There are five new films hitting Australian cinemas this week - Dark Shadows, Tim Burton's new flick starring Johnny Depp, Safe, the new new Jason Statham action flick, Iron Sky, which is a Mel Brooks satire wanna-be featuring Nazis in space, Trishna, directed by Michael Winterbottom (The Trip) and Jiro Dreams of Sushi, an award-winning documentary. Again, not looking like a great week.
I have so far seen Iron Sky - and a mini review will be posted below - but by the end of the week I will have seen Trishna and Safe, so stay tuned for feature length reviews of them, as well as a guest review of Dark Shadows, a screening of which I was unable to attend. Yesterday I posted a trailer for Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Check it out here.
Summaries courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes.
Dark Shadows - Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet - or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful, and an inveterate playboy...until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets.
Safe - A second-rate cage fighter on the mixed martial arts circuit, Luke Wright lives a numbing life of routine beatings and chump change...until the day he blows a rigged fight. Wanting to make an example of him, the Russian mafia murders his family and banishes him from his life forever, leaving Luke to wander the streets of New York destitute, haunted by guilt, and tormented by the knowledge that he will always be watched, and anyone he develops a relationship with will also be killed. But when he witnesses a frightened twelve-year-old Chinese girl, Mei, being pursued by the same gangsters who killed his wife, Luke impulsively jumps to action...and straight into the heart of a deadly high-stakes war.
Iron Sky - In the last moments of WWII, a secret Nazi space program evaded destruction by fleeing to the Dark Side of the Moon. During 70 years of utter secrecy, the Nazis construct a gigantic Swastika-shaped space fortress. Come 2018, with Sarah Palin running the United States of America and sending astronauts, one being James Washington (Christopher Kirby), to the moon to promote her campaign, the elite moon-dwelling super power hungry for revenge, are awoken. The Moon Fuhrer (Udo Kier) decides the moment of retaking the Earth has arrived sooner than expected. Two Nazi officers, ruthless Klaus Adler (Gotz Otto) and idealistic Renate Richter (Julia Dietze), travel to Earth to prepare the invasion. It sounds ridiculous, but it could have been fun, in a Mel Brooks-satire sort of way. For a film that tries so hard to poke fun at Nazis, space wars, American politics and everything in between, it is embarrassingly and frustratingly unfunny. Yes, it is unashamedly B-grade and never for a minute serious, but honestly, it is beyond words. Some of the effects were very decent, and there is great use of Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, but that's about it. Not recommended. ★ (D+)
Trishna - Self-effacing British auteur Michael Winterbottom sets his unique spin on Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles against a contemporary Indian backdrop. Freida Pinto stars as the titular Trishna, a young woman who is seduced by the wealthy son of a property developer. As the romance develops, their relationship also becomes increasingly sordid and volatile.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi - The story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world's greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro's sushi bar. At the heart of this story is Jiro's relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, the worthy heir to Jiro's legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father's shadow.
Weekly Recommendation: Trishna and Jiro Dreams of Sushi are likely the best of the bunch, but these are far from universally appealing and only have a very limited release. Dark Shadows will attract Tim Burton fans, and Safe will attract Jason Statham/action fans, but again, I'm going with The Avengers, Cafe De Flore and Wish You Were Here.