Release Date: 11th April 2014 Certification: 18 Running time: 150 minutes Director: Gareth Evans Starring: Iko Uwais, Arafin Putra, Tia Pakusodewo, Yayan Ruhian
An Indonesian film, written and directed by a Welshman featuring a cast unknown to western audiences; back in 2011, The Raid proved to be the ultimate cinema underdog. With a budget under a million pounds, the film made around £10 million worldwide and was loved by the critics for it’s creative and brutal martial arts set-pieces. Three years later director Gareth Evans finds himself in a much different position this time around. The Raid 2 does not have the advantage of the element of surprise, instead it is lumbered with the burden of expectation. With every bus ad and TV trailer promising the film will set a new benchmark in the genre (one advance review confusingly described it as “The Dark Knight of action movies”), can it really live up to the hype? The answer is a resounding yes. It may not be the greatest action film ever made, but it comes pretty damn close.
Release Date: 4th of April 2014 Certification: 12A Running Time: 139 minutes Director: Neil Burger Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, Miles Teller
An elevated train rumbles through the city as pools of similarly dressed people look up in disbelief. Without slowing, the train opens its doors and a swarm of black clad youths leap from the speeding train, laughing joyously all the while. This is the Dauntless Faction, one of five groups that society has been divided into as a result of a devastating war many years before. They’re idiots.
Release Date: 21st March 2014 Certification: 18 Running time:106 Minutes Director: David MacKenzie Starring:Jack O’Connell, Rupert Friend, Ben Mendelsohn
David Mackenzie’s prison drama opens with Jack O’Connell’s troubled youngster Eric Love being meticulously stripped searched before being led to his cell. The door slam shuts and the room becomes a vacuum; completely isolated from the law-abiding, outside world. Shortly after, he misunderstands the kindness of one of his neighbours on the cell block and viciously beats him unconscious. In the long line of British films set behind bars, it is clear in the first five minutes that Starred Up is more Scum than Porridge.
You’re standing on the edge of a building; mists swirling around you, with only the sound of the traffic far below – you are the loneliest person alive right now. That is, until the next in line speaks up from the shadows. Welcome to Topper’s House – the most sought-after suicide spot in Northern London and the meeting point for four of the most insipid characters ever brought to life on the big screen.
Release Date: 26th March 2014 Certification: 12A Running Time: 136 minutes Directors: Anthony & Joe Russo Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Robert Redford
Another year, another installation in the Marvel saga. With Avengers: Age of Ultron set to conquer cinemas in May next year, we first have to squeeze in The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, which is out later in the year. It feels like a slight change in tempo after the mega grossing sequels to Iron Man and Thor last year: Captain America has arguably been the least entertaining of the three superheroes, and unless you read comics you’re unlikely to be familiar with the Guardians of the Galaxy. So can Cap compete with the big guys in his latest adventure?