LawlessAre there any two actors more in demand right now than Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain? One played last year’s most iconic screen villain while the other one is heavily favoured to win an Oscar this year. This week they star in a prohibition-era gangster drama that sees Hardy and his brother Shia LaBeouf building their family business. The only catch is that their business is cooking up moonshine and running it across county borders. Guns, gangsters, beautiful women and fast cars make this movie a very attractive proposition indeed. Add to that an all-star cast that includes Mia Wasikowska, Guy Pierce AND Gary Oldman and you’ve got yourself one hell of an ensemble. PLUS: this might be the very first film to feature a Shia LaBeouf performance that’s actually any good!
HysteriaIf ever there was a lavish Victorian period piece you wouldn’t want to watch with your mother, here it is. After all, it’s about vibrators; in particular, one doctor’s development of the vibrator for treating the medical maladies of the fairer sex. Cut to: a montage of giggling Victorian women lining up around the clinic. Intercut with: shots of stuffy men in stovepipe hats muttering in disapproval.
While almost definitely a clinically and historically accurate movie, Hysteria is also a romantic comedy featuring two charming leads in Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, insuring that this becomes the classiest movie ever made about Hitachi Magic Wands.
360There’s no shortage of talent at work in this twisty-turny international drama from City of God director Fernando Meirelles. Working from a script by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon), he weaves a tapestry of dramatic vignettes that deal with themes of obsession, repression and infidelity. Jude Law and Rachel Weisz play a London couple whose perfect marriage may be on the rocks; Anthony Hopkins is an elderly British man heading to America for mysterious reasons; and the perennially under-exposed Ben Foster plays a convicted sex offender on parole. As you might expect, these characters and more will find their stories colliding before the film is over.
Now is GoodDiagnosed with a terminal illness, English teen Dakota Fanning uses her limited time to do the things she always wanted to do: things like indoor skydiving, ice-skating and making lie-down kisses with the boy from War Horse (Jeremy Irvine). The excellent Paddy Considine and Olivia Williams fill out the cast as her sympathetic parents, both lending credibility to what could easily have been a standard-issue weepie. And from what we’ve heard, this is a full-blown tearjerker. So be sure to stock up on your man-sized hankies before you hit play.
Shadow DancerIn the light of last week’s alleged UVF activity in Northern Ireland, the release of this shadowy thriller is unsettling in its timeliness. Andrea Riseborough plays a young Belfast woman who finds herself in a quandary when she’s coerced by a British Intelligence officer (Clive Owen) to conspire against her IRA-affiliated brothers (played by Domhnall Gleeson and The Wire’s Aiden Gillen). Riseborough has been nominated for the BAFTA’s Rising Star award and with good reason: her performance here marks her out as one of the country’s finest young actors.
Black EagleIn Black Eagle, a cocky and reckless aviator is transferred to a combat flying unit where his devil-may-care attitude begins to ruffle the feathers of the squadron’s by the rules top dog. But in the face of an incoming threat from a communist military force, they soon learn to appreciate and respect each other. So, yeah: it’s pretty much Korean Top Gun, even down to the protagonist’s motorcycle and hot ground crew girlfriend. Starring Rain –one of K-Pop’s biggest superstars– Black Eagle features some incredibly slick special effects and a number of high-octane action sequences. It may have subtitles, but it’s as big, bold, brash and silly as any Michael Bay blockbuster.
Cheerful Weather for the WeddingAn English comedic drama set in the early 20th century concerning the repressed desires of the wealthy upper classes, Cheerful Weather couldn’t seem any more like Downton Abbey if Lady Grantham herself turned up as a strong-willed matriarch. (Oh wait…) On the day of young Felicity Jones’ wedding, a strange drifter (Luke Treadaway) walks in and stirs up all sort of latent feelings: you know, the type of simmering emotions that only seem to exist in English romantic pieces. Period drama junkies: your train has arrived.