Fittingly released on April Fools Day is Eddie the Eagle (April 1) a Cool Runnings-y tale of well, not exactly, triumph over adversity, more like perseverance in the face of adversity.
The story is sure to raise a smirk from anyone who remembers The Eagle’s plucky Winter Olympic performances, as well as a little bafflement that someone, somewhere considered his story film-worthy, instead of just hilariously pathetic.
The film opens on Eddie (Taron Egerton, Kingsman: Secret Service) as a clumsy kid in the ’70s, outfitted in comically oversized coke bottle glasses, dreaming of Olympic glory in his bedroom while the other children are on the streets bopping away to the funky tunes of the Bay City Rollers.
In a cannily strategic move, he decides to forgo the glamorous, but highly contested summer Olympic Games, and instead aim for the subzero and altogether more attainable, winter Olympics.
Although Eddie manages to become a somewhat competant skiier, he is a bit chavvy for the refined Olympic officials and is rejected for the British squad. However, Eddie is nothing if not a pragmatist and when he realises that he could actually qualify for the national squad as a ski jumper (since the UK hadn’t entered a competitor in it in 60 years), that’s what he decides to do, despite having no jump experience.
So, off he skies to the snowy peaks of Germany where he begins training in earnest (Eddie the earnest Eagle) despite having not a single clue about the correct technique for skiing off an 40ft ramp at high speed. Luckily, disgraced former jumper and now drunken snow ‘groomer’ Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) is on hand to turn Eddie’s earnest enthusiasm into ski-jumping supremcy. Throw in some sneering Scandanavians who grudgingly grow to admire Eddie , some rousing speeches about following your dreams etc, and you’ve got the general gist.
Tense and atmospheric, Mammal (April 1) is explores the unusual relationship between two deeply damaged people.
Forty-something divorcee Margaret (Muriel’s Wedding‘s Rachel Griffiths) is a solitary figure, only truly engaging with the world during her trips to the local swimming pool. Her solitude is shattered when ex-husband Matt (Michael McElhattan, Game of Thrones) calls to tell her that the teenage son she abandoned as an infant is missing. This coincides with the appearance of a homeless youth named Joe (Barry Keoghan, aka the Love/ Hate cat killer) in Margaret’s life.
As the pair being to bond, questions about the nature of the relationship comes to the fore: is it maternal? Sexual? Or symbiotic neediness? Writer/director Rebacca Daly does a great job of maintaining the tension and keeping these questions simmmering through.
Lastly, in a delightful little reversal of the ‘American actor playing English person and making a complete mess of the accent’ is Bastille Day (April 22) starring an English dude (Idris Elba) and a Scottish dude (Game of Throne‘s Richard Madden) as a couple of Americans. HA! Somewhere Donald Trump is composing a speech proposing to build a wall around Hollywood to stop the Limeys stealing American actors’ jobs.
Anyway, the plot of this by-the-numbers action-thriller kicks off when prodigious pickpocket Michael (Madden) picks the wrong pocket (well, bag) one day and finds himself embroiled in large-scale criminal conspiracy that goes to the heart of the very police force. Exciting! Field agent Sean Briar (Idris ‘Bond Shell’ Elba) suavely recruits Michael to help track down the source of the corruption and kick some crooked ass, while dodging bullets and jumping out of windows while buildings explode in the background.
And there is still a reluctance to making this man Bond? Get it together Hollywood!