Justice (15) 105min Nicolas Cage, January Jones and Guy Pearce star in vigilante revenge thriller. General Release from Fri 18 Nov. Snowtown (18) 119min Indie Aussie crime drama about a father- son style relationship between a 16- year-old boy and a notorious serial killer. Selected release from Fri 18 Nov. This Our Still Life (U) 57min Andrew Kötting directs the follow up to his 1996 doc Gallivant, taking up once again with his grandmother and daughter, who has learning difficulties. Selected release from Fri 18 Nov. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (12A) 117min Penultimate instalment of the lusty teen vampire series. See review at list.co.uk. General release from Fri 18 Nov. My Week with Marilyn (tbc) 101min Simon Curtis directs Michelle Williams as the titular Ms Monroe, with Kenneth Branagh, Dougray Scott and Judi Dench providing support. See review at list.co.uk. General release from Fri 25 Nov. Resistance (PG) 92min ●●●●● WWII-set thriller, in which the female inhabitants of a Welsh village awaken to discover all their husbands are missing. See review at list.co.uk. Selected release from Fri 25 Nov. Revenge: A Love Story (18) 90min Violent thriller from Hong Kong, about a man seeking vengeance after his girlfriend is assaulted. Selected release from Fri 25 Nov. Take Shelter (15) 120min A young husband and father questions his sanity after a series of apocalyptic visions. See Michael Shannon profile, page 69, and review at list.co.uk. Selected release from Fri 25 Nov. We Were Here (tbc) 103min Documentary exploring the impact of AIDS on San Francisco’s gay community since the 1970s. Selected release from Fri 25 Nov. Camp Hell (Camp Hope) (tbc) 99min Christianity-themed thriller with a cameo spot from Jesse 74 THE LIST 17 Nov–15 Dec 2011
DRAMA 50/50 (15) 100min ●●●●●
Not since Benigni won Oscars for Life is Beautiful – a holocaust movie played for laughs – has there been a comedy with such a seemingly poor premise that scores so high on the laughter scale. 50/50 is a comedy about cancer, yet it manages to be one of the funniest and most human films of the year. The film is inspired by a true story: scriptwriter Will Reiser was himself
diagnosed with a spinal tumour, and in the film, his real life best mate Seth Rogen stars as the funny loveable best friend. Reiser is represented on-screen as Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a charming rogue who runs the gamut of emotions from happiness to despair. In his darkest days he discovers that his girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) is playing away, his mother (a pitch perfect Anjelica Huston) wants to smother him and his dad has dementia. Luckily Adam has a trainee therapist with whom to pour out all his emotions in the shape of Anna Kendrick’s Katherine. Whereas most movies about illness are morbid affairs, The Wackness director Jonathan Levine manages to treat cancer with the respect it deserves whilst also showing the remarkable ability of humans to find laughter in the most heinous of circumstances. (Kaleem Aftab) ■ General release from Fri 25 Nov.
Eisenberg. Selected release from Fri 2 Dec. Happy Feet Two 3D (tbc) 105min More unbelievably cute dancing penguin capers, with the voices of Elijah Wood, Brad Pitt and Robin Williams. General release from Fri 2 Dec. Hugo 3D (tbc) 127min Martin Scorsese makes his first foray into the world of children’s movies (Shark Tale didn’t count). See review at list.co.uk. General release from Fri 2 Dec. The Last Waltz (U) 117min Scorsese again, this time a reissue of his 1978 documentary on The Band’s final concert. See review at list.co.uk. Selected release from Fri 2 Dec.
The Big Year (PG) 100min All-star comedy cast – Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson – compete in prestigious bird-watching competition. General release from Fri 2 Dec. Mysteries of Lisbon (PG) 272min Sprawling dramatic TV series based on the novel by Camilo Castelo Branco, condensed into one sitting. Selected release from Fri 9 Dec. New Year’s Eve (tbc) tbcmin Garry Marshall follows up Valentine’s Day with another star-studded series of romantic vignettes. General release from Thu 8 Dec. Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (18) 90min Third instalment of the likeable Cheech & Chong-style stoner adventurers. General release from Fri 9 Dec.
HORROR THE THING (15) 103min ●●●●●
Despite confusingly sharing the same title, debutante director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr’s film is a prequel rather than a remake of John Carpenter’s 1981 horror classic, (itself a remake of Howard Hawks’ 1951 version of John W Campbell Jr’s short story Who Goes There?). Describing the futile attempts of an Antarctic camp to contain a bloodthirsty alien which imitates human life-forms is a neat premise, but the latest Thing never fulfils its derivative promise. Opening as Norwegian researchers discover a huge flying saucer under the ice,
Heijingen Jr’s film follows Carpenter’s example fairly closely, right down to using the same atmospheric Morricone-penned score. Graduate student Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and her anonymous assistants take the frozen alien back to their base, only to have their first contact celebrations interrupted as the Thing starts ripping through and replacing the base’s inhabitants.
Universal were right to imagine that Carpenter’s concept had more mileage in it, but any initial enthusiasm for the same giddy mix of flamethrowers, parkas, huskies and snowbound tension is quickly replaced by derision at slack dialogue, vacuous characters and, crucially, a Thing that doesn’t operate as Carpenter’s did, replacing the whodunnit structure with lashings of shape-shifting gore. This Thing is a poor imitation of Carpenter’s original. (Eddie Harrison) ■ General release from Fri 2 Dec.