All this week's cinema releases reviewed

Yahoo UK Movies Features8 June 2012

A Fantastic Fear of Everything – 1/5

In short:
Children's author Jack (Simon Pegg) is tired of writing for a young audience. He decides to undertake a new project: a book about serial killers. Unfortunately, Jack is prone to becoming obsessive about these sorts of things. He is still coming to terms with a childhood trauma, and the grisly murder details uncovered in his research turn him into a housebound wreck... with an impending deadline. Ordered by his agent to go and meet a potential investor, Jack must leave the confines of his home. With nothing clean to wear he decides to go via a laundrette, and it's a decision that will change his life forever.

What we think:
This desperately unfunny British film tries hard to have an air of mystery and depth, but teeters on the verge of total catastrophe.

[Related video: We interview the cast and crew of 'A Fantastic Fear of Everything']
[Related feature: The biggest movie flops of 2011]

The word out there:
The Guardian: Crispian Mills's laundrette-fixated horror comedy is spectacularly bungled.
The Telegraph: Simon Pegg is an incredibly likeable actor who seems determined to appear in as many unlikeable films as possible... this represents an alarming new low.
TimeOut: Exasperation eventually morphs into unrelenting pain, and there’s not a single, solitary laugh to be had.
Digital Spy: Mills must at least be credited with a vision that feels more or less entirely unique.

Release date: 8 June
Runtime: 100 mins
Rating: 15

Watch the trailer

Red Tails – 2/5

In short:
Major Emmanuel Stance (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Colonel A.J Bullard (Terrence Howard) are doing their best to fight discrimination and get their airmen flying more meaningful missions during the Second World War, but soon divisions begin to appear within the group. Hot-headed Joe 'Lightning' Little (David Oyelowo) questions the authority of his squadron leader, Marty 'Easy' Julian (Nate Parker) and the pair fall out just as they are given their first mission behind enemy lines. All these problems will have to be put to one side for the greater good, but is it too late to mend these bridges?

What we think:

The aerial sequences are superb, but the action on the ground is woefully wooden.

The word out there:
The Guardian: [The] rudimentary script sucks out all the excitement generated by the combat scenes.
Empire: This has great action, an affable cast and an inspirational story. But given its subject, it could have been so much more.
Radio Times: Lucas brings a healthy dose of his ‘Star Wars’ magic to the CGI of the spectacular aerial sequences.
The Wrap: The story of the Tuskegee airmen and the hurdles they encountered is certainly one worth putting up on the big screen. Sadly, ‘Red Tails’ tells its inspiring story in the most old-fashioned, Saturday-afternoon-at-the-movies kind of way.

Release date: 6 June
Runtime: 124 mins
Rating: 12A

iLL Manors – 3/5

In short:

Amidst the urban sprawl of East London, a group of characters are facing a myriad of troubles. Former drug baron Kirby is just out of prison, and is struggling to cope with his junior role to former protégé Chris (Lee Allen). When a thug named Ed (Ed Skrein) loses his phone, he'll stop at nothing to get it back: a pig-headedness that causes serious misery to drug addict Michelle (Anouska Mond) who just wants another hit, a young mother in serious trouble, and his mate Aaron (Riz Ahmed), who struggles to hold things together in an attempt to do the right thing. At the top of the food chain, Chris's world is thrown into turmoil by an encroachment on his turf that puts unwitting pre-teen and gang aspirant Jake in the firing line.

What we think:
A grimly compelling debut from Ben Drew, aka Plan B, that promises much from this artist and his talented cast.

The word out there:

The Telegraph: ‘iLL Manors’ is hard-hitting in all the worst ways, like being repeatedly thumped by a randomly furious street hawker.
The Sun: It’s a demanding watch but, thanks to its semi-autobiographical nature, has for the most part a feeling of authenticity.  It certainly suggests big things are to come from Drew.
Little White Lies: Drew may be the Jarvis Cocker or Damon Albarn of today’s austerity youth.
ViewLondon:  Impressively directed and superbly acted, ‘iLL Manors’ is an assured directorial debut from Ben Drew that marks him out as a talent to watch.

Release date: 6 June
Runtime: 116 mins
Rating: 18

Casa de mi Padre – 3/5

In short:

On a ranch in Mexico, dedicated son and salt-of-the-earth horse rancher Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) is pondering his future. He's worked on his father's land all his life, but now financial worries and the encroaching menace of drug traffickers (led by Gael Garcia Bernal) threatens his peaceful existence. When his brother Raul (Diego Luna) returns home with a beautiful new bride to be (Genesis Rodriguez) things look to be on the up, but Raul isn't all he seems. Now it's time for Armando to grow up, stop his nonsense, and save his ranch.

What we think:

Part mocking low-budget throwback a-la 'Black Dynamite', part goofball Will Ferrell comedy, Casa is amusing enough to entertain but not excel.

The word out there:
Empire: Often inspired but patchy overall, Ferrell's horse opera could have benefited from a sharper, even more out-there script. Grade-A assplay, though.
Total Film: ‘Grindhouse’ with giggles, this potboiler parody offers just enough to avoid being a curio – not least Ferrell at his straight-faced best.
Film4: It's not that the jokes aren't funny, there's just not enough of them. It really does feel like a bloated, extended TV skit...
What Culture!:  Like a supermarket enchilada, it initially seems appealing but you quickly realise it lacks flavour.

Release date: 8 June
Runtime: 101 mins
Rating: 15

The Pact – 3.5/5

In short:
Sisters Nicole (Agnes Bruckner) and Annie (Caity Lotz) return to the house of their recently deceased mother to pay their respects, but they soon realise that something strange is going on. Pictures shift, lights flicker, and these ghostly happenings only get scarier as night falls. When events take a turn for the worse, Annie decides to investigate. Guided by terrifying dreams and unexplained interventions, she gradually works her way to the black heart of this disturbing mystery.

What we think:
Creepy ghost story delivers thrills and chills aplenty.

The word out there:

Total Film: It works hard, and the first half hour is textbook creepy, but the oldschool grab-bag of shocks struggles to jolt a dour script to life.
TimeOut: [T]his haunted house movie achieves a frightening intensity with limited means, but also feels under-characterised and overstretched.
The Birmingham Post: Despite having an effective but shockingly-predictable computer-chat scene, ‘The Pact’ didn’t raise a single hair on the back of my neck.
Sky Movies: From hidden rooms and ouija boards to hollow-eyed psychics and long-dormant serial killers, McCarthy brings plenty of trumped-up cards to the table. Unfortunately, he refuses to play by any logical rules.

Release date: 8 June
Runtime: 89 mins
Rating: 15

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