Since I don’t get to the cinema to see new releases that often anymore, this is my new weekly feature which rounds up the films released on Sky Cinema’s Premiere channel. I will write a short review and rate each film that I have seen, and give information for the ones that I didn’t get a chance to watch.
This week’s feature includes reviews for Barracuda, Alien Invasion: S.U.M.1, Tom of Finland, The Midnight Man, Geostorm, The Wilde Wedding, and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.
2nd July – Barracuda
Synopsis: A woman’s settled life begins to splinter when the musician half-sister she never knew existed suddenly appears on her doorstep.
Directors: Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin
Cast: Allison Tolman (Fargo), Sophie Reid and JoBeth Williams
3rd July – Alien Invasion: S.U.M.1
Synopsis: Post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller following a committed young soldier who is sent to Earth’s hostile, alien-run surface to look for survivors.
Director: Christian Pasquariello
Cast: Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones, Misfits)
Review: Iwan Rheon should be receiving endless casting calls after his amazing performance in Game of Thrones, but this was not the one. The film feels very amateurish and does very little to keep you invested.
4th July – Tom of Finland
Synopsis: Biopic of erotic artist Touko ‘Tom’ Laaksonen, best known by his pseudonym Tom of Finland, who was a Finnish artist known for his stylized highly masculinised homoerotic fetish art, and for his influence on late twentieth-century gay culture. The film tracking his journey from WWII soldier struggling to hide his sexuality to a gay icon.
The film is in Finnish and German with subtitles.
Director: Dome Karukoski
Cast: Pekka Strang, Seumas F. Sargent, Lauri Tilkanen and Chris Myland
5th July – The Midnight Man
Synopsis: Horror following a group of friends who stumble on a game that summons terrifying creature The Midnight Man who uses their worst fears against them.
Director: Travis Zariwny
Cast: Summer H. Howell, Keenan Lehmann, Meredith Rose, Lin Shaye and Robert Englund
Review: There’s certainly a lot of weaknesses to this horror film – the film isn’t particularly strong and there are some cringey lines of dialogue – but it has everything else that I want from a horror – gore, a creepy villain that doesn’t look ridiculous, and an avoidance of clichés.
It certainly does the trick without going over the top or including any unnecessary back stories or relationships. It just does what a horror is supposed to: scare you into never doing any of the things that you have just seen, because there is absolutely no chance that it is going to end well.
Once upon a time, if a horror film starred Lin Shaye and Robert Englund then you would have known that it was going to be good. These days, however, it’s a bit too predictable. Fortunately, they only have small roles in this so it actually works quite well.
6th July – Geostorm
Synopsis: Disaster film following a scientist who is called into action when his climate control system malfunctions and starts to attack Earth. It’s a race against the clock for its creator to uncover the real threat before a worldwide Geostorm wipes out everyone.
Director: Dean Devlin
Cast: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, and Ed Harris
Review: Wow. This film took itself way too seriously. I just wanted to see giant hale storms, tidal waves and tornadoes. Sure, we got most of them eventually, but that was after a good hour or so of them trying to make this all sound believable. Just let us see the world collapse and a single man piece it all back together again – you wouldn’t get this from The Rock.
7th July – The Wilde Wedding
Synopsis: Ensemble comedy following a retired film star’s wedding to her fourth husband, which brings chaos when their families (and her ex-husband) show up for the festivities.
Director: Damian Harris
Cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Patrick Stewart, and Minnie Driver
Review: “An ensemble cast” maybe, but a whirlwind drama/rom-com, definitely not. I felt no emotional attachment to any of these characters or their stories. I only watched it to see what Patrick Stewart looked like with hair, anyway.
8th July – Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
Synopsis: The story of psychology professor William Moulton Marston and the three-way romance with his wife and their mistress who would inspire his creation of the DC superheroine, Wonder Woman.
Director: Angela Robinson
Cast: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, and Connie Britton
Review: Wow. You would never believe that this was a true story. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is an incredibly interesting true story that shrieks, “Love is [most definitely] love.”
It may have happened in the 20s-40s, but it feels even more relevant today. You often hear about relationships such as this one and a common reaction is to be quite dismissive about them, but this story is so beautifully told that it feels like the most natural thing in the world.
Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, and Bella Heathcote have a lovely chemistry and really make this story feel intimate.