All hail the mighty Barbenheimer!
Joyous scenes in cinemas across the country this weekend as audiences flocked to see the chalk-and-cheese blockbuster combo of Barbie and Oppenheimer, the resulting box office surpassing already-high expectations and giving UK cinemas their biggest weekend since the release of Avengers: Endgame four years ago.
As a diehard cinemagoer, it’s been thrilling to see the big screen having a long-overdue moment in the spotlight over the last few days – here’s hoping it’s reminded people of the joys of the shared cinematic experience, and left them eager for more.
For those about to Barbenheimer, we salute you. For those looking for their next celluloid adventure, read on for details of this week’s new releases…
Talk to Me
This creepy Australian horror about a diabolical embalmed hand has been getting an enthusiastic thumbs-up from critics and seasoned gore-hounds alike.
When a group of teenagers discover the sinister item – which enables the holder to be briefly possessed by a spirit from the other side once they utter the phrase ‘Talk to me’ – it’s initially a source of jittery excitement, with the unpredictable results a surefire way of racking up the likes online.
In time-honoured fashion, however, it’s not long before one of the gang goes too far and unleashes a force that won’t go back in the box.
The first feature from directing duo Danny and Michael Philippou (who honed their craft with a cult series of YouTube videos including, amongst other things, an absolutely deranged version of Ronald McDonald), it’s garnered a string of impressive reviews since its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, with Empire calling it ‘a scarily good debut’.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
It’s not hard to detect the influence of the all-conquering Spider-Verse films in the trailer for this new take on the much-loved pizza-guzzling quartet, which returns them to their animated roots.
Also visible is the influence of producer and co-writer Seth Rogen, who was keen to emphasise the first word of the film’s title, casting actual teenagers as the Turtles for the first time and crafting a story that’s as much a coming-of-age tale as it is a superhero film.
The plot sees the Turtle brothers eager to gain acceptance from the human world by performing heroic acts to impress their fellow New Yorkers – but their exploits soon throw them into conflict with a mutant army whose intentions are somewhat less noble…
Summer holiday round-up
It’s certainly been a less than ideal start to the summer hols weather-wise, with last weekend’s downpour doubtless prompting many a family to navigate the Barbenheimer hordes in search of cinematic succour.
There’s plenty more on offer this coming week, starting with new release Mavka: The Forest Song, which is Vue’s budget Mini Mornings offering – a fantasy adventure set in an enchanted forest, this Ukrainian animated tale is showing daily in an English-dubbed version, and also showing in Ukrainian with English subtitles on Fri 28th, Sat 29th and Mon 31st (tickets £2.49 for all screenings).
Over at Cineworld, The Super Mario Bros. continues daily in the Movies for Juniors slot, and it’s joined by Pinocchio: A True Story – a somewhat less-than-essential-sounding new adaptation of the classic tale – from Mon 31st (tickets £2.50).
And with cinema foyers a sea of Barbie-inspired pink at the moment, City Screen’s Kids’ Club is revisiting the film that had audiences getting their gladrags on this time last year, with daily screenings of Minions: The Rise of Gru from Sat 29th (tickets £3.30) – including an Autism-Friendly screening on Sun 30th.
There’s also an Autism-Friendly screening of The Super Mario Bros. on Sun 30th over at Vue (£2.49).
Meanwhile, everything is still awesome as Vue revisits The Lego Movie, with daily screenings from Fri 28th (tickets standard price, £6.99 – £9.99) – the sequel follows next week.
Also showing at standard price are more recent releases including Pixar’s Elemental (daily at Cineworld, Everyman, Vue), Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Cineworld to Sun 30th, Vue daily), The Little Mermaid (Vue to Weds 2nd) and the film that reveals the truth about those fish-tailed narcissists, Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (Everyman, Sun 30th, Vue daily).
The comeback King, a quirky Queen and Killer Klowns: other new releases and old favourites
Fresh from Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s Oscar triumph, one of the film’s stars is back in another chaotic adventure in fun-looking road-trip comedy Joy Ride, which stars Stephanie Hsu as one of four Asian-American friends who embark on an eventful journey to China – you can catch a preview at City Screen on Tues 1st, ahead of its release next week.
Also new out this week is music doc Reinventing Elvis: The ‘68 Comeback, which takes us behind the scenes of the King’s legendary TV Comeback Special, as featured in last year’s hit biopic – grab your jumpsuits and head to Everyman (Sun 30th, Thurs 3rd) and City Screen (Thurs 3rd).
Elvis wasn’t the only one blasting into the stratosphere back in 1968, which was also the year when 2001: A Space Odyssey first took audiences on a trip they’d never forget.
Featuring one of the most famous opening scenes in cinema history (memorably homaged, of course, by a certain doll-related movie that’s proving quite popular), Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi epic is showing at City Screen on Sat 29th as the latest entry in their year-long countdown of Sight and Sound’s Top 10 films of all time, where it made number six.
There are more classic oldies on offer in the form of 1963 musical Bye Bye Birdie, which is City Screen’s Dementia-Friendly screening this month (showing on Mon 31st), and the evergreen Some Like It Hot, showing in Everyman’s Throwback strand on Sun 30th and Tues 1st.
Meanwhile, City Screen’s YÖRGOSBORD season concludes its journey through the weird and wonderful world of Yorgos Lanthimos with the Greek director’s biggest hit to date, 2018’s The Favourite, which bagged Olivia Colman a well-deserved Oscar for her performance as the imperious and impetuous Queen Anne – bow down before her on Sun 30th.
And finally, City Screen and Dead Northern’s Video Nasty Club open its doors for another slice of cult 80s horror on Fri 28th with Killer Klowns from Outer Space, truly a film which sells itself on the title alone (though the tagline “IT’S CRAAZZY!” ought to be enough to convince anyone wavering at the door).