15 To Catch
15 TO CATCH
Whether you want action, adventure, romance, sci-fi, European drama, animation, comedy, true stories or family fun, you’ll find it in our round-up of the best movies out in the coming months
This sequel to Bruce Almighty continues with the conceit of the (literally) interventionist God, and this time the deity taps on the shoulder of Congressman Evan Baxter, played by Steve The 40 Year Old Virgin Carell. If that piece of casting seems inspired, then so too is the ever-demure Morgan Freeman as the omnipotent one himself. As if the original tale didn’t wind up enough fundamentalist Christians, this installment is being billed as ‘a comedy of biblical proportions’, a reference to the fact that the storyline involves God asking Evan to build an ark in anticipation of a giant flood.
ETA 3 August
There are plum roles for big-hitters Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan in this gracefully-named tale of revenge in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War. Given that director David Von Ancken’s province is that of the high-end American television thriller, handling the treachery and suspense of minds gripped by the desire for vengeance should present no great difficulty. Whether he’ll successfully evoke the story’s specific setting and historical period, however, remains to be seen.
ETA 3 August
A fine cast comes together for this story of high-society intrigue on the Potomac. Woody Harrelson is an escort to DC’s upper-crust ladies, and all seems to be going swimmingly until he becomes embroiled in a rather nasty murder case. The appearances of Kristin Scott Thomas, Willem Dafoe, Lauren Bacall and Ned Beatty suggest that The Walker might be a hot contender for an award from the Academy when the time comes. A stylish, bankable feature.
ETA 10 August
Young Adam director David Mackenzie took to the rooftops of Edinburgh last year to shoot this darkly perverted modern fairytale with Jamie Bell as the peeping Tom title character who has strong sexual feelings towards his stepmum. Jamie Sives, Sophia Myles and Ewen Bremner also star in this adaptation of Peter Jinks’ tale of teenage rebellion. The soundtrack is dominated by Scottish bands including Franz Ferdinand and Sons and Daughters, and the film features a title sequence animated by David Shrigley. See feature in The List Festival Guide, page 36.
ETA General release from 31 August. Hallam Foe opens this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival at Cineworld, Edinburgh, 15 Aug, 9.30pm.
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bourne franchise certainly sits at the classier end of the international espionage-and-action genre, and this is due in no small part to Matt Damon’s fine performance in the title role. He sustains interest by gesturing subtly toward the many secrets of the character’s past and it is the gradual revelation of these that constitute the backdrop to The Bourne Ultimatum. There’s been a shoot-out in Moscow, Bourne is on the move again, and, as in all good thrillers of this ilk, the clock is ticking. The wonderful Paddy Considine also stars.
ETA 17 August
Eagle Vs Shark
And so it’s time to enjoy a highly bankable film disguised in indie-film clothing. Loren Horsley and Jermaine Clement are Lily and Jarrod, two of the most ill-fitting misfits that ever failed to find a place in society. Naturally, they get together to form a partnership and bond over fast food, rubbish attempts at revenge, and video games. It’s a gentle affair - not designed to give your brain a work-out, but the premise is nonetheless attractive.
ETA 17 August
With a name like Sparkle, this is unlikely to be gritty social realism. Lo and behold, Sparkle is a romantic comedy about a chap called Sam who moves to London in order to transfer his skills as a bit of a chancer across to a glamorous public relations career. This is the kind of film that gets bums on seats, and the kind that probably has Bill Hicks spinning in his grave. Still, it has Stockard Channing and Bob Hoskins in it, so it may have some substance after all.
ETA 17 August
The Yacoubian Building
Marwan Hamed’s docu-drama exposition of the dark underbelly of modern-day Cairo is hotly anticipated. The Yacoubian Building is unflinching in its portrayal of drug running, rampant corruption, prostitution and fundamentalism. Adel Imam, Nour El-Sherif and Youssra star in this vital film from a director who isn’t afraid to broach difficult subject matter.
ETA 14 September
Ian McEwan’s tremendous novel gets a widescreen treatment with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in the leads. Pride and Prejudice director Joe Wright may be dyslexic and have no academic qualifications to speak of but he’s building up a stonking reputation for literary adaptations. The plot concerns the accusations made by a 13-year-old girl which have repercussions all the way through World War II. The Yorkshire town of Redcar doubles for Dunkirk. This has Oscar nomination written all over it (but probably not for the always underwhelming Knightley).
ETA 14 September
A stunningly conceived Javanese opera-on-film tells the story of Setyo, Siti and Ludiro, a love triangle sung to a Gamelan score and inspired by part of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana. The set designs bring together modern and traditional Indonesian styles, and the general sense is of a sumptuous meeting between ancient and modern aesthetics. Opera Jawa is gorgeous to look at and boasts a strong cast.
ETA 20 September
12:08 East of Bucharest
You’d be forgiven for supposing that a film about the disputed Bucharest uprising of 1989 might suffer from a paucity of belly-laughs. In the case of 12:08 East of Bucharest, however, you would be wholly incorrect in that supposition. This film taps right into a richly sarcastic vein of Romanian humour, following three men played by Teodor Corban, Ion Sapdaru and Mircea Andreescu as they go onto a television programme to discuss the fall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
ETA 21 September
Disney and Pixar unite again to bring us the tale of a gastronomically-interested rat living under a very swanky restaurant in Paris. The rat’s desire for culinary satisfaction forces him into hit-and-run raids on the eaterie upstairs, but then he joins forces with the flailing new young chef at the establishment and turns his hand to the creation of edible masterpieces. All good, well-animated, well-scripted fun with Peter O’Toole and Brian Dennehy providing the voices.
ETA 5 October
Ridley Scott turns his singular vision to the story of a legendary drug lord smuggling heroin into New York in the 1970s. His importing methods are somewhat unconventional: he hides the stash inside the coffins of American soldiers being returned from Vietnam. Denzel Washington plays drug smuggler Frank Lucas, and Russell Crowe stars as the policeman pursuing him. The period is evoked wonderfully by Scott, and the story is all the more gripping because it is based on a true story.
ETA 16 November
Although the film based on Monica Ali’s novel is not due out until later in the year, it is already causing controversy for reviving what some have argued are unhelpful stereotypes of Bangladeshis living in London’s East End. Despite ongoing protests against the content of Ali’s book, and now the film, reports suggest that the big-screen version will nonetheless present a vibrant and vital slice of life in one East End community.
ETA 23 November
The Golden Compass
Nicole Kidman, Kevin Bacon, John Hurt, Daniel Craig and Ian McShane star in the film adaptation of the first novel in the His Dark Materials series, with Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) journeying through the far North to emancipate her best friend and others from a mysterious organisation set on carrying out experiments on them. As you might imagine, many remarkable events then ensue.
ETA 7 December