(Or films that feature a football in the groin)
Absolutely Anything | Terry Jones | UK
Monty Python legend Terry Jones brings us a film starring Simon Pegg as a man who is given the ability to do absolutely anything by a group of all-powerful aliens (played by Jones and the Python gang). The teaser clip introduces us to Pegg’s character in the process of granting his dog, Dennis, the ability to talk in the hope that he will imbibe him with some much needed relationship advice. Dennis is voiced by the late great Robin Williams and has but two interests, biscuits and shagging. The script has been doing the rounds for nigh on 20 years which leads one to wonder how on earth Adam Sandler manages to get so many films made.
Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance | Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu | USA
Birdman is up for 9 Academy Awards so I think it’s safe to assume you may have heard more than a little about it. The film itself is made up of scenes that fit seamlessly together creating the illusion that it was captured in one uninterrupted shot. The long take has always been the guitar solo of directors, most famously demonstrated by Welles and Scorcese, but in this case it recalls Brian De Palma’s Snake Eyes, the beginning of which opens with a great sequence where the camera buzzes around the build up to a boxing fight giving a real sense of time and place. In this case we find ourselves flying through a Broadway theatre following a washed up actor (played by Michael Keaton), best known for his work as the titular superhero, who is struggling to put on a show in a bid to escape the role that made him famous. The film explores the space between imagination and reality whilst serving up pitch black humour along the way. Keaton is joined by a great supporting cast (Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone all on top form) but the real star of the show is the theatre itself.
Ted 2 | Seth MacFarlane | USA
Revisiting Ted seem’s a wise move for MacFarlane after the poorly received A Million Ways To Die in the West, the failure of which somewhat overshadowed the success of his first movie. Comedy sequels should always be approached with caution, with Dumb and Dumber To and Anchorman 2 both being recent examples of diminishing returns in the chuckle stakes. However, this caution is balanced by the fact that the initial idea of bringing a cute teddy bear to life and allowing him to grow up to become a womanising, drug abusing, foul mouthed down and out, still seem’s an inspired one. The trailer landed this week and it seems Ted is fighting the courts for the right to father children. Amanda Seyfried and Morgan Freeman will be present in the court room and expect a cameo to rival Flash Gordon’s appearance in the first film. Thunder Buddies for life!
The Voices | Marjane Satrapi | USA/Germany
A grizzly black comedy starring Ryan Reynolds as the seemingly loveable Jerry, a man with a Doctor Doolittle like ability to speak to his pets, Bosco the dog and Whiskers the cat. But all is not well, as one of these pets is pressuring him to murder his girlfriend (cat’s are bloody evil). Co-stars include the dismembered head of Bond Girl Gemma Arterton (who lives in Jerry’s fridge) and Anna Kendrick as the potentially doomed love interest. This is a change of pace for director Marjane Satrapi who previously directed the brilliant Oscar Nominated animated film Persepolis.
Grimsby | Louis Leterrier | USA
Sacha Baron Cohen, the man who managed to ruffle the feathers of right wing America and the entire Republic of Kazakhstan, returns with Grimsby. Set in the 1980’s, the film follows a government spy (Mark Strong) who is forced to recruit his football hooligan brother (Baron Cohen) to help foil a criminal plot. Baron Cohen, star of Borat, helped pen the screenplay and with his most recent incarnations (Bruno the fashion guru and Aladeen the dictator) falling somewhat short of his own high standards, he will be hoping that this sees a return to form. Rebel Wilson, Penelope Cruz and Isla Fisher are all on board. Expect to add the good people of Grimsby to the list of people Baron Cohen has managed to upset.
Trainwreck | Judd Apatow | USA
Comedy Central sketch show star Amy Schumer both writes and stars in Trainwreck, with Judd Apatow co-writing and directing. Trainwreck has a really strong female cast (Schumer is joined by Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton and Marisa Tomei) which might seem a bit of a departure for Judd “King of Bromance” Apatow (best known for 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up) but lets not forget that he has worked as a writer on Lena Dunham’s cult show Girls and a producer on the box office hit Bridesmaids. Absolutely nothing has been revealed yet regarding the plot but expectation is high considering the talent involved. Harry Potter fans will be pleased to know that Daniel Radcliffe appears, having previously worked with Apatow on a Funny or Die sketch.
Dope | Rick Famuyima | USA
Dope was one of the major success stories at last month’s Sundance Festival, garnering huge critical acclaim and a distribution deal. The film is set in one of Inglewood’s roughest neighbourhoods, a location the director, Rick Famuyima, feels is only seen on screen through the perspective of “the crime, the athletes, [and] the gangs”. He is hoping to remedy this by giving us a semi autobiographical account of life in ‘the hood’, following the antics of a group of adolescents led by Malcolm (Shameik Moore), a geek doing his best to stay out of trouble whilst harbouring dreams of making it to Harvard. Malcolm is flanked by best friends Jib (Tony Revolori, The Grand Budapest Hotel’s lobby boy) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons), and the three of them inadvertently acquire a huge stash of MDMA which could prove to be a curse or a blessing. Expect to be taken on a whirlwind of 90’s hip-hop culture, Bitcoin, and drugs, in what could prove to be the indie breakout hit of the year,
Sisters | Jason Moore | USA
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are making a film together! It’s seven years since they last collaborated for the big screen (Baby Mama) but the excitement for their latest reflects just how far their stars have risen in the interim. Individually they have both managed to create and star in their own award winning sitcoms (30 Rock and Parks and Recreation) and together they have hosted the last three Golden Globe ceremonies to hilarious effect. Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore is at the helm for this, and Paula Pell (a writer on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock) has written the screenplay. The comedy duo will play estranged sisters summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom after their parents decide to move out. It’s not long before they start planning one last house party to bring together some old school friends in an effort to rekindle their glory days.
Don Verdean | Jared Hess | USA
The director of cult comedy Napolean Dynamite returns with more offbeat humour in the form of Don Verdean. Sam Rockwell plays the titular role, a self anointed biblical archaeologist hired by a local church group to find religious relics in the Holy Land and bring them back to America. Danny McBride (Kenny Powers in Eastbound and Down) is one of the church group members which should add some spice and Rockwell is joined in his hunt by Flight of the Conchords Jermaine Clement (last seen in vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows).
That’s What I’m Talking About | Richard Linklater | USA
After the hard earned success of Boyhood, Linklater has been given the opportunity to return to familiar ground with a project that he describe’s as a spiritual sequel to his cult classic Dazed and Confused. Whereas Dazed and Confused followed High-School students in the 1970’s, That’s What I’m Talking About will focus on a University baseball team in the 1980’s. Much like it’s predecessor That’s What I’m Talking About will star a cast of relative unknowns. It’s worth remembering that Dazed played it’s part in launching the careers of Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey and Ben Affleck among others. Expect a great soundtrack and plenty of laughs.