Hello film goers and Happy New Year to all of you!
Seemingly then, there’s no sign of a detox going on in cinema world. It’s January and consequently the cinematic heat is picking up especially as we head towards Awards season.
This week, like almost every week, the mainstream releases are an unadulterated mix of the well and as well ill-considered, so let’s take a ganders and what is both tantalising and torturing us….
Based on the true story of Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Chaning Tatum), who is recruited by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In trying to move away from his successful brother (Mark Ruffalo) and gain the approval of his mother (Vanessa Redgrave), Schulz is driving to the point of destruction as Du Pont’s “coaching” style lures Mark into self-destruction.
Foxcatcher has been garnering acclaim stateside of the past few weeks, featuring on many top ten lists for 2014 and already a recipient of many a five star review in advance previews here.
Powerful, chilling and uncompromising, Bennett Miller appears to have delivered a sports drama with clout, and what looks like a sure fit hit for both critics and audiences alike.
Into The Woods (PG)
Bringing the Sondheim stage play to the big screen, “Into the Woods” provides a contemporary twist on several of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, exploring certain choice stories and interweaving different characters – using Sondheim’s knowing humour and irony to tell the stories of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy)-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt).
Then there’s the witch (played by Meryl Streep) who has the opportunity to ham it wildly and put a curse on them.
It’s no doubt an exercise in A-listers having a blast belting out some show tunes and also here’s hoping to it throwing in a myriad of clever twists along the way paying tribute as well as poking fun at the fairy tales that we have all grown up with.
Taken 3 (12A)
As the posters proclaim, “it ends here”. I’m sure for the cast, it’s a good time to bring it to an end. The Besson factory for b-movie action got an injection in the arm with Taken, what with Neeson’s particular set of skills and a splattering of actual tension and substance.
Taken has done more for Neeson’s career as an action hero than for the actual franchise itself given the sequel was an altogether less effective film and in going for the PG-13/12A certificate, taking away from the edgy violence.
Transferring the action from Europe to LA, I was hopng the intensity and the sense of purpose returns for the last of the films. Sadly, judging by the mediocre reviews, it might be a case of bringing the franchise to an end for good reason.
Elsewhere this week, there is the opportunity to see Concerning Violence (15), showing at the mac on Friday and Saturday, this is an archive-driven documentary narrated by Lauren Hill, exploring the struggle for liberation in the Third World. The film explores a number of different themes including the mechanisms of decolonisation, and the film will be followed with a post-screening discussion with a panel of experts on race, colonialism and culture including Prof. Robert Beckford, Dr Kehinde Andrews, Dr Dima Saber and chaired by Dr Michele Aaron.
The mac will also be showing Stations of the Cross (15) a drama about the stifling upbringing of a young girl raised in a strict Catholic family. Far from a dour religious drama, it’s layered with dry humour and absurdist moments. The film has garnered critical acclaim across Europe, with a particular nod to a remarkable standout central performance from Lea Van Acken.
That’s it from me this week. As always, quibbles, questions, comments can be sent to me on twitter at @timmy666. I hope you have a fab 2015 at the cinema.