Since I don’t get to the cinema to see new releases that often anymore, this is my new weekly feature reviewing the latest releases on Sky Cinema Premiere (and in turn, Now TV). I will write a short review and rating for each of the films that I have watched and then give you the details for the ones that I didn’t get a chance to see.
This week’s feature sees the release of Realive, 22 Chaser, The Last Diamond, An Ordinary Man, Thor: Ragnarok, The Shanghai Job, and Same Kind Of Different As Me.
16th July – Realive
Synopsis: Terminally ill artist Marc is given one year left to live. Unable to accept his own end, he decides to freeze his body. Sixty years later, in the year 2084, he becomes the first man to be revived in history.
Director: Mateo Gil
Cast: Tom Hughes, Charlotte Le Bon, Oona Chaplin, and Barry Ward
Review: When a film begins with a very graphic scene of a woman giving birth, you would imagine that it’s going to be quite daring. But it’s more daring in thought than anything else. The film feels very confident in itself and tells an intelligent and thought-provoking story. It also looks well made for its somewhat experimental nature, but it does fail to evoke an emotional reaction.
I’m a fan of Tom Hughes, though, so glad to see him catching a break as he needs many, many more of them.
17th July – 22 Chaser
Faced with mounting debts, good-guy tow truck driver Ben switches to the dangerous game of chasing road accidents in his rig, risking everything on a dangerous quest to provide for his struggling family.
Director: Rafal Sokolowski
Cast: John Kapelos, Brian J Smith, Aaron Ashmore, Raoul Max Trujillo, Kaniehtiio Horn, and Shaun Benson
18th July – The Last Diamond
Recently paroled thief Simon is lured by his old buddy Albert back to his old ways for one more heist, in a plot to steal the famous Florentine diamond.
French thriller with English subtitles.
Yvan Attal, Bérénice Bejo, and Jean-François Stévenin
19th July – An Ordinary Man
A notorious Bosnian Serb commander attempts to hide in plain sight in what used to be Yugoslavia in the years after the conflict. Showing up on his doorstep unannounced is The Maid, who may be some kind of elite assassin posing as a powerless servant. Or she may not.
Director: Brad Silberling
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Hera Hilmar, Peter Serafinowicz, and Robert Blythe
20th July – Thor: Ragnarok
Synopsis: The third instalment in Marvel’s Thor films, the God of Thunder returns after being banished by his long-lost goth sister, Hela. Imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, which is ruled over by camp tyrant Grandmaster, Thor must return home to save Asgard from of the prophesised catastrophe of Ragnarok.
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins
Review: Whoever gave this job to Taika Waititi deserves a medal. Somehow, his out-there comedy style and brave improvisational methods suit this superhero world so well that this third instalment in the Thor franchise quickly took its place as my favourite Marvel film.
Thor has always been my favourite Marvel superhero, but this film could have gone in any direction after the somewhat forgettable second instalment. And with the MCU picking up the pace with its recent ensemble films, this character instalment needed to make an impact. And that, it most definitely did.
21st July – The Shanghai Job (also known as S.M.A.R.T. Chase)
Synopsis: A washed-up private security agent finds his reputation in tatters when a priceless Van Gogh painting he’s transporting is snatched from him. A year later, he’s given the chance to make amends, but the same gang that stole the Van Gogh have their eyes on the new prize.
Director: Charles Martin
Cast: Orlando Bloom, Lei Wu, and Simon Yam
Review: I, for one, have been dying for the return of Orlando Bloom, but whilst he gives a good performance in this action-packed crime drama, the plot is so bland that you quickly stop paying attention to what’s going on and just watch Bloom do… well, not an awful lot.
22nd July – Same Kind Of Different As Me
Synopsis:When international art dealer Ron Hall confesses to an extra-marital affair, his wife insists that he must volunteer at a local homeless shelter. There, the couple meet a dangerous homeless man, a former sharecropper and ex-convict whose years of hardship have left him distrustful of everyone, especially white folk. That’s about to change.
Director: Michael Carney
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Renée Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou and Jon Voight
Review: A lovely true story for everybody involved and for those who hold similar values, but it comes across as very preachy. There’s definitely a lot of heart behind it and Greg Kinnear and Renée Zellweger give good performances, but it’s almost like the film is just trying to make you feel bad about not being a better person.