The Coen Brothers latest madcap adventure stars Josh Brolin as Eddie Mannix a studio fixer in the 1960’s Golden Age of Hollywood Cinema.
It’s Eddie’s job to make sure any scandalous stories involving the studio’s biggest names don’t make it to the press, easier said than done when he’s dealing with glitzy starlet DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) who’s unmarried and pregnant, demanding director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) and dim-witted star Baird Whitlock George Clooney) whose been kidnapped by a communist gang.
Unfolding in the Coen’s usual zany style, this fast-paced screwball comedy is a send up of Hollywood’s strangest era.
The film which finally bagged Leonardo DiCaprio his much-deserved Oscar is a powerful tale of struggle and survival.
After being savagely mauled by a Grizzly Bear, fur trapper Hugh Glass is left for dead by fellow frontiersman John Fitzgerald (a brilliantly brutal Tom Hardy) in the middle of America’s frozen wasteland. Fuelled by vengeance and an overwhelming need to survive Glass embarks on a painful trip to reach the safety of civilization and catch-up with the man who betrayed him.
Set against the harshly unforgiving but beautiful backdrop of the American Frontier and with a truly mesmerising performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has managed to craft a truly magnificent tale.
Stepping away from his comedic persona, Will Smith proves he’s able to be just as effective playing a serious role in this compelling biographical drama.
He stars in Peter Landesman’s film as Dr Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian born forensic pathologist who discovered a link between American Football and severe brain damage after conducting an autopsy on Mike Webster, an all-star NFL player who died at age 50 after a heart attack and a period of rapid mental degeneration.
Omalu’s findings are cruelly rejected by the NFL and he’s subjected to a torrent of vicious abuse after it’s believed he’s trying to deliberately sully the reputation of America’s most popular sport.
Smith’s performance in the lead role is nothing short of remarkable and he’s ably supported by Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks and Gugu Mbatha-Raw to deliver an intense, well-crafted film.
Living is Easy with Eyes Closed
This light-hearted road trip drama set in 1960’s Spain sees Beatles obsessed English teacher Antonio (Javier Camara) driving across the country in a hopeful bid to meet his idol John Lennon, who’s taking a break from superstardom in Spain to film Richard Lester’s How I Won the War.
Joining him along the way are teenage hitchhiker Joanjo (Francesc Colomer) who left home after his angry Dad threatened to cut off his Lennon like hairdo and pregnant runaway Belen (Natalia de Molina) whose ashamed family are desperate to take her to a home for unwed mothers.
A combination of stellar performances (Camara in particular is excellent as the enthusiastic but slightly obsessive Antonio) and the sparkling chemistry between the three leads help to elevate this film to way up above the level of your standard quirky indie fare.
An unsettling homegrown British horror set deep in a remote forest of Snowdonia stars Joanna Ignaczewska as Kate, a cash-strapped single mother who reluctantly agrees to act as a lookout for lowlife boyfriend Nick (Duncan Pow) as he carries out a high-profile robbery.
Not too far away, DJ’s Ben (Torchwood’s Gareth David-Lloyd) and Laurie (Siwan Morris) are busy interviewing a psychic (Cinzia Monreale) live on air who successfully makes contact with the spirit world, a dead girl who’s stood right near Kate.
It’s an intriguing set-up, and with a nice mix of gore and slow psychological horror, a pace which is used to great effect in a number of scenes to build nail-biting tension, Dark Signal should please any fan of the genre.
Michael Keating’s third ultra-violent film may not be very original, but it’s a lot of twisted, bloody fun.
Scorpion Joe (James Landry Hebert) and his partner botch an unseen bank heist taking Vivian (Ashley Bell, last seen as a possessed teenager in The Last Exorcism) hostage. Taking a wrong turn on the escape route, they find themselves trapped on the land of psychotic Vietnam veteran Wyatt Moss (Pat Healy) whose favourite hobby is brutally hunting down those who trespass on his land.
Tarantino’s unique influence can be felt everywhere, there’s a particular slow motion scene in front of bank that’s lifted almost straight out of Reservoir Dogs, but there’s enough of Keating’s own pulpy flair present to make this Grindhouse throwback solid enough to stand on its own.