It's back. We all need a gentle reminder from time to time. This Week In New Releases from New Rising Media aims to do just that – remind you of the biggest, best and hottest new media releases to look out for this week. From the latest big screen blockbusters, to this week's most anticipated Blu-Ray discs, via details of the next big triple-A videogame to reach consoles. This isn't a total run-down of everything new this week, though, these are carefully hand-picked for your viewing/playing pleasure entirely by us, enjoy.
The Amazing Spider-Man (12a) Director: Marc Webb
In Cinemas Tuesday
Nestled between comic book behemoth blockbusters Avengers Assemble and DC’s The Dark Knight Rises, there’s an unsettled air surrounding The Amazing Spider-Man. It’s unlikely to match the consistent thrills of the former and depth in story-telling and unnerving atmosphere of the latter (Tom Hardy as Bane looks dead-set to take the plaudits), but Marvel fans needn’t worry – it’ll likely prove a solid, enjoyable and welcome return for everyone’s favourite web-slinger.
Directed by Marc Webb ((500) Days Of Summer) and with Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves amongst the names on the script, Amazing came about after Sony chose to cancel the once-inevitable, Tobey Maguire-starring Spider-Man 4 and began prepping the series for a reboot with the same production team.
In what promises to be a more character-driven story, Amazing will get deep under Peter Parker’s skin in a way its predecessors chose not to. Marc Webb has openly described the film as “a story about a kid who grows up looking for his father and finds himself.” A touching thematic description if ever there was one, but at a time where 99% of blockbuster sequels/reboots are lazily labelled ‘bigger and better’, it’s even more proof of Webb’s intentions of bringing heart to the character behind the mask.
Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors is on villain duties (as Lizard), Emma Stone meanwhile plays Peter Parker’s squeeze Gwen Stacy, taking over from Bryce Dallas Howard’s forgettable portrayal in 2007’s trilogy closer. With great power and all that…
Spec Ops: The Line (18) Dev: Yager Development (SP)
Yet another modern, militaristic shooter based in the Middle East right? Well, yes, but there’s something more at work here. As much as a name like ‘Spec Ops: The Line’ might try to convince you otherwise, Yager’s shooter appears to be significantly more substantial than it’s ‘me-too’ charade. For a game heavily inspired by Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness (itself an inspiration for Apocalypse Now), comparisons to the latter by critics demonstrates a good understanding by its developers that shooters needn’t go down the gung-ho route as long as there’s an emotionally-resonant, engaging and thought-provoking story to back it up. According to critical reception, while not quite there, Spec Ops: The Line makes a fairly decent play at it.
Given the title’s ambivalence to story elements from previous Spec Ops titles – this is the first in the series for a decade – there’s very little to tie The Line to its namesake. That said, 2K will rightly feel pleased with Yager’s efforts in proving capable of teaching an old dog new tricks. Taking place in the once-affluent Dubai – a city whose marvellous architecture has been overtaken by mountains of sand after catastrophic sandstorms hit – this squad-based shooter’s USP is the way in which players can use the unstable terrain to their advantage; crushing enemies under huge heaps of sand, kicking grit into their eyes (that last one isn't confirmed).
John Carter (12a) Dir: Andrew Stanton
On DVD and Blu Ray/Blu Ray 3D Monday
Billed as an early-2012 tentpole release for Disney, John Carter will instead likely have the studio executives who green-lit it red-faced and keeping stum for the rest of the year. Its March 9th UK release date put it in prime position to haul in the big bucks where competition was slim, and with first-time live-action director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E) on board, it certainly had enough of the means to do the business.
That was a little under four months ago. Today, John Carter is one of the biggest box-office flops ever, with Disney reportedly expecting to lose around $200 million on it. Having been in production limbo for years and had its rights flung to the highest bidder on numerous occasions, the big-screen treatment for Edgar Rice Burroughs' 'John Carter of Mars' never screamed 'smash hit'. Where the likes of Star Wars and Avatar owe a huge debt to Carter and Burroughs' sci-fi vision, there's more than a creeping suspicion that the film feels, well...irrelevant. Another leading role for an actor whose acting career is best left on the outskirts of Barsoom (Taylor Kitsch) did little for us otherwise, and that's not to mention the shaky visual effects and plodding storyline.
This Means War
It's spy vs. spy as Tom Hardy and Chris Pine face-off to win over the double-crossing Reese Witherspoon. On DVD and Blu Ray Monday.
Based on the play by Pulitzer winner Tracy Letts, this promises to be a career turning-point for Matthew McConaughey who looks to trump his turn in The Lincoln Lawyer with the portrayal of crooked Detective 'Killer' Joe Cooper. In Cinemas Now.