Monty’s… First Play Films

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1THE BLING RING

(2013) ★★★½

Film4: PREMIERE Thursday 23 April, 9pm

“Let’s go shopping…” Material girl Katie Chang talks new highschool boy Israel Broussard into joining her on a nocturnal jaunt inside Paris Hilton’s unattended Hollywood Hills home. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of trinkets and Prada-approved paraphernalia. They can’t help but help themselves. Snapchatting their swag on Facebook, the oblivious criminal duo are joined by starstruck friends on further forays. Under the paternal gaze of Francis Ford Coppola (his American Zoetrope studio produced the picture), Sofia Coppola looks unblinkingly at the real life ‘Bling Ring’ burglaries of 2008, a phenomenon inspired by the cult of celebrity. Meet the new Hugo Boss, same as the old… well, you get the idea. These kids eat up the rich. In their world, the only thing of value is a brand name and the biggest crime is a fashion faux pas. They’ll learn that orange is the new black. The parents are as foolish as their offspring. Hey, no surprise there. It’s southern California.

Almost as funny as Lost in Translation, this is Sofia’s most accomplished film since her striking directorial debut, The Virgin Suicides, back in 1999. She’s too cool to let on if she finds any of the new Blank Generation’s narcissistic antics amusing, but Emma Watson has no such qualms. She’s playing a Heathers-level goof, and she knows it. Paris Hilton’s pet monkey seems to be in on the joke too. For all the drugs and drunk driving, it’s a fluffy kitten next to Harmony Korine’s toxic Spring Breakers. And a masterpiece compared to Lifetime’s 2011 Bling Ring TV movie, which wagged a finger at the screen for 90 minutes. Especially at the cops, oddly enough.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 91min

2THE RAVEN

(2011) ★★★

Film4: PREMIERE Saturday 18 April, 10.55pm
Film4: Friday 24 April, 11.10pm

Long-faced John Cusack well cast as morbid 19th century author Edgar Allan Poe, working with Baltimore police inspector Luke Evans on a series of grotesque game-playing murders inspired by Poe’s greatest hits. Handsomely designed hokum from V for Vendetta joker James McTeigue, here repositioning the drunken and contrary Poe as a cranky hero in the mould of Robert Downey’s Sherlock Holmes. It won’t win any awards. But it certainly makes more sense than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The killer is crazy, of course, proudly informing a nonplussed Poe: “It has been an honour working with you, sir.” Swirlingly scored by Lucas Vidal and murky as Millwall on a Monday night, it would make a suitably gruesome double-bill with Johnny Depp’s From Hell.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 111min

3IN FEAR

(2012) ★★★

Channel 4: PREMIERE Saturday 18 April, 11.40pm

Young couple Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert increasingly spooked as they drive at night around bendy Irish backroads looking for the hotel he booked online. The sign said it’s 3km down a country road… behind a padlocked gate. Driving in circles, they’re lost in a maze. Quite literally, since the actors worked to an outline – they didn’t know what was going to happen to their characters. There’s a whiff of Wind Chill to this experiment in terror. It’s modestly effective as a scare tactic but greatly to the actors’ credit that the dialogue doesn’t seem unduly improvised.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 82min

4ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT

(2012) ★★

Channel 4: PREMIERE Sunday 19 April, 6.20pm

Scrat’s acorn hunt triggers a global cataclysm in same-again-but-even-sillier prehysterical cartoon with the usual suspects: mammoth Manny, sabre-toothed tiger Diego and Sid the sloth. “You guys are like the start of a bad joke,” snarls snarky lady tiger Jennifer Lopez, presciently. The other new recruit is Captain Guts, a singing piratical ape voiced by Game of Thrones’ big-hearted dwarf, Peter Dinklage. But the comparative wit of the original has by now been bludgeoned into sitcom conformity by the requirements of 3D FX which, as any studio executive knows, is always guaranteed to make a so-so script so much funnier. Still, a mammoth on a whale’s back – you don’t see that every day.

Certificate: U
Duration: 88min

5STOLEN

(2012) ★½

Channel 5: PREMIERE Sunday 19 April, 9pm

After serving eight years for armed robbery, Nicolas Cage is a reformed man. And a desperate dad… his teenage daughter has been kidnapped by psycho ex-partner Josh Lucas. Even during the opening New Orleans bank hiest, David Guggenheim’s trashy script is at pains to point out what a decent guy Cage is, a family man at heart although his chosen profession is crime. He’s strictly an amateur, though, compared to Michael Mann’s dedicated protagonists in Thief and Heat. Another sign of the times. In the new babyfied Hollywood – a place that can’t be located on any moral compass – the bad guys are the feds who put him in prison: “Hope you got raped every day,” says agent Mark Valley, cheerfully greeting Cage on his release. This generic B-pic stuff is gussied up a bit by Cage’s Con Air director Simon West. But that was then and this is now. There’s no suspense because everyone acts like a jerk in this messed-up Mardi Gras world.

Certificate: 12
Duration: 92min

6THE PAPERBOY

(2012) ★★★

Film4: PREMIERE Monday 20 April, 11.05pm
Film4: Sunday 26 April, 11.10pm

The killing of a despised Florida sheriff brings reporter Matthew McConaughey back to his Moat County hometown in the summer of 1969. Prissy colleague David Oyelowo is with him. “Seems mighty sure of himself for a colored,” observes McConaughey’s father Scott Glenn, editor of the local paper. The past may be a foreign country but, as Lee Daniels’ florid thriller shows, nothing much changes in America when it comes to matters of race. The story is narrated in sardonic fashion by the family’s ‘help’, black maid Macy Gray. The man on Death Row is John Cusack, coming on creepier than Billy Bob Thornton. Even so, he’s attracted the interest of Nicole Kidman, brassier than a mariachi band. McConaughey’s kid brother Zac Efron is instantly smitten in a psycho-sexual jamboree that gets a bit grindhouse grisly amid the purple pulp prose. The only thing that’s underwrought is the music. McConaughey, too, is always more impressive when he dials down his twitchy acting workshop chops. He’s up to his old tricks in the similarly sleazy thriller Killer Joe, Film4 on Wednesday, 11.10pm. Whatever their faults, they aren’t boring.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 107min

7STONEHEARST ASYLUM

(2014) ★★★

Sky Store: PREMIERE Released Friday 24 April

On Christmas Eve 1899, newly qualified alienist Jim Sturgess is warmly welcomed at a remote mental institution by doctor Ben Kingsley. But it is composed hysteric Kate Beckinsale who holds the key to Stonehearst’s dark secrets. “Believe nothing that you hear and only one half of what you see,” advises specialist Brendan Gleeson at the outset of an engaging mystery elegantly re-arranged from an Edgar Allan Poe story. Some of the participants have previous: Masters of Horror alumnus Brad Anderson made the sinister Session 9 in 2001, while his Transsiberian star Kingsley was the lunatic in charge of Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island. Here, Sir Ben makes do with a cuckoo-clock in his office. “Cure them?” he says to a non-plussed Sturgess. “To what purpose?”

Certificate: 15
Duration: 113min

8THE INBETWEENERS 2

(2014) ★★

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 24 April, 4.15pm and 8pm
(see below for further showings)

Simon Bird and his sex-starved buddies aren’t getting any younger. And they’re certainly none the wiser. But their first after-school carry on was the highest grossing (no pun intended) UK comedy of all time. Going by the books, a sequel was inevitable. And here it is, Euro-kebabs swapped for Australian barbies and backpacks. Amped up from Benny Hill’s old seaside postcard lowjinks and the likes of Kevin & Perry Go Large, the raw-prawn farce sticks to bodily functions formula. Seconds don’t come any sloppier.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 104min

Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 25 April at 16:15
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 25 April at 20:00
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 26 April at 16:15
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 26 April at 20:00
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 27 April at 16:15
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 27 April at 20:00
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 28 April at 16:15
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 28 April at 20:00
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 29 April at 16:15
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 29 April at 20:00
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 30 April at 16:15
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 30 April at 20:00
Sky Movies Premiere Friday, 1 May at 13:45
Sky Movies Premiere Friday, 1 May at 22:30

9YOU’RE NOT YOU

(2014) ★★

Sky Movies Premiere PREMIERE Friday 24 April, 8am and 6pm
(see below for further showings)

Concert pianist Hilary Swank contracts ALS (the disease that finished Lou Gehrig’s baseball career). Fidgety student Emmy Rossum becomes her sounding board as Hilary’s marriage collapses as quickly as her limbs. The TV-movie realm of incapacitating illness given a tasteful A-list sheen by Broadway director George Wolfe and two-time Oscar winner Swank (who’s not always this convincing, even when she’s picking up awards). It’s still basically a buddy movie with inspirational asides.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 104min

Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 25 April at 08:00
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 25 April at 18:00
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 26 April at 08:00
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 26 April at 18:00
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 27 April at 06:00
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 27 April at 18:00
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 28 April at 08:00
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 28 April at 18:00
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 29 April at 08:00
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 29 April at 18:00
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 30 April at 08:00
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 30 April at 18:00
Sky Movies Premiere Friday, 1 May at 06:00

10THE ANOMALY

(2014) 

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 24 April, 12noon and 9.45pm
(see below for further showings)

Traumatised ex-soldier Noel Clarke has just 9 minutes 47 seconds each day to work out what the hell’s happening to him. Sinister doctor Brian Cox might have some answers but he long ago took the Bourne Secrecy oath. Clarke remains a writer (Kidulthood, Storage 24) and director (Adulthood, 4.3.2.1.) who’d do better sticking to acting. He didn’t write this, which is maybe why he looks so convincingly confused. The first feature scripted by Simon Lewis, it’s not Looper. It’s just loopy. An overly derivative, low-rent mashup of Memento and Source Code, padded out with slow-mo martial arts and video-friendly nudity. It’s also utterly anonymous in the wake of C4’s genuinely inventive Utopia.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 97min

Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 25 April at 10:00
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 25 April at 21:45
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 26 April at 14:30
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 26 April at 21:45
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 27 April at 12:00
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 27 April at 21:45
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 28 April at 12:00
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 28 April at 21:45
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 29 April at 14:30
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 29 April at 21:45
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 30 April at 10:00
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 30 April at 21:45