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The Big Release
What's the story? US Soldier Colter Stevens, believing he's on tour in Afghanistan, awakens on a train opposite a beautiful woman, headed for Chicago. Before he can say "oh boy", Colter discovers he has been sent into the body of a dead man during the last 8 minutes of his life. His task to find a terrorist hell bent on making the Windy City a lot more breezy.
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal (Zodiac, Donnie Darko), Michelle Monaghan (MI3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). Director: Duncan Jones (Moon).
Plus points: Attaining a cult following with his debut Moon, Duncan Jones makes the jump to bigger budget Hollywood films with aplomb. Balancing audience-friendly action and romance (Gyllenhaal and Monaghan make a great twosome) with philosophical musings and Hitchcock style humour, Source Code delivers something for everyone.
Let downs: The last time Jake went blockbuster he delivered Prince of Persia. The last time Michelle went Hitchcockian she gave us Eagle Eye. May cause pedantic physicists' brains to melt with implausibility.
Critics said: "An exciting, intellectually stimulating science-fiction thriller" (Empire) that some believe to be "the best movie so far in 2011" (Richard Roeper). An impressive 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Verdict: A thoroughly entertaining piece of pure sci-fi pie. Source Code isn't just confirmation that Duncan Jones can be a major player in Hollywood but also proof, if proof were needed, that Jake and Michelle deserve their impending A-list status.
Read our interview with director Duncan Jones here.
What's the story? Sectioned for accidentally shooting her sister, Babydoll's incarceration is a deeply unpleasant one. To escape her surroundings she reverts into a fantasy world full of dragons, robots and zombies. Through this world Babydoll hopes to find real freedom.
Cast: Emily Browning (The Uninvited, Lemony Snicket), Abbie Cornish (Limitless, Bright Star), Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical 1, 2, 3). Director: Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300)
Plus points: The frankly astonishing 12A rating means that its biggest fans (13-year old boys) will be able to get in without any fuss. You could spend your time staring at worse things. For example, a defrosting cod.
Let downs: 300 Director Zack Snyder is quickly beginning to make a name for himself as the new M. Night Shyamalan, in that his one impressive trick is already really fucking boring. Accusations of misogyny seem justified from barely glimpsing at any promotional material.
Critics said: It "proves that while masturbating over your cast may not make you blind, it can impair directorial vision." (Film 4). "The entire movie is one hideously protracted cutscene" (Ultra Culture). 20% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Verdict: With Zach Snyder signed on to direct Superman, fans of the Man of Steel can commence worrying. Impressive visuals alone do not a great movie make.
What's the story? McCormick brothers Neil and Ivan are convinced they're gonna be huge, world dominating rockstars. The only thing that stands in their way is another local band who's success seems to overshadow everything they do. The local band's frontman? One Bono. The band? U2.
Cast: Ben Barnes (Stardust, Prince Caspian), Robert Sheehan (Cherrybomb, Misfits). Director: Nick Hamm (Godsend, The Hole).
Plus points: Anyone who has even glanced at Robert Sheehan in Misfits will know the guy has the potential to be very big indeed. The idea of the U2 singer meeting a grisly end is to many, The Sweetest Thing. It's the last time you'll get to see Pete Postlelthwaite in a new release.
Let downs: They don't actually kill Bono. It's the last time you'll get to see Pete Postlelthwaite in a new release.
Critics said: "Messy, patchy and overlong " (Total Film) but "its ace is its universality. We have all, at some time or other, wanted to kill Bono. " (FT.com). 45% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Verdict: Slight and lacking in any constant laughs. Solid support (from Peter Serafinowicz, Ralph Brown and the late Mr. Postlethwaite) and two attractive leads (Barnes and Sheehan) help maintain its watchability.
What's the story? When pressurised into taking over the family business E.B., the Easter Bunny's rebellious son, runs off to Hollywood to chase his dreams of being a drummer in a rock band.
Cast: Russell Brand (Get Him To The Greek, Despicable Me), James Marsden (27 Dresses, X-Men). Director: Tim Hill (Garfield 2, Muppets from Space).
Plus points: If you're looking for credentials in the 'adult-friendly-kids-stuff' arena, Director Tim Hill's CV contains writing on both Spongebob Squarepants and, the frankly awesome, Rocco's Modern Life.
Let downs: Hill's CV also includes Garfield 2 and Alvin and the Chipmunks. Even as an animated rabbit Brand isn't so much 'acting' as being 'Russell with a cotton wool tail'.
Critics said: "Brand and Marsden dial-in their performances" (Sky) resulting in this "passable, if unexceptional, family fodder." (Time Out). 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Verdict: As long as Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey hasn't made you eternally afraid of the floppy eared, egg dropping, hippoty-hopping behemoth you might be able to tolerate this.
The Best Film Still Showing
The greatest Welsh movie since Tom Jones. If you only see one film featuring a young boy straining to piss on a box full of videos containg a mulleted Paddy Considine as a guru of prism and light, make sure it's this one. If you know of another, please e-mail.
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