Something wicked this way comes. Acclaimed performers Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard take their place as Shakespeare’s most daring duo in the screen re-telling of epic tragedy ‘Macbeth’. The Scottish play is brought back to life, and through the eyes of director Justin Kurzel, the mood of this film is bleak, earthy and barren. The story is of noble warrior Macbeth as he is encouraged by his ambitious and cruel lady to murder the king in cold-blood, after which they both descend into despair and eventually insanity, with the need to kill and kill again in order to reinforce Macbeth’s position as the new king. The psychological effect of the events is as visual as the harsh, stormy backdrop, as Fassbender balances his Macbeth between the brink of great power and extreme madness. A drastic comparison to competing films this season, but guaranteed to make an impression, the intimacy and bareness of Kurzel’s vision suggests audiences are in for a very different experience of this Shakespeare classic.
Concerning the true-life story and crimes of notorious Boston godfather James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, the film’s primary focus is on the relationship Bulger had with FBI figure and conspirator John Connolly. It also focuses on the relationship with his state-senator brother, Billy Bulger. The rise and fall of Bulger’s empire resulted in a bloody and brutal battle of politics at Bulger’s hand, eventually earning him a place on the FBI’s Top Ten Most-Wanted list. The selling point of the film is the promising return of Johnny Depp’s performing excellence. Audiences have been eager to witness Depp impress outside the pirate costume for some time, having recently risked his reputation with titles such as Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger and Mortdecai. But do not worry: he’s back with bite with the complex and charismatic character of Bulger. Benedict Cumberbatch and Joel Edgerton are featured as well, leaving us to assume that much of the suspense will be enclosed within the power play between the three.
Based on the true story of Laurel Hester, a member of the New Jersey police force. After being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, she was repeatedly refused in her appeal by the county’s board of chosen freeholders to pass on her pension benefits to her lover and domestic partner Stacie Andree after her inevitable death. Julianne Moore and Ellen Page play the couple who must time and time again request for the acceptance and basic rights of any heterosexual couple in the same situation. The film draws attention to the repeated amount of injustice the LGBT community has had to face, even in recent years, when asking for the most basic opportunities. Page, who not only stars but is also credited as a producer, last year made a public coming-out speech at an LGBT conference. She expressed her own personal struggle with the pressure to conform to ideals and values that conflict with her natural urges and choices. Finally, Hollywood focuses on the more personal injustices the LGBT community has had to face at the hands of the legal system. You will cry. A lot.
Fantasy and action guru Guillermo del Toro returns once again with gothic horror film, ‘Crimson Peak’. Hollywood’s quirky romantics, Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston, portray a newlywed couple: the bewitched Edith Cushing and her charismatic husband Sir Thomas Sharpe. As soon as they are united, Sharpe seduces his wife into residency at his family manor, situated in the mysterious and gloomy Cumbrian countryside. There, Sharpe and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe attempt to deceive Edith from the supernatural and terrifying truths of her new home. However, when the ghostly nature of the house continues to torment the bride, their secrecy is soon undone to reveal a grisly and hideous past. Oozing traditional gothic glamour and romance, del Toro brings together performers known for their subtlety and eerie screen presence to ensure a film as enticing and provocative as it is unsettling.
One for the classic cinema buffs. The film’s concept follows the downfall of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s career as he is blacklisted and publicly shamed for his political beliefs in communism. This results in him receiving a place on the ‘Hollywood Ten’ list, and an inability to write under his own name until the late sixties. Television star Brian Cranston (Breaking Bad) plays Trumbo, the screenwriter with spirit who must conduct his craft underground when his reputation is torn apart. He, along with his blacklisted colleagues and like-minded professionals, manage to weather the storm that is the relentless hatred from the press and the government, and emerge unmoved from the pressure of their oppressors. Like in most films this season, the need to ‘overcome’ a system, regime or authority, is a recurring theme. This film, however, does it on a lower budget, and with a few cult-favourite actors appearing in supporting roles. The film itself fights amongst the top titles for a spot in the box office. In the name of freedom and cinema, watch this film to honour Trumbo’s memory, and receive a healthy dose of gumption.
First of its kind, ‘Suffragette’ follows the story of individual freedom fighters of the British suffragette movement. Many biopics concerning great revolutionary figures have received much public adoration in recent years (Milk and Selma are good examples). Now it’s the girls’ turn. Beloved British talents Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham-Carter, along with screen legend Meryl Streep lead the dramatic and overdue narrative of the female fight for equality. Focusing on the everyday-woman as well as the gentry, Suffragette portrays the film from various perspectives; including that of Mulligan’s character Maud Watts, whom is made to sacrifice her livelihood, her family and home merely for the right to vote, as well as that of social acceptance. The story has finally been brought to the screen more than a hundred years after the movement began and, quite honestly, deserves an audience.
Another leading opportunity for Michael Fassbender, the film, as the title suggests, follows the life and career of Apple co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs. Highlighting his vastly unqualified credentials for the position he held within such a huge technological empire, the film is set backstage during three of the most iconic Apple product launches, narrowing in on the personal, as well as the domestic problems Jobs faced during his career. The hype that brought such a loyal international following to the Apple brand is shown to have essentially burst into existence through Jobs’ perseverance and showmanship. Fassbender appears almost unrecognizable, his performance driven most successfully by his startlingly accurate imitation of Jobs’ voice. The movie has also allowed other big screen names to creatively re-identify themselves, exhibiting notorious funny-man Seth Rogen as a serious, and more relatable ‘everyman’ in real-life inventor Steve Wozniak. Kate Winslet embodies the headstrong and engaging character of Jobs’ right-hand-woman in Joanna Hoffman. For the ultimate modern tale of ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’, you must buy into the tenacity of the infamous underdog.
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Sci-fi epic thriller… sound familiar? The release of ‘Interstellar’ last year brought what ‘Gravity’ did the year before: humans struggle against their own mortality within time and space. Basically, we love this theme, and Hollywood is not afraid to re-package that formula with the latest best-selling-book-turned-blockbuster ‘The Martian.’ The film concerns astronaut Mark Watney who survives against the odds after a deadly storm hits his mission on Mars. Left behind with next-to-no supplies, he must endure the harsh atmosphere and persevere to ‘Science the shit out of this’. Mankind takes on nature at its most brutal state, and loveable, relatable Damon is the guy we get to cheer on during this struggle. We predict a tonne of nominations at awards season and a few stand-out performances amongst a star-studded cast.
One city, two icons, a system that governed the criminal activity of London, and one actor to take it all on. A brave idea that really needs the likes of Tom Hardy, an extremely talented and intimidating performer, to pull it off. Welcome ‘Legend’, a screen interpretation of the book ‘The profession of violence’ based on the rise and fall of celebrity mastermind gangsters, the Kray twins. Excitement around the film’s casting has hit an all-time high, as, through the use of some digital trickery, Hardy is able to portray both brothers. Reggie, the charming, calculating schemer, and Ronnie, the loose-cannon whose reputation of being violent and unpredictable scared London into submission. The film’s narrative is driven from the perspective of Reggie’s young wife ‘Frankie’, played by Australian beauty Emily Browning, allowing the film to take a closer, more intimate look at the relationship Reggie and Ronnie shared, as well as offering the audience a clearer understanding of how two loud, boisterous east-end boys managed to subdue a city to its knees. Colourful, although slightly gaudy at times, the film is drenched in over-played sixties décor, but manages to still work alongside the whimsical cheap gags and fast pace.
Bond is back and boy oh boy, has he got some demons to face. After the random and at times confusing plot of Skyfall, Daniel Craig returns as 007 to unravel the truth behind the sinister organisation that continues to persecute him, known as ‘Spectre’. Craig is surrounded by typical bond beauties such as Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Naomie Harris and bad-guy-screen-sensation Christopher Waltz, just to ensure your full attention. Spectre follows a more traditional Bond-film narrative in comparison to the recent films in the series: the agent is ultimately alone, facing an enemy he does not quite understand with only his history and expertise to guide him amongst a backdrop of stunning locations, beautiful women and gorgeous cars. The love of Bond has over the years enabled the series to become the longest-running series of film in history, with good reason. Step back into a familiar setting and indulge in the glamour of Bond once again.