Friday, March 07, 2014

Weekly Film Round-up – Friday 7th March, 2014

Film of the Week: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Total films seen so far this year: 78
Films seen in the last week: The Lunchbox, Before The Winter Chill, Calvary, Zero Charisma, The Red Robin, Metalhead, Black Angel (short, not counted in total), Love Is The Perfect Crime, Proxy, Unforgiven, A Street in Palermo, Video Nasties: Draconian Days, The Scribbler, Mary Queen of Scots, Concussion, 300: Rise of an Empire, Bullet, L'Eclisse, The Invisible War, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me) 

There are six new films out this week (seven if you count Bollywood releases, nine if you also count rereleases), though two of them were not screened for press, so I haven't seen either Paranoia or Escape From Planet Earth. Also, it's worth noting that The Invisible War isn't actually released until Tuesday. Anyway, of those six new films, three of them have made it into the top ten. They include: Wes Anderson's wonderful The Grand Budapest Hotel (see review link below), harrowing documentary The Invisible War, about rape in the US military and 300: Rise of an Empire (aka 302: 300 On Boats), the sequel to Zack Snyder's 2007 hit 300. A full round-up of this week's releases appears after the Top Ten below.

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel
2) Inside Llewyn Davis
3) The Wolf of Wall Street
4) Stranger By The Lake
5) American Hustle
6) Dallas Buyers Club
7) The Lego Movie
8) The Invisible War
9) Her
10) 300: Rise of an Empire

This week's new releases in full:

The Grand Budapest Hotel (five stars)

Wes Anderson's wonderful new comedy. Review on ViewLondon here.

300: Rise of an Empire (three stars)

Reviewed for The List. Link to follow. Short version: a lot more fun than the first film, thanks to a fantastically bonkers performance from Eva Green. Only slight problem: you end up siding with Eva Green over the rather boring Greeks. Also, more films should open with a shot of a dead Gerard Butler, if you ask me.

Bullet (one star)

Trashy Danny Trejo action thriller, will be on DVD by Monday. Reviewed for The List here.

The Invisible War (four stars)

Powerfully emotional, RAGE-inducing documentary exposing the epidemic of rape in the military. Director Kirby Dick makes a strong point early on by including a montage of heart-breaking accounts of rape from dozens of interviewed victims and establishing a grim pattern: the victim involved was proud to wear the uniform, thought of her fellow soldiers / Marines / coast guards etc as brothers, was raped by a fellow officer or superior and then was somehow blamed for the attack while the assailant went unpunished. (On at least two occasions, a victim incredulously states that they were charged with adultery, even though they weren't married and their rapist was). The statistics are genuinely shocking (some 20% of female veterans have reported being raped while enlisted and that's just the ones who report it) and the accounts are deeply upsetting, not least because it's obvious just how deeply the experience has affected their lives (many of the women experience PTSD on a higher level than soldiers returning from Iraq). Indeed, the only real problem with the film is that it doesn't seek to address the causes, though it does expose the jaw-dropping inadequacy of the “rape prevention” strategies currently employed by the military, in scenes that would be laugh-out-loud funny if they weren't so utterly depressing.

Paranoia (not seen)

Escape From Planet Earth (not seen)

Normally at this point I would do the time-honoured plea to See Smaller Films First (#SSFF), but the only applicable release this week is The Invisible War, which isn't out until Tuesday anyway. So I'll save that for next week.


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