Christopher Nolan returns to form in quite stunning fashion after the bloated, overlong The Dark Knight Rises, that may well have made one think Hollywood’s biggest director had run out of ideas. But that is certainly not the case in this epic, philosophical adventure in the grandest old-school science fiction fashion. The earth is dying, and of course Matthew McConaughey is the man to save it. Nolan blends huge concepts and breathtaking set-pieces with the ease of a helmer at the top of his game. Buried here are also a string of fantastic supporting and cameo performances, some from Nolan regulars, some from stars you’d least expect. If you like your blockbusters to be more than just action, then definitely give yourself over to the emotional spectacle of Interstellar, one of last year’s best films.
GET ON UP:
It was only a matter of time before the life story of James Brown was committed to the screen. One of music’s most notorious personalities, Brown is played here by Chadwick Boseman, whose star is sure to rise with his accomplished work here as the troubled singer. Tate Taylor, of The Help fame, directs and brings along Help alumni Octavia Spender and Viola Davis to add some hefty scene-chewing chops to the drama on show here. If you’re a fan of Brown’s music, there is plenty of that, and that is the main attraction here. Although the film gets a bit messy at times, it is directed with passion and the attention to period detail and excellent soundtrack should be enough to keep up interest throughout.
Bill Murray has managed to carve himself a brand new image in film since 2000, mostly through collaborations with indie royalty like Sofia Coppola and Wes Anderson, as an actor whose chief attribute is strong dramatic range rather than wry wit. Here he gets ample space to showcase both sides of his talent as an old drunk who would rather push people away than let them into his life. His chief companion is Naomi Watts’s Russian prostitute and stripper. When 12-year-old Oliver and his mother move in next door he finds himself a lucrative job babysitting. But what he sees merely as a way to earn money becomes a friendship across the age divide that brings him out of his shell. St. Vincent is warm, human comedy anchored by a really strong cast and a moving script.
HORRIBLE BOSSES 2:
If you were a fan of the first Horrible Bosses then I really can’t see too many ways in which this one could disappoint you. Was it really necessary to make this film? No, no it was not. Are there plenty of tasteless and offensive jokes on offer here? Yes. But Chris Pine especially is excellent and the three leads are all by now accomplished enough at this brand of humour to do it in their sleep. Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Aniston reprise their roles from the first time round, and while this is not quite the equal of the first film, there are some good jokes here and probably enough for you to go along with on a lazy evening.
Whether or not you enjoy this one kind of depends in large part on whether or not you are above the age of 7. If the answer to that question is yes, then this is likely too silly and light on character to be of much interest. If you are under said age, then this should be right up your alley. Also, what are you doing on a computer as a 7-year-old? Go play outside why don’t you! Live a little! I’m sorry. Anyway, this is great fun for the younger crowd, lots of colours and fast-paced dialogue that will remind everyone why the Penguins have taken on a life of their own since Madagascar.
If Wong Kar-Wai isn’t the most brilliant and compelling filmmaker of the last two decades, he’s certainly up there. This might not reach the dizzying heights of some of his finest, but the martial arts is breathtaking, the cinematography is utterly jaw-dropping and the character of Ip Man is given a more romantic and epic treatment than he is usually afforded. Tony Leung and Ziyi Zhang, essentially Hong Kong and Chinese royalty these days, are an excellent set of leads that give plenty of substance to the sumptuous visuals and period detail on show here. This kind of gorgeous, thoughtful genre fair isn’t seen much these days in Hollywood, so leave it to a voice as singular as Wong’s to bring this kind of vision to life.
This Paraguayan mother-son drama has been a hit on the international festival circuit and is a really moving story of how hard it can be to fit in. Junior is stuck with a head full of curly hair that he wants to have straightened so that in his yearbook photo he looks like the famous pop star that he idolizes. His unemployed mother Marta, a young widow, finds it increasingly hard to deal with her son’s fixation on his appearance. When her idea for an intervention to set an example for him doesn’t work out as well as she’d have liked, Junior must make a decision about who he really is.
VEEP SEASON 3:
Hopefully you’re acquainted with the American cousin to Armando Ianucci’s The Thick of It, and the excellent third season is hardly news to you. But if you aren’t, get yourself on board with a political satire smarter and funnier than House of Cards by a mile. Finally, a vehicle that showcases the massive comedic talent of its star, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss.