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 How To Get Girls, Christmas On Holly Lane, Beauty And The Beast, Coming Home For Christmas, Ready Player One, Blockers, and Mary Magdalene.
17th December – How To Get Girls
Synopsis: Fellow college geeks Zach and Ben are forced to split up when Ben moves with his family to Antartica. When he returns, he’s still a nerd, but he has now blossomed into a chiselled Adonis. Zach seizes his opportunity to use his best buddy to get girls, particularly college hottie Kimberly.
Directors: Omri Dorani and Zach Fox
Cast: Zach Fox, Martin Cervantez, Meghan Roberts, David Koechner, Chris Elliott, and Kate Flannery
18th December – Christmas On Holly Lane
Synopsis: Childhood friends Sarah, Riley and Cat reunite for the holiday season at Sarah’s home, the place where they spent all of their happiest Christmases. Life hasn’t gone as smoothly since then, but Christmas could prove to be the gift that keeps on giving.
Director: Michael Scott
Cast: Karen Holness, Gina Holden, Sarah Lancaster, Jaime M Callica, and Giles Panton
19th December – Beauty And The Beast (La belle et la bête)
Synopsis: When her impecunious father becomes indebted to a monster, his dutiful daughter arrives at the Beast’s crumbling fortress to offer herself up as ransom. A retelling of the classic French fairy tale. In French with English subs.
Director: Christophe Gans
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux, André Dussollier, Eduardo Noriega, Myriam Charleins, and Audrey Lamy
20th December – Coming Home For Christmas
Synopsis: Newly redundant and single Lizzie lands a job as a house manager preparing the Ashford Estate for the annual Christmas Eve gala. Impressed with her sympathetic treatment of his dysfunctional family, the mansion’s owner Robert finds himself falling for her, but so does his brother, Kip. On Christmas Eve, Lizzie must make her choice.
Director: Mel Damski
Cast: Danica McKellar, Neal Bledsoe, Andrew Francis, Lindsay Maxwell, Paula Shaw, and Andrew Kavadas
Review: Definitely not one of the worst cheesy Christmas romance films I’ve watched this month, but not one that I would choose to watch again. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it (for what it is) as it is a classic Hallmark film, but the chemistry isn’t particularly great.
21st December – Ready Player One
Synopsis: Adapted from the young adult book of the same name, the film follows Wade Watts, a lonely, slum-dwelling teen who finds himself taking the fight to the money-hungry suits out to turn the Oasis – an immersive VR fantasy land created by oddball genius James Halliday – into a soulless, corporately controlled advertising tool. Together, Wade and a group of like-minded underdogs, including Samantha, must use their in-game avatars to complete three challenges before chief wrong’un Nolan Sorrento beats them to it.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, TJ Miller, Simon Pegg, and Lena Waithe
Review: Ready Player One is an imaginative science fiction and engrossing adventure that has all the feels of a classic Spielberg film with the added touch of a vibrant and immersive future. At its core, Ready Player One is about taking a break from the often mundaneness of everyday life and escaping into a world where you have total control with no limits, from changing your appearance to abandoning all responsibilities. As Tye Sheridan’s Wade puts on his VR headset to become the cooler and more daring Parzival, we take some time out to forget about what’s going in our lives to sit back and enjoy 140 minutes of this wonderfully pure adventure.
22nd December – Blockers
Synopsis: Lifelong besties Julie, Sam and Kayla have all decided to lose their virginity come prom night, but when their overprotective parents cotton on to the scheme all hell breaks loose. The excited trio is barely out the door when single mum Lisa, muscle-bound sports nut Mitchell and philandering man-child Hunter launch a desperate and wildly wrong-headed bid to put the kibosh on the youngsters’ good times.
Director: Kay Cannon
Cast: Kathryn Newton, John Cena, Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, Gideon Adlon, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Graham Phillips
Review: Minus half a star for the butt chug. Minus a whole star for all of the sick. I hate comedies that find bodily fluids funny. It could have been good but those scenes absolutely ruined it for me. Leslie Mann, John Cena, and Ike Barinholtz were pretty funny together, otherwise.
23rd December – Mary Magdalene
Synopsis: A unique take on the bible story of the key apostle Mary Magdalene, a dutiful daughter happily taking her place in the Judean community. However, her refusal to marry and increasing devotion leads her into conflict with her family, until the arrival of Jesus. She becomes a favoured pupil and the one who truly understands his faith among her fellow apostles, including Peter and Judas.
Director: Garth Davis
Cast: Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tahar Rahim, Ariane Labed, and Denis Ménochet
Review: Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix give excellent performances in this unique look at the life of Mary Magdalene. The film is incredibly pretty to look at, but the story itself was more of a mumble than a proclamation.