Marley & Me posterThis has to be the most middle-of-the-road week for new cinema since I started these little updates. Check these out:

First up Marley & Me, a rom-com-weepy best-seller adaptation starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson as a couple who adopt a puppy. Click here for the spoiler. Readings, Empire, Lighthouse Petone, Sky City Queensgate. Then we have He’s Just Not That Into You, the first film to be based on a best-selling book based on a throwaway line of dialogue from "Sex and the City": Readings, Empire and Sky City Queensgate.

Changeling is the second Clint Eastwood film to be released in less than a month (Gran Torino is still doing good box office). Angelina Jolie plays a single mother in 1928 LA whose son goes missing. When the LAPD recover the child she is distraught to discover that they’ve given her the wrong child (Readings, Empire and Penthouse). Welcome to the Sticks was well-received at the Film Festival last year and by all accounts the dreadful trailer does it no favours. It’s a broad French class comedy about a city slicker sent to work in the provinces, directed by and starring Dany Boon (My Best Friend): Penthouse, Lighthouse Petone.

Meanwhile, for Friday the 13th we have a remake of the original Friday the 13th horror (the 80s classic featuring hockey-masked Jason offing unsuspecting teens all over Crystal Lake): Readings only. Sneak previewing this week at Readings is another horror re-make, My Bloody Valentine in digital 3D. I’m watching both this weekend – wish me luck.

As always, the Paramount bucks the trend with something a little more esoteric and thoughtful. The making of Son of a Lion is an interesting story: Australian ambulance officer Benjamin Gilmour travelled to the remote Afghan/Pakistan border with a camera and made a feature film using the locals as actors. Variety said Gilmour "achieves fine results from an untrained cast whose expressive performances make the tale feel authentic at every turn."

Finally, a masterpiece by a genuine artist: Steve McQueen’s Hunger (about the IRA hunger strikes in the early 80s) deservedly won the Camera D’or at Cannes last year as well as the Evening Standard Award for Best British Film. It’s desperately sad but brilliant and is a Paramount exclusive.

Changeling and Hunger have already been reviewed at Funerals & Snakes, I’ll get to the others next Wednesday (and in the Capital Times on the same day).