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This Week's New Film Releases: Friday 4 September 2015

15 classification American Ultra


Ents24 Rating


Genre: Comedy / Thriller / Action
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Running time: 96 mins

Max Landis, son of director John Landis, scripts slacker action-comedy American Ultra. Small-town stoner Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) lives a humdrum existence with his girlfriend Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart) but, unbeknownst to him, he is the sole remaining sleeper agent of a CIA programme called American Ultra. Upon learning that her agent is to be eliminated by rival agent Adrian Yates (Topher Grace), Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton) travels to the convenience store in which Mike works and activates him with a series of code words. Baffled by his newly-discovered abilities, Mike is thrust into a deadly government operation and forced to fend off agents from Yates's rival Tough Guy project. While the action sequences often drag the film into tedious territory, Eisenberg and Stewart reprise their Adventureland coupling to good effect.

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15 classification The Transporter Refuelled


Ents24 Rating


Genre: Action
Director: Camille Delamarre
Running time: 96 mins

The Transporter franchise is given a reboot by the creators of the Taken Trilogy. Frank Martin (The Stath having been replaced by relative newcomer Ed Skrein), is a driver for hire, transporting classified packages for questionable people. The rules he lives by? No names. Never change the deal. Never open the package. But when Frank meets Anna (Loan Chabanol), he and his father Frank Snr. (Ray Stevenson) are drawn into her outlandish plot to exact revenge on her vicious boss. Shiny, fast cars; guns and violence; overt machismo and rampant misogyny – progressive and sophisticated, it ain't. But, missing its strongest asset in Statham, this refuelled franchise also lacks the elements that made the originals justifiably mindless fun.

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15 classification Dope


Ents24 Rating


Genre: Comedy / Drama / Teen
Director: Rick Famuyiwa
Running time: 103 mins

Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is a straight-A student surviving in a tough LA neighbourhood. After a chance invitation to an underground party, with equally geeky and 90s hip hop obsessed friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons), Malcolm finds himself in possession of drugs which lead the group on an adventure through LA. A critical and audience hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Dope is a coming-of-age tale that strikes an authentically aspirational and inventive tone.

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12a classification Me And Earl And The Dying Girl


Ents24 Rating


Genre: Comedy / Drama / Teen
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Running time: 105 mins

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon follows his unremarkable feature film directorial debut The Town That Dreaded Sundown with the critically acclaimed Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) is a high school student who specialises in getting on with every clique just well enough to avoid any conflicts or cafeteria politics. His only real friend is Earl (RJ Cyler), whom he refers to as a co-worker due to their hobby of making short parody films together. But when Greg's kindergarten friend, now estranged classmate, Rachel (Olivia Cooke) is diagnosed with leukaemia, his mother (Connie Britton) forces him to visit her, leading to an unexpected and rewarding friendship. Following a slew of adaptations of successful young adult fiction, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the one that finally gets it right.

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15 classification No Escape


Ents24 Rating


Genre: Drama / Thriller / Action
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Running time: 103 mins

Owen Wilson plays Jack Dwyer, a Texan businessman who moves with his wife Annie (Lake Bell) and their two young daughters to east Asia. Where in Asia, you may ask? Well, that's never specified. While the family is in transit, a group of armed rebels has staged a coup and assassinated the Prime Minister of the unnamed country so that when they land, the country is sliding toward civil war. The next morning Jack is caught in a violent stand-off between rebels and police and, upon returning to the hotel, witnesses the execution of an American tourist by the marauding locals. From then on, Jack and his family are on the run, with the help of Hammond (Pierce Brosnan), an ex-pat who just happens to be very handy with a gun. As an action-thriller, No Escape bubbles along well enough, but its politics are dubious to say the least.

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