After the giddy heights of October, November looked kind of lacklustre in comparison. Or at least it did last week. This week is a whole other kettle of fish though, packed almost full with excellent looking films. There’s a powerful documentary, a horror film that has the potential to be the best of the year, Maggie Smith in a film again, some (potentially) revolutionary cinema, and a film made by a bunch of very awesome people. So screw buying Christmas presents, spend all your money in the cinema this week.
First up this week is one of those nice human drama films. Fathers & Daughters (no connection with the TV show Brothers and Sisters) stars Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Russell Crowe (Gladiator), and Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls, Lovelace), and follows a Pulitzer Prize winning writer who has a mental breakdown, becomes a widow, and has to still be a decent father, while simultaneously following his daughter 27 years later doing other stuff (the film follows the daughter, not the father, that would be weird). There isn’t much in the way of reviews out for this yet, but the few that exist criticise its soppiness. It is released on Friday.
You’d think, what with it being Friday the 13th and all, that a film titled The Fear of 13 would be some kind of horror film. Well you’d be wrong, wouldn’t you? This film is, instead, a documentary about a man on Death Row who makes an appeal to a judge (and here’s the catch) to be executed. Made by David Sington (In the Shadow of the Moon), there isn’t much about the film that I can find, other than a description of it by the BFI. Still, it looks intriguing, so if you’re after a powerful look at life, death, and the American prison system, go no further. The film will receive a limited release.
Next, in true Friday the 13th form, we do actually have a horror film. It’s called The Hallow, and from the way that Culture Editor Harrison Abbott and Film Editor Ben Robins have been banging on about it, it’s probably quite a good one. A British-Irish production, the film premiered at Sundance 2015, and at FrightFest 2015 in the UK. The film’s premise is that a guy goes into a forest despite warnings from the locals not to, and spooky monster-based shenanigans inevitably ensue. If Halloween didn’t sate your appetite for scariness, November looks to have your back with this one.
Our next film is wildly different to the previous two. The Lady in the Van stars Maggie Smith as the eponymous Van-Lady, a woman who lived for fifteen years in the drive-way of her friend, in a van. Directed by Nicholas Hynter (The History Boys), and written by Alan Bennet, who adapted it from his play of the same name, the film has received largely positive praise, with most of that directed at Smith, who looks to prove for the umpteenth time that she is a legend of the screen. The film is released on Friday.
The biggie of the week really is a biggie. Steve Jobs, directed by Danny Boyle (who’s awesome), written by Aaron Sorkin (who’s awesome) and starring Michael Fassbender (who’s awesome), it seems fair to say that it will probably be an awesome film (and our review from the LFF even says so). The film is a biopic of the eponymous computer-business-visionary-man, and tracks his life not through exhaustive reconstruction of everything he ever did (as is so often the case with biopics), but by focusing on three points in time – the moments before the announcement of three of the device that made Steve Jobs Steve Jobs, and Apple Apple. Receiving universal acclaim, the film is released on Friday. (Also, fun fact, the film is subject to a lawsuit, not from Jobs’ family, or from Apple, but from a guy who photographed a shark featured in the film).
Wrapping things up this week is Tangerine. An American comedy-drama, Tangerine follows a pair of trans sex-workers in L.A. and – I don’t know where exactly the comedy comes from, but apparently it’s there. What is remarkable about the film is not its story, though, it’s the fact that it was shot entirely on three iPhones, but is far-removed from some teenager’s crappy home-movie. Premiering at Sundance 2015, the film has received universal acclaim, and if it does well enough (which it pretty much already has), may open the doors to a whole new level of professional filmmaking. It receives limited release this Friday.