Cinema Releases: Week of 29th January 2010

Edge of Darkness
Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Huston, Ray Winstone
Where: Nationwide

Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) is a veteran homicide detective in the Boston Police Department. As they are walking out the front door of his house, his 24-year old daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) is blow away by a shotgun blast. Everyone assumes that Thomas, who was standing next to her, was the killer’s intended target. However, Thomas begins to suspect that Emma was the real target. Driven by heartache and blame, Thomas initiates his own private investigation to uncover Emma’s secret life and the reason for her murder. His investigation leads him down the path of corporate and government cover-ups, which resulted in his daughter’s elimination. Thomas receives some help from a government operative, Jedburgh (Ray Winstone), who has been sent in to clean-up the situation. Thomas Craven’s search for the truth brings him closer to his daughter and his own deliverance. See the Edge of Darkness Trailer

Precious – Based on the novel Push by Sapphire
Starring: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton
Where: Nationwide

Claireece Precious Jones endures unimaginable hardships in her young life. Abused by her mother, raped by her father, she grows up poor, angry, illiterate, fat, unloved and generally unnoticed. So what better way to learn about her than through her own, halting dialect. Read the Precious Review

The Princess & The Frog (U)
Voices: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David
Where:  London West End from today – Nationwide from 5 Feb

A modern day retelling of the classic story The Frog Prince. The Princess and the Frog finds the lives of arrogant, carefree Prince Naveen and hardworking waitress Tiana crossing paths. Prince Naveen is transformed into a frog by a conniving voodoo magician and Tiana, following suit, upon kissing the amphibian royalty. With the help of a trumpet-playing alligator, a Cajun firefly, and an old blind lady who lives in a boat in a tree, Naveen and Tiana must race to break the spell and fulfill their dreams. Read the Princess and the Frog Review

Oil City Confidential
Starring: Lee Brilleaux, Wilke Johnson, John B Sparkes
Where: Nationwide from 2nd Feb

The story of Dr Feelgood, four men in cheap suits who crashed out of Canvey Island in the early ’70s, sandpapered the face of rock’n’roll, leaving all that came before a burnt-out ruin – four estuarine John-the-Baptists to Johnny Rotten’s anti-Christ. Taking London by storm, they sped through Europe and conquered the UK with No 1 chart success, before imploding just as punk was born and America beckoned with open arms. Contributions from members of The Clash, Blondie and The Sex Pistols join Dr Feelgood with collaborators Jools Holland and Alison Moyet to tell the story of Canvey, ’70s England and the greatest local band in the world.

Late Autumn
Starring: Wei Tang, Bin Hyeon, Sora Jung
Where: BFI Southbank & Selected Cities

Made near the end of his life, Late Autumn is one of Ozu’s most bittersweet movies, a half-comic drama about parenthood, ‘difficult’ children and marriage prospects. The radiant Setsuko Hara, her sensuality coming into play only in the closing scenes, plays Tokyo widow Akiko, whose grown-up daughter Ayako seems determined to stay single. The film’s plots, full of Ozu’s characteristic echoes and symmetries, turn on the efforts of various well- meaning friends of the family to get both women married. Three male friends (two businessmen and an academic) first target Ayako and then her mother; a woman friend of Ayako’s initially disapproves of their meddling but later agrees to help them. Ayako gets the wrong idea that her mother plans to remarry, and mother and daughter quarrel. There are further droll misunderstandings, most of them caused by the child-like adult men, who have ‘problem’ children of their own. Ozu’s visual style and patterning was never more playful.

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