As we get closer to Easter, inching closer to the summer, tent pole, popcorn blockbusters are beginning to appear like early blossom colonising a field. We have a Marvel ensemble, an indestructible franchise fave, documentary, lots of space tension and Power Rangers. Yes, Power Rangers!
Opening on the 7th and based on the massively popular ’90s TV show that spawned the multi-billion dollar merch juggernaut, the Power Rangers reboot is the story of 5 teens who gain exceptional powers through contact with an alien ship and then use those powers to save the planet from invaders. The film – which is largely an origin story and a potential franchise opener – is receiving mostly positive reviews and looks like a giddy, high-kicking blast. Playing Zordon – mentor and dispenser of wisdom, is the always welcome Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad. Power Rangers should be escapist, family fun.
In Life, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson make an impossibly beautiful trio of astronauts on a mission to retrieve a pod orbiting Mars. The life of the title is that which they encounter and study aboard their ship. Soon, the life in question becomes their own as things go south and questions of species survival and self-sacrifice force some harrowing decisions. Life follows a recent trend of peril-in-space movies and the buzz is that this is a corker in the genre. I’m looking forward to this one. Coming to Madrid’s screens on the 7th.
Also on the 7th comes the Samuel L Jackson narrated I am not your Negro. A documentary film that uses archive footage from civil rights era ’50s and ’60s USA in telling the story of race relations. The film was included on the shortlist for best documentary at this year’s Oscars. Using writer James Baldwin’s unfinished novel and his television interviews as a basis, the documentary outlines the hypocrisies and unthinking prejudices that black men and women experienced in America during the period of the Kennedys, King and Malcolm X. This powerful critique of American society puts the thought processes that are a catalyst for racism under the microscope. See it if you’re looking for something a little more thoughtful.
The following weekend (14th) the noisy muscle engines, biceps, vests and gravelly voices of the Fast and Furious roll into town. In this, the eighth instalment in the heist / street racing behemoth, the gang is thrown into turmoil when their leader Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) is lured into a shady criminal world. Torretto needs assistance in escaping the clutches of the crime lords exploiting him and the loyalty of his crew is tested. Expect chases, fights and military grade weapons in this movie from a series which is probably the origin of the descriptive phrase ‘high octane’. The Fast films only seem to be getting bigger and better each year and its cast has slowly expanded over the last few movies. Regulars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson are back with new regulars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham impressively bulking out the cast. Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren complete a diverse ensemble cast in a movie that’s sure to be a hit.
The Space between us hits Madrid’s screens on the 21st. The film is a tale of a teenager called Gardner (Asa Butterfield – Hugo from Scorsese’s film of the same name), who grows up in a human colony on Mars and after starting an online relationship with an Earth girl, travels to Earth for the first time with the intention of meeting her and tracing his family origins. Through Gardner’s eyes we experience the wonders of our planet we too often take for granted. However, Gardner’s body isn’t capable of withstanding the atmosphere of Earth however, and his life is threatened. Gary Oldman stars as a scientist at the forefront of human interplanetary relocation who is on the trail of Gardner. There will be romance, peril and space adventure. Looks good.
Hotly-anticipated after its hugely popular first movie is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Opening on the 28th, it sees the gang continue their travels to the dark outer reaches of the cosmos. Chris Pratt’s character Peter Quill is searching for evidence of his parentage and along the way adventure and danger fill their path.
The first movie was wonderfully witty and filled with cracking moments of action and the characterisation was a particular draw for Marvel purists and newcomers alike. Along with Pratt are Zoe Saldana and Kurt Russell as well as Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel who lend voices to their scene stealing characters Rocket – a kind of wily raccoon / human bounty hunter – and Groot – a newly shrunken baby tree humanoid. The original left me beaming – I expect much the same from this instalment.
Enjoy. See you next month.
Andrew James Ball
English-language VO Cinemas in Madrid:
- Cines Princesa – Princesa 3, 28008 Madrid.
- Cinesa Manoteras – Avenida de Manoteras 40, 28050 Madrid.
- Renoir Plaza de España -Martín de los Heros 12, 28008 Madrid
- Verdi – 28, Bravo Murillo, 28020 Madrid.
- Yelmo Cines Ideal – C/ Doctor Cortezo 6, Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, 28012 Madrid.
- Yelmo Cine Plaza Norte 2 – C.C. Plaza Norte 2, Ctra. de Burgos salida 19, 28703
For a complete list of the latest VO movies in Madrid see: