New releases 04/08/2012: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, London: the Modern Babylon, A Simple Life, Sound of My Voice, Undefeatedm The Flowers of War, Eames: the Architect & the Painter, Leave It on the Floor and Truth or Dare
Saturday 04 August 2012
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (U)
Dir. David Bowers
Starring Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, 94mins
Another episodic series of misfortunes and indignities befall Greg Heffley, the fairly charmless hero of these adaptations of Jeff Kinney’s children’s novels. He embarrasses himself in front of his teenage crush; has to join his father in a Civil War battle re-enactment; loses his trunks in the swimming pool, and so on.
London: the Modern Babylon (15)
Dir. Julien Temple, 128mins
This beautifully crafted mosaic of archival footage is almost as multifaceted as its subject, but key themes emerge: the continued significance of London’s former position at the hub of Empire; and the historically dynamic and ever-changing multi- cultural composition of its population. Eisenstein himself would have been proud of Julien Temple’s montage technique, and there are some inspired audio-visual juxtapositions.
A Simple Life (PG)
Dir. Ann Hui
Starring Andy Lau, Deannie Yip, 118mins
An unmarried Hong Kong film producer and the long-term maid who helped raise him begin a new phase of their relationship after she has a stroke and he must begin to take care of her as well as himself. A variously wry, compassionate and tender drama about old age and familial bonds.
Sound of My Voice (15)
Dir. Zal Batmanglij
Starring Brit Marling, Christopher Denham, 85mins
Two young documentary film-makers infiltrate a cult of white-robed new-agers led by a beautiful young woman (Another Earth’s Brit Marling) who claims to have arrived in the present from the year 2054. Is she a fraud? Is she dangerous? What’s happening to the film-makers’ sceptical objectivity? Who is that creepy young child? Will we ever get the answers to these questions? Does the world need another M Night Shyamalan?
Dir. Daniel Lindsay + TJ Martin, 113mins
Undefeated is about Bill Courtney, a volunteer football coach mentoring underprivileged black boys in Memphis. And how, by instilling in them qualities such as discipline and co-operation, he is able to turn around not just their football season but their whole lives. A cross between Hoop Dreams and The Blind Side, it was a worthy, albeit predictable winner in the Best Documentary category at the 2012 Oscars.
The Flowers of War (15)
Dir. Zhang Yimou
Starring Christian Bale, Ni Ni, 142mins
Zhang Yimou has aestheticised warfare before, in period martial-arts epics such as Hero. But it becomes problematic in a film about still contested recent history such as the 1937 Nanking Massacre. There’s something downright creepy about this film’s mix of rape, gunfire and visual exoticism. And something simplistic and disingenuous about the whole story, a fictional episode in which Christian Bale’s white American tries to save some Chinese children from the depraved Japanese invaders.
Eames: the Architect & the Painter (12A)
Dir. Jason Cohn + Bill Jersey, 84mins
A documentary about the designer and architect Charles Eames, with special emphasis on the significant contribution to their legacy that was made by his wife, the artist Ray Eames.
Leave It on the Floor (15)
Dir. Sheldon Larry
Starring Ephraim Sykes, Andre Myers, 101mins
A low-budget musical about a young gay black man’s introduction to the New York ball culture, in which drag queens form surrogate families called houses for which they vogue and have other competitive dance-offs. Brash and colourful, but also amateurish.
Truth or Dare (15)
Dir. Robert Heath
Starring David Oakes, Jennie Jacques, 95mins
A gang of detestable, privileged students get their comeuppance in a cabin in the English countryside, in this utterly unconvincing and weirdly homophobic low-budget British torture porn.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 2 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove