In Cinemas This Week


Hey & welcome to this weeks guide to the newest releases in the cinema. With the countdown to awards season now firmly under way, expect to see some of the hotly tipped movies hitting our screens this month that should do well on Oscars night. One such movie is Foxcatcher, a true life drama that charts the strange relationship between a billionnaire and a down-on-his-luck Olympic athlete, and the lengths both men would go to for success. Mark Schultz won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics but lives in a shabby apartment, working mediocre jobs, jealous of the life of his older brother who also has a gold medal to his name. When he’s offered a spot on a wrestling team being assembled by wealthy but bored old man, he finds himself drawn into a lifestyle he comes increasingly dependent on. Foxcatcher features strong performances from Channing Tatum as Schultz and an unrecognisable Steve Carell as John du Pont, but it’s cold and sterile tone will alienate more than a few viewers.

The tale itself is fascinating, with du Pont only interested in serving his own needs regardless of the impact it has on anyone else, and the movie serves as a character study into the mind of a man who’s driven by success and the will to do whatever it takes to get it. An air of dread hangs over the whole story and at times du Pont’s actions threaten to boil over into a chilling conclusion to proceedings but movie never goes there, somewhat restricted by it’s “based on a true story” tag. It’s easy to see why some of the performances are being lauded but it’s not enough to call this movie a masterpiece by any means. Foxcatcher is an intelligent and moral drama, documenting a glimpse into the mind of a strange and twisted man, but its story doesn’t resonate and will leave most viewers a little hollow. 7/10

Taken 3, or Tak3n if you prefer, is the third and final outing for Liam Neeson’s Brian Mills, the former CIA agent whose family has the worst luck in the history of cinema. This time, thankfully, no one actually gets taken, but that doesn’t stop this being another weak entry in the series. What made Taken so effective, was that it was so out of character for Neeson to do an action movie in 2008. Fast forward to now and Neeson is struggling to get his hands on a decent dramatic role, while churning out mediocre thrillers to pay the rent. Taken 3 sees Mills this time on the run himself in LA, after being framed for a murder and hunted by pretty much every government agency you can think of.

Mills must track down the real killer while staying one step ahead of the police, clear his name and dish out his own brand of violent justice. At least, that’s what should happen. What we’re left with this time is another 12A action film designed to capitalise on the teen market with no regard for the fans that made the original a success. Still absent is the bloody and brutal action that made Taken a surprise success, replaced with cutaway action shots that never really show anything. The story is at least a notch better than Taken 2, but most of what was wrong with the last movie remains present in Taken 3. Neeson does his best with the role, and some of the more hands on action packs a punch, but Taken 3 ends the series with a whimper, not the bang that Brian Mills deserved. 3/10

Into The Woods, the movie version of a hugely successful stage show, hits our screens with an all-star cast and some proven musical numbers, as Disney weaves together strands of stories from all of your favourite childhood fairytales. What’s more, the movie is absolutely tonnes of fun. The story sees the likes of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and a host of other popular literary characters all cross paths in an enchanted forest with a large dose of wit, humour and self-knowing winks for the viewers. They must stick together on their journey to Happily Ever After, if they are to make it out alive, as they find themselves pursued by an angry female giant.

The movie was always going to rely heavily on the vocal talents of the cast and Into The Woods doesn’t disappoint. Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Chris Pine are all standouts in a movie brimming with talent. The songs are catchy as hell and the whole movie zips along from one great tune to the next, revitalising these fairytale characters and their own stories along the way. It is refreshingly nice to see a movie that genuinely caters for grown ups as well as younger viewers, and though it takes a step into darker territory for the second half of the movie, parents and children will be having so much fun they’ll hardly notice. Into The Woods doesn’t reinvent the musical genre, but its got enough soul to make it one of the very best entries in recent memory and a cracking good movie in it’s own right. 8.5/10

That’s it for this week, be sure to check back next week for three big awards contenders; Whiplash, American Sniper and Wild. Talk to you then!

(Images courtesy Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Element Pictures, Paramount, Universal, Collider, Tumblr)


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