So let's get to it ....
Blue Jasmine (PG)
Whilst Woody Allen's form has been mixed over recent years, Blue Jasmine has been receiving high praise from critics everywhere. In fact, some are hailing it as Allen returning to his best from in years or even decades. Lesser Allen fare like Match Point can be parked to one side! As always, actors aplenty line up in their droves to get the opportunity to appear in one of Allen's films, and early reviews suggest Cate Blanchett's performance, as a New York socialite imposing on her sister in San Francisco, is Oscar worthy.
I am excited for the all the buzz around this film. Every new Allen film promises a comeback - and I hope this delivers the intensity, vitalness and sheer excitement of his best work.
This week we have another film with a heavyweight cast (including Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo - enough Oscar nominees in here?) in a mystery thriller that is big on names as it is looks like on dark content matter.
The trailer hinted at something that is tightly constructed, emotional, dark and showing all the hallmarks of mystery thriller with elements of nastiness (violence and torture) in the mix. With a snowy landscape (the fabulous Roger Deakins on DoP duties too!!) , lots of intense brooding and punchy dialogue, here's another film that promises much.
Runner Runner (15)
Despite the apparent furore around Ben Affleck's announcement as Batman (calm yourselves people!), it cannot be forgotten the sheer renaissance that the man has gone through since he hit rock bottom during the period that brought us Jersey Girl, DareDevil and, yes, Gigli. Ben Affleck has adeptly craft his skills as director and actor in recently with films like The Town and, of course, Argo.
Where will Runner Runner stand in the pantheon of Affleck flicks? Well, by the looks of the trailer, it's certainly not in the A League of Argo and The Town. Runner Runner is a gambling caper/thriller, pitching Affleck as king of online gaming recruiting a Princeton student played by Justin Timberlake (who uses online gaming to pay for his tuition. Of course, as is probably predictable, Timberlake goes in well above his station, and despite the great offer, things start to go wrong: the FBI arrives, bad dudes play off against the bad dude Affleck etc, etc, etc. Oh, and Gemma Arterton turns up too … but we'll have to see why. Hopefully there is a reason, right! :)
A case of run to or run away?
Elsewhere, over at the mac, they're showing Winter of Discontent (15) over the weekend, a film set in 2011's Egyptian revolution. According to its director Ibrahim El Batout, "the task of finishing this film became for us all a beacon of hope". Those are some powerful words probably reflective too of a powerful film.
There are a couple of films notable for having UK film distribution this week that aren't in Brum but hopefully will be. First, there's the B-movie sounding Chilean flick, Bring Me The Head of Machine Gun Women (or Tráiganme la cabeza de la muter metralleta in Spanish) (18). The imdb synopsis describes it as a film where a "Chilean gangster uses everything in his power to stop the woman that wants to kill him, a sexy mercenary known as "the machinegun woman". Who isn't curious to see that?
The other notable omission is The Wicker Man (15) re-released to celebrate its 40th birthday, but it's nowhere to be seen?! If you know if it's on anywhere around Birmingham, do let us know. I've never seen The Wicker Man on the big screen. When it was originally at the cinema, it was a double feature with Nic Roeg's legendary Don't Look Now (my favourite horror film). Now that's a date, although not sure if my girlfriend will agree.
On that note, I wish you all an amazing weekend and happy film watching y'all! :)