V for Vendetta
Adapted from another graphic novel by British scribe Alan Moore (Northampton’s finest), V for Vendetta is set in a dystopian London ruled by a fascist government. Natalie Portman is Evey, a young woman who is swept up in the plans of a mysterious, masked figure known only as ‘V’. He plans to destroy the government through a personal campaign of terror and fire, inspiring a fearful public to stand up to their oppressors. Strangely enough, in recent years, the iconic Guy Fawkes mask used in the film has become a symbol of resistance from protest groups like anonymous and the Occupy Movement.
Although it’s much looser adaptation of Moore’s work than Watchmen, this film still has much to say for itself. While the source material is often seen as a critique of Thatcher’s Britain, this screenplay written by The Wachowskis (The Matrix) sees a government that seeks to control personal and sexual mores in a way that echoes the current gay civil rights movement. Lana Wachowski (formerly Larry) has recently come out as a transgender woman, suggesting that this is a much more personal work than your average comic book adaptations.
Fun bonus: watch out for a supporting performance by Stephen Fry as a TV host whose style of broadcasting seems to imply a Benny Hill/Melvyn Bragg hybrid!
Wrath of the Titans
This sequel to 2010 Clash of the Titans sees Sam Worthington once again come to do battle against the mythical Titans. Many of the big names from the first film are also back including Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades, both of whom are gleefully hammy in their roles. When the bad gods betray Zeus and begin to release the titan Chronos from his stony prison, it’s up to Perseus and a ragtag gang of demi-gods and puny mortals to defeat enemies the size of mountain. The film is definitely slight and very silly indeed but it is lot of fun if you just don’t think too much about its logical inconsistencies.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Quick quiz: is Eternal Sunshine… a) a great film; or b) the greatest film of the 2000s? If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re in for a real treat. Jim Carrey plays a man who’s recently split up with his girlfriend. When he discovers a note telling him that she plans to have her memories of him expunged from her mind in an experimental procedure, he decides to do the same. A perfect confluence of so many factors makes this such a joy to experience: writer Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) delivers his finest ever script to director Michel Gondry, a music video savant who brought all his trademark visual tics and somehow shaped a movie about doomed love that is funny, entertaining, hopeful and utterly heart-breaking.