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 Black Butterfly, A Christmas Cruise, The Nile Hilton Incident, Waiting For You, Darkest Hour, Better Watch Out, and Spinning Man.
5th November – Black Butterfly
Synopsis: Outside a mountain town grappling with a series of abductions and murders, reclusive writer Paul offers drifter Jack a place to stay in his remote mountain cabin after he rescues him from a fight in the local diner. Soon, his edgy lodger is muscling his way into Paul’s work and he begins to see a link between Jack and the spate of local disappearances.
Director: Brian Goodman
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Piper Perabo, Vincent Riotta, Brian Goodman, and Katie McGovern
6th November – A Christmas Cruise
Synopsis: Aspiring novelist Pam Stevenson hasn’t been plain sailing when her best friend Becky invites her along on a Yuletide-themed cruise to Christmas Island. On board, Pam receives an unexpected gift in the form of romance and self-discovery.
Director: David DeCoteau
Cast: Vivica A Fox, Jessica Morris, Kristoff St John, Rib Hillis, Cristine Prosperi, and Jason Cook
7th November – The Nile Hilton Incident
Synopsis: Crooked Cairo detective Noredin finds himself on an unlikely crusade for the truth when he investigates the murder of a pop star at an upmarket city hotel. He identifies it as a hit job but is told by his superiors to treat it as suicide. However, a maid who witnessed the murder, who is also an illegal immigrant, may hold a clue to finding the killer, one which goes to the heart of the country’s corrupt government.
Director: Tarik Saleh
Cast: Fares Fares, Mari Malek, Yasser Ali Maher, Ahmed Selim, and Hania Amar
8th November – Waiting For You
Synopsis: A deathbed revelation from his father sends young, grieving Paul to France to learn about an increasingly disturbing past that he never knew about. The key lies with the mysterious and possibly dangerous musician, Madeleine, who lives in the remote Languedoc countryside, who could reveal the truth behind some dark secrets that go all the way back to the war.
Director: Charles Garrad
Cast: Colin Morgan, Fanny Ardant, Audrey Bastien, Abdelkrim Bahloul, Clare Holman, and Norah Lehembre
9th November – Darkest Hour
Synopsis: In May 1940, the fate of Western Europe hangs on Winston Churchill. With the German Army now just across the Channel, the newly-appointed Prime Minister must decide between negotiating a peace treaty with Hitler, or stand firm and fight on, knowing that his decision could mean a humiliating defeat for Britain and its empire. With the King, the public and his own political party all questioning his wisdom, the hard-drinking Churchill has to survive his own darkest hour and rally the country behind him.
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Stephen Dillane, Samuel West, and Ronald Pickup
Review: Joe Wright is one of my favourite directors because of the stunning theatrical qualities in his films, making them look like stage productions with fluid scene transitions and beautiful cinematography. I wondered if his style would suit a biopic about Churchill, but in the light of Tom Hooper’s filmography, I should have expected a historical drama to be the perfect story for a stage set up by Wright. And that’s exactly what it is. Darkest Hour is a powerful drama, led fantastically by the amazing Gary Oldman, and tells us about a part of history that we should know more about. The trouble is, we all know the basics of this story so there’s no standout moment that will make you want to watch this more than once, but the quality of the film and the performances are definitely worth celebrating.
10th November – Better Watch Out
Synopsis: Precocious 12-year-old Lukas is harbouring ludicrously high expectations of an evening in the care of his babysitter, Ashley. After sneaking some fizz, he launches his seduction. Her shocked reaction is exactly what you might expect. However, when an ex-boyfriend calls out of the blue, the night takes quite a different turn, as Ashley must defend Lukas from the intruders.
Director: Chris Peckover
Cast: Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Aleks Mikic, Dacre Montgomery, and Patrick Warburton
11th November – Spinning Man
Synopsis: Happily married university philosophy professor Even Birch, who is known for having many affairs with students, becomes the chief suspect in an abduction case when his car is spotted near a lake where a schoolgirl disappeared. Investigating officer Malloy gets suspicious when Birch grows belligerent under questioning and the clues begin to pile up. But is he innocent?
Director: Simon Kaijser
Cast: Guy Pearce, Pierce Brosnan, Minnie Driver, Alexandra Shipp, Odeya Rush, and Jamie Kennedy
Review: This is one of those films where you read more about it afterwards and end up liking it even more. I was expecting it to be an average thriller since I hadn’t heard or seen anything about it until it appeared on Sky, but I actually quite liked the ideas behind it. I’m definitely intrigued to read the book that it is based on because I want a better understanding of the ending.