There are four new releases hitting cinemas on Thursday Australia wide. Unfortunately, the long-delayed and highly-anticipated 50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, is only getting a Melbourne release. Still, here in Sydney, we have John Carter, Disney's big-budget adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's classic novel series, Norwegian heist thriller and black comedy, Headhunters and Coriolanius, Ralph Fiennes' directorial debut.
50/50 - Inspired by a true story. 50/50 is an original story about friendship, love, survival and finding humour in unlikely places. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen star as best friends who lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis in this new comedy directed by Jonathan Levine from a script by Will Reiser. 50/50 is the story of a guy's transformative and, yes, sometimes funny journey to health - drawing its emotional core from Will Reiser's own experiences with cancer and reminding us that friendship and love, no matter what bizarre turns they take, are the greatest healers. Well-received in the States (months ago) and nominated for writing (Reiser) and acting (Gordon-Levitt) at the Golden Globes. Should be worth a look, I imagine.
John Carter - From filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes John Carter - an action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). John Carter is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realises that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands. I found the film to be a confusing collaboration of familiar elements, not particularly engaging, and thin on character. Disappointing. Still, there have been more positive reviews than negative ones, so at this point I am in the minority.
Headhunters - Norwegian thriller directed by Morten Tyldum and adapted from the best-selling 2008 novel by internationally acclaimed crime novelist, Jo Nesbo. The central character is Roger Brown (Askel Hennie, fantastic), a successful Headhunter (big business recruiter who tries to poach from rival companies), who is paying for his beautiful house, funding his luxurious lifestyle and spoiling his stunning wife, Diana (Synnove Macody Lund), by stealing expensive art on the side. He has an accomplice, and through his recruitment position, selects viable candidates by asking them questions to judge their asset value and finding out if there are any obstacles (like a housekeeper or a dog) that could foil his plans. He has a list of rules. 1. Only ever steal from someone you know everything about. It is this rule that results in Roger landing in a tight spot. Trust me, the less you know about this film, the better. Find out more in my review (linked).
Coriolanus - Caius Martius 'Coriolanus' (Ralph Fiennes), a revered and feared Roman General is at odds with the city of Rome and his fellow citizens. Pushed by his controlling and ambitious mother Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave) to seek the exalted and powerful position of Consul, he is loath to ingratiate himself with the masses whose votes he needs in order to secure the office. When the public refuses to support him, Coriolanus's anger prompts a riot that culminates in his expulsion from Rome. The banished hero then allies himself with his sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city.
Weekly Recommendation: Headhunters is essential. It is a cracker. There have been very positive reviews for both 50/50 and Coriolanus, so depending on the city you live in, they should both be worth a look. John Carter is the interesting one. I imagine plenty of people will line up to see it, and that is understandable, but I find it hard to recommend.