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This week at the cinema - September 5, 2018

Times of Malta takes a look at the latest big screen releases

Aml Ameen is on a quest to avenge his brother’s death in Yardie.

Aml Ameen is on a quest to avenge his brother’s death in Yardie.

Yardie (2018)
Genre: Crime Drama
Director: Idris Elba
Starring: Stephen Graham, Aml Ameen, Akin Gazio, Mark Rhino Smith, Shantol Jackson
Duration: 101 minutes
Class: 15
KRS Releasing Ltd

The cult British novel by Victor Headley makes its mark on the big screen as Idris Elba’s (Luther) directorial debut.

The film styles itself as a revenge motivated crime drama, taking place between Kingston and Hackney. D (Aml Ameen) is a Jamaican boy who gets caught up in gang warfare from a young age, which culminates in the death of his peaceful and beloved older brother, Jerry (Everaldo Creary), who is shot during a dispute between two gang leaders.  D digs himself deeper into the criminal underworld and – vowing to avenge his brother’s death – travels to London with a brick of cocaine strapped to his leg, taking on the persona of a ‘yardie’, a popular parlance term used to refer to Jamaican ex-pats.  Yardie received mixed to positive reviews, with many praising the story and the cast, but lamenting that Elba’s directing left the film lacking flair.

Jimi Famurewa of Empire wrote that “Elba has a clear knowledge and fondness for the multicultural London of his childhood and it’s here that Yardie sparks to life and starts to feel a lot less like a generic ultraviolent drug saga,” but “heads to an ungainly finale that somehow feels simultaneously cluttered and thin.”

David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter was more critical, saying “All the ingredients are here for an exciting mix,” however “Elba struggles to inject much sustained grit or dynamism into the narrative, or spark much investment in the characters, despite a capable cast.”

Ratings
IMDB: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Empire: 3 stars

Kodi Smit-McPhee and his four-legged companion trek their way back home in Alpha.Kodi Smit-McPhee and his four-legged companion trek their way back home in Alpha.

Alpha (2018)
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Director: Albert Hughes
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Leonor Varela, Natassia MaltheDuration: 97 minutes
Class: 12A
KRS Releasing Ltd

Set in pre-historic times, when man had mastered language but not habitation, Alpha is a tale of survival that forges the first bonds between canines and humans.

The film is about Keda, a young man who is being primed to succeed his father as leader of their tribe, on his struggle to overcome his sensitive nature and become the man his people need him to be.

After a hunt goes wrong, Keda is left for dead on a remote cliff face, only escaping an attack from a wolf pack by injuring its leader. His em­pathetic nature takes over, however, as he nurses the animal, whom he names Alpha, back to health, and together they embark on a perilous journey to find their way home.

Albert Hughes’s first feature without his brother, Alpha has a left an impression on audiences and cri­tics alike, praised for its stunning visuals and heart-warming story punctuated with the gritty reality.

Olly Richards of Empire praised Hughes for backing away from “any cutesiness in the set-up, always making clear that this is a savage world where survival can never be taken for granted”. He called the bond between wolf and boy “growing as much through mutual need for protection as affection”.

Simon Thompson of IGN commented that while the film wasn’t top of the line, it was unique in the story it was presenting and worth seeing for the scale of the visual effects. “The scope of the landscapes, from fireflies and stars in the sky to the howling winds and the booming storms – it’s a heady cacophony that brings the striking visuals to life in a visceral way and will wow,” he said.

Ratings
IMDB: 7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Empire: 3 stars

A boy has an out of this world adventure in Luis and the Aliens.A boy has an out of this world adventure in Luis and the Aliens.

Luis and the Aliens (2018)
Genre: Animation, Adventure
Directors: Christoph Lauenstein, Wolfgang Lauenstein, Sean McCormack
Starring: Will Forte, Lea Thompson, Orlando Leyba, Joey Guila, Callum Maloney, Dermot Magennis
Duration: 93 minutes
Class: U
KRS Releasing Ltd

Originally a German language production, the film follows Luis, a 12-year-old boy with an inattentive and neglectful father. Stuck doing chores all day, Luis’ life is turned on its head when three aliens crash-land into his house. Having to keep his new friends away from his father and trying to keep up impressions at school, hijinks inevitably ensue.

The film failed to leave any good impressions, with reviews being mostly unfavourable, calling it uninteresting rather than bad.

Cath Clarke from The Guardian called it “all influences with nothing added”, throwing in “one or two decent adult-orientated jokes.”

John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter said “the film's animation moves clumsily, its character design is dull, and several performances feel like they were hastily recorded while taking a coffee break from some better-paying ADR session.”

Ratings
IMDB: 6.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Empire: N/A

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