Films to see this spring

By David Hogan

It’s spring and this means the blockbuster movie season is just around the corner. Prepare to be bombarded with trailers and hype for sequels along with the usual moaning about Hollywood running out of ideas.

But for every monstrous Hollywood sequeal or remake there’s a few smaller brilliant films that will move you and entertain you in ways gigantic explosions and superheroes can’t even begin to. Here’s a look at just five fantastic films coming your way this spring.

Release: 4 March 2011

Sure it’s not the art house film you’d expect to see on a list like this, but if you need your fix of action and suspense—and we all do—this Liam Neeson flick is a fine film for it.

He’s perhaps the most unlikely action star ever, but the Irish man fits the role of older smart-tough-guy perfectly. His latest film, Unknown, promises that Neeson will capitalise on his intense and thrilling action skills brilliantly—as he awakes from a coma after four days to find another man has assumed his identity.

The words being tossed around are “implausible” but also “entertaining” and it certainly looks like the latter. Neeson’s performance is getting great reviews, making it such a shame that he lately dropped out of the upcoming Abraham Lincoln film, a role he seemed born for.

Release Date: 18 March 2011

They don’t come much funnier and promising than Richard Ayoade. The IT Crowd star has done a lot to be proud of in the past ten years, from the brilliant Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace to being the best thing in several episodes of The Mighty Boosh. But it feels like his best years are ahead of him, and film directorial debut Submarine is proof of this.

A coming of age story about a fifteen year old boy set in Wales trying to lose his virginity and bring his family back together, this synopsis and Ayoade’s involvement should be all you need to know.

If you need more convincing to go see it check out this review from; “Ayoade has an incredible command of tone, character and cinematic grammar — I can’t believe this is his first movie.”

Animal Kingdom
Release Date: 25 February 2011                

Animal Kingdom is an Australian crime drama that packs a slow burning punch as powerful as the previous Australian masterpiece Chopper.

Centring on a crime family lead by an ice queen mother, Animal Kingdom slowly entrances you into a world of manipulation, crime, and heart pounding drama.

The acting is incredible, the tone is hyper-realistic, and the writing is spot-on perfect. Jacki Weaver, in a supporting role as the mother in the family, was thought to be a dead cert for “Actress in a Supporting Role” at the Oscars but it went to Melissa Leo in the Fighter.

Man of Aran
Release Date:  11 March 2011-17 March 2011

Man of Aran is a 77 year old documentary, and it’ll be playing on the big screen in the IFI for just six days.

The reason that the ancient documentary about life on the Aran Islands in the 1930s is getting the showing, a digital restoration, and a DVD release all these decades later is that it is simply fantastic in every aspect.

Controversy has surrounded the film due to fictional events being created for it but the Islands and the incredible life lead by their occupants are beautifully and respectfully photographed, perfect for the IFI treatment.

Route Irish
Release Date: 18 March 2011

Despite its name, Route Irish is an entirely British affair. The name is from the title given to the dangerous highway in Iraq connecting the Baghdad airport in to the safe Green Zone.

The film is set in Liverpool and deals with the death of a private security employee killed in Iraq, and his best friend trying to find out how he died. It looks like another great and gritty piece of cinema from the legendary director Ken Loach.

Reviews from the Cannes film festival were highly positive, as to be expected from a Ken Loach film.

By David Hogan

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