Hollywood’s (and, you know, those other places where people sometimes make films) offerings this week may not be the kind of films that blow you away and make you question your place in the world. They more likely than not won’t end up as the biggest films of the summer (that ship has sailed, and there were lots of dinosaurs on it), but they’re pretty varied, and they all look good – apart from one, but hey, what’s the point of fun if you don’t have to wade through crap to get to it? So light-hearted, easy enjoyment for anyone who wants it is the name of the game.
The week’s cinematic offerings begin on a Monday for once, with the release of Paper Towns. Based off of the novel of the same name by John Green, the film is the second adaptation of one of Green’s works (the first being last year’s The Fault in Our Stars) but definitely not the last. Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who also wrote The Fault in Our Stars, the film stars Nat Wolff and Cara Delevigne, and tells the story of a young man embarking on a road trip to try and find the missing girl next door. Having already been released in the US, the film hasn’t done as well as its predecessor, perhaps being one more for those who loved the book than the same phenomenon achieved in 2014.
On now to Friday, and we start there with a little bit of British: The Bad Education Movie. Jack Whitehall and his motley gang of school-children take to the big screen for the first time, no doubt hoping to follow in the footsteps of The Inbetweeners as they leap headfirst into a new, glitzier medium. The film sees the cast of the TV series head off on a school-trip to Cornwall, where they get into the same kind of outrageous shenanigans as they do on the small screen, just bigger.
Serving as a kind of antithesis of Bad Education this Friday is Escobar: Paradise Lost, the directorial debut of Andrea Di Stefano. A romantic thriller, the film was first show at the Toronto Film Festival in 2014, and tells the story of a surfer who falls in love with the niece of a Colombian drug lord, and all the *ahem* fun that that will surely entail. Benicio Del Toro (The Usual Suspects, Che) stars, alongside Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), with Del Toro’s performance in particular drawing wide praise from critics (with one comparison made between Del Toro and Marlon Brando’s performance in The Godfather), despite the film itself receiving only favourable reviews.
Up next is another smaller film: French-British comedy-drama Gemma Bovary. Based on the comic book (or graphic novel, I’m so sorry) of the same name, which is in turn influenced by Gustav Flaubert’s literary masterpiece Madame Bovary, the film follows an English couple who move to a small village in Normandy, and the titular Gemma as she gets wrapped in a number of romantic and illicit entanglements, mirroring the tragic plot of Flaubert’s novel. This one is directed by Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel), and stars Gemma Arterton (St. Trinians, Tamara Drewe), and is released on Friday.
Our penultimate film this week is an American thriller starring James Franco and Kate Hudson named Good People. Intriguing. Except it was made back in 2013, and largely released as an on-demand film, sailing past theatres and making less than $20,000 in the process. Ah. Anyway, based on a novel of the same name by Marcus Sakey, the film tells the story of an American couple living in London who fall into severe debt, but then just so happen to find a bunch of money in a dead guy’s apartment; money connected to a heist and a heroin dealer. Then obviously action stuff happens. The film opens on Friday, so go have a look if you want, but by all means don’t feel obliged to.
Wrapping things up on Friday is the second film this week aiming for the top box-office spot – Vacation. A comedy about one family’s ridiculous road-trip to theme-park Walley World, the film stars Ed Helms and Christina Applegate, alongside a whole host of recognisable supporting talent, including Chris Hemsworth, Charlie Day, and Leslie Mann. Expect an inordinate amount of over-the-top, in-your-face humour, and while the film may have been panned by critics, the trailers look hilarious, and advertising never lies, right? Right?