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28 October 2014

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New releases: Friday 9 February

This week's offerings include a young Hannibal Lecter in an early years prequel, Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore trying to hit the high notes in a music biz-inspired romcom, and Christopher 'Spinal Tap' Guest's savage Oscar satire...

The Big Picture: For Your Consideration

Don't expect Academy nods for this uproarious satire of Hollywood awards ceremony fever (writes Jamie Russell).

Mock-doc helmer Christopher Guest returns with the story of a terrible little movie called Home For Purim that suddenly gains heat after an Internet gossip site claims its leading lady (Catherine O'Hara) is going to be nominated for a gong.

Pretty soon everyone involved is falling over themselves in a bid to rub shoulders with Oscar.

Despite ditching their trademark "mockumentary" style, Guest and co-writer Eugene Levy haven't lost their comic smarts.

Marmite factor

The minute Oscar's name is mentioned, O'Hara gets nipped and tucked into drag queen territory and the studio decides to "tone down" the movie's Jewish theme, re-branding it Home For Thanksgiving.

For Your Consideration
Ricky's an oily studio suit this time

As Ricky Gervais's repugnant studio suit delicately explains: "I don't go around going 'I'm a gentile, look at my foreskin!' Do I?"

True, Hollywood's not difficult to caricature, but For Your Consideration is more than willing to savage the hand that feeds it.

Like all of Guest's oddball outings this suffers from the Marmite factor - you'll either love it or hate it. But if you've never tasted his unique brand of straight-faced mockery before, this definitely deserves your consideration.

Oscars come to Rich Mix in London's East End >
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also out:

Hugh Grant plays a has-been pop idol who finds new inspiration in the shape of Drew Barrymore in Music And Lyrics. It's yet another romantic comedy by Marc 'Two Weeks Notice' Lawrence and the filmic equivalent of elevator music, ie inoffensively bland and, at the same time, maddeningly monotonous. In short: flat like Milli Vanilli.

How did Hannibal Lecter become a liver-munching serial killer? Prequel Hannibal Rising attempts to explain, and while you may not be convinced, you'll certainly be grossed-out. Orphaned in Eastern Europe at the end of WWII, the traumatised teenager (Gaspard Ulliel) goes after the war criminals who did unspeakably nasty things to his sister. Gong Li and Rhys Ifans co-star in this pale companion piece to The Silence Of The Lambs.


Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web: not as good as Babe

Terrific, radiant, humble - these words sadly do not apply to Charlotte's Web, a brash adaptation of EB White's children's classic. A book that gently introduced generations of kids to the natural cycle of life and death becomes a CG-heavy caper unlikely to move even the wimpiest of ankle-biters with its Babe-style story of a spider who uses her enlarged vocabulary to save a plucky porker's bacon.

There's something fishy going on in The Reef. Freddie Prinze Jr is Pi, an orphaned fish who escapes his polluted home to find a new life and true love with piscine hotty Cordelia (Evan Rachel Wood). Before they can get down to making caviar, a nasty shark comes along to spoil things. Sound familiar? It ought to. This is a cheap, poor quality knockoff of Finding Nemo and Shark Tale.


Climates (Iklimer) is an impressively assured study of a painful break-up, written and directed by Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Patrick Swayze's having the time of his life (again) in a 20th anniversary re-release of Dirty Dancing.

Another reissue sashays into cinemas, this time the mid-50s American musical Carmen Jones, featuring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte.

And is it a bird? Is it a train? No, it's another jazz superman in My Name Is Albert Ayler, a document of the life and legacy of the musician who pioneered the 'freeform' sound.


video Trailer: Music And Lyrics >
video Trailer: Hannibal Rising >
video Trailer: Charlotte's Web >
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last updated: 09/02/07
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