The highlight of this week’s movie releases is, unarguable. This is the time of year that many major releases come smothered in a blanket of ‘will it / won’t it’ chatter, with regards to Oscar nominations. The run-up to the release of the Brad Pitt-starring Killing Them Softly has been muted, though and it looks as though the Academy might be glossing over this particular mob tale.

Of course, gangster stories, in themselves, are nothing new in Hollywood but Killing Them Softly is showing signs of being one of the better ones. The perfect mix of dark drama and dark humour, Pitt leads a stellar cast, including James Gandolfini, and Ray Liotta (gangster movie essentials, no?) and director Andrew Domink has wooed the critics, thus far, causing Andrew O’Hehir of to comment “It has a weird, buzzing, intense quality that has burrowed its way deep into my brain like some invasive sci-fi organism.” It remains to be seen, though, whether the folk over at the Academy decide it’s worthy of a nod.

Watch the trailer for Killing Them Softly

Read our review of Killing Them Softly

Over in the ‘unlikely to be bothering the Academy’ corner is The Collection. It will come as no surprise to anyone that gets past the first 30 seconds of the trailer that this movie comes from the collective hive-mind of the people that brought you Saw IV, Saw V and Saw VII (you know, the ones that really weren’t scared to be flogging that dead horse). In fact, this movie screams ‘Saw’ so loudly that you can only assume there must have been some legal reason that they weren’t allowed to release it under the Saw franchise name. In fact, it’s actually a sequel to 2009’s The Collector.

In essence, a beautiful young girl (Emma Fitzpatrick) is captured and finds herself in a warehouse rigged with a variety of elaborate booby traps. It’s been resoundingly put in its place by Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics and with a score of just 50%, this is one for the horror completists alone, it would seem.

Watch the trailer for The Collection

Next up, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning. Er, yeah, THAT Universal Soldier. No, we’re not sure why, either. In fact, you have only to look at Jean Claude Van Damme’s face on the promotional poster of this move to understand what the general consensus is regarding Magnolia Pictures’ decision to reprise Universal Soldier … he looks bemused… nonplussed… and a little bored.

Dolph Lundgren also stars in this unfeasible action movie, which has been met with a fair-to-middling response from reviewers. As long as you expect B-movie and not blockbuster, you shouldn’t have your hopes shattered too dramatically by this one.

Watch the trailer for Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

Craptastic, or Addicted To Fame, as it is now being touted, is a look at Anna Nicole Smith’s involvement in the B-movie Illegal Aliens. The movie’s director David Giancola thought he was onto a winner, with tabloid perennial ANS in the movie. As it turned out he had bitten off more than he could chew with Anna Nicole. She ended up dead and the drama and ridicule surrounding Illegal Aliens was one of the most reported on stories of 2007. This film documents that time and makes for uncomfortable viewing, as depressing as it is entertaining. 

Watch the Addicted To Fame trailer