Monday, March 18, 2013

New Releases (21/03/13)

Opening in cinemas this week we have A Good Day to Die Hard, Jack The Giant Slayer, Hara Kiri: Death of a Samurai, The Loneliest Planet and Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God - Oscar winning filmmaker Alex Gibney examines the abuse of power in the Catholic Church through the story of four courageous deaf men, who in the first known case of public protest, set out to expose the priest who abused them. Through their case the film follows a cover-up that winds its way from the row houses of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, through the bare ruined choirs of Ireland's churches, all the way to the highest office of the Vatican.

A Good Day to Die Hard: Bruce Willis reprises the lead role of John McClane, who travels to Russia to help his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), out of prison, but is soon caught in the crossfire of a terrorist plot.

Jack the Giant Slayer: Tells the story of an ancient war that is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants. Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing the young man, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) into the battle of his life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom, its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend-and gets the chance to become a legend himself. Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men), working with a team of screenwriters (including regular collaborator Christopher McQuarrie, Jack Reacher), brings to the screen a new mammoth-budget 3D version of the fairy tales ‘Jack the Giant Killer’ and ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. With battle sequences too violent for the little kids and a story far too silly to keep adults interested; Jack the Giant Slayer is likely to suffer from no-mans-land marketing odds.

The Loneliest Planet - Alex and Nica are young, in love and engaged to be married. The summer before their wedding, they are backpacking in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. The couple hire a local guide to lead them on a camping trek, and the three set off into a stunning wilderness, a landscape that is both overwhelmingly open and frighteningly closed. Walking for hours, they trade anecdotes, play games to pass the time of moving through space. And then, a momentary misstep, a gesture that takes only two or three seconds, a gesture that's over almost as soon as it begins. But once it is done, it can't be undone. Once it is done, it threatens to undo everything the couple believed about each other and about themselves.

Hara Kiri: Death of A Samurai: From visionary auteur Takashi Miike comes the story of a mysterious samurai who arrives at the doorstep of his feudal lord, requesting an honorable death by ritual suicide in his courtyard. The lord threatens him with the brutal tale of Motome, a desperate young ronin who made a similar request with ulterior motives, only to meet a grisly end. Undaunted, the samurai begins to tell a story of his own, with an ending no one could see coming. With stunning cinematography and gripping performances, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai is a thrilling exploration of revenge, honor, and individuality in the face of oppressive power.

Weekly Recommendation: From what I have heard about Mea Maxima Culpa it seems to be the pick of the week. The subject matter is harrowing, the injustice addressed sure to be maddening, but I take it to be essential viewing. The Loneliest Planet has also received largely positive reviews, and if featured amongst several Top 10 lists from 2012. Hara Kiri is beautiful visually, and often distressingly moving, but it is far less exciting than Takashi Miike's best work. Jack the Giant Slayer is not recommended viewing, and judging from the reaction to the new Die Hard, I wager you can skip that one too. 

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