May 182016


In cinemas this week – X-Men: Apocalypse, The Meddler, Criminal, Highly Strung and Keanu. 

X-Men: Apocalypse – Worshiped as a god since the dawn of civilization, the immortal Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) becomes the first and most powerful mutant. Awakening after thousands of years, he recruits the disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and other mutants to create a new world order. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Professor X (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) lead a team of young X-Men to stop their seemingly invincible nemesis from destroying mankind. After the immediately forgettable last entry in the X-Men universe, we’re not going to rush out for this one. 

The Meddler – After the death of her husband, a woman (Susan Sarandon) moves from New Jersey to Los Angeles to be closer to her daughter (Rose Byrne). This is the latest film from Lorene Scafaria (writer/director of the very sweet Seeking a Friend For the End of the World), but we were already sold on that powerful lady duo.

Criminal – CIA agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) dies while traveling to a secret location to meet a hacker who can launch missiles at will. Desperate to find his whereabouts, officials turn to an experimental neurosurgeon who can transfer memories from one brain to another. The guinea pig for the procedure is Jerico Stewart (Kevin Costner), a violent and dangerous death-row inmate. Now gifted with Pope’s skills and knowledge, Stewart must race against time to stop a sinister international conspiracy. Ryan Reynolds is in EVERYTHING, but this also feels like ‘this month’s CIA thriller’.

Keanu – Recently dumped by his girlfriend, slacker Rell (Jordan Peele) finds some happiness when a cute kitten winds up on his doorstep. After a heartless thief steals the cat, Rell recruits his cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) to help him retrieve it. They soon learn that a thug named Cheddar (Method Man) has the animal, and he’ll only give it back if the two men agree to work for him. Armed with guns and a gangster attitude, it doesn’t take long for the hapless duo to land in big trouble. Having never seen an episode of Key and Peele there isn’t much appeal in this. 

Highly Strung – Director Scott Hicks (Shine and Glass: A Portrait of Philip in 12 Parts) continues his exploration of music-themed films with Highly Strung, a journey into a rarefied world of elusive tones evoked by horsehair on catgut; of investors tempted to spend millions on unique instruments; and a quartet of virtuosi caught up in a duel of tension and harmony.

Weekly Recommendation: If you haven’t yet caught Green Room it is a terrifyingly intense thriller, and in our opinion the best film in cinemas right now, but we’re attracted to the light-weight charm promised by The Meddler this week in the wake of the hotly anticipated The Nice Guys and Hunt for the Wilderpeople later in the month.