Reel Talk: Winter Film Preview
A lot of fantastic films have come out this year, and while we are nearing the end of awards season, a lot more promising films are coming out over break. (I’m not even going to bother listing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as I assume anybody who wants to see that film already knows the release date by heart.) So here’s a list of some films you might want to check out:
5. 45 Years: dir. Andrew Haigh; starring Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtney, and Geraldine James.
One of the biggest surprises of the year so far has been the massive success and critical acclaim of indie film 45 Years. It played really well in the UK and while it certainly skews towards older viewers, it’s definitely worth a look. It’s centered around a couple that receives devastating news, only to change their marriage irrevocably. The film apparently features a stellar performance by veteran actress Rampling, and opens on Dec 23.
4. The Hateful Eight: dir. Quentin Tarantino; starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, and everybody else possible.
Few people have yet to actually see Tarantino’s latest, but hopes have been high ever since Tarantino held a reading of the script after it leaked online. The Hateful Eight is about a bounty hunter in the post-Civil War Wild West who finds shelter during a blizzard with seven strangers. It runs at just over three hours but early word is fantastic. The film opens in Ultra Panavision 70 (aka really high quality) on Dec 25 and then goes wide Jan 8 in the normal aspect ratio.
3. Joy: dir. David O. Russell; starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Edgar Ramirez, and Virginia Madsen.
Russell has been on a roll over the past few years, and the trailer for Joy looks very promising. The (mostly) true story about the rise of entrepreneur Joy Mangano and a family that spans four generations, it seems to be a scathing, yet joyous piece of feminism. Early reviews have been divisive, but you can find out for yourself Dec 25.
2. The Revenant: dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu; starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domnhall Gleason, and Will Poulter.
Despite disliking Iñárritu’s previous Oscar-winning film Birdman, his next one looks fascinating and highly ambitious. Shot chronologically and in natural lighting, the film depicts Hugh Glass’s (DiCaprio) struggle to survive after being mauled by a bear, and his hunt for those who left him for dead in the 1820s frontier. Early word is DiCaprio might finally win his Oscar here and the trailer is exhilarating. The Revenant opens in limited-release Christmas Day and goes wide Jan 8.
1. Anomalisa: dirs. Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson; starring David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tom Noonan.
The first film from Kaufman in seven years, Anomolisa is a stop-motion animated project that looks at a depressed man’s re-evaluation of life after falling in love with a woman. While the plot sounds simple, the film currently has a 98 out of 100 on Metacritic (an aggregator of film critic reviews), and the trailer looks surprisingly profound and inspiring. Anomalisa opens in limited release Dec 30 and then expands throughout January.
There aren’t many more notable releases before we return for the spring semester. If you haven’t heard yet, the new Star Wars film opens on Dec 18, and, if anything, promises to be an event. The Big Short—Adam McKay’s look at the housing crisis—comes out Dec 11 in limited release and goes wide Dec 23. Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea, about the true story that inspired Moby Dick, opens Dec 11 as well, as does the Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard version of Macbeth (which I reviewed earlier in the semester). Other than that, the Tina Fey, Amy Phoeler comedy Sisters opens on Dec 18, and looks entertaining enough.