Lincoln ★★★★★ (Pick of the Week)
Perhaps the only man in the world who regularly eclipses any film he appears in, Daniel Day Lewis absolutely owns this film. Director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner depart from the usual structure of biographical pictures to create a film that focuses on Lincoln’s efforts to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the US constitution, putting an end to American slavery. Taking place almost entirely during January 1865, the film sees Honest Abe in action as not only a parable-loving leader and father figure, but also as a shrewd political operator. As an insight into 19th century political process alone, the film makes for fascinating viewing; but with towering performances by a sprawling cast that includes Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field and James Spader, this film becomes absolutely unmissable.
A Good Day to Die Hard
What’s better than one John McClane? If you said ‘two John McClanes’ then go ahead a treat yourself to the latest film in the increasingly unpronounceable Die Hard Franchise. This time, we’re following Bruce Willis as he heads to Russia to reconcile with his estranged son (Jai Courtney from TV’s Spartacus), who has since become entangled in some spy stuff that involves evil Russians. From a plot perspective, the film doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense, but there are a number of top-class action sequences and the mandatory Die Hard scene of one or more McClanes bursting through a pane of glass. Just switch off your brain and go along for the ride, okay?
This is 40
The King of the Profane, Heartfelt Modern Comedy returns this week with his fourth film as writer and director. Following Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters from Knocked Up a few years on, Judd Apatow deliberately circles around different issues like growing older and being a parent, mixing the maudlin in with some funny scenes. Watch out for tonnes of cameos from new and old comedy stars including Lena Dunham, Chris O’Dowd, Albert Brooks and John Lithgow. There really isn’t much story to this film but that’s okay: it’s kind of like hanging out with a bunch of people you like for 2 hours and then going your separate ways. Give it a try…
Michael H, Profession: Director
With his multiple Oscar Nominations and win for Best Foreign Picture this year, you could easily say that Michael Haneke has never been bigger. Take a peek behind the steely façade of the man who made Cache and Amour with this documentary that examines both his life and his extraordinary career. Told daringly in reverse chronological order and peppered with new interviews with Juliette Binoche and Isabelle Huppert, there’s never been a better opportunity discover more about Europe’s greatest living director.
Neil Young Journeys
Jonathan Demme’s third concert film/documentary about Neil Young finds the aging Canadian troubadour returning to his hometown in Ontario. He visits his old haunts and tells stories about his past, woven in with mesmerising songs, played in front of a packed audience in Toronto’s iconic Massey Hall. Devoted fans will not need to be sold on this movie but those of you unfamiliar with his work will find a wonderfully accessible introduction to the wonderful world of Neil Young.
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