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 Truth About Lies, The Jurassic Games, Mountains May Depart, Don’t Hang Up, Jumanji, Tall Tales from the Magical Garden of Antoon Krings, and The Bachelors.
20th August: The Truth About Lies
Synopsis: When Gilby Smalls is fired from his job, loses his apartment in a fire and is dumped by his girlfriend, he is forced to move in with his boozy, man-obsessed mum. Things look bleak until he spots Rachel, the beautiful but married sister of his best friend, Kevin. Unfortunately, Gilby’s seduction involves the weaving of lies, each one more outrageous than the last.
Director: Phil Allocco
Cast: Odette Annable, Colleen Camp, Chris Diamantopoulos, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Gemma Forbes, and Fran Kranz
21st August: The Jurassic Games
Synopsis: Death row convicts are offered a chance to win a full pardon on “The Jurassic Games”, a TV reality show fronted by The Host. Ten contestants are sedated and strapped into a virtual reality system, where they face a series of digital predators, including dinosaurs, sabre-toothed tigers and vicious insects. Central to the action is wrongfully convicted father Anthony who has to overcome the psychopathic Joy.
Director: Ryan Bellgardt
Cast: Ryan Merriman, Perrey Reeves, Adam Hampton, Katie Burgess, Cate Jones, and Luke Wyckoff
22nd August: Mountains May Depart
Synopsis: Separated in three episodes, the first begins with a love triangle set in Shanxi Province featuring Zhao Tao, it then moves into the present where her former suitor has cancer and returns home after working in the mines, and the third section heads into the future with the Chinese community adrift in Australia.
Director: Zhangke Jia
Cast: Zhao Tao, Zhang Yi, Liang Jin Dong, Dong Zijian, Sylvia Chang, and Han Sanming
23rd August: Don’t Hang Up
Synopsis: Cruel phone pranksters Sam, Brady and Mosely hope to make a name for themselves by fabricating 999 calls and subjecting their targets to intense emotional pain. However, Sam and Brady pick on the wrong man when they target Mr Lee, who uses technology to keep tabs on the juveniles and viciously turns the tables.
Directors: Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot
Cast: Gregg Sulkin, Garrett Clayton, Bella Dayne, Sienna Guillory, Edward Killingback, Jack Brett Anderson, and Parker Sawyers
Review: Terrible acting, terrible characters, and a terrible script. And the twist is obvious and the ending is cliche, so it really doesn’t have much going for it. The only good thing I found was that it does have some tense moments which are what kept me watching. The concept is fine, but it would have been a lot better if the twist was that it was a massive prank set up by both of the teen’s parents to teach them a lesson for being such dicks.
24th August: Jumanji – Welcome To The Jungle
Synopsis: A reboot of Joe Johnston’s 1995 classic, a group of unlikely heroes discover an old Super Nintendo-style video game. Firing it up, they are transported to the dangerous jungles of Jumanji, where survival means getting comfortable with their newly acquired avatars – musclebound adventurer Dr Smolder Bravestone, his backpack-carrying sidekick Franklin “Mouse” Finbar, map-reader Shelly Oberon, and the ass-kicking “killer of men” Ruby Roundhouse.
Director: Jake Kasdan
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, and Rhys Darby
Review: A fresh reboot of one of my favourite childhood films. I think we all doubted this film when we saw that the cast included Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart. But it actually kind of works. I’ve come to love Dwayne Johnson over the years and have a bit of a soft spot for Kevin Hart, but Jack Black is also pretty great as he has no choice but to stick to his character. And no one was ever doubting Karen Gillan’s inclusion, although Rhys Darby is massively underused. I think the film could have benefitted from using more gameplay links, but it’s definitely better than I expected it to be.
25th August: Tall Tales from the Magical Garden of Antoon Krings
Based on the bestselling French book series, Droles de Petites Betes (Funny Little Bugs), this children’s animation follows a singing vagabond cricket, who sets off to start a new life in a magical garden. But he soon gets involved with the wrong crowd.
Directors: Antoon Krings and Arnaud Bouron
Voice Cast: Kev Adams, Emmanuel Curtil, Virginie Efira, and Ryan Nicolls
26th August: The Bachelors
Synopsis: After the loss of his wife, widower Bill Ponder and his 17-year-old son Wes seek a new start in a small town. It’s here that Bill meets compassionate teacher Carine, and Wes hooks up with introverted Lacy. As relationships are tested, Bill and Wes grow apart and then back together again, all while discovering their true selves.
Director: Kurt Voelker
Cast: JK Simmons, Odeya Rush, Jean Louisa Kelly, Harold Perrineau, Julie Delpy, and Charlie DePew