A very uneven set of films, this week. On the one hand, we have three of the most acclaimed, awards-buzz-wrapped films of the season, including towering performances from very famous people, harrowing, thrilling, and uplifting stories, and examples of the pinnacle of cinema. On the other, we have Mike Tyson in a martial arts film. The wonders of the screen will never cease to amaze.
First up this week is Breakdown, a British thriller and the directorial debut of Jonnie Malachi. The film tells the story of a contract killer who spirals out of control, and is then forced to defend his family from his erstwhile employers. Starring Craig Fairbrass (Eastenders, Devil’s Playground) and James Cosmo (Trainspotting, Game of Thrones), the film hasn’t yet received any reviews, so if you’re gonna see it, you’ll be doing so blind. Godspeed. The film receives a limited release on Friday.
A (kinda surprising) big-hitter next, in the form of Creed. I say surprising, because its release in the US saw this Rocky remake/sequel/reboot thing receive some serious love from basically everyone, including a whole bunch of Oscar buzz too. The film sees Sylvester Stallone reprise his legendary role of Rocky Balboa and train the titular Adonis Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle), son of his old rival Apollo. The film has received overwhelming praise, more than doubled its budget in the US, and has garnered Stallone a Golden Globe nomination. Definitely one to watch. Creed is released on Friday.
Up next is Dragon Blade, a Chinese-Hong-Kong film which answers the age old question: “Have you ever wondered what it would be like if John Cusack was a Roman, and Jackie Chan was an Ancient Chinese general, and they, like, totally fought and shit?” I honestly don’t know… I watched the trailer and, it looks kind of good. In a really bad way. I never thought I’d see legionaries do flips. Or Adrian Brody catch a flying sword by its blade. Dragon Blade offers all this and more when it’s released Friday.
Another offering from Hong Kong this week is Ip Man 3. Which, wait for it, stars Mike Tyson. It’s a martial arts film starring Mike Tyson. Why haven’t we just given it all the Oscars already? Sequel to the (apparently) beloved Ip Man and Ip Man 2, Ip Man 3 follows the titular character (Ip Man), a Wing Chun grandmaster who tries to retire, but gets attacked by a gang (those pesky gangs), and is forced to Wing Chun the shit out of them, while also training Bruce Lee (Bruce Lee is not in this film, he is a character, portrayed by Danny Chan). The film has received mixed reviews. But Mike Tyson. It receives limited release on Friday.
On now to the winner of the 88th Academy Awards for, like, everything (apart from Actor, ‘cause Leo) – The Revenant. The film is directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman or (The film with an excessively long title)), and stars Leonardo Dicaprio (Inception, Titanic, The Wolf of Wall Street etc. etc.), Tom Hardy (Legend, Mad Max: Fury Road, Inception, etc. etc.), Domnhall Gleeson (Ex Machina, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Brooklyn, etc. etc.) – Christ that’s some talent right there. It follows a man who is left for dead after being mauled by a bear, and goes on quite the journey of survival. The film has received all kinds of praise, and is the front-runner for a lot of Oscars, even though the nominations haven’t been announced yet. It also looks like one of the most intense films ever. It’s released on Friday.
Wrapping things up this week Room. Based on the novel of the same name by Emma Donoghue (who also wrote the screenplay), the film is a look at how happiness can be found in the unhappiest of places, if one tells the story through the perspective of a child (that’s some Dumbledore paraphrasing right there). Starring Brie Larson, the film is actually about a woman and her five-year-old child who live as captives in a small locked room and, uhh, bad things happen. The film has received oodles of praise from critics, particular Larson’s performance. It is released on Friday.