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 Daphne, Heartlock, Jupiter’s Moon, Road Hard, The Mountain Between Us, The Lego Ninjago Movie, and Ingrid Goes West.
23rd July – Daphne
Synopsis: 30-something Londoner Daphne gets drunk on a nightly basis and hooks up with random guys. She also has a difficult relationship with her disapproving mother and appears to be heading nowhere fast. But when she saves the life of a shopkeeper, the impenetrable armour she wears to protect herself begins to crack.
Director: Peter Mackie Burns
Cast: Emily Beecham, Nathaniel Martello-White, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, and Stuart McQuarrie
Review: On one hand, Daphne is a raw, true-to-life exploration of adulting in modern life. Emily Beecham plays the main character excellently and there’s a lot to relate to. On the other, it is a simple story with a minimal focus, which serves to emphasise the disappointments of growing older rather than to entertain. There’s a lot to respect about this film, but it doesn’t leave much of an impact.
24th July – Heartlock
Synopsis: Veteran prisoner Continental takes newcomer, Lee, under his wing when the youngster finds himself inside a tough New York jail. However, Continental’s interest in the fresh convict is to get him to “duck” vulnerable prison officer Tera and sexually manipulate her into helping the pair to escape. Based on a true story.
Director: Jon Kauffman
Cast: Alexander Dreymon, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Erik LaRay Harvey, Cedric Young, Wayne David Parker, and Jacqueline Williams
25th July – Jupiter’s Moon
Synopsis: While trying to flee across the border into Hungary, Syrian refugee Aryan is shot by a trigger-happy immigration officer. However, while he’s being treated in hospital, he suddenly discovers he can levitate. Doctor Gabor Stern thinks his patient may be an angel and embarks on a lucrative tour of rich patients. However, Aryan has other plans.
Director: Kornél Mundruczó
Cast: Zsombor Jéger, Merab Ninindze, György Cserhalmi, and Móni Balsai
26th July – Road Hard
Synopsis: Over-the-hill comedian Bruce Madsen is back on the stand-up trail after a failed bite at the big time. He’s got to support a bitter ex-wife and college-bound daughter. He begs his agent to find something more lucrative but the only bright spot is his burgeoning relationship with Sarah, a woman he met on the road.
Directors: Adam Carolla and Kevin Hench
Cast: Adam Carolla, Jay Mohr, Cynthy Wu, David Koechner, David Alan Grier, Illeana Douglas, and Diane Farr
27th July – The Mountain Between Us
Synopsis: Based on the book by Charles Martin, the story follows two strangers, doctor Ben and soon-to-be-wed Alex, who are stranded after their chartered plane crashes in the wilds of Canada. The couple must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow-covered mountain. When they realise that help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Cast: Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Dermot Mulroney, Beau Bridges, and Lucia Walters
Review: The Mountain Between Us is a lesson in how not to make a film adaptation and in how bad casting and an awful script can absolutely ruin an initially well-written story. Charles Martin’s The Mountain Between Us is one of my favourite books; a remarkable story that breaks me into pieces with its heartbreaking ending with every read. But you wouldn’t have thought that from this terrible adaptation.
28th July – The Lego Ninjago Movie
Synopsis: Old ninja master Wu assembles six young warriors to defend their island home of Ninjago against marauding monsters and robots and evil warlords like Lord Garmadon. But Garmadon is actually the father of dedicated ninja Lloyd. Shunned by everyone for being the son of an evil warlord, Lloyd must seek to defeat his father with the help of his fellow ninjas.
Directors: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, and Bob Logan
Voice Cast: Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Abbi Jacobson, and Justin Theroux
Review: This isn’t as good as The Lego Movie or The Batman Lego Movie, but this is the kind of film that younger generations are desperate for these days. My 10-year-old brother is Ninjago mad, so there’s definitely a fanbase for this. The film is still brilliantly animated and the voice cast is great, but this film didn’t have the same humour as the first two Lego movies. Children will love it, but their parents won’t appreciate having to watch this on repeat as much.
29th July – Ingrid Goes West
Synopsis: Deeply troubled thirtysomething Ingrid Thorburn latches on to LA influencer Taylor Sloane and won’t let go. Of course, Taylor’s Insta-perfect life isn’t quite as carefree as it appears on-screen.
Director: Matt Spicer
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen, and Pom Klementieff
Review: This is exactly how I feel about Instagram at the minute. People care far too much about creating a “perfect life” in their squares that they forget to take the time to capture real memories. I don’t have time to worry about whether my Instagram has a theme or if the right people are seeing it, I just enjoy using it to capture images of my family and to share them with a handful of people who genuinely care.
As you can obviously see, Ingrid Goes West is a completely relevant film for these modern times, which explores our use [and often obssession] with social media. The story is quite predictable and doesn’t particularly break any boundaries, but it is cleverly written and explored. Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen are both excellent and are the perfect females to lead this dramedy. Then again, I would watch them in anything.