There are quite a few new films hitting cinemas across Australia on May 3, but after the fantastic week that has just passed, this one pales in comparison. Hitting cinemas are The Five-Year Engagement, Act of Valor, Beauty and the Beast 3D, The King of Devil's Island, The Woman in the Fifth, Delicacy and W.E.
Many of these films - the latter four - will not be getting a wide release. I honestly don't know where The Woman in the Fifth and W.E will be playing. For a chance to win a double pass to Delicacy, I have a giveaway running until midnight tonight. Email your name, mailing details, and the title of your favourite Audrey Tautou movie to email@example.com with 'Delicacy' as the subject.
Summaries are courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes.
The Five-Year Engagement - The director and writer/star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall re-team for this irreverent comedy. Beginning where most romantic comedies end, the new film from director Nicholas Stoller and producers Judd Apatow and Rodney Rothman, looks at what happens when an engaged couple, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, keeps getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle. This has a great comedy pedigree and should be worth a look for the charms of the two leads.
Beauty and the Beast 3D - The Walt Disney Studio's magical classic returns to the big screen in Disney Digital 3D, introducing a whole new generation to the Disney classic with stunning new 3D imagery. The film captures the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright and beautiful young woman whose taken prisoner by a hideous beast in his castle. Despite her precarious situation, Belle befriends the castle's enchanted staff - a teapot, a candelabra and a mantel clock, among others - and ultimately learns to see beneath the Beast's exterior to discover the heart and soul of a prince. One of the best Disney animations.
Act of Valor - A blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty U.S Navy SEALs in a film like no other in Hollywood's history - a fictionalised account of real-life Navy SEAL operations. When a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA operate unexpectedly results in the discovery of an imminent, terrifying global threat, an elite team of highly trained Navy SEALs must embark on a secret operation, the outcome of which will determine the fate of the world. I don't think it is very good - cliched script, stilted acting, and a jingoistic attitude that ignores the complexities of war - and one I'll be content to miss.
King of Devil's Island - This true story of the infamous Bastoy Boys Home correctional facility in Norway begins with the arrival of seventeen-year-old Erling, a rumoured murderer. He immediately clashes with island facility's governor (Stellan Skarsgard), who believes manual labour, rigid discipline, and harsh punishment are the only methods that can turn boys into honourable members of society. Refusing to accept the constant abuse, Erling slowly rouses the rest of the boys out of their resigned existence, and encourages them to fight. When tragedy finally falls at the hand of the sadistic dorm master, Erling leads his comrades in a courageous and vicious rebellion that will bring them head to head with the Norwegian army. It has a terrific finale, and is effectively bleak and brutal, but feels much longer than its actual running time due to a poor pacing in the middle. Still, worth a look.
The Woman in the Fifth - An American writer moves to Paris to be closer to his daughter and finds himself falling immediately on hard times. Befriended by a French Arab who offers him a job, he finds himself employed as a security guard as he struggles to write his second novel and see his daughter. Meanwhile his personal life takes a turn as he becomes involved with a beguiling woman. Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas star. It has received warmly positive reviews, but I know nothing about it.
Delicacy - Audrey Tautou is Nathalie, a beautiful, happy and successful Parisian business executive who finds herself suddenly widowed after a three-year marriage to her soul mate. To cope with her loss, she buries herself and her emotions in her work to the dismay of her friends, family and co-workers. One day, inexplicably, her zest for life and love is rekindled by a most unlikely source, her seemingly unexceptional, gauche and average-looking office subordinate, Markus (Francois Damiens). At first stunned by Nathalie's unexpected attention, Markus comes to gradually believe in her feelings and shifts into romantic high gear. As their relationship goes from awkward to genuinely loving, Nathalie and Markus will have to overcome a host of obstacles including everyone else's judgement perceptions as well as their own self-doubts.
W.E - Tells the story of two fragile but determined women - Wally Winthrop and Wallis Simpson - separated by more than six decades. In 1998, lonely New Yorker Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate love story: King Edward VIII's abdication of the British throne for the woman he loved, American divorcee Wallis Simpson. But Wally's research reveals that the couple's life together was not as perfect as she thought. Weaving back and forth in time, W.E intertwines Wally's journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward (James D'Arcy), from the glamorous early days of their romance to the slow unraveling of their lives in the decades that followed.
Weekly Recommendation: The King of Devil's Island and The Five-Year Engagement (watching tomorrow evening) will be the only two I will have seen come Thursday. The former is worth a look, and I expected the latter will be entertaining. Beauty and the Beast fans would not be doing themselves a disservice by making the effort to see it on the big screen, either. But, my recommendations this week are all from last week. If you haven't yet seen The Avengers, you should do so immediately. The same goes for Wish You Were Here, an excellent Australian drama, and Cafe De Flore.