember the weird 1981 ‘song’ of hers called “O Superman”? I do, and that’s making me tune in for this, but I still have some reservations as to how good it will be.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!


Richard (Scott Chambers), 15, with learning difficulties, longs to put down roots but his restless and destructive brother, Polly (Morgan Watkins), needs to keep moving. When the land they live on is bought by a new landowner, and the electricity supply to their caravan is cut, their already precarious living conditions get even worse. Then a chance meeting with the new landowner’s daughter, 17 year old Annabel (The Double‘s Yasmin Paige), leaves Richard besotted; whilst Polly befriends the guys who run a seedy traveling fair. Richard’s optimistic view on life becomes increasingly difficult to maintain as Polly’s abusive behavior worsens, family secrets are revealed, and he is torn between loyalty to his brother and his first true friend in Annabel. For better or worse, Richard’s life is about to change forever.

Directed by Joe Stephenson, this one could go either way, but for the presence of the wonderful Ms Paige, I’ll veer on the side of…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Call Up

A group of online gamers are invited to try a state-of-the-art virtual reality video game but things take a turn for the sinister when these masters of the shoot ’em up discover they will literally be fighting for their lives.

Starring Morfydd Clark, Christopher Obi and Parker Sawyers, aka Barack Obama in Southside With You, this is another film that could go either way for whether it’s worth a watch, but I love videogames, so…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


An English mother and her teenage son spend a week in the South of France breaking up a summer home that has become one of the casualties of the woman’s crumbling marriage. The boy struggles with his dawning sexuality and an increasing alienation from his mother. She in turn must confront the fact that her marriage to his father has grown loveless and the life she has known is coming to an end. When an enigmatic local boy enters their lives, mother and son are compelled to confront their separate desires and, finally, each other.

Like a lot of films out this week, it may be worth a look, but Juliet Stevenson, with Niamh Cusack, might just tip the balance in its favour.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

The Silent Storm

An enigmatic outsider living on a remote Scottish island finds herself caught between her minister husband and the delinquent who is sent to live with them. With Damian Lewis, Andrea Riseborough and Kate Dickie, this drama has a great cast, but the trailer has left me cold.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!