In cinemas this week – Self/Less, The Gallows, Mr Holmes, 13 Minutes and Man Up.
Self/Less – In this provocative psychological science fiction thriller, an extremely wealthy man (Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley) dying from cancer undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds). But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body’s origin and the secret organization that will kill to protect its cause. The latest film from Tarsem Singh (The Fall, Immortals) boasts a talented cast, but seems to settle for lacklustre action and squander the potential of its premise.
The Gallows – Twenty years after a deadly freak accident at a high school play, a misguided attempt to re-stage the play and honour the student proves that some things are better left in the past. Reviews for this found-footage horror have been terrible and it does look like bottom of the barrel stuff.
Mr Holmes is a new twist on the world’s most famous detective. 1947, an ageing Sherlock Holmes (a captivating Ian McKellen) returns from a journey to Japan, where, in search of a rare plant with powerful restorative qualities, he has witnessed the devastation of nuclear warfare. Now, in his remote seaside farmhouse, Holmes faces the end of his days tending to his bees, with only the company of his housekeeper and her young son, Roger. Grappling with the diminishing powers of his mind, Holmes comes to rely upon the boy as he revisits the circumstances of the unsolved case that forced him into retirement, and searches for answers to the mysteries of life and love – before it’s too late. I enjoyed this a great deal. It is elegantly layered, richly plotted and leaves a lot to contemplate on. In addition to the great work from McKellen, it features an impressive performance from youngster Milo Parker, and a lovely score from Carter Burwell.
13 Minutes – The breath-taking story of a man who nearly would have changed the world. 1939, when Hitler tricked millions of people at the height of his power, one said a radical No: Georg Elser, disparaged as an assassin, is one of the greatest resistance fighters. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall), so this has the potential to be really good. However, I expect it is only mildly engaging.
Man Up – Nancy, is done with dating. 10 times bitten, 100 times shy, she’s exhausted by the circus. So when Jack blindly mistakes her for his date, no one is more surprised than her when she does the unthinkable and just — goes with it. It’s going to take a night of pretending to be someone else for Nancy to finally man up and be her painfully honest, awesomely unconventional self… but will Jack also man up, and be able to get over her duplicity? Best just to let the evening unfold, roll with the consequences, and see if one crazy, unpredictable, complicated night can bring these two messy souls together. Lake Bell and Simon Pegg lead the cast. This might be one worthy of a wait for DVD, but looks charming nonetheless.
Weekly Recommendation: Mr Holmes.