Thursday, February 24, 2011

Releases: 24/02

Opening this week we have four films: The Way Back, Peter Weir's long anticipated new film, I Am Number Four, directed by D.J Caruso, Season of the Witch, Nicholas Cage's newest project, and Conviction, starring Hillary Swank and Sam Rockwell.

Conviction premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. After viewing a trailer, and seeing Hillary Swank headlined in another award-baiting role, I dismissed Conviction as overblown Oscar bait. The Academy didn't bite, leaving leading chance Sam Rockwell off the ballot. With a strong cast also including Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver and Peter Gallagher, the film follows the true story of Betty Anne Waters (Swank) who devotes 18 years of her life to have the murder conviction of her older brother, Kenny (Rockwell), overturned. Convinced of his innocence, the Massachusetts wife and mother of two puts herself through college and law school in a quest for the truth that will exonerate him. Could be worth checking out. I expect the performances to be quality, but reports are that the film is less compelling than it should be and plagued by legal inaccuracies and temporal exaggerations.  

 - Conviction is playing at Event Cinemas, George Street and Palace Norton/Verona.

I have no idea what I Am Number Four is about, but it sounds dreadful. It is the first in a series of adaptations from the novels of Pittacus Lore. Directed by D.J Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia) this 'action-packed thriller' follows an extraordinary young man, John Smith (Alex Pettyfer), who is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemy set to destroy him. He changes his identity and stays undetected with the help of his Guardian, Henry (Timothy Olyphant). It's not receiving very good reviews (32% on Rotten Tomatoes) and it sounds familiar and predictable. I think it's a wise decision to give it a miss. John Smith (??)

 - I Am Number Four is playing at Event Cinemas George Street.

Other current releases to steer clear of are Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (9% on RT), and Season of the Witch (4% on RT). The former is also playing at Event Cinemas George Street (opening last week I believe), while I haven't found any cinema with enough guts to play the latter so far.

The Way Back is Academy Award nominee Peter Weir's highly anticipated new film. Weir has great films like Master and Commander, The Truman Show, Dead Poet's Society and Gallipoli to his name. The films stars Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris and Colin Farrell as prisoners of a Soviet Union labor camp, who, along with four others, flee from their Siberian Gulag and bagin a treacherous journey across thousands of miles of hostile terrain. Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones) co-stars. It sounds like a pretty inspirational story of human endeavor. I'll be checking it out this weekend, and it looks to be the only new release really worth seeing.

 - The Way Back is playing at Event Cinemas George Street and Dendy Newtown.

Also, with the Academy Awards drawing near, if you haven't yet seen prominent nominees The King's Speech, True Grit, Black Swan, The Fighter, 127 Hours, Rabbit Hole or Another Year you are missing out and should certainly try and find a cinema playing them over the weekend. Happy viewing! 

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