Pitch Perfect 2 is probably the biggest movie of the month putting more bums on seats than the big hitters Mad Max and Tomorrowland, but what is my Movie of the Month, the contenders are:
Far from the Madding Crowd – A Thomas Hardy adaptation directed by a founder of the Dogme 95 movement (Thomas Vinterberg) is certain to be dark and heavy. It is therefore surprising how easy going and enjoyable it is, This is largely thanks to great performances from Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts and Michael Sheen.
Unfriended (known as Cybernatural in some territories) – All told from the desktop of one of the protagonists talks to friends in a chat room. An effective and entertaining horror but one lacking in anything scary. It clocks in at just 83 minutes before it outstays its welcome or overuses its high concept.
Big Game – We have all seen movies about people being hunted, the twist here is that it is the President of the United States (Samuel L. Jackson) and his protector, a teenage boy. Has enough funny and silly moments to keep it entertaining but never steps beyond predictable and clichéd.
Top Five – Chris Rock plays a comedian trying to make it as a serious actor. Most of the film is consists of walking around New York with an interviewer (Rosario Dawson). Reminiscent of the Julie Delpy movie 2 Days in New York (that also featured Rock), it is far less manic than a typical Chris Rock film and all the better for it.
Mad Max: Fury Road – Thirty years after the last of the origonal trillogy, writer/director George Miller returns to the Mad Max universe. Part sequel, part reboot, the film shares a theme rarther than continuity with the original films. Tom Hardy is a suitable replacement for Mel Gibson but is overshadowed by a fantastic Charlize Theron.
Pitch Perfect 2 – Sequel to the sleeper hit about an all girl a cappella group. Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson return as does Elizabeth Banks who directs as well as producing and acting. Offers nothing we haven’t seen before, notably in the first film but has a enough funny moments to make it worth seeing.
Spooks: The Greater Good – Based on the BBC TV series. The cut price intelligence service seems fitting in this age of austerity. I didn’t see the TV show so don’t know how it compares to that, the action can’t match Bond or Bourne and it lacks the weight of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, it still works and is a enjoyable enough.
Tomorrowland: A World Beyond – (the name was changed from just Tomorrowland in Europe for rights reasons). An interesting concept with a good performances from George Clooney and Britt Robertson. There are some great moments but there aren’t enough of them and the film itself doesn’t quite gel. Robertson could be a contender for the next Jennifer Lawrence or Shailene Woodley.
The Connection – A French take on the drug trafficking that passed through Marseille in the 1970s as seen in The French Connection (1971). A stylish and insightful movie, the only downside, it offers nothing we haven’t seen before.