The second week of January is simultaneously slow and not. Only four films out this week, and of those, three are teeny-tiny ones. But the fourth is a Tarantino film, so it’s all swings-and-roundabouts, I guess. Still, even the smaller films this week all look potentially excellent, particularly Denmark’s Oscar hopeful. So a not bad week by any means.
First up is a British/American documentary from HBO and director Nick Read (The Condemned). The film, Bolshoi Babylon, takes a look behind the scenes at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Theatre in Russia amid an acid-attack scandal in 2013. The film has received largely positive criticism, with its stylism particularly drawing praise. And if you’re the type to turn their nose up at a film about ballet, just remember how good Black Swan was. The film receives limited release on Friday.
The big-hitter of this week, of this month, even, is the return of everyone’s favourite foot-fetishist. Quentin Tarantino’s Western/Spaghetti/something-sploitation (I don’t really know what any of these things are, but apparently all of his films are at least one) The Hateful Eight hits cinemas on Friday. The film follows the titular “Eight”, a group of travellers forced to take shelter together from a blizzard, when Tarantino-esque shenanigans ensue. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, and Michael Madson (in something of a blast from the past), this is certainly a must see pre-awards season.
Up next is Australian thriller Partisan. The feature-length debut for director Ariel Kleiman, the film stars Vincent Cassel (Black Swan), and tells the story of a young boy struggling to find his place in an isolated commune, a struggle that puts him on a collision course with the commune’s leader. Sounds thrilling (get it? . . . because it’s – it’s a thriller. So it’s thrilling. No? I’ll stop). Partisan sees a limited release here in the UK on Friday.
Wrapping things up is A War (originally titled Krigen), a Danish film about a group of soldiers captured by the Taliban, and their commander being accused of war crimes. Really uplifting stuff. The film has been submitted as Denmark’s entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and has received some seriously good reviews (those Danes really know their stuff, it would seem). Made by filmmaker Tobias Lindholm (The Hunt), and starring Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones), the film receives limited release this Friday.