What's on at the cinema this January?
PUBLISHED: 14:54 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:18 02 January 2020
Awards season is just around the corner. Here is a run down of the leading titles which will tempt us away from our televisions and into the cinema.
Out Now - Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
This is one of the biggest films of the year. The opening of a Star Wars film is always an event but this is probably the most highly anticpated film of the series because it's the final instalment of the saga and it has cult director J.J.Abrams back behind the camera. Abrams launched this series of sequels with the hugely entertaining The Force Awakens which introduced us to Daisy Ridley as Rey, a new young Jedi, and John Boyega, as Finn, stormtrooper with a conscience, our two new heroes, and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, the new champion for the dark side of The Force. Along the way we were reintroduced to Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Anthony Daniels as the camp droid C3PO. Rogue director Rian Johnson tried to do something different with the second movie The Last Jedi but the fan-backlash ensured that the franchise would be handed back to Abrams for the finale, making sure that it would have necessary atmosphere and gravitas.
Out Now - Cats
This film has been a long time coming and even from the trailer you have to ask to what end? The whole thing seems very artificial, very emotionless, very uninvolving. The stage show is a highly theatrical event. It's essentially a dance show in which we gain a peak into the lives of these Jellicle cats through music and dance. It's not a show with a strong narrative drive. It's about atmosphere and showmanship. The film appears to have added a more substantial plot and I'm not sure it's going to work because I don't think you will identify as closely with the Cats as the makers hope you will. Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) is a great director and the cast is crammed with star names but the Cats seem rather creepy and unreal. We may be forced to eat our words but at this moment I don't know anyone who is dying to see this movie. Could it be that Andrew Lloyd Webber's theatrical blockbuster could turn out to be a cinematic disaster? After all theatre and cinema may be cousins but they each have different strengths. Cinema loves spectacle and creating a perception of reality whereas theatre thrives on imagination.
Out This Week - Jojo Rabbit and The Gentlemen
Described as a comedy/drama, JoJo Rabbit tells the story of a young boy in Hitler's army finding out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home. Aided only by his imaginary friend (Adolf Hitler) Jojo must confront his blind nationalism as World War II continues to rage on. Unsurprisngly, this film has divided critics since it was first unveiled at the Toronto Film Festival in early September. Some have condemned its comedic portrayal of Nazis while others have praised its invention and its courage to poke fun at some of the world's greatest monsters. In America it was chosen by the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute as one of the ten best films of the year.In The Gentlemen Guy Ritchie is back firmly in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels territory for this gritty urban drama. The film follows American expat Mickey Pearson who has created a highly profitable marijuana empire in London. When word gets out that he is looking to cash out his business, it triggers plots, schemes, bribery and blackmail in an attempt to steal his domain out from under him.
Fri Jan 10 - 1917
Theatre and film director Sam Mendes turns screenwriter as well to tell the story of two young British privates during the First World War, who are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldier's brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.The film is based in part on an account told to Mendes by his paternal grandfather, Alfred Mendes. The films has been described as a visual tour-de-force.
Fri Jan 17 - Bombshell and The Personal History of David Copperfield
Heavyweight drama that has Oscars written all over it. Based on a true story, it follows several women who decide to denounce Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment and expose the toxic atmosphere he presided over at the network. The award nominations have all ready strated as Theron and Robbie have been nominated for Best Actress - Drama and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, for the 77th Golden Globe Awards. In David Copperfield the Charles Dickens classic gets a 21st century makeover from satirical writer-director Armando Iannucci, who takes the film away from the cosy TV teatime literary adaptation and turns it into something far more energetic. Dev Patel is the eponymous hero while Iannucci's Thick of It star Peter Capaldi plays the morally dubious Mr. Micawber. Shot on location in Suffolk and Norfolk, it had its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival where one critic wrote: "The Personal History of David Copperfield puts a fresh, funny, and utterly charming spin on Dickens' classic, proving some stories truly are timeless."
Out Now - Little Women
This is the fourth time this story of female empowerment has come to the big screen. The first version in 1933 gave Katharine Hepburn one of the early breaks, the 1949 remake gave Elizabeth Taylor the opportunity to cement her Hollywood stardom while the 1994 version provided Winona Ryder with a meaty lead role alongside Susan Sarandon and opposite Christian Bale and Gabriel Byrne. This latest version is actress-turned-director Greta Gerwig's second movie after the Oscar-nominated Lady Bird and tells the story of the March sisters who come of age during the aftermath of the American Civil War and how Jo March fights to become a published author.