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 Rememory, The Delinquent Season, The Odyssey, The Ghost of Charnel House, Justice League, Fantastic Journey To Oz, and Brigsby Bear.
30th July – Rememory
Synopsis: Traumatised model-maker Sam Bloom is seeking closure on a car accident that killed his rock singer brother. He thinks he’s found it when he encounters scientist-psychologist Gordon Dunn, whose “Rememory” machine accesses users’ subconscious to “objectively” replay repressed memories. However, when Dunn is found dead, his patients find themselves in a world that may not be all that friendly.
Director: Mark Palansky
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Julia Ormond, Martin Donovan, and Anton Yelchin
Review: A good concept (although it is something else that has been explored in Black Mirror recently – something which keeps happening) and a good thriller, but a slow pace drags it out. Peter Dinklage gives a great performance but he doesn’t have much support around him, as everybody else is pretty forgettable. That is, however, apart from a surprise inclusion of one of Anton Yelchin’s last performances.
31st July – The Deliquent Season
Synopsis: Two couples appear to live in marital bliss until cracks begin to appear in both of their seemingly steady marriages. Their lives quickly unravel when Jim begins an affair with his wife’s friend and his neighbour’s wife, Yvonne. Their cosy dinner parties soon come to an end as both couples are made to take a hard look at their relationships.
Director: Mark O’Rowe
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Eva Birthistle, Catherine Walker, Andrew Scott, Lara McDonnell, and Nathan O’Toole
Review: I was surprised by how much I liked this film. That’s largely to do with Cillian Murphy (who I would definitely have an affair with, too!) but I also thought that it was an excellent Irish drama. The story felt very raw and authentic, showing some uncomfortable truths about married life and it expressed the character’s emotions brilliantly. It could have been sexier and maybe even more emotional at times, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
1st August – The Odyssey
Synopsis: A biopic about the legendary French biologist and marine adventurer, Jacques Cousteau, a former naval officer turned undersea explorer who shifted his focus from oceans to the environment. The film looks at Jacques’s infidelities and his undeniably enduring marriage, and the often troubled relationship between him and his son, Philippe.
Director: Jérôme Salle
Cast: Lambert Wilson, Pierre Niney, Audrey Tautou, and Laurent Lucas
2nd August – The Ghost of Charnel House
Synopsis: The long-abandoned Fairmont Meat Company slaughterhouse is rebuilt as Fiarmont Lofts. However, the new residents don’t realise that the building was the site of the horrific death of a young boy called Rupert. It turns out that his ghost still haunts the high-spec corridors and revenge is on his mind.
Director: Craig Moss
Cast: Callum Blue, Nadine Velazquez, Makenzie Moss, Erik LaRay Harvey, Alden Tab, Danielle Lauder, and Andy Favreau
Review: A cliche horror with a completely unbelievable twist that is so obvious despite its absurdity. Once a slaughterhouse, the guests see images of animal slaughterings rather than anything actually terrifying or worrying. I’m surprised that these guests were scared at all. The film’s style of horror effects is so dated and barely anything happens.
3rd August – Justice League
Synopsis: DC’s follow-up to Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman when the world is in mourning for Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman put together a team including The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, to combat the catastrophic threat of Steppenwolf and his army of insectoid Parademons.
Director: Zach Snyder
Cast: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller, Amy Adams, Ray Fisher, and Ciarán Hinds
Review: I expected this to be better than Batman v Superman, but nope. I really enjoyed the opening few scenes. Gotham looked brilliant, Affleck suited his role for a small amount of time, and then we meet Jason Momoa – yum! But it was just so dull!!
Not only does DC’s latest suffer from awful villain syndrome yet again, but the characters just didn’t come together well at all. With the Avengers films, everything seems so significant and important and exciting. Marvel’s films show that the world needs them, that people are relying on them, but the Justice League forming felt like there were better things going on further down the street.
I enjoy all of the characters individually – Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (the only relatively decent film in the universe so far) is inspiring, Ben Affleck as Batman has done well (although he was so underused in this film), Henry Cavill as Superman needed to be brought back a lot sooner, Ezra Miller is amazing and adds some much-needed humour as Flash, Jason Momoa is perfectly cast as Aquaman (let’s get his character film on the go NOW!) and Ray Fisher as Cyborg was a nice addition.
But together, there was just no stand out moment. There were a few scenes that I did enjoy, but these were mostly the funny parts which other DC films have lacked in before. But the scenes that should have made an impact, didn’t. It’s just very forgettable and leaves nothing else to look forward to.
4th August – Fantastic Journey To Oz
Synopsis: A Russian animation (with English dub) which spins off from the 1963 novel by Soviet writer Aleksandr Volkova. Reintroducing us to the characters from the Wizard of Oz, the group must come back together to help defeat a land-grabbing tyrant who makes his move on the land of Oz by taking over the Emerald City with an army of wooden soldiers.
Director: Fyodor Dmitriev
Cast: Konstantin Khabenskiy
Review: Being based on a classic story that we all know and characters who we have enjoyed an adventure with before, I thought this film would have felt nostalgic and comforting, but it feels very far away from the story we know. As a children’s TV series, this might have been okay. The animation is average although very colourful but I didn’t particularly like the look of any of the characters. My 18-month-old wasn’t interested in it, either, which says enough.
5th August – Brigsby Bear
Synopsis: Emotionally stunted man-child James literally never leaves his home and obsessively re-watches VHS tapes of his favourite show, Brigsby Bear Adventures. However, his world is shattered when the FBI break into his home and inform James that he was “kidnapped” as a child and that his father made the programme especially for him.
Director: Dave McCary
Cast: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Jane Adams, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins, and Ryan Simpkins
Review: I have to thank a Twitter follower for recommending this to me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have given it a chance. But I’m glad that I did. Brigsby Bear is on the right side of quirky. It’s slightly awkward and, just like James, is pretty messed up deep down, but The Lonely Island boys don’t take things too far, which they very often do.
The tone is handled perfectly; I quite often thought to myself “Ah, that’s nice”, as James meets a decent group of people on the outside that do all that they can to help him through his experience. In reality, however, they probably should have listened to the psychiatrist, but I guess that’s what you come away enjoying about this film.