This week starts with a bang (it’s funny because Michael Bay likes explosions), and what might actually be an okay Michael Bay film, before dipping considerably in the middle – with films that involve a stupid ghost premise, and Robert De Niro being awful for money. Everything should turn out okay, though, as we round out with another potentially stellar Best Picture film about paedophilia, and a bunch of very talented, very experienced people making a little film together about old people and the human condition. So that should be nice.
First up this week is American war film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. The film, based on the novel 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff, tells the story of a six man security team tasked with defending the American diplomatic compound in Libya when it was attacked by terrorists in 2012. It stars John Krasinski (The Office (US)), and is directed by Michael Bay (Transformers, Bad Boys). The film is essentially American Sniper on crack, though, interestingly, it seems to have done the opposite of most Michal Bay films – critics actually kinda like it, although its box office performance in the US was poor. Either way, 13 Hours is released on Friday.
Next is Chilean disaster/survival drama The 33, starring Antonio Banderas. The film recounts the events of the Chilean miners crisis of 2010, when 33 men were trapped underground for over two months. The film has received mixed reviews, though for its size and (relative) obscurity, hasn’t done awfully at the box office. It is released on Friday.
Our third film this week is Australian mystery thriller Backtrack. Written and directed by Michael Petroni (Till Human Voices Wake Us, The Book Thief), and starring Adrien Brody (The Pianist) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), the film follows a psychologist who realises that his patients are actually all ghosts. Um… sure. The film has (perhaps unsurprisingly) received some not great reviews, though if you’re desperate to see it, it receives a limited release on Friday.
Up next is American comedy Dirty Grandpa, starring Zac Efron and Robert De Niro. The film is directed by Dan Maser (I Give It a Year), and follows a young man forced (for some unexplained reason) to postpone his upcoming wedding so that he can drive his ex-military grandfather to Florida for spring break. The film has received near universal acclaim – no, wait, not acclaim, the other one, uh… disgust? dislike? hatred? It receives widespread release this Friday.
Next we have another Best Picture nominee, this time the American biographical drama Spotlight. From acclaimed director/writer Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, Win Win and, oddly enough, story writer on Up) Spotlight tells the story of the eponymous team of journalists who in 2001 uncover a wide spread series of child sex abuse cases in and around Boston, perpetrated by members of the Catholic Church. Starring all kinds of ace people – Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Stanley Tucci – the film has, along with Best Picture, received nominations for Supporting Actor and Actress (Ruffalo and McAdams), Director, Original Screenplay, and Editing. It’s also been adored by critics, making it look like yet another in a group of quite solid choices for Oscar nominations (there, I said it). The film is released on Friday.
Wrapping things up this week is Youth, an Italian comedy-drama from director Paolo Sorrentino. The film stars Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel as two elderly friends who reflect on their lives while on holiday in the Swiss Alps, alongside Jane Fonda, Rachel Weisz, and Paul Dano. The film competed at Cannes 2015, and has received largely positive praise from critics.