Join the NME Film Blog every Friday for a handy, catch-all round up of all the latest cinema releases.
The Big Release
What’s the story? 15-year-old Oliver Tate has two things on his mind. One is to lose his virginity to pyromaniac classmate Jordana, the other is to prevent his parents from separating when his mum’s old flame recaptures her eye.
Cast: Craig Roberts (Being Human), Sally Hawkins (Made In Dagenham, Happy-Go-Lucky) Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes, My Summer Of Love). Director: Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd, Garth Marenghi)
Plus points: While many will be familiar with Richard Ayoade’s onscreen performance as archetypal nerd Moss in The IT Crowd, it looks like his true calling is behind the camera, turning Joe Dunthorne’s novel into a funny drama and a touching comedy. Throw in some of Britain’s greatest character actors in Hawkins and Considine and exceptional music with an Alex Turner-led soundtrack and Submarine looks worthy of its already great plaudits. Bought your tickets yet?
Let downs: The biggest downside is finding a screen showing it. If you haven’t been to your local independent cinema in a while, now is the time.
Verdict: That rare thing, a British comedy that truly triumphs in both pathos and laughter.
The Lincoln Lawyer
What’s the story? Defense Attorney Mickey Haller works out of the back of his car. Living day to day by small cases, Haller finally gets an opportunity at glory when asked to represent a rich socialite accused of attempted murder.
Cast: Matthew McConaughey (How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Dazed and Confused), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler, My Cousin Vinny). Director: Brad Furman (The Take)
Plus points: The original Mickey Haller series of books by Michael Connelly, while not quite rivalling Rowling and that little novel by God in terms of sales, was still successful enough to cause tree lovers some consternation.
Let downs: Popularity doesn’t always equate to greatness. Just the mention of Matthew ‘Fools Gold/Failure to Launch‘ McConaughey can get some audiences self-harming.
Verdict: Sometimes page-turning nonsense can be just the remedy to a hectic week of work. That’s if you can stomach McConaughey’s mug for two hours.
What’s the story? A week in the life of Kay, a shelfstacker who dreams of more and attempts to find it by becoming a big time ‘gangsta’ on a London Estate.
Cast: Adam Deacon (4,3,2,1, Kidulthood), Jaime Winstone (Donkey Punch, Dead Set). Directors: Adam Deacon and Daniel Toland (directorial debuts).
Plus points: Kidulthood and, to a lesser extent, Adulthood instilled a small rebirth into what young British film-makers could accomplish with little money and experience. Adam Deacon’s performances in both stood out as affectionately naïve.
Let downs: A wannabe Friday, the inclusion of “the UK’s Will Smith”, Richard Blackwood, doesn’t scream quality.
Verdict: Any film that has a supermarket chain called Laimsbury’s needed a little more time in script-stage before the cameras rolled.
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
What’s the story? Relationship comedy/drama that centres around the trials and tribulations of a family in London and how their views on everything from marriage to soothsayers affect their outlooks on life.
Cast: Naomi Watts (King Kong, Mulholland Dr.), Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs, The Elephant Man), Antonio Banderas (The Mask Of Zorro, Desperado). Director: Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Match Point)
Plus points: The annual Woody offering is usually worth a watch if only to toss out hackneyed phrases like ‘return to form’ or talk of ‘his early funny ones’. As everyone in Hollywood, bar Mia Farrow, clambers to be in a Woody film, the cast is of a typically high calibre.
Let downs: You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger isn’t a return to form. Or as good as his early funny ones.
Verdict: Woody Allen films have become equivalent to F.A. Cup finals watched by neutrals. They come round once every year, profess to be exceptional but usually end up being merely adequate. Every now and again, however, you get a belter. Sadly, despite an excellent turn from Hopkins this isn’t one of them.
The Best Film Still Showing
The Adjustment Bureau
Liked and disliked in equal measure, The Adjustment Bureau may not extend its effectiveness for its entire running time, but as a piece of Friday Night Fun in the aftermath of awards season you could do a lot worse. And Emily Blunt and Matt Damon, as the starcrossed lovers, work so well as a pair it’s exceptionally difficult not to root for them. Hats off to all involved. Ahem.