In cinemas this week: The Jungle Book (QLD only), The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Where to Invade Next and Rams.
The Jungle Book – Raised by a family of wolves since birth, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) must leave the only home he’s ever known when the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) unleashes his mighty roar. Guided by a stern panther (Ben Kingsley) and a free-spirited bear (Bill Murray), the young boy meets an array of jungle animals, including a slithery python (Scarlett Johansson) and a smooth-talking ape. Along the way, Mowgli learns valuable life lessons as his epic journey of self-discovery leads to fun and adventure. Initial skepticism about the distraction the voice-cast would offer have faded away quickly as the early reviews not only praise the casting but the magical technical wonders and powerful storytelling. Disney are having a good start to the year, it seems.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War – Betrayed by her evil sister Ravenna (Charlize Theron), heartbroken Freya (Emily Blunt) retreats to a northern kingdom to raise an army of huntsmen as her protectors. Gifted with the ability to freeze her enemies in ice, Freya teaches her young soldiers to never fall in love. When Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and fellow warrior Sara (Jessica Chastain) defy this rule, the angry queen does whatever she can to stop them. This film is destined to be forgotten, like its predecessor. Generally mediocre it squanders an ace cast, caught in an awkward position of being too silly for adults and too adult for kids. Full thoughts at the link.
Where to Invade Next – Filmmaker Michael Moore visits various countries to examine how Europeans view work, education, health care, sex, equality, and other issues. From cafeteria food to sex ed, Moore looks at the benefits of schooling in France, Finland and Slovenia. In Italy, he marvels at how workers enjoy reasonable hours and generous vacation time. In Portugal, Moore notes the effects of the decriminalization of drugs. Through his travels, we discover just how different America is from the rest of the world. I am always interested in Michael Moore’s films, but I think I will wait until this one hits home release.
Rams – In a secluded valley in Iceland, Gummi and Kiddi live side by side, tending to their sheep. Their ancestral sheep-stock is considered one of the country’s best and the two brothers are repeatedly awarded for their prized rams who carry an ancient lineage. Although they share the land and a way of life, Gummi and Kiddi have not spoken to each other in four decades. When a lethal disease suddenly infects Kiddi’s sheep, the entire valley comes under threat. This is a near death sentence for the farmers, whose sheep are their main source of income, and many abandon their land. But Gummi and Kiddi don’t give up so easily – and each brother tries to stave off the disaster in his own fashion. Fantastic. A completely unique story with a striking setting, a fascinating sibling dynamic and a dark sense of that distinctive Scandinavian humour. All gel perfectly. One of Sam’s favourite films of 2015.
Weekly Recommendation – Queensland are lucky, they get The Jungle Book a week before the rest of the country. Sydney-siders are guided to seek out Rams, screening at Palace Cinemas. If anything, it will offer a fresh and rather unforgettable experience.