In Theaters: ‘Wild Target,’ ‘Monsters,’ and ‘Welcome To the Rileys’

Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett, Martin Freeman, and Dame Eileen Atkins, all in the same movie? This immaculate ensemble powers this week’s big British film release, the comedy Wild Target. In this film, Nighy plays Victor Maynard, a hitman who can’t bring himself to kill his target Rose, a con artist played by his former Gideon’s Daughter co-star Emily Blunt.

Grint plays Tony, the wide-eyed innocent who becomes Maynard’s apprentice. The Harry Potter star told Parade Magazine that he was a bit apprehensive about the action in the film: “Wild Target was quite different from Harry Potter. There’s a lot of car chases and shooting people and stuff, not to mention stunts where you’re running and stumbling. The gun play was quite scary and kind of  intimidating, especially firing a machine gun. It really took me a while to get used to it. You don’t know where to point it or anything. But in the end it makes you feel quite nervy, although it’s completely safe because you’re only shooting blanks.”

Note: Wild Target was adapted from the 1993 French film Cible Émouvante.

 Also in theaters this weekends are two films from British directors, Gareth EdwardsMonsters and Jake Scott‘s Welcome to the Rileys. Monsters is a timely horror film that taps into U.S./Mexico border hysteria. In this story, alien life forms have infected half of Mexico, resulting in a wide-ranging quarantine, and a photojournalist (Scoot McNairy) there has been asked to bring his boss’s vacationing daughter back to America. Edwards – who shot the film on a $15,000 budget with $500,000 for post – has become the latest indie film hero. The British-born special-effects expert tells The Globe and Mail, “For years I was in love with film, but I was like Cyrano de Bergerac, always helping other guys on their dates with it. It was like I was lending out condoms so this other bloke could have sex with the love of my life. Finally I said: ‘Enough’s enough, I’m going to get the girl this time.’”

 Welcome To The Rileys is a family drama about bereaved parents (James Gandolfini and Oscar nominee Melissa Leo) whose marriage is challenged when the husband has an affair with a teenage runaway (Kristen Stewart). The cast is impressive, and the director Jake Scott’s pedigree is even more so: he’s the son of Sir Ridley and nephew of Tony. Scott tells Coming Soon that while he appreciates his family legacy, he’s very much his own artist: “You sometimes get judged a little unfairly, but that’s human nature, and I’m sure Sofia (Coppola) probably gets that a bit, too, but I also have a lot of doors open and a lot of things have happened in my career as a result of that. I’m grateful for that and I’ve learned lots from my Dad and my uncle, and so I consider it to be a fortune really, and we should just get on with it. He didn’t direct my film, I directed my film, know what I mean? At the end of the day, you’re the one saying what you need to say to the actors. He’s not standing on set.”

Welcome To the Rileys has so far garnered mixed reviews.

What movie are you most likely to see this weekend?

by Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

See more posts by Kevin Wicks