Ben-Hur (USA) A remake of the masterful 1959 historical epic that nobody asked for, the 2016 version starring Jack Huston (“Boardwalk Empire”) and Morgan Freeman brings 3D digital technology to the Biblical age and features a Jewish prince who spends his time sometimes epically chariot-racing and mostly pandering to Christian viewers.
The (UK/Canada/USA)BFG Steven Spielberg brings the beloved Roald Dahl novel about a bullied gentle giant to the big screen: Young orphan Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is snatched from her bed into a land where roam behemoth troglodytes hungry for “human beans.” It’s a cinematic feast for the eyes, and a rollicking romp into the Giant Country of our childhoods. PPPP Call of Heroes (Hong Kong) Sean Lau heads this explosive new period action film by Benny Chan, along with Louis Koo and Eddie Peng. Set after the collapse of the Qing dynasty when warlords ruled, a group of villagers bands together to overthrow an invading tyrant. Genius (UK/USA)
“Genius” takes Starring audiencesColin Firth back and to Judethe Law, Roaringan appearance:20s, and Hemingway,all the heavy the hitters Fitzgeralds,make and the man who cleaned up their greatest works, Max Perkins (Firth). His next biggest project? “Look Homeward, Angel” by the exceedingly promising (if not slightly longwinded) Thomas Wolfe. Ghostbusters (USA) The highly anticipated genders-wapped reboot of the 80s classic is in cinemas, starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. Balancing gloriously unsubtle cameos and gratuitous protonic unleashing with strong well-rounded characters and hilarious banter, the Ghostbusters are back—and they ain’t afraid of no ghosts. PPPPP
High Rise (UK/Belgium) An adaptation of J.G Ballard’s slightly apocalyptic novel about a luxury highrise filled with affluent residents with no reason to leave, as everything descends into chaos. We follow the insanity through protagonist Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) as he oscillates between rational and disturbed. A darkly comic class-war parable that’s compelling but doesn’t feel wholly original and is let down by some abrupt tonal shifts. PPPP
A Hologram for the King (UK/USA/France) Tom Hanks is a postrecession salesman peddling holographic tech to a pre-Arab Spring government. He just about manages to hold up this lackluster shamble through the desert, which may have been intended as a rumination on the pressures of old age and responsibility—but turns out to be a succession of shots of our protagonist looking glum in a series of different rooms. PP Jason Bourne (USA) Matt Damon’s Bourne is back, and he’s getting closer to finding out about his past while evading the CIA in a new post-Snowden era. Like a fine wine, Matt Damon has aged well, but we can’t say the same about the shaky-cam directing style and disorienting car chases. PPP Kilo Two Bravo (UK/Jordan) This brutal, slow-burning film by first-time feature director Paul Katis follows a group of soldiers deployed in Afghanistan who get trapped in a minefield. As bodies pile up and morphine runs low, the remaining men have to plan their way to safety.
Line Walker (Hong Kong) Based on the popular TVB crime thriller, this cops and robbers drama follows undercover agents deep in a triad network, re-emerging into the world of high finance and high level drug deals. Stars Charmaine Sheh and Francis Ng, both from TVB’s phenomenally popular show “Triumph in the Skies.” Lights Out
(USA) A good old-fashioned ghost story that hinges on a creature you can only see when the lights are, erm, out. “Lights Out” links unusual and violent sightings with a woman’s (Maria Bello, “Prisoners”) past experiences in a mental institution and the strange friend she met there.