The buzz on Birdman, The Theory of Everything, Into the Woods, American Sniper and Ex Machina.
- Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifinakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts.
Written by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
With an ensemble cast, a director that brought us Babel, in 2006 and a cleverly eccentric plot, Birdman has reached great heights since its October release in the States, with Globe wins, and SAG and Oscar nominations, not to mention festival and box office acclaim of $34.2 million gross worldwide. I already have my slot lined up, ready to watch in awe. Critics have been rampantly praising it, with the Telegraph calling it ‘a Dark Knight of the soul’ and Michael Keaton’s portrayal of lead character Riggan Thompson has been credited as bold and ‘soaring in this electrifying character study’, as reviewed by online entertainment site Digital Spy. It’s a must-see psychological and darkly funny drama that I have had my eye on ever since that odd teaser of a half-naked Keaton jogging through a busy (its always busy) Times Square.
- The Theory of Everything
Directed by James Marsh.
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, David Thewlis and Harry Lloyd.
Written by Anthony McCarten.
Biopics have been making their mark in recent years, from the likes of My Week with Marilyn, Lincoln and The Kings Speech, all faring well at the box office and garnering critical recognition and success. Well, the life and work of Stephen Hawking is the next biographical venture for film, headed by James Marsh, from Man on Wire and Project Nim fame. Adapted from Hawkings’ first wife, Jane’s, memoir, ‘Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen’, Marsh touches upon themes of science, romance, and ultimately, life during the time of Hawking’s biggest achievement till date. Eddie Redmayne fresh from his Golden Globes win for Leading Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, and Felicity Jones’ portrayal of the Hawking couple has been met with praise and appreciation by The Guardian, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, as well as cinematographer Benoît Delhomme and Jóhan Jóhannsson’s score receiving acclaim. If you like learning as well as being entertained, this scientifically-driven romantic drama about Stephen Hawking is just right for you.
- Into the Woods
Directed by Rob Marshall
Starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Lilla Crawford, MacKenzie Mauzy and Daniel Huttlestone.
Written by James Lapine
Another ensemble cast of brilliant acting abilities, who can hold a tune, which is exactly what Stephen Sondheim and Rob Marshall wanted for the film adaptation of the former’s classic Tony-award winning Broadway show. Sondheim and Marshall team together to bring us a beautifully dark big screen version of the Brothers Grimm tales entwined into the fictional story of a baker and his wife. If its $120million and over worldwide gross is anything to go by, I’m sure the public were raving to see this movie. With many surprising performances and awe-dropping vocals of the younger stars, families across the world who have a love for fairy tales will turn out to watch and enjoy this fantasy musical. Meryl Streep takes centre stage as the frightening Witch, but I am sure nobody will care if she looks ugly and old, her voice alone will steal the show.
- American Sniper
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller.
Written by Jason Dean Hall.
Since that teaser was released of Bradley Cooper’s character, Chris Kyle, a United States Navy SEAL, silently and calmly in the midst of a sniper attack, I was intrigued to know more about this film. We know Cooper can do comedy well, he can do romance well, and since Silver Linings Playbook, he can let audiences into a more dramatic depth of personality, so I was under no impression of negativity when he was cast as the lead in this Clint Eastwood production. My surprise came from its many Academy Award nominations, but with Eastwood for a director, and after his many successes with Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, this is not his first dance at the Oscars. Based on the memoir of Chris Kyle, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, this biopic tells the mentally and physically tumultuous tale of a man torn between his love of the job or his true love at home. The sedate darkness of Eastwood creations with a harrowing story of the American Sniper is a match I would like too see.
- Ex Machina
Directed by Alex Garland
Starring Domhall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander.
Written by Alex Garland.
This eagerly anticipated British Science Fiction production is the directorial debut of Alex Garland, known for his writing abilities in the Danny Boyle films 28 Days Later and Sunshine, about a man unknowingly becoming involved in the investigative challenging of the powers of humanity in the latest Artificial Intelligence experimentation, Ava, portrayed by Vikander. Gleeson’s character Caleb and Isaac’s Nathan go head to head in this thriller-esque reconfiguration of typical Sci-Fi to stimulate our minds into either accepting the unsettling notion of a new mechanically engineered world or undeniably fearing the lengths one would go to, to succeed in such a task. With his previous roles in the shadows of other actors, Gleeson comes into the forefront as the face of good against the aesthetically unnerving and formidable characterisation of Isaac, recently famed for his portrayals in Inside Llewyn Davis and A Most Violent Year. Still in post-production, the film is set to storm the UK and US film industries, elevating the Science Fiction genre to new heights of mysterious emotional instabilities.