Zero Dark Thirty ★★★★★ (Pick of the Week)
Following up her Oscar winning Iraq war thriller The Hurt Locker, director Kathryn Bigelow gives a meticulously-researched chronicle of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Following the story of a CIA analyst played by Jessica Chastain, we are given a look behind the scenes of 2011’s biggest news story. The film’s final movement, which should come as no spoiler, is a minute by minute re-creation of Seal Team Six’s siege on the bin Laden compound. On its release, it started a firestorm of criticism that accused Bigelow of glorifying torture. Regardless, Zero Dark Thirty should be high on your priority list of ‘must-see’ movies.
This is the second time Tobe Hooper’s horror classic has been rebooted this millennium, albeit in the form of a sequel. Picking up some time after the events of the original, it follows Heather, a young woman travelling though Texas with her boyfriend to collect an inheritance which –unbeknownst to her—includes her cousin, Leatherface! If you’re wondering whether this film will be too graphic for some of you, we’ll refer you to this release from the BBFC:
“There are a number of scenes of strong bloody violence in which people are attacked with chainsaws, hammers and other implements. There is sight of bodies being sawn into, limbs being sawn off and blood spraying onto the camera lens. Dead bodies and body parts are also shown with strong gory detail.”
Proceed at your own peril, gentle viewers.
Hyde Park on Hudson
Bill Murray stars as President Franklin Roosevelt in this spiritual follow-up to The Kings Speech. On the brink of World War II, King George and his wife Queen Elizabeth are visiting America with the purpose of bolstering support for the imminent European war effort. Taking the American President up on an invitation to stay at his country estate in Hyde Park (not the one in London), the royal couple find themselves baffled by the eccentric president and his peculiar personal life. Olivia Colman is great as the Queen Mum while British actress Olivia Williams makes an odd choice as an unnervingly attractive Eleanor Roosevelt.
The Numbers Station
John Cusack stars in this British-set spy thriller in which he plays a disgraced CIA agent sent to work in a remote English outpost. When something goes wrong, he’s forced to lock down the station along with a civilian analyst (Watchmen’s Malin Åkerman) and they soon discover than they’re in way over their heads. Also starring is Game of Thrones’ Liam Cunningham as Cusack’s boss: an ally who could potentially turn out to be an enemy. Gripping stuff!
Bullet to the Head
Sylvester Stallone makes another foray into the world of 80s style action films. He plays a New Orleans hit-man named Jimmy Bobo (no joke) who’s forced to team up with a policeman to track down ruthless killer Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones). Stallone looks scarily buff for a man in his mid-60s and under the direction of veteran Walter Hill (48 Hrs, The Warriors), he’s delivery an action spectacular as stunning as bombastic as anything he made 30 years ago.
In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, five siblings must travel almost a thousand miles through Germany after they are abandoned by their parents, high ranking officials in the Nazi Party. Along the way, they discover the consequences of their family’s actions and the truth behind the stories they had been told growing up. Premiering at the Sydney Film Festival last year, Lore was submitted as Australia’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Originally released as a series of webisodes, this feature based on the immensely popular video game franchise follows a young cadet caught in the war with the evil Covenant. This live-action film contains plenty of action, a little romance, plenty of eye-popping special effects as a well as an appearance from the Master Chief himself. Even if you have no idea what the heck any of this means, you should still check it out, if only to see the kind of blockbuster production values that can be achieved with just a budget of under $10 million.
Christian Slater must be the hardest working man in show business. We joke about it a lot, but he’s had a new film come out literally every week for the past two months. This time, he plays a supporting role behind Cuba Gooding Jr, a tough cop who gets dragged into an underground heroin ring when a gang defector saddles him with a five year-old girl. It’s a direct to video movie, so don’t expect too much from the production; after all, it’s filmed in Ottawa, Canada. Instead, focus on the fact that it stars an Oscar-winning actor!
The Good Doctor
Just when you thought Orlando Bloom was dead and the papers forgot to report it, he returns with a leading role in this American medical thriller. He plays a British medical student in Southern California who has a little bit of an ego problem. Petty and self-aggrandizing, he sees himself as a House-type super doctor. But when he finally makes a mistake that could threaten his entire career, takes increasingly desperate measures to cover his tracks. As you may have noticed, the title is wordplay!
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