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 The Female Brain, Ali & Nino, Demon, Couples Vacation, Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle, Quackerz, and 2:22.
6th August – The Female Brain
Synopsis: Rom-com conventions get a brain scan in a cerebral comedy following a newly-divorced neuroscientist who studies brain activity as a way of getting under the skin of gender. Her subjects include long-married, platonic partners Lisa and Steven and control freak Lexi, who can’t stop picking fault with her boyfriend, Adam.
Director: Whitney Cummings
Cast: Whitney Cummings, Toby Kebbell, James Marsden, Lucy Punch, Sofía Vergara, and Deon Cole
Review: There are some interesting conversations going on in this film, as it examines the psychological and neurological makeup of men and women and why they behave the way they do. I really enjoyed some of the ideas, but I felt that they often never reached their goals. The stories could have come together a lot better and the comedy aspects could have been exaggerated some more.
7th August – Ali & Nino
Synopsis: Two lovers – Muslim Ali and Christian Nino – have their marriage hopes thwarted by her Georgian parents and then an act carried out by Ali that forces him to flee a mountain village. After reuniting, the couple are later separated by the Soviet invasion of Azerbaijan when Ali opts to take on the Red Army. Adapted from the 1937 novel of the same name.
Director: Asif Kapadia
Cast: Adam Bakri, María Valverde, Mandy Patinkin, Connie Nielsen, Homayoun Ershadi, and Halit Ergenç
8th August – Demon
Synopsis: Groom-to-be Piotr arrives in the Polish village of his fiancee Zaneta to take possession of a decaying old family home before the two are married there. While exploring the property, he uncovers a skeleton which – during a drunken wedding celebration – appears as a ghost in a bridal gown and lays claim to him. A modern-day take on the dybbuk legend of Jewish folklore.
Director: Marcin Wrona
Cast: Itay Tiran, Agnieszka Zulewska, Andrzej Grabowski, Tomasz Schuchardt. and Katarzyna Herman
9th August – Couples Vacation (also known as Amanda & Jack Go Glamping)
Synopsis: With his marriage and career against the ropes, dejected author Jack Spencer travels with his wife, Amanda, to an isolated glamping retreat in search of a spark. But Jack’s demons return when a honeymooning couple grab the VIP lodging and he heads into the wood where he chances upon a young survivalist.
Director: Brandon Dickerson
Cast: Amy Acker and David Arquette
Review: I’m almost certain that what Amanda and Jack do is not glamping. They look after a farm, and there’s nothing glam about that. That pretty much sums this film up, getting it wrong from the very beginning. A rom-com that is neither funny nor romantic that overcomes none of its obstacles.
10th August – Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle
Synopsis: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the United States – the Statesman. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy to take out a fiendish global drug queen.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Michael Gambon, and Channing Tatum
Review: Certainly a step down from the first film, but I still found this sequel very enjoyable. It’s full of very much the same of what’s great about the first film: brilliant action and gore, a comedic villain and ultimatum, some funny cameos (I laughed every time Elton was on screen), an excellent performance from Taron Egerton, and some fantastic support from the return of Colin Firth and Mark Strong and the addition of Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, and Pedro Pascal.
There’s a bigger focus on the childish humour of the first film but it doesn’t ever go too far, although it would have been much better without some of it. It’s definitely not of the quality of the first film, but I still found myself laughing often enough to come away happy.
11th August – Quackerz
Synopsis: A Russian animation featuring rival Chinese Mandarins and Canadian Mallard ducks. They have to overcome their differences to save the sun being harnessed by a selfish villain who seeks to take advantage of the ancient law of the sun duck.
Director: Viktor Lakisov
Voice Cast: Michael Gross, Robbie Daymond, and Mark DeCarlo
Review: Great animation but it lacks character and fun, so it is a forgettable family film. It’s the kind of film that a child of a certain age will enjoy but will grow out of very quickly, and anybody else just won’t give it a second thought.
12th August – 2:22
Synopsis: A man’s life is derailed when an ominous pattern of events repeats itself in exactly the same manner every day, ending at precisely 2:22 p.m. When he meets art gallery worker Sarah, he begins to realise it’s not just a chance connection.
Director: Paul Currie
Cast: Teresa Palmer and Michiel Huisman
Romance: Fantasy romances such as this one have similar flaws but also a certain appeal. The soundtrack is brilliant and there are some beautiful looking scenes, but the thriller/mystery side to the story is never quite up to par. It’s definitely more Age of Adaline (which also starred Huisman) than The Adjustment Bureau with a focus on romance/true love rather than being an investing thriller, but there are certainly a few moments worth enjoying.