Happy New Year! I hope you were able to experience the true meaning of Christmas – the chance to veg out on the sofa and watch old movies.
I reconnected with my inner teenage outcast courtesy of Edward Scissorhands, got the brolly out again for Mary Poppins Returns (which is holding up pretty well three years on), and went back on the lam with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot.
And speaking of screwball antics and mistaken identities, I also watched Desperately Seeking Susan for the first time.
If you’ve never seen the latter, I certainly recommend it if you’re in the market for an 80s-tastic pick-me-up to help beat the January blues – it’s up on the iPlayer for another week or so.
Over on the big screen meanwhile, awards season kicks off with Benedict Cumberbatch as a tortured artist, and the latest masterwork from the director of Boogie Nights…
The latest film from Paul Thomas Anderson finds the director returning to the San Fernando Valley setting of his early hits Boogie Nights and Magnolia.
This 1970s-set coming-of-age tale follows the growing bond between two outsiders: precocious teenage entrepreneur Gary (Cooper Hoffman) and Alana (Alana Haim), a twenty-something photographer’s assistant whom he meets while having his high school photo taken.
It’s the film debut for both lead actors, but each has a personal connection to Anderson which gives extra resonance to their casting – Hoffman is the son of his frequent collaborator, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, while Haim is best known as one of the members of, well, Haim, for whom Anderson has directed several music videos, and whose mother was the director’s high school art teacher (and, as he recently told Empire, the subject of his own teenage crush).
The Electrical Life of Louis Wain
With our feline friends’ cinematic stock at an all-time low since the release of a certain Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical, here’s just the film to rehabilitate them – the biopic of an eccentric British artist famed for his anthropomorphised cat pictures.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Wain and Claire Foy as his wife Emily, the film shows how the artist’s burgeoning popularity in the late 1800s took place against a backdrop of mental health struggles and personal tragedy.
Director Will Sharpe seems an appropriate choice for the subject matter, having previously made the acclaimed dark TV comedy series Flowers with Olivia Colman and Julian Barratt, both of whom also feature in the film – keep your eyes out too for a rather intriguing rock star cameo…
New year, new franchise? The brainchild of its star Jessica Chastain, this spy caper sees a disparate group of female espionage agents from around the world band together in the face of a common threat.
Chastain’s ‘wild card’ CIA operative (is there any other kind?) joins forces with German agent Marie (Diane Kruger, TV’s The Bridge), MI6 tech-head Khadijah (Lupita Nyong’o, Black Panther) and Colombian psychologist Graciela (Penélope Cruz) for a globe-trotting mission to locate a deadly weapon which has, inevitably, fallen into the wrong hands.
Meanwhile, mysterious Chinese agent Lin Mi Sheng (Fan Bingbing, X-Men: Days of Future Past) is tracking the team’s every move – but is she friend or foe?
French director Julia Ducournau turned heads (and a few stomachs) in 2016 with Raw, an everyday story of coming-of-age and cannibalism – and she strikes out into even more lurid and controversial terrain with her award-winning second feature.
This body-horror infused tale centres on Alexia (newcomer Agathe Rousselle), an exotic dancer at car shows who has a titanium plate fitted in her head as the result of a car accident when she was a child.
The kind of film that’s guaranteed to divide opinion, it certainly impressed Spike Lee’s jury at last year’s Cannes festival, where it bagged the prestigious Palme d’Or.
|Cert 18, 108 mins|
|City Screen, Everyman|
|From Fri Jan 7|
You can catch a reissue of a French New Wave classic at City Screen this week in the form of 1959 coming-of-age drama The 400 Blows.
Showing throughout the week, legendary director François Truffaut’s debut tells the story of a misunderstood and rebellious Parisian teenager.
Meanwhile, Everyman have the unbeatable pairing of Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand as the scheming husband and wife in The Tragedy of Macbeth, a new take on Shakespeare’s blood-soaked tale from director Joel Coen (working for the first time without his brother Ethan).
You can catch it at Everyman throughout the week ahead of its premiere on Apple TV+ on Fri 14th.
And finally, your budget family-friendly offerings this week are the fun-sounding Ron’s Gone Wrong (City Screen Kids’ Club, Sat 8th, £3.00/Cineworld Movies For Juniors, Sat 8th/Sun 9th, £2.50) and the perfectly serviceable-sounding Addams Family 2 (Cineworld Movies For Juniors, Sat 8th/Sun 9th, £2.50/Vue Mini Mornings, Sat 8th/Sun 9th, £2.49).