Beat those Jan­uary blues

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - CINEMA -

locked — a thriller about the dra­matic kid­nap­ping of John Paul Getty III — down with him.

Overnight in Oc­to­ber, Spacey’s name was sud­denly mud and his in­volve­ment as toxic as kryp­tonite. In­stead of let­ting his film tank when the news broke, 80-year-old Scott took the quite in­sane de­ci­sion to re­cast Christo­pher Plum­mer and re-shoot all of Spacey’s scenes with just eight weeks to go be­fore re­lease. A gar­gan­tuan ef­fort of nip and tuck took place and the eleventh-hour ef­forts seem to have paid off — All The Money In the World snapped up three nom­i­na­tions at the Golden Globes, in­clud­ing Best Ac­tor for Plum­mer.

A Paul Thomas An­der­son/daniel Day-lewis col­lab­o­ra­tion is a film-world phe­nom­e­non guar­an­teed to fo­cus the at­ten­tions of academy and film fes­ti­val judges the world over. And their lat­est, Phan­tom Thread, (Jan­uary 12) all the more so since it will be Day-lewis’s last out­ing on the sil­ver screen — he an­nounced his re­tire­ment from act­ing in June. For his fi­nal act, he plays fic­tional cou­turier Reynolds Wood­cock, a mis­an­thrope whose cre­ative ge­nius is equal to his metic­u­lous and ob­ses­sive con­trol over his en­vi­ron­ment. Chaos, how­ever, en­ters his world in the shape of a young East­ern Euro­pean wait­ress named Alma. It’s an exquisitely shot piece full of nu­anced per­for­mances and emo­tional reg­is­ters as del­i­cate as but­ter­fly wings. Os­car nom­i­na­tions all round seem pretty much in the bag.

Steven Spiel­berg’s Os­car con­tender The Post (Jan­uary 19) is a guar­an­teed crowd-pleaser of an his­tor­i­cal drama, star­ring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as the Viet­nam-era jour­nal­ists who pub­lished the Pen­tagon Pa­pers. “Set nearly half a cen­tury ago, but re­mark­ably pre­scient in these “fake news” times, The Post is an en­gag­ing and mas­ter­fully acted tale sure to be in the run­ning come the Os­cars,” says Em­pire.

For those who like to in­dulge their sil­ver-screen plea­sures at the art-house rather than the mul­ti­plex, and for whom sub­ti­tles are a draw rather than a drag, there are two films on the must-watch list in early 2018. The Square (March 16) is the lat­est film from Swedish di­rec­tor and arch-satirist Ruben Ostlund who made his name in­ter­na­tion­ally with the Os­car and Golden Globe-nom­i­nated Force Ma­jeure. This time Ostlund fo­cuses the laser beam of his blackly comic, mer­ci­less sto­ry­telling on the world of con­tem­po­rary art. The film took the Palme D’OR at this year’s Cannes Film Fes­ti­val.

An­other award win­ner at Cannes, the French film 120 BPM (re­leased April), is a gritty drama shot in doc­u­men­tary style, which fol­lows a group of AIDS ac­tivists in 1990s Paris. Ac­cord­ing to Va­ri­ety, it “melds the per­sonal, po­lit­i­cal and the erotic to heart-burst­ing ef­fect”.

Even be­yond the im­mense hype that is awards sea­son, there are plenty of gems to look for­ward to in 2018. Vis­ual stylist Wes An­der­son’s adorable look­ing new pro­ject Isle of Dogs is sched­uled for re­lease in April and fea­tures an all-star cast in­clud­ing Scar­lett Jo­hans­son.

Also mooted for re­lease in 2018 is the im­mense-sound­ing live ac­tion Bar­bie movie. The pro­duc­ers have scored the coup of get­ting Di­ablo Cody ( Juno) to take on the script, “Di­ablo’s un­con­ven­tion­al­ity is just what Bar­bie needs. It sig­nals we’re go­ing for a le­git­i­mately con­tem­po­rary tone,” said pro­ducer Wal­ter Parkes. Cer­tainly, if any­one can make the plas­tic blonde cool, Cody can.

Other highlights amongst the popcorn flicks next year in­clude the last in­stal­ment of the Fifty Shades tril­ogy, Fifty Shades Freed, which hits a screen near you in early Fe­bru­ary, fi­nally putting the kinky-but-cursed ro­mance be­tween Chris­tian and Anas­ta­sia to, um, bed.

It’s been 14 years since the Pixar clas­sic The In­cred­i­bles hit big screens, but the friendly neigh­bour­hood su­per­heroes have now been given the se­quel treat­ment, with The In­cred­i­bles 2 hit­ting cin­e­mas next sum­mer.

Mean­while, the cred­its alone of A Star Is Born will be enough to coax Bradley Cooper’s le­gion of fans to part with their cash. He’s writ­ten and di­rected this mu­si­cal drama which also stars Lady Gaga.

‘Fifty Shades Freed fi­nally puts the kinky ro­mance be­tween Chris­tian and Anas­ta­sia to bed’

Clock­wise from top left, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in The Post; Saoirse Ro­nan in Lady Bird; Woody Har­rel­son and Frances Mcdor­mand in Three Bill­boards Out­side Ebbing, Mis­souri; Gail Har­ris and Mark Wahlberg in All The Money In The World; and Daniel Day-lewis in Phan­tom Thread

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