From Richard E. Grant in Withnail & I to Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa, there’s no shortage of drunk and dishonourable behaviour to be found on the big screen.
Staggering in their footsteps this week is Mads Mikkelsen in Another Round, which sees a group of teachers decide their work performance could be immeasurably improved by a judiciously applied snifter.
Also out this week: a slasher movie with a twist, and a welcome return for two very different ‘90s favourites.
A group of high school teachers concoct an unusual experiment in this boozy Danish comedy drama starring Mads Mikkelsen (TV’s Hannibal), which won the Best International Film award at this year’s Oscars.
Inspired by an obscure philosophical theory, Martin (Mikkelsen) and his friends decide to see what will happen if they keep their blood alcohol level at a constant of 0.05% throughout the working day.
At least, that’s how it starts – but after initial positive results prompt them to raise that level higher, things begin to get a little messy…
Having spliced Groundhog Day with a slasher flick in the well-received Happy Death Day films, director Christopher Landon this time sets his sights on that ‘80s mainstay, the body-swap comedy.
Inspired most obviously by Freaky Friday, the plot sees high school senior Milly (Kathryn Newton, Blockers) accidentally swap bodies with The Butcher (Vince Vaughn), the serial killer who has been terrorising her home town.
Milly now has just 24 hours to reverse the swap before it becomes permanent – and to make matters worse, The Butcher plans to use his new guise to go on a killing spree at the Homecoming dance.
Vue invites you to party like it’s 1996 this week, with two of that year’s biggest films back on the silver screen for their 25th anniversary.
First up, we have the White House exploding, Will Smith punching an alien in the face and Bill Pullman as the greatest US President that never was – it can only be Independence Day, one of a string of mid-’90s blockbusters (see also The Long Kiss Goodnight and, of course, Con Air) that cheerfully leant into their own ludicrousness, and a film that definitely didn’t need a 20-years-later sequel but got one anyway.
Next, we move from an appetite for destruction to a lust for life – Renton and the gang are also back this week in Trainspotting, Danny Boyle’s dark, funny and subversive classic which probably also didn’t need a 20-years-later sequel, but actually I thought they pulled it off rather well.
Independence Day and Trainspotting are showing at Vue throughout the week, and you can catch Trainspotting at City Screen and Everyman on Mon 5th too.
Everyman are also making room for a couple of other old favourites this week – on Fri 2nd, Guy Pearce and pals hit the road again in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the much-loved 1994 road trip comedy following two drag queens (Pearce and Hugo Weaving) and their transgender friend (Terence Stamp) on their journey across the Outback.
Following that on Weds 7th is a British feelgood tale that’s been on my watchlist for years – Local Hero, the 1983 tale of an American (Burt Lancaster) sent to a small Scottish coastal village in order to purchase it for his oil company, and unsurprisingly encountering some resistance from the locals (among them a young Peter Capaldi).
Plenty of golden oldies to choose from, then – but there are also a handful of smaller new releases getting a limited run this week.
There’s a preview of a new British drama from the brains behind The Full Monty at City Screen on Tues 6th – Nowhere Special marks the third film as writer and director for Uberto Pasolini, who came up with the idea for Monty and produced it.
While the subject matter – James Norton plays a single dad in Belfast seeking a new family for his young son following a terminal cancer diagnosis – may sound a world away from that earlier film’s jaunty reputation, Pasolini told Variety that he strived for a ‘lightness of touch’ in his approach: “It’s supposed to be a sad story, but it’s not supposed to be a depressing story.”
City Screen also have three showings of the acclaimed British horror In the Earth this week – you can catch Kill List director Ben Wheatley’s latest on Fri 2nd, Sat 3rd and Tues 6th.
Meanwhile, Cineworld have a handful of screenings of comedy drama French Exit, which stars Michelle Pfeiffer as a glamorous but hard-up Manhattan socialite who decamps to Paris with her son and cat.
Reviews suggest that Pfeiffer is the best thing about the film by far, but you can judge for yourself at matinee screenings on Fri 2nd, Mon 5th and Tues 6th.
Onto some more family-friendly fare next: Daisy Quokka: World’s Scariest Animal (Vue and Cineworld, weekend only) is an Australian CGI animation about a plucky young quokka (a small wallaby-like creature) determined to compete in the World’s Scariest Animal contest – could be a challenge, if these pictures are anything to go by – while Everyman have a couple of screenings of the recent Scooby-Doo reboot Scoob! at the weekend too.
And finally, City Screen offer not one but two chances to scratch your Studio Ghibli itch this week. Sat 3rd sees the studio’s first CGI offering, Earwig and the Witch, show in their Kids’ Club slot, but if the lukewarm reviews for that film have put you off, then you can always revisit 1997’s brilliant fantasy adventure Princess Mononoke on Sun 4th instead.