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 Last Movie Star, Higher Power, Zama, I See You, A Quiet Place, Isle of Dogs, and The Leisure Seeker.
21st January – The Last Movie Star
Synopsis: The late Burt Reynolds plays retired stuntman-turned-superstar-turned-recluse Vic Edwards. Apart from his old buddy Sonny, Edwards has nobody close. Suddenly, he gets the chance to attend a film festival where he will be given a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of a retrospective of his films. However, it turns out not to be quite as billed.
Director: Adam Rifkin
Cast: Burt Reynolds, Chevy Chase, Macy Whitener, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke, and Ellar Coltrane
22nd January – Higher Power
Synopsis: As part of his plan to save the planet, a mad scientist kidnaps alcoholic no-hoper Joseph Steadman and persuades him to co-operate by showing him images of diabolic threats to his daughters. With each burst of frustrated anger, he gets stronger, and one step nearer to being the superhero who will destroy a lethal gamma beam threatening Earth.
Director: Matthew Santoro
Cast: Jordan Hinson, Ron Eldard, Colm Feore, Austin Stowell, Jade Tailor, and Winston James Francis
23rd January – Zama
Synopsis: Eighteenth-century Spanish crown magistrate Don Diego de Zama is hoping to return home from his lonely posting on the Ascuncion coast, but his pleas for a transfer are constantly rebuffed. The film follows the slow unravelling of its protagonist as escape seems ever more elusive. In Spanish with English subs.
Director: Lucrecia Martel
Cast: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Lola Dueñas, Matheus Nachtergaele, Juan Minujín, Nahuel Cano, and Mariana Nunes
24th January – I See You (14 Cameras)
Synopsis: Villainous landlord Gerald returns in this horror sequel to wreak hell with a family tempted by his too-good-to-be-true offer for a luxury holiday home in the New Mexico desert. He’s fitted it out with 14 cameras to track the hapless family’s every move and streams them to the dark web. But it’s when he plans to get interactive that things get really nasty.
Directors: Seth Fuller and Scott Hussion
Cast: Neville Archambault, Brytnee Ratledge, Amber Midthunder, and Brianne Moncrief
25th January – A Quiet Place
Synopsis: Set in a post-apocalyptic world, a family of four is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing. If they hear you, they hunt you.
Director: John Krasinski
Cast: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, Leon Russom, and Cade Woodward
Review: A Quiet Place is a well-crafted horror with an original concept and genuine scares. As we watch this couple fight for survival after a supernatural force has invaded their isolated home, we follow them on a tense hunt that it is full of fear but also a brilliant exploration of the family dynamic.
Although there is very little dialogue, the family’s relationships with each other are still explored incredibly well. The performances are fantastic, too. You can feel every emotion they are feeling, especially from Millicent Simmonds who gives an exceptional performance, especially when you take into consideration that this is only her second feature-length role.
26th January – Isle of Dogs
Synopsis: Set in a dystopian Japan where the rise of canine diseases has prompted the corrupt, cat-loving mayor of Megasaki City to maroon man’s best friend on a trash-covered island. Anti-hound propaganda has been spread far and wide, but that doesn’t stop the mayor’s 12-year-old ward Atari from going in search of his beloved bodyguard-dog, Spots. Assistance comes from a ragtag bunch of newfound four-legged friends, while back on the mainland the resistance is led by a student activist group spearheaded by a conspiracy-loving US exchange student.
Director: Wes Anderson
Cast: Liev Schreiber, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Kunichi Nomura, Koyu Rankin, and Scarlett Johansson
Review: A really stunning animation. I love Wes Anderson’s style, but I think this is a difficult film to get into if you’re not a fan of his already. It’s definitely one of his more out-there and bolshie films, making it hard to engage with in the beginning, but the adventure is thrilling once it gets into the story.
27th January – The Leisure Seeker
Synopsis: Old married couple Ella and John defy their kids and embark on a road trip from suburban Massachusetts to the Florida Keys in their vintage motorhome – the Leisure Seeker. However, John is disappearing into the fog of Alzheimer’s while Ella has her own medical problems.
Director: Paolo Virzì
Cast: Donald Sutherland, Helen Mirren, Christian McKay, Janel Moloney, Dana Ivey and Dick Gregory