* Roy Dotrice - Born 26th May 1923, Died 16th October 2017, aged 94 - Actor. With 120 Acting credits to his name he was a star of radio, stage, television and film with his more notable big screen appearances being 'The Heroes of Telemark', 'Lock Up Your Daughters', 'Amadeus', 'Swimming with Sharks' and 'Hellboy II : The Golden Army'. Among his small screen credits are television series appearances on 'Treasure Island', 'The Wars of the Roses', 'Space 1999', 'Dickens of London', 'Magnum P.I.', 'Hart to Hart', 'Remington Steele', 'The A-Team', 'The Equalizer', 'Beauty and the Beast', 'Going to Extremes', 'Picket Fences', 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith', 'Spider-Man', 'Life Begins' and 'Game of Thrones'. He won the BAFTA Television Award in 1969 for Best Actor in 'Misleading Cause' and was nominated for a Grammy Award and two others. He also gained an entry into the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records for the highest number of character voices by a single Actor for providing the voices for 224 characters in the first instalment of the George R. R. Martin series 'Games of Thrones' from the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series for which he voiced all audiobooks in the series. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) by H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II in 2008.
This week we have five new films to Preview kick starting with the eighth instalment in a hugely successful games of life and death horror film franchise; then a sequel featuring unruly mothers getting up to all manner of mischief over the festive season; followed by a West Australian music festival RomCom featuring an eclectic mix of characters. We then wrap up with two very different animated features - one a biographical drama about a world renowned painter whose death in 1890 is shrouded in mystery, and the other a musical fantasy aimed squarely at young kids featuring characters from a well known television series.
Whatever your taste in big screen film entertainment is this week - be it any of the five latest release films as Previewed below, or those doing the rounds currently on general release and as Reviewed and Previewed in previous Blog Posts here at Odeon Online, you are here warmly invited to share your movie going thoughts, opinions and observations by leaving your relevant, succinct and appropriate views in the Comments section below this or any other Post. We'd love to hear from you, and in the meantime, enjoy your big screen Odeon experience during the coming week.
'JIGSAW' (Rated MA15+) - based on the hugely popular and commercially successful American horror film franchise 'Saw' which burst onto our screens back in 2004, here we have the eighth instalment released just in time for Halloween (as have all the others that have gone before). That initial film spawned sequels year on year through until 2010, culminating in 'Saw 3D' that year that was intended to be the closing chapter in the series. Whilst the franchise received mixed Reviews by Critics, it was nonetheless financially viable, posting a worldwide Box Office take from the first seven films of a combined US$874M off the back of a Budget total of just US$78M making it one of the highest grossing horror film franchises of all time. Originally conceived by James Wan and Leigh Wannell, who together wrote the story for 'Saw', 'Saw II', and 'Saw III' with Wan Directing the very first film, this eighth film is Directed by the Australian Spierig Brothers - Michael and Peter whose previous Directing credits include 'Daybreakers' and 2014's excellent 'Predestination'. The film cost US$10M, was released in the US last week and has so far taken US$29M at the Box Office.
In this instalment we once again have bodies turning up littering the city with each one having met with a particularly gruesome and seemingly calculated end. As the investigation proceeds it becomes apparent from the gathered evidence that the grisly demise of the victims bear all the trademarks of one prime suspect - the infamous John Kramer, also known as 'Jigsaw' - but he died ten years previously. And so the hunt is on for a mystery sadistic madman who collects a bunch of unrelated but hardly innocent victims and subjects them to various games of life and death. Featuring an uncredited Tobin Bell as John Kramer/Jigsaw with Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Cle Bennett and a bunch of hapless victims.
'A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS' (Rated MA15+) - the precursor to this film, 'Bad Moms', was released less than eighteen months ago, was Directed and Written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and grossed US$184M off the back of a US$20M production Budget. On the strength of that success a sequel was almost inevitable, and here we have it. With Lucas and Moore back on Writing and Directing duty, with this festive seasonal comedic sequel romp they are doubtless hoping to repeat the success of the first instalment. Here Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn reprise their roles from the first film as Amy, Kiki and Carla respectively. They are seemingly still under appreciated and over burdened mothers, but this time glaring down the barrel of an impending Christmas in company with their own respective mothers, and their own demanding families - as if this time of year isn't stressful and hard work enough. Starring Christine Baranski as Amy's Mom, Cheryl Hines as Kiki's Mom and Susan Sarandon as Carla's Mom I'm sure that there'll be enough festive cheer to go round for all comers.
'THREE SUMMERS' (Rated M) - this Australian RomCom is Written and Directed by Ben Elton and had its World Premier screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival back in August this year, and now goes on general release. Set during a fictionalised Western Australian summer music festival, known as 'Westival' over three consecutive years, the feisty lead singer of an Irish folk band (Rebecca Breeds) meets a folk-music-hating Theremin player (Robert Sheehan) and they fall in love. A bunch of characters and festival goers and performers sit on the periphery of their romance including a fiercely Aussie Morris Dancer (Michael Caton), an Indigenous dance act, a group of wine-guzzling empty nesters, a power happy security guard, a wannabe girl rock band and some musical asylum seekers. All of these stories collide under the watchful eye of community radio super star, Queenie (Magda Szubanski), who welcomes these characters back three summers in a row.
'LOVING VINCENT' (Rated M) - here we have a real labour of love, Directed and Written by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman this is a biographical animated drama film that is said to be the first fully painted animated feature film. Taking seven years to bring to the screen and using a team of 125 classically trained painters over more traditional modern day animators, each of the films 65,000 frames is an oil painting on canvas using the same technique as Vincent van Gogh - the subject matter of this film. The story here surrounds the mystery about the death of the famed painter in 1890 and how a loyal friend to Vincent, Postman Roulin (voiced by Chris O'Dowd) finds out that his friend shot himself somewhere up North. He has in his possession a letter from Vincent to his beloved brother, Theo, which was returned as undeliverable. On hearing the news about Vincent he sends his hot-blooded son, Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), on a mission to deliver the letter by hand to Theo and find out what really happened to Vincent. Also starring the voice work of Robert Gulaczyk as van Gogh, Saoirse Ronan, Helen McCrory and John Sessions.
'MY LITTLE PONY : THE MOVIE' (Rated G) - this animated musical fantasy offering is likely to please the legions of young kids who have an appetite for such films while dragging their parents along because they have to, and so boosting the Box Office take which currently stands at US$43M. Released Stateside in early October, Directed by Jayson Thiessen this film is based on the animated television series 'My Little Pony : Friendship Is Magic' developed by giant toy manufacturer Hasbro. Featuring an ensemble voice cast the story here surrounds a menacing force that conquers Canterlot, leaving the the Mane 6 to embark on an unforgettable adventure beyond Equestria where they encounter new friends and exciting challenges on their journey to use the magic of friendship to save their homeland. The voice talent takes in the regulars from the television series plus Emily Blunt, Zoe Saldana, Sia, Kristen Chenoweth, Michael Pena, Taye Diggs and Liev Schreiber.
With five new release films this week to tempt you out to your local Odeon, taking in another instalment in a horror franchise, a festive season comedy about mothers and their mothers; a Aussie music festival RomCom; a painstakingly painted animated drama feature for the adults, and another animated feature for the little people amongst us. Remember to share your movie going thoughts with your other like minded cinephiles afterwards here at Odeon Online, and in meanwhile, I'll see you sometime somewhere in the week ahead at your local Odeon.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-