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The Big Release
What’s the story? It’s been 10 years since Sidney Prescott, now a self-help author, has visited Woodsboro. And wouldn’t you know it but on the final leg of a book tour, the very second she pops home… nothing happens. No killings, no masks, no knives, nothing. Just kidding! Ghostface is back and stabbier than ever.
Cast: Neve Campbell (Wild Things, Party of Five), Courtney Cox (Ace Ventura, Friends), David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks, Never Been Kissed). Director: Wes Craven (Red Eye, A Nightmare on Elm Street).
Plus points: New Rules. It’s been over a decade since the last sequel and that’s a pretty long time in movieland. Gorno’s like Saw and Hostel, as well as found footage like Paranormal Activity and REC, have redefined what it takes to get us to shit ourselves.
Let downs: Scream 3 left the franchise going out with a whimper rather than a bang with some forgettable nonsense about Sidney’s long lost brother. To paraphrase John McClane: “How can the same shit happen to the same people this many fucking times?”.
Critics said: Some think it’s “a film about horror films without being a horror film itself” (The Guardian) while others believe director “Craven orchestrates the thrills and chills like the old pro he is” (Little White Lies). 63% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Verdict: In true franchise summation, and in a Meta move this Meta movie would love, it’s miles better than 3, not as good as 1, more or less on a par with 2. Oh and much better than Stab 5, with the timetravel…
What’s the story? Prince Fabious (worthy and courageous) and Prince Thadeous (lazy and inept) set out to rescue the former’s fair maiden from an evil wizard. Helped in their journey by a female warrior, Isobel, the trio must find the princess before the wizard can fulfil his prophecy.
Cast: Danny McBride (Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder), James Franco (127 Hours, Spider-man), Natalie Portman (Black Swan, Leon).
Plus points: With the lead in acclaimed TV show Eastbound and Down and the more memorable roles in films from Tropic Thunder to Due Date, Danny McBride is the closest thing to comedy’s hot ticket right now. And any film that contains Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel has to be worth a look. Right?
Let downs: Maybe not. With rumours that all dialogue in the film was improvised, the lack of great jokes is telling. In fact, the improvisation extends to little more than saying something faintly medieval and then swearing afterwards. For example; “My liege, you are doth a shitcunt”. Try it yourself. It’s not fun.
Critics said: Your Highness “aims low and misses most of its targets ” (Variety) and “proves that a bad fantasy film with swearing and dick jokes is still a bad fantasy film” (Obsessed With Film). 23% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Verdict: If you’ve ever been in a room where everyone is high except you, and they’re all laughing at wallpaper, you’ll get some idea of what Your Highness has in store.
Red Riding Hood
What’s the story? Girl, Woods, Coat, Wolf, Grandmother, Woodsman, Big Teeth, you know the rest. Except this is for the Twilight generation so it’s a Werewolf and mournful looking tweens that can’t act.
Cast: Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia, Mean Girls), Billy Burke (Twilight, Untraceable), Gary Oldman (Leon, Sid and Nancy). Director: Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Thirteen).
Plus points: Intentionally it has none, except perhaps Gary Oldman who seems to understand that this is all a bit silly. Unintentionally however, we may be looking at the comedy of the year. The hysterical ‘village dance’ scene is worth the price of admission alone.
Let downs: The scariest thing about Red Riding Hood is it may do quite well. Then more will come. If this means ‘actors’ like Max Irons get more work – a man who makes Hayden Christensen’s Anakin look like Brando’s Kowalski- the world will be a much sadder place.
Verdict: The Worst Movie of the Year Tag may be a bit extreme but frankly it depends what mood you’re in. Your mother may have taught you it’s rude to point and laugh at things but, in this instance, mother doesn’t know best.
Winnie The Pooh
What’s the story? With a habit that would put Bubbles from The Wire to shame, everyone’s favourite chubby bear Pooh is still fiending for his honey. Helping him in his quest for a fix are his trusty friends Eeyore, Piglet, Owl and Tigger.
Voice Cast: Jim Cummings (Shrek, The Lion King), John Cleese (Shrek 2, Life of Brian). Directors: Stephen J. Anderson (Meet The Robinsons), Don Hall (The Princess and the Frog).
Plus points: Who doesn’t love Pooh? Although almost a century old, the bear continues to enthral kids and adults alike including a Mrs Zooey Deschanel who provides some of the lovely soundtrack. See the video below for how much she loves Winnie.
Let downs: From start of film to beginning of credits Pooh clocks in at a pretty paltry 53 minutes. Those with kids may see this as a blessing. Those without kids may find watching this film alone embarrassing. They shouldn’t.
Verdict: Pooh may actually be the perfect remedy to a week of films with unrestrained stabbing, excessive swearing and stupid moody teens in woods that you just want to knife for being so fucking glum. Excuse me.
The Best Film Still Showing
We’ll go for Duncan Jones’ sophomore effort for one week more. All involved, from cast to crew, are on their A-game with Jake managing to seek quick forgiveness for Prince of Persia. It may be Duncan Jones’ ‘one for you’ film but frankly if his audience-pleasing films are this well cared for his next passion project should be extraordinary. If you haven’t see it yet, go now. If you have, it’s well worth a second watch.