Selma follows Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. The film is unlike other 'heroic biopics' (and the trappings that can befall films as a result) in that it shows a grounded portrayal of this movement - the real characters behind it, the decisions, the frailties, the limits as well as the achievements.
Ava DuVernay has directed and approached the film in a style which other directors would have shied away from and has put together a cast which includes a number of British actors in lead roles from Tom Wilkinson as President Johnson to David Oyelowo as King himself. Maybe this is because being British these are actors are more removed from the emotions and resonances of having grown up in the nation that has embraced this.
With that in mind, this film's release seems ever more poignant in light of recent events in the States which highlights that for whatever monumental victories happened here and have happened since, there is still so much to do.
Shaun the Sheep Movie (U)
So here with have it, the monumental rise of Shaun from a character in Wallace and Gromit to standalone film sheep hero! With this, a myriad of sheep related puns on bus shelter film posters everywhere over the past week or two!
Indeed, there's nothing at all woolly about this film as Shaun and his flock head on adventure to the big city to rescue his farmer.
Aardman knows how to craft these films - a tonne of clay but no ounce of fat in sight! Tightly scripted with almost every frame a set piece with a masses of silent-movie style gags and references to films that only adults know about! The film combines a knowing intelligence with an innocence, especially through its furry friends, that kids and adults will both relate to.
Jupiter Ascending (3D) (12A)
After boldly attempting the largely unfilmable adaptation Cloud Atlas, Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski's latest adventure has been noted for being arguably even more crazy and confusing.
Looking unlike anything else and with a narrative far removed from the real world, the Wachowski's are nothing if not ambitious. The setup follows Jupiter Jones from the streets of Chicago to whirling through space. Jupiter was born under a night sky, with signs predicting she was destined for great things, and the tale ensues from there.
The film looks like a sort of cross between Flash Gordon, The Firth Element and some bizarre sci-fi tv show filled with several ounces of camp and a modicum of steampunk. Right now, it's getting very mixed reviews by critics now but might have enough 'out there' incoherence to warrant it a 'cult' status in time.
The Interview (15)
Here's the film that caused all that supposed outrage before Christmas and ended up being one of the best unintended PR campaigns of all time. (Really, unintended? - Cynical Ed)
One wonders actually how many of you have already seen it?
Anyhow, as a recap of the plot, tabloid TV journalists, played by James Franco and Seth Rogen, land an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and end up being involved in a plot to assassinate him. Is this really such an out-there plot, especially when South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone's film Team America contained a plot to kill his father a decade ago?
The film itself sounds like typical Seth Rogen associated fare with just a tinge of satire. This all seems very 'meta' now when the real satire is the film's release itself! So it will be nothing if not a bit interesting to watch this film 'in context' and get a grin from that, even if the jokes you are actually watching are not funny.
Outside of the big releases this week, the mac are showing The Green Ray (Le Rayon Vert) (12A) on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th February, Eric Rohmer's 1986 film and fifth in his "Comedies et Proverbes" movie cycle. The mac are also showing Paper Souls (Sun 8th-Thurs 12th), a 2013 film about a funeral-speech writer who gets a new lease on life when he meets a widow who commissions him to write a piece for her 8-year-old son.
That's it from me this week. Let me know what you think at @timmy666 and I look forward to previewing more films next week!