There are four new films opening in Australian cinemas on Thursday 25/08: Horrible Bosses, Priest, Beginners and The Guard. Luckily for me, I have already seen three of these films, though I suspect I'll make time to see The Guard again. It is very funny. As for Priest, you couldn't pay me to see that. Well, actually, that's not true!
Horrible Bosses - For Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day), the only thing that would make the daily grind more tolerable would be to grind their intolerable bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Anniston) into dust. Quitting is not an option, so, with the benefit of a few-too-many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con (Jamie Foxx), the three friends devise a convoluted and seemingly foolproof plan to rid themselves of their respective employers...permanently. The saving grace for this film, which becomes contrived and desperate in the second half, is the cast. Charlie Day is especially good. It's a very funny premise, but the screenplay doesn't do it justice unfortunately.
Priest - This western-fused post-apocayptic thriller is set in an alternate world - one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Paul Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece (Lily Collins) is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his scared vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. This looks bad, and judging by the 18% score on Rotten Tomatoes, I'm guessing it is. It's also in 3D, which makes it a super waste of money.
Beginners - Beginners imaginatively explores the hilarity, confusion and surprises of love through the evolving consciousness of Oliver (Ewan McGregor). Oliver meets the irreverent and unpredictable Anna (Melanie Laurent) only months after his father Hal (Christopher Plummer) has passed away. This new love flood Oliver with memories of his father who - following 44 years of marriage - came out at age 75 to live a full, energised, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life. The upheaval's of Hal's new honesty brought father and son closer than they'd ever been able to be, with Oliver hoping to love Anna with the bravery and hope that his father taught him. This is a sweet, heartwarming and very personal film from Mike Mills with fine performances, and a really cute dog. Consisting of a series of vignettes, it rarely deviated from the same tone and was a little indulgent, but remains a subtle, poignant portrait of love in all its forms.
The Guard - A comedic fish-out-of-water tale of murder, blackmail, drug trafficking and rural police corruption. Two policemen must join forces to take on an international drug-smuggling gang - one, an unorthodox Irish policeman and the other, a strait-laced FBI Agent. Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) is an eccentric small-town cop with a confrontational and crass personality and a subversive sense of humour. He is a maverick with his own moral code. When Boyle's small town becomes key to a large drug trafficking investigation, he is forced to at least feign interest when dealing with the humourless FBI Agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) assigned to the case. Brendan Gleeson is exceptional, and this is probably the funniest film I have seen so far this year. If you liked In Bruges, then you will love The Guard. The writer/directors are siblings.
Weekly Recommendation: The Guard is funny. So is Horrible Bosses. If I were to choose one it would definitely be The Guard. It is much smarter, and is more worthy of your time and money. If you're in the mood for a heartfelt romantic comedy/drama, then Beginners is also an excellent way to turn.