Into The Wild posterFirst up, I think my normally meticulous research went astray last time and I missed that Shane Meadows’ new film This is England was opening at the Rialto. So, not only did I fail to mention it in this space last week but it didn’t get a review at Funerals & Snakes or the Capital Times and it was such a slow week too… This is England has instant appeal to me as it’s about my manor and my generation: Thatcher’s proto-fascist England and the disaffected, aimless youth running wild on the ground. Meadows is one of the UK’s finest young filmmaking talents (TwentyFourSeven and A Room for Romeo Brass are the best) but he lost his way for a while. Rialto exclusive.

Sky City Cinemas really don’t know how to programme the Embassy: blockbuster then art-house then bollywood, etc. Now they’re trying a bit of both with ultra-violent video-game adaptation Hitman and nature documentary The White Planet. What a double-feature that will be. Hitman is also playing at Readings and Regent-on-Manners. The White Planet is in the same mode as the huge hit March of the Penguins: this time the focus is on polar bears and the narrator is Queen Latifah (sorry, wrong Arctic movie). Also screening at the Paramount and the Penthouse.

UPDATE: Sky City don’t even know how to promote their Embassy sessions either! Missing from their corporate web site on Wednesday was any mention of the daily screenings of This Is New Zealand, the sensational wide-screen epic that showcased New Zealand to the world at the Osaka Expo in Japan in 1970. Not to be missed. Session times can be found at the old Deluxe site which I thought had died.

The rest of this week’s new releases after the jump…

Jerry Seinfeld has spent the last five years of his life (and a great deal of his professional capital) producing the animated comedy Bee Movie which is on at Readings, Regent-on-Manners, Sky City Queensgate and Empire. Seinfeld wrote the story, about a young bee named Barry B. Benson who escapes the hive and discovers that humans eat honey. Celebrity voices include Ray Liotta, Sting and Chris Rock.

Sean Penn’s new film as director is Into The Wild, based on the true story of a young man who, instead of going to college, gives away his savings and heads north in order to explore the American wilderness. Relative newcomer Emile Hirsch plays the lead and heavy-hitters William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Catherine Keener and the wonderful Hal Holbrook are among the characters he meets on his journey.

Finally, Once was one of the most popular films in this year’s Festival: an Irish musical romance that captured hearts everywhere it played. You can find it at the Paramount and the Penthouse.

All these films will be reviewed at Funerals & Snakes next Wednesday and (space-permitting) in the Capital Times on the same day.