THIS WEEK’S RELEASES (30TH JANUARY – 5TH FEBRUARY 2023)

Welcome back to a whole new week of film releases, and this week we’ve got quite the eclectic bunch, including animated fairy tale adventures, a heart-breaking comeback performance, the twisty new Shyamalan thriller, and even a story of Europe as told through the eyes of a donkey…

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (dir. Joel Crawford)

CAST: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Harvey Guillén, Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo, John Mulaney, Wagner Moura, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Anthony Mendez, Kevin McCann, Betsy Sodaro, Artemis Pebdani, Conrad Vernon, Cody Cameron

CREW: Joel Crawford (director), Paul Fisher and Tommy Swerdlow (writers), Mark Swift (producer), Heitor Pereda (composer), James Ryan (editor)

PLOT: Puss in Boots (Banderas), the swashbuckling hero cat, learns that he has exhausted eight of his nine lives, and must now take extra caution with his final life. However, upon hearing about a legendary wishing star that grants its holder anything that their heart desires, Puss sets out to find the star and restore his lost lives. He is joined on his journey by old flame Kitty Softpaws (Hayek) and therapy dog Perrito (Guillén), but is also pursued by Goldilocks (Pugh) and the Three Bears Crime Family who want the star for their own purposes, as well as a mysterious wolf (Moura) who has set his eyes on Puss…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

1) Puss in Boots, the standout character from the Shrek series, returns to the big screen for the first time in more than a decade since his last spin-off movie

2) Antonio Banderas returns to voice the swashbuckling cat himself, and despite the length of time between films he hasn’t lost his passion and spark for the character

3) The film adopts a fresh new animation style that makes it unique within the Shrek universe, and is said to have been inspired by not just Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse but also the legendary anime film Akira as well

4) There are some fun new spins on classic fairy tale characters, including the introduction of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, here reimagined as a tough-as-nails crime family who steal plenty of scenes

5) While there’s no official confirmation of a fifth Shrek film as of writing, this should hold things over until we eventually return to the land of Far Far Away

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is showing in cinemas from Friday 3rd February 2023

WHAT ELSE IS COMING OUT THIS WEEK?

The Whale (dir. Darren Aronofsky)

CAST: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, Samantha Morton, Sathya Sridharan

CREW: Darren Aronofsky (director, producer), Samuel D. Hunter (writer), Jeremy Dawson and Ari Handel (producers), Rob Simonsen (composer), Matthew Libatique (cinematographer), Andrew Weisblum (editor)

PLOT: Charlie (Fraser) is a reclusive, 600-pound English teacher who lives alone in his apartment, with only his nurse and best friend Liz (Chau) as his singular link with the outside world. When he realises that he doesn’t have a lot of time left, he attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter Ellie (Sink), who resents him for abandoning her and her mother (Morton) years earlier…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

1) Brendan Fraser makes an extraordinary comeback with a performance that has already captured the hearts and souls of audiences and critics

2) He is currently the front-runner to win the Best Actor Oscar, which he could well do after winning plenty of other awards so far this season

3) Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky finds interesting ways to adapt Samuel D. Hunter’s play, which takes place entirely in one location and features a revolving door of memorable supporting characters, including Stranger Things breakout Sadie Sink as a touch-to-stomach teen

4) It tackles several incredibly sensitive subjects – including obesity, depression, and even religion – in thoughtful and utterly compelling ways

5) Bring plenty of tissues, because this is the kind of film where you are all but guaranteed to be blubbering by the end of it!

The Whale is showing in cinemas from Friday 3rd February 2023

Knock at the Cabin (dir. M. Night Shyamalan)

CAST: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn, Rupert Grint

CREW: M. Night Shyamalan (director, writer, producer), Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman (writers), Marc Bienstock and Ashwin Rajan (producers), Herdís Stefánsdóttir (composer), Jarin Blaschke and Lowell A. Meyer (cinematographers), Noemi Katharina Preiswerk (editor)

PLOT: Andrew (Groff), Eric (Aldridge), and their adopted daughter Wen (Cui) are enjoying a holiday in a remote woodland cabin, until a group of strangers – led by the enigmatic Leonard (Bautista) – arrives and holds the family hostage. Leonard then gives them an impossible choice: sacrifice one of their own, or the world will be destroyed…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

1) M. Night Shyamalan is back with another mysterious thriller that features everything you enjoy about the filmmaker, from the suspenseful and twist-fuelled storytelling to some rather unusual choices with dialogue and filmmaking techniques

2) Shyamalan adapts Paul Tremblay’s terrifying horror novel The Cabin at the End of the World, with inspiration from a draft script by Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman (who are credited here as co-writers)

3) The cast is led by a soft-spoken Dave Bautista, who sends shivers down your spine as a villainous (or is he?) character with a devastating agenda

4) It earns inclusion points for not only having the central family be a gay couple and their child, but for also casting actual gay actors Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge in said roles (along with scene-stealing moppet Kristen Cui)

5) There’s an apocalyptic twist to this seemingly familiar cabin-in-the-woods chiller, which should set the scene for some wild chaos going on in the background

Knock at the Cabin is showing in cinemas from Friday 3rd February 2023

Saint Omer (dir. Alice Diop)

CAST: Kayije Kagame, Guslagie Malanga, Valérie Dréville, Aurélia Petit, Xavier Maly, Robert Canterella, Salimata Kamate, Thomas de Pourquery, Salih Sigirci, Fatih Sahin, Atillahan Karagedik, Ege Güner, Mustili, Lionel Top

CREW: Alice Diop (director, writer), Amrita David (writer, editor), Marie Ndiaye (writer), Toufik Ayadi and Christophe Barral (producers), Claire Mathon (cinematographer)

PLOT: Rama (Kagame) is a writer and literature professor who travels from Paris to Saint-Omer to observe the trial of Laurence Coly (Malanga), a student who is accused of murder. Intending to write a new version of the Greek myth of Medea based on Coly’s trial, Rama soon finds herself questioning her own life as she learns more and more about the case…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

1) France’s entry for this year’s International Feature Film Oscar (which made the shortlist, but ultimately wasn’t nominated) is a powerful story of mythologised hardship in a very real set of circumstances

2) Documentary filmmaker Alice Diop makes her narrative debut, bringing her naturalist style to a fictional tale that feels like it could have been ripped from the current headlines

3) Diop bases her film on the real-life trial of convicted murderer Fabienne Kabou, which the filmmaker attended and gathered enough information from to present her own version of the crime

4) Regardless of its Oscars snub, it’s already an award-winner, having won the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Venice Film Festival, along with numerous other wins with several critics’ boards

5) The famed Greek myth of Medea is a major reoccurring motif throughout the plot, with Diop incorporating aspects of it as things become intriguingly clearer

Saint Omer is showing in cinemas from Friday 3rd February 2023

EO (dir. Jerzy Skolimowski)

CAST: Sandra Drzymalska, Lorenzo Zurzolo, Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Isabelle Huppert

CREW: Jerzy Skolimowski (director, writer, producer), Ewa Piaskowska (writer, producer) Pawel Mykietyn (composer), Michal Dymek (cinematographer), Agnieszka Glinska (editor)

PLOT: EO, a wide-eyed donkey born into a Polish circus troupe, manages to escape and goes on a journey across modern Europe, where he encounters an eclectic cast of characters including a countess (Huppert) and a Polish football team…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

1) At 84 years old, acclaimed Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski proves that he’s still got it with an Oscar-nominated tale of the relationship between man and nature, as told through the perspective of an adorable donkey

2) The filmmaker takes heavy inspiration from Robert Bresson’s 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar, which similarly features a donkey as the main perspective

3) The donkey itself is an instantly adorable creature, portrayed by no less than six separate donkeys throughout filming

4) On the human side of the cast, be sure to keep an eye out for French movie star Isabelle Huppert in a pivotal role

5) We journey through numerous different places across the atmospheric Polish and Italian countryside, encountering plenty of interesting human characters along the way

EO is showing in cinemas from Friday 3rd February 2023

True Spirit (dir. Sarah Spillane)

CAST: Teagan Croft, Cliff Curtis, Josh Lawson, Anna Paquin, Bridget Webb, Vivien Turner, Stacy Clausen, Todd Lasance

CREW: Sarah Spillane (director, writer), Cathy Randall (writer), Susan Cartsonis, Debra Martin Chase and Andrew Fraser (producers), Danny Ruhlmann (cinematographer), Veronika Jenet (editor)

PLOT: Jessica Watson (Croft), an Australian teen and sailing enthusiast, sets out to accomplish the impossible and become the youngest person in the world to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the globe…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

1) The inspiring true story of Jessica Watson, the Australian sailor who won the hearts of a nation when she became the youngest person in history to sail around the world by herself

2) Teagan Croft, known to superhero fans as the live-action incarnation of Raven in DC’s Titans, plays the role with a commanding presence and a heroic optimism

3) She’s supported by strong turns from Cliff Curtis, as Watson’s sailing coach and mentor, and Oscar-winner Anna Paquin as her mother

4) There are some intense sequences set during Watson’s history-making ocean voyage, which will leave you on the edge of your seat (if you’re not already leaning forward due to the inevitable seasickness!)

5) It’s the kind of uplifting tale of perseverance, family values, and following your dreams that a lot of us need to have in our lives right now

True Spirit is streaming exclusively on Netflix from Friday 3rd February 2023

She Is Love (dir. Jamie Adams)

CAST: Haley Bennett, Sam Riley, Marisa Abela, Michael Smiley, Craig Russell, Rosa Robson

CREW: Jamie Adams (director, writer), Sarah Gabriel, Marc Goldberg and Christian Mercuri (producers), Chris Hyson (composer), Jan Vrhovnik (cinematographer), Amy Pettipher and Martina Zamolo (editors)

PLOT: At a country hotel in Cornwall, Patricia (Bennett) arrives to stay, but unexpectedly discovers that it is being managed by her ex-husband Idris (Riley) and his new girlfriend Louise (Abela). Despite the initial awkwardness between them, Patricia and Idris begin to reconnect over the course of a long night together…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

1) Filmmaker Jamie Adams presents the latest in his unique trend of semi-improvised dramas, after previously making a splash with films like Wild Mountain Poets and Balance, Not Symmetry

2) Haley Bennett (most recently seen as a loathsome racist in Till) shares strong romantic chemistry with her co-star Sam Riley, which really makes you root for them to end up together

3) The beautiful Cornish countryside provides a compelling backdrop for this romantic tale, which largely takes place in one location

4) Adams’ loose style allows his actors more freedom in expressing their emotions, so expect some surprises with what his performers here come up with

5) It’s a tough but ultimately rewarding story of love that easily makes its way into the viewers’ hearts

She Is Love is showing in cinemas, and will be available to rent/buy on most digital platforms, from Friday 3rd February 2023

You Resemble Me (dir. Dina Amer)

CAST: Lorenza Grimaudo, Ilonna Grimaudo, Mouna Soualem, Sabrina Ouazani, Dina Amer, Alexandre Gonin, Grégoire Colin, Zinedine Soualem, Agnès de Tyssandier, Sana Sri

CREW: Dina Amer (director, writer, producer), Omar Mullick (writer, cinematographer), Karim Amer and Elizabeth Woodward (producers), Danny Bensi, Chase Deso and Saunder Jurriaans (composers), Keiko Deguchi and Jake Roberts (editors)

PLOT: As a child, Hasna Ait Boulahcen (L. Grimaudo) is torn apart from her family when social services step in. As an adult, Hasna (Soualem) struggles to find her identity, which eventually leads to a devastating choice that shocks the world…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

1) Dina Amer’s confident directorial debut tells the tragic story of Hasna Air Boulahcen, who in 2015 sent shockwaves around the world for her (since proven false) involvement in a Paris suicide bombing

2) Amer, a former journalist, became drawn to Boulahcen’s story whilst covering the 2015 attack for Vice News, and even rejected an offer from a major studio to maintain her experimental vision that is present in the final film

3) The first-time filmmaker is aided by a slew of starry executive producers, including Oscar-winners Spike Lee, Riz Ahmed, and Spike Jonze

4) While it does not excuse Boulahcen’s choices, the film explores the brutal realities of youth radicalisation that the central figure ultimately fell victim to

5) Ultimately, it is a tragic tale of sisterhood, family, and the universal struggle to find where exactly we all belong

You Resemble Me is showing in cinemas from Friday 3rd February 2023

House Party (dir. Calmatic Will)

CAST: Jacob Latimore, Tosin Cole, DC Young Fly, Karen Obilom, Melvin Gregg, Rotimi, Allen Maldonado, Shakira Ja’nai Paye, Andrew Santino, Tamera Kissen, Michael C. Bradford, Bill Bellamy, Kid Cudi, LeBron James, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Tinashe, Lena Waithe, Anthony Davis

CREW: Calmatic Will (director), Stephen Glover and Jamal Olori (writers), Maverick Carter and LeBron James (producers), Andrew Huebscher (cinematographer), Matthew Barbato (editor)

PLOT: Kevin (Latimore) and Damon (Tosin Cole) are two best friends who aspire to be successful club promoters, but are constantly down on their luck and in need of a huge windfall to keep a roof over their heads, especially when they are fired from their cleaning job. However, an opportunity arises when they gain access to a large mansion belonging to none other than LeBron James (as himself), and they decide to throw the mother of all parties there – where things inevitably go from bad to worse…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

1) The cult classic 90s comedy gets a 21st century remix, with plenty of zany shenanigans and hilarious twists to keep audiences in constant fits of laughter

2) NBA superstar LeBron James is not only a producer on the film, but he also features as himself in a vital cameo role (which means that this movie must surely be in the Space Jam universe!)

3) There are cameos aplenty from some of the most recognisable artists out there, including Snoop Dogg, Kid Cudi and Lil Wayne, among quite a few others

4) The soundtrack is packed to the gills with fresh beats and throwback classics that’ll have you dancing like there’s no tomorrow

5) Grammy-winning music video director Calmatic Will makes his feature debut here, while Atlanta fans may have spotted that Stephen Glover and Jamal Olori, who have contributed to that show, provide this film’s script

House Party will be available to buy on digital platforms from Monday 30th February 2023

Roman Holiday (dir. William Wyler) [RE-RELEASE]

CAST: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert, Hartley Power, Harcourt Williams, Margaret Rawlings, Tullio Carminati, Paolo Carlini, Claudio Ermelli, Paola Borboni, Laura Solari, Alfredo Rizzo, Gorella Gori, Hans Hinrich

CREW: William Wyler (director, producer), John Dighton, Ian McLellan Hunter and Dalton Trumbo (writers), Georges Auric (composer), Henri Alekan and Frank F. Planer (cinematographers), Robert Swink (editor)

PLOT: Whilst in Rome to promote her country’s goodwill, Princess Ann (Hepburn) – who has grown bored and tireless of her sheltered life – escapes her minders and sets out to enjoy the city. Along the way, she meets and falls for American reporter Joe (Peck), who is in town to cover the Princess’s visit…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

1) The classic romance is back in cinemas to mark its 70th anniversary, giving new audiences the chance to experience its charms for the first time

2) Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn – who won her only acting Oscar for this film – are a charming on-screen couple whose connection remains timeless even to this day

3) It’s one of the most beloved films from legendary director William Wyler, who was nominated a record twelve times for the Best Director Oscar (including for this film), and won three times for films which also won Best Picture (including the epic Ben-Hur)

4) The film is one of the first examples of the “Hollywood on the Tiber” trend, which covered a period between the 1950s and 1960s when major film productions shot in and around the Italian capital of Rome, bringing a lot of exposure to the nearby Cinecittà film studio, the largest in Europe

5) If nothing else, it’ll make anyone want to visit Rome, which is one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in the world

Roman Holiday is showing in cinemas from Friday 3rd February 2023

 

That’s about it for this week – thanks for joining us, and be sure to come back next week for a whole new set of movies to work up an appetite for!

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