Given that his screen persona could often accurately be described as ‘part man, part Labrador’, it’s no surprise to find Will Ferrell playing a talking pooch in his new comedy.
Don’t go expecting a family-friendly canine caper from Strays though, which looks set to do for dogs what Sausage Party did for hot dogs.
Elsewhere, there’s a new superhero on the block in Blue Beetle, and Disney get set to traumatise a whole new generation as Bambi returns to the big screen.
Xolo Maridueña (star of hit Karate Kid reboot Cobra Kai) suits up as the DCEU’s first Latino superhero in this new action-adventure.
Coming across as part Spider-Man and part Venom (albeit a much more family-friendly version of the latter), the story sees affable college graduate Jaime Reyes (Maridueña) come into possession of the Scarab, a bit of ancient alien biotech which chooses him as its symbiotic host – bestowing him with a nifty suit and all manner of superpowers, which prove tricky to keep under control.
As Jaime tries to harness his new gifts with the help of his family (no keeping Aunt May in the dark here), his antics bring him to the attention of Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), an ambitious CEO who wants the Scarab for her own nefarious purposes.
Cocking its leg in the face of cinema’s wholesome history of cutesy talking canines is this foul-mouthed and extremely silly-looking comedy, which aims to put the ‘Rrrrr’ into ‘R-rated’.
Will Ferrell voices naive Border Terrier Reggie, who’s abandoned by the animal-hating drug addict owner whom he adores – but after streetwise Boston Terrier Bug (Jamie Foxx) and pals take him under their wing, the disillusioned Reggie vows a terrible revenge on his former best friend.
Directed by Josh Greenbaum, the man behind 2021’s cult hit Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, this looks very much like the kind of film which thinks the only thing funnier than a dog humping your gran’s leg is a talking dog humping your gran’s leg while dropping a string of f-bombs…and I can’t deny, the trailer made me giggle. Don’t judge me, I’m very tired…
Summer holiday round-up
Disney’s centenary celebrations continue this week with the re-release of another of their early classics in the form of 1942’s Bambi, the studio’s much-loved tale of a young deer and his forest-dwelling friends – and, on account of one particular scene, maybe the second most traumatic animated woodland fable after Watership Down.
You can catch it daily at Cineworld (tickets £5.00) and Vue (standard price, £6.99 – £9.99), while City Screen have two Kids’ Club screenings on Sat 19th and Sun 20th (£3.30), and two general admission screenings on Tues 22nd and Weds 23rd (£6.00 child, £8.00 adult); it’s also showing in Everyman’s Toddler Club on Fri 18th and Sat 19th (£6.10 child, £8.60 adult) plus one general admission screening on Sun 20th (£9.40 child, £14.40 adult).
Why not see it in a double bill with that new Christopher Nolan film? Come on, let’s get #Bambenheimer trending…
City Screen’s other Kids’ Club selection this week is the new live-action version of The Little Mermaid (Fri 18th, Mon 21st, Tues 22nd; subtitled screenings on Weds 23rd and Thurs 24th; tickets £3.30), while they also have an Autism-Friendly screening of The Super Mario Bros. Movie on Sun 20th (£3.30); over at Cineworld, the budget viewing choice is young male whale tale Katak: The Brave Beluga (daily, £2.50), while Vue are going with Narnia-esque Australian fantasy adventure The Secret Kingdom (daily, £2.49).
And with shares in marmalade reporting a 1000% increase with the recent news that Paddington 3 has finally started filming, Vue are taking us back to the start with the 2014 original, screening daily this week (standard price, £6.99 – £9.99).
Plus, there are plenty of other recent releases still widely available, including toddler-friendly tale Puffin Rock and the New Friends (Cineworld, daily); surprise critical hit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (all cinemas, daily), Disney theme park spin-off Haunted Mansion (Cineworld, Everyman, Vue, daily); super-powered sequel Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Vue, daily except Weds 23rd); and Pixar’s latest Elemental (Cineworld and Vue daily; Everyman Sat 19th to Tues 22nd and Thurs 24th).
Vue also have a couple of screenings of Norwegian animated adventure Just Super on Fri 18th and Thurs 24th, plus a few more chances to head under the sea with the new The Little Mermaid on Sat 19th, Tues 22nd, Weds 23rd and Thurs 24th.
Pacino’s honest copper and Hetfield’s heavy rockers: other new releases and old favourites
Never ones to do things by halves, rock legends Metallica are taking over cinemas for not one, but two nights this week.
Screening on Sat 19th and Mon 21st, Metallica: M72 World Tour Live from Arlington, TX will see the band’s two Texas shows streamed (almost) live to cinemas across the world, with each night featuring a completely different setlist taken from across the band’s career – Cineworld, Everyman and Vue will play host to two evenings of mass cinematic face-melting on a scale not seen since the Nazis had a peek in the Ark of the Covenant.
One of the films of the year returns to City Screen on Sun 20th, as the brilliant Rye Lane concludes their Debutantes season of recent hit debut features from British female directors – Raine Allen-Miller’s charming romcom was a feelgood breath of fresh air when it came out earlier this year, and is well worth catching if you’ve yet to see it.
The Debutantes season was put together in honour of another highly rated upcoming British debut which you can catch previews of this week: showing at City Screen on Tues 22nd and Vue on Weds 23rd, Scrapper is a colourful comedy drama about a self-sufficient 12-year-old-girl learning to reconnect with her estranged father.
You can also catch a preview of another hotly tipped release at Everyman on Weds 23rd in the form of Passages, a relationship drama starring Ben Whishaw about a same-sex couple whose marriage is tested when one of them begins a fling with a young woman.
Showing at Cineworld and Vue on Thurs 24th, King of Kotha is a Malayalam action thriller which sees a one-man army sent in to rescue a lawless town ruled by gangsters.
There are more fists flying over at City Screen on Mon 21st with a 50th anniversary screening of Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon, while Everyman’s Throwback strand continues its Tolkien odyssey with The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on Sun 20th and Tues 22nd.
And finally, two high points of the 70s New Hollywood boom are back on the big screen this week, as Robert De Niro has a word with himself in Taxi Driver at Everyman on Fri 18th, and Al Pacino is out to clean up the NYPD in Serpico, celebrating its 50th anniversary at Vue on Fri 18th, Sat 19th, Sun 20th and Tues 22nd.
Director Sidney Lumet’s gritty true-life drama has been the subject of countless accolades since its release in 1973, but perhaps none come higher than being remade by precocious wunderkind Max Fischer in Rushmore. If only all school plays had production values like this…