Director Daniel Monzón’s prison-riot drama Cell 211 was one of the Spanish films of 2009, winning eight Goya Awards and creating a new homegrown cinema icon in Luis Tosar’s gravelly voiced con Malamadre. Now he, Tosar and co-writer Jorge Guerricaechevarría are back with El niño, an action thriller centered on the drug trade across the Strait of Gibraltar. Jesús Castro and Jesús Carroza play El niño and El compi, two twentysomething hashish traffickers looking to carve out a slice of the market between Spain and northern Africa. Things turn complicated when their world gets entwined with that of narcotics officers Jesús and Eva (Tosar and Bárbara Lennie), out to bring down El Inglés (Ian MacShane), the man responsible for moving the merchandise out of Gibraltar.
With roles in films as different as Victorian horror The Woman in Black and Kill Your Darlings, where he played beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Daniel Radcliffe has been working his socks off to rid himself of his Harry Potter tag – though whether he will eventually get there or not remains to be seen. His latest step in that direction, What If, finds him trying his hand at romantic comedy, playing a young medical school dropout who falls for an attached young woman (Zoe Kazan). Canadian director Michael Dowse’s film also features Adam Driver, Rafe Spall and Spain’s Oona Chaplin.
Disaster drama Into the Storm takes the found footage genre away from horror and closer to reality as it depicts the impact of an unprecedented wave of tornadoes on a small US town. The action is seen through the shaky video shot by brave locals and the storm chasers who descend on the area to risk their lives in pursuit of jaw-dropping images. Steven Quale’s movie features Richard Armitage (The Hobbit), Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Alycia Debnam-Carey and Arlen Escarpeta.
Featuring a mouthwatering cast that includes Robin Wright, Paul Giamatti, Jon Hamm, Danny Huston and Harvey Keitel, The Congress is the new film from Israeli director Ari Folman, best known for his powerful animated documentary Waltz with Bashir. Mixing live action and animation, it’s a sci-fi drama based on a book by Polish Solaris author Stanisław Lem with Wright playing a version of herself who signs a contract to create her own digital avatar in exchange for never acting again.
Fairy tale comeback
The sequel to 2005 animation Hoodwinked!, which reimagined Little Red Riding Hood as a police procedural, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil sees heroine Red forced to abandon her training with the mysterious Sisters of the Hood and team up with Wolf, Granny and Twitchy to rescue Hansel and Gretel. The likes of Glenn Close, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Hayden Panettiere, Amy Poehler and Martin Short in the voice cast did not stop this one from going belly up at the US box office.