It’s slim pickings this week, in terms of big budget movies, as the industry winds down a little over the festive period (though prepare yourselves for the usual onslaught of Christmassy slush hitting the big screen in the coming weeks).
However, the new release that everybody’s chatting about right now is Hitchcock. Starring Antony Hopkins (as the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock) and Helen Mirren (as his wife, Alma Reville), there has already been discussion of the possibility of Oscar nominations coming the way of this biopic, which focuses on the era when Hitchcock was filming Psycho – widely considered to be the pinnacle of his career. The star of Psycho, Janet Leigh, is played by the ever-popular Scarlett Johansson.
Reviews for the movie have been mixed; it seems as though most reviewers are praising the performances, but not the film as a whole, which lacks clarity. The movie is only getting a limited release this week, so don’t expect it to be riding too high with box office takings but do expect some of its cast to be riding high when it comes to awards season.
Also on a limited release schedule is Rust & Bone. The movie, starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, has already been highly commended at this year’s major film festivals, including Telluride, Cannes and Toronto so it’s a firm favourite with the critics. Rust & Bone tells the story of an orca trainer with missing legs and a boxer with broken hands, who find love, following the accident that robs Cotillard’s character of her limbs.
It’s scored a solid 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, and whilst some critics found the plotline a little ludicrous, many found the performances touching and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote “Cotillard is astonishing, as is Schoenaerts as a boxer who helps restore her sexual identity. Audiard's hypnotic film means to shake you, and does.”
Flying the flag for the documentary genre this week, is The Central Park Five, which takes a look at the 1989 conviction of five black and Latino teenagers, for the rape of a white female jogger in New York’s Central Park. After they had spent five years in prison, the truth of the crime emerged, when a serial rapist confessed to the crime.
The documentary is based on the book by Sarah Burns and is co-directed by her husband David McMahon and father Ken Burns. It’s had an overwhelmingly positive critical response; Manohla Dargis of New York Times writes “Measured in tone and outraged in its argument, it is an emotionally stirring, at times crushingly depressing cinematic call to witness.”
This week also sees the release of the director’s cut of Once Upon A Time In America. A nostalgic trip back to Sergio Leone’s 1984 movie starring Robert De Niro, Once Upon A Time In America sees a former Jewish gangster return to Brooklyn, in Prohibition era America, to face his demons. The Golden Globe nominated movie now gets a director’s cut release, unleashing Leone’s original vision.