New releases: December 2015
MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E Take a trip back to the 1960s with The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a stylish take on the hugely popular 60s television series.In Sherlock Holmes (and its sequel) Guy Ritchie brought a fresh perspective to the relationship between legendary sleuth Holmes and his colleague Watson, and now takes the buddy genre to another entertaining level with the exploits of CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin.Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s at the height of the Cold War, Solo and Kuryakin are forced to put aside long-standing hostilities and team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organisation that is bent on destabilising the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology.What makes The Man from U.N.C.L.E. work extremely well is the chemistry between Henry Cavill as Solo, the suave-and-savvy American, and Armie Hammer the moody and volatile Russian. The film is a clever exploration of how the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.) was formed. “What I remember most about the series was its tone,” Ritchie reflects. “And when the opportunity arose for me to make the movie, that’s what inspired me. The idea of The Man from UNCLE just rang a bell for me. I had an intuitive response to it.” “The reason we were interested in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. initially was because we felt that we occupied a space that no one else was occupying. It felt like what we saw as the golden era of the thriller spy genre, if you will, but with retrospect, we could weed out the chaff and keep the weight in from our perspective. So it feels like it’s a revisionist diversion – what we like to say in a positive sense – of the amalgamation of the early genre. We felt we had a unique voice in that.” Read more
TERMINATOR GENISYS Thirty years after a new cinematic icon named Terminator changed the future of sci-fi films, it’s time to reset the future with Terminator Genisys. Producer David Ellison makes it clear that it is “not a remake, it’s not a reboot, it’s not a sequel – it’s really a reimagining based on the Cameron source material. Viewers don’t have to be familiar with any of the previous films at all – this is definitely a standalone film. But, that being said, for the fans who have seen the first couple of films, there are some great Easter eggs in there. Exploiting the inherent nature of time travel, we go off on a divergent timeline to take these characters that audiences and I grew up with in a completely new direction”. In Terminator Genisys John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and safeguard the future. An unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline and Sgt. Reese finds himself in a new and unfamiliar version of the past, where he is faced with unlikely allies, including a new T-800 terminator, the Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), dangerous new enemies, and an unexpected new mission. “This is the largest scale Terminator movie that’s ever been made,” Ellison concludes. “There are bigger action sequences in Genisys than any prior Terminator film. You’re going to see the fully rendered future war, which nobody has ever been able to do yet, and you’re going to see new Terminators that will hopefully have exactly the same impact as when you saw the T-1000 back in 1991. We have set the bar incredibly high, and we’re going for it.” Read more
MAX In this heartwarming family adventure from writer/director Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans) a precision-trained military dog, Max serves on the frontlines in Afghanistan alongside his handler, U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott. But when things go terribly wrong on maneuvers, Kyle is mortally wounded and Max, traumatized by the loss of his best friend, is unable to remain in service. Sent stateside, the only human he seems willing to connect with is Kyle’s teenage brother, Justin, so Max is saved when he is adopted by Kyle’s family. But Justin has issues of his own, including living up to his father’s expectations, and he isn’t interested in taking responsibility for his brother’s troubled dog. However, Max may be Justin’s only chance to discover what really happened to his brother that day on the front, and with the help of Carmen, a tough-talking young teen who has a way with dogs, Justin begins to appreciate his canine companion.Justin’s growing trust in Max helps the four-legged veteran revert back to his heroic self, and as the pair race to unravel the mystery, they find more excitement—and danger—than they bargained for. But they each might also find an unlikely new best friend…in each other. “Max” stars Josh Wiggins (Hellion) as Justin Wincott, Lauren Graham (TV’s Parenthood) as his mom, Pamela, and Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) as his dad, Ray.Yakin directed the film from a screenplay he wrote with Sheldon Lettich (“Rambo III,” “Double Impact”). Karen Rosenfelt (“Marley & Me,” the “Twilight” series) and Ken Blancato (“The Book Thief”) produced the film, with Ben Ormand and Yakin serving as executive producers.
VACATION Vacation is a riotous comedy where anything can happen and mostly everything and even more does, taking spending quality time with your family to the extreme.For fans who remember the classic National Lampoon Vacation comedies that first hit the screen over three decades ago, giving audiences lasting memories of the disasters that can befall a family on a cross-country road trip, this new trip introduces us to the next generation of Griswolds, a dysfunctional American family that is disaster in action.If you enjoy comedy that is wild and totally outrageous, where wacky gets new meaning, Vacation is laugh-out-loud silliness that will entertain as much as it will offend and shock. Comedy is definitely in the eye of the beholder and if you find a family leisurely swimming around in human faeces hysterical, a small tractor smashing through a cow side-splitting, or Chris Hemsworth (Thor) prancing around in his underpants sporting an above average erection, then Vacation will most definitely tickle your funny bone.It’s not sophisticated or intelligent humour, but tells it like it is without holding back.In this outing Ed Helms (from The Hangover films) and Christina Applegate (the Anchorman films), takes the family on the road for another ill-fated adventure. Following in his father’s footsteps and hoping for some much-needed family bonding, a grown-up Rusty Griswold surprises his wife, and their two sons with a cross-country trip back to America’s “favourite family fun park,” Walley World. Anything that could possibly go wrong to turn vacation heaven into absolute hell does.Horrible Bosses scribes Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley wrote Vacation, which also marks their feature film directorial debut. Both are die-hard fans of the film franchise, particularly the one that launched it.“We love ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’; it’s legendary,” Goldstein attests. “We wanted our new take on ‘Vacation’ to work for people who know and love the original, but also for those who may not be familiar with it.” Daley agrees. “It was important for the new movie to be able to stand on its own while still paying respects to its classic predecessor.” Read more
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION Fasten your seatbelts for the five-star Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the explosive fifth instalment in the constantly accelerating action-thriller series that is unquestionably the best action film of the year.It delivers what it promises, and much, much more: daredevil action sequences, action-packed chase sequences, deadly adversaries, ticking time bombs and explosive thrills. It offers the ultimate in entertainment and succeeds on all levels, showcasing the art of filmmaking. It’s a film you have to see to believe fully. Yes, it’s an ultra-spectacular experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will be exhausted after watching the film; it’s a film you experience and totally draws you into the hard core physical action and involves you with its rewarding emotional pay-off.Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt, facing his most blisteringly impossible mission yet, confronting The Syndicate, an impenetrable, exquisitely trained group of renegade spies who have left behind their countries for an agenda all their own – an agenda intent on destabilising the very foundations of civilisation.This time out, Cruise’s iconic character, Ethan Hunt, finds himself in non-stop peril – physical, mental, and emotional – from the film’s literally high-flying opening moments through one relentless situation after another.Hunt’s situation is precarious on every level. The IMF is on the outs, the CIA doesn’t trust him, and now he’s discovered a rogue agency with the spy power to bring down any nation it targets – and they want him to join their crusade of destruction or they want him dead.Reteaming with Cruise as Hunt’s fellow agents are Jeremy Renner as William Brandt; Simon Pegg as whiz-kid Benji; and Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, with Swedish Rebecca Ferguson (Hercules) as the mysterious Ilsa Faust; Sean Harris (Prometheus) as Solomon Lane and Alec Baldwin as CIA Director Alan Hunley.What makes this fifth journey into the world of Mission Impossible work extremely well is director Christopher McQuarrie, whose interpretation of his screenplay amplifies the vision he had for the film. Read more
5 TO 7 Brian (Anton Yelchin), a talented young writer, meets the beautiful, intriguing Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe) over a cigarette outside the Manhattan St. Regis. She’s older than he, married, French, and the mother of two. “You can stop that sentence anywhere along the way,” Brian’s father tells him, “and have reason enough not to be in the relationship.” But neither party can resist the other, and, against his better judgment — he was raised right — they begin a cinq-a-sept affair. Before long, Brian has broken every rule he ever had for himself. And he’s never been happier. Amid the comedy of the clash of cultures, world views, personal ethics and dietary preferences, peppered by the surprising reactions of those around them, Brian and Arielle fall more and more deeply in love. But, while the hours of 5 to 7 each day may suit Arielle perfectly, Brian begins to hunger for more. Soon, they must face the most important decision of their lives. We don’t choose love, it chooses us. The question is how hard we’re willing to fight for it when there are a thousand reasons to let go. In 5 to 7, the remarkable answer is equal parts romance, laughter and tears.