Rabid Dogs (Metrodome) is a French remake of the cult Mario Bava movie of the same name (made in 1974, but not released until 1998), courtesy of first-time director Eric Hannezo.
After a violent bank heist goes haywire, a posse of gun-toting criminals drag their hostages – a young woman (Virginie Ledoyen, The Beach), a father (Lambert Wilson, Matrix Reloaded), and his sick daughter – on an increasingly unhinged road trip, as they try to elude the cops, heading for the border with their loot. As the body count rises, tensions between the criminals mount, and the likelihood of any of them getting out of the situation alive decreases dramatically…
The original movie’s torturous route to release is an interesting story in itself, and this unlikely re-tread will likely nudge curious viewers – myself included – in its direction. Tense and propulsive in equal measure, the new film is slick and compelling for the most part, and the occasional lapses into B-movie theatrics are easy to overlook. The casting is well-judged across the board, and Hannezo has definitely marked himself out as a director worth keeping an eye on. Flawed, but bloodily entertaining.
(Note: I’m not even sure if this film actually made it to release. Last week it was reported that Rabid Dogs distributor Metrodome entered into administration, which is a real shame. Although a lot of Metrodome’s titles were straight-to-DVD landfill, the company had a strong track record within the art-house/world cinema/left-field segments, and released acclaimed movies such as The Secret In Their Eyes and What We Do In The Shadows in recent years. A sad end for a distinctive UK distributor.)
Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle (Lionsgate) tells the story of Michael ‘Eddie’ Edwards (Taron Egerton, Kingsman: The Secret Service), the unlikely 1980s British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself, even after everyone around him had dismissed him. With the help of disgraced, but charismatic, coach Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman, X-Men), Eddie takes on the ski-jumping establishment and sets himself on a collision course with the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
Taron Egerton delivers a tremendously likable performance in this sickly-sweet feel-good caper, but your enjoyment of the film will ultimately depend on your threshold for cheerfully manipulative Brit-flicks! The heart-warming underdog story ticks a lot of boxes, but Eddie’s slow rise to the ski-jumping summit takes on an unavoidably repetitive quality as the movie unfolds. I hope for director Dexter Fletcher’s sake, he manages to crawl out of the feel-good nostalgia cul-de-sac he has ended up in, as his directorial debut Wild Bill was an excellent home-grown thriller, and comfortably surpasses both Eddie The Eagle and 2013’s Proclaimers-themed ‘jukebox musical’ Sunshine on Leith.
Louder Than Bombs (Soda) is the English language debut from acclaimed Norwegian director Joachim Trier (Oslo, August 31st). Three years after her untimely death, an upcoming exhibition celebrating famed war photographer Isabelle Reed (Isabelle Huppert, The Piano Teacher) brings her eldest son Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network) back to the family home, forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene (Gabriel Byrne, The Usual Suspects) and his withdrawn younger brother Conrad (Devin Druid, Louie) than he has in many years.
Louder Than Bombs hooked me with its vivid, striking trailer – to which the end-product has little resemblance! Instead, Joachim Trier has fashioned a well-crafted, but weirdly aimless arthouse melodrama. The performances are generally strong, but none of the characters feel fully fleshed out – a problem for such a contemplative piece – and the story never quite rings true. Over-long, overwrought and needlessly repetitive, Louder Than Bombs misses its target.
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The Colony (Signature), starring Harry Potter’s Emma Watson, hit the headlines recently when it earned just £47 on its opening weekend! Watson stars as Lena, an air hostess whose desperate search for her abducted boyfriend Daniel (Daniel Bruhl, Rush) draws her into the infamous Colonia Dignidad, a sexually abusive cult run by ex-Nazi Paul Schaefer (Michael Nyqvist, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). While Watson, Bruhl and Nyqvist undoubtedly have the required star power to keep the movie afloat, the drama is unfortunately sluggish, and ends up sapping the sinister story of its raw power. Unfortunately dreary stuff.