Whether you want a family friendly musical or a serious award-tipped drama, this week is packed with great cinema releases. Meanwhile, one of the most underrated films of the year makes its way to DVD and Blu Ray on Monday.
Here is our round-up of the films hitting theatres this Friday and gracing store shelves this Monday:
In Cinemas On Friday 9th Jan:
We all know and love Steve Carell the funny-man; the star of Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and the American remake of The Office. We have never seen him the way he is in Foxcatcher though. Playing the disturbed real life billionaire John Du Pont, beneficiary to the American wrestling star Mark Schultz prior to his involvement in the Seoul Olympics, he gives a terrifying and unnerving performance that was nominated for a BAFTA this morning. The film tells the suspenseful story of how Du Pont became increasingly strange over this period of time and how his relationship with Schultz and his brother Dave (Channing Tatum and Mark Rufallo) became very dark.
Into The Woods
Based on the Tony Award winning musical, that itself draws inspiration from iconic fairlytale characters created by the Brothers Grimm, Disney's Into The Woods is already set to be one of the year's most popular big screen musicals. Its director Rob Marshall is no stranger to the genre as a former choreographer for the stage and with a CV of screen work that includes Nine and Chicago. Into The Woods has an amazing cast too including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp and James Corden.
How many times can someone's family member be taken? It seems like Liam Neeson's bad parenting knows no bounds as Taken 3 is out in cinemas this week against the will of... well... pretty much everyone. Neeson and director Oliver Megaton have made no secret that they only do the franchise for the money now and anyone who saw Taken 2 will surely keep their distance. The only thing that will probably taken this time around is its ticket buyers' money.
DVD/Blu Ray Releases On Monday 12th Jan:
In such a predominantly male-dominated blockbuster landscape, it is so refreshing to see a kick-ass heroine like Scarlett Johansson's Lucy. The sci-fi action movie about a girl who unlocks her brain's full capacity when she consumes an experimental drug was one of the great feminist statements made in cinema last year. It's centred on a girl whose power comes from her mind, not her body; who single-handedly tackles her conflicts herself without anyone's assistance; and who isn't made into some sex symbol for the male gaze (she's shot mostly from the shoulder up). At a slick 80 minutes, it's non-stop exhilarating entertainment that demands your attention.
Before I Go To Sleep
The Sunday Times bestseller was adapted to the big screen by Brighton Rock filmmaker Rowan Joffe last year starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong. It was met with a fairly negative critical reception but Kidman, whose career has as many ups as downs, gives a great performance.
Don't let the presence of A-list stars like Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning mislead you; Night Moves is not your traditional thriller. Following a group of young radicals that plot to blow up a dam, it's a methodically paced and understated drama that nonetheless contains a wealth of thought-provoking ideas.
Mad Men star John Slattery directs this black comedy which features another excellent performance from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. It might not be up there with this finest work like Capote, The Master or Synecdoche New York, but it's nevertheless a sad reminder of just how great he was prior to his tragic death last year, and what an immense hole his passing leaves in the acting world. Slattery's gorgeous Mad Men colleague Christina Hendricks also stars.
Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul stars in this independent American film that did well on the film festival circuit earlier this year, scoring positing reviews from critics at South By Southwest and the Edinburgh Film Festival. The distributors seem intent on marketing this as an action movie (even going so far as to rename it from its original title Hellion) but it's far from the "white-knuckle" thriller it calls itself on the DVD. This is actually a harrowing drama about a family in mourning with Aaron Paul playing a widowed father trying to hold his family together.