This is a very strong week, with a number of this week's releases having a definitive air of awards season. Yet there's more than that as well.
Let's take a peek shall we...
The Revenant (15) Part western, part survival flick, part revenge thriller, The Revenant is the latest full-bodied Innaritu feature from feature set in 1820s America with DiCaprio as a frontiersman, who when abandoned following a bear attack is forced to muster his survival skills to find a way back home to his family. He tracks down John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), the confidant who betrayed and abandoned him.
The proof is in the film's commitment to its survival element, with DiCaprio committed to demonstrating acting performance with added Bear Grylls grit and zeal.
A big winner at The Golden Globes, this could be the feature that lands Oscar gongs for both Innaritu and the film's leading man. A love/hate director, this is the sort of setup that was made for his particular, intense and close-up style of filmmaking.
Beautiful, bleak and tough, this is a film not to miss.
Creed (12A) Probably the film I'm most anticipating this month signals a shift in the trajectory of the Rocky franchise.
The consistent part of what has made Rocky work, or at least when it works, is not just its constituent elements that have served to make it iconic, it is an exercise in pure cinematic conviction and personality.
Rocky Balboa is Stallone's most enduring character!
The film's key spin is that it is a spin-off switching over to the Creed bloodline, with Apollo Creed's son taking centre stage, as a boxer with by a tough upcoming, and turning to an initially reluctant Rocky Balboa to coach him.
On the surface, the film has parallels to the first Rocky with a rates of passage element very fitting of this enduring franchise.
Yet the real magic trick though is that this is a Ryan Coogler film and Stallone's focus is on acting his heart out alongside Michael B Jordan. Coogler brings his own energy and smart style to this franchise and this is another must seem
Room (15) Not to be confused with the impossibly bad 2009 film The Room, this is in fact the third Oscar of the week. Lenny Abrahamson's The Room. Emma Donoghue brings her 2010 novel to the big screen.
Brie Larson plays a young women kidnapped and imprisoned for years by an abuser; she lives with her young son Jack in a tiny room in basic rudimentary conditions.
Jack calls the space "Room", a cruelly ironic term as well as space in which they operate. The film asks many questions of what's at play and the psychological impact on Larson's character as well as her attempts to protect her son from the truth, as much as possible.
The film's uniqueness is in its focus, intensity. It a reflection on time itself and on family and seems to have human traits that we can all recognise, irrespective of the extreme situation.
Sunset Song (15) Showing at the mac, from the 15th to 21st January, a chance to catch Terence Davies's adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s classic novel.
Set on the coast of Aberdeenshire on the eve of World War, Agyness Deyn plays Chris Guthrie, a daughter in a farming family of a father (Peter Mullan); yet when tragedy strikes, she finds liberty in the dissolution of their tight-knit family.
Davies captures nature and nostalgia like no other director, contrasting beauty with the bleakness of life and the uncertainty provided by war. Powerful, poetic and yet another must see.
Güeros (15) Showing from Mon 18th to Thu 21st, Gueros is a comedy road movie road in which the travellers barely manage to leave town, a tale of self-discovery set across Mexico City’s many frontiers.
This film has garnered many awards including Best First Feature, Berlin International Film Festival in 2014 and deserves a good reception.
Finally, at the Electric this weekend, watch out for showings of Bugsy Malone and Singing In The Rain as part of their Cinematic Time Machine season.
Ok, so that's it from me this week. What a great week for films, so whatever you go and see, I wish you a great one.
Until next week...