The Month in Stubs series lay pretty dormant throughout November and December, I just didn’t get to the cinema as much as I would have liked: don’t fret, I did manage to see Star Wars, twice.
But while the US was spoiled rotten with prime Oscar bait, treated to the likes of Anomalisa, The Revenant, and The Hateful Eight us Brits were forced to do what we do best, nothing but sit around drinking tea chortling to ourselves. But the greatest thing about Oscar season is that the films are so good they are always worth the wait, excluding Anomalisa of course, we have to wait until MARCH! for that one, out-bloody-rageous I tell you.
I’ve not quite seen all of the films tipped for the coveted Academy Award, (still missing The Big Short and The Danish Girl amongst a few others) but read on to see what I thought of the ones I have managed to catch in the month of January.
Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film was a special experience for me. Disregarding the obligatory hype that comes with a new QT title these days it was special for a different reason. I caught it in 70mm at the Special Roadshow Engagement at the Odeon, Leicester Square. A fact made even more special as this was the first Roadshow Engagement since England won the World Cup in 1966. That should resonate with the English readers as both interesting and depressing but fear not, you’ll find no such emotional burdens in QTs latest Western venture. A glorious * * * * Must-see.
The divisive Joy was my second cinema outing in January and, unlike The Hateful Eight where I had a pretty good idea what I was letting myself in for, Joy was a complete surprise. I knew it was about the lady who invented the miracle mop but who knew David O. Russell could be so exploitive of the genre’s nooks and crannies and the story’s metaphorical potential. Very much set to the beat of an everlasting soap opera Jennifer Lawrence as the eponymous Joy Mangano undergoes an intriguing arc from start to finish. Lawrence is by far the strongest performer and despite what others have said, Joy makes for ‘Quality, Value, Cinema’ (the best acronymic reference I could muster). A Brilliant * * * *.
If I thought Joy was divisive I never pegged The Revenant as a divider. From Alejandro González Iñárritu, the guy that brought you Birdman, we’re taken to the harsh winter wilderness of 1820s Northern America. Much has been written about Leonardo DiCaprio’s chance of winning that all elusive Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Hugh ‘Mauled by Bear’ Glass: of which, I agree, his performance is fantastic. But it’s the sheer ambition, technical detail, and astute visual consistency that blew me away. It’s not your average revenge flick, it’s something special that demands a rejection of everything we understand about traditional cinema. A truly worthy * * * * * Must-see.
You’re probably thinking, why is the ticket for Dad’s Army so fancy? Well, I had the privilege of attending the World Premiere at Odeon, Leicester Square on 26/01/2016. This may just be the Premiere excitement getting to my head but while I see the flaws in this nostalgic throwback piece I also found the approach respectful, loyal, and incredibly current. I wouldn’t necessarily rush out to see it but it was well Worth my Time, for the stellar cast, genuine laughs, and feel-good feeling. * * *
I do have a couple of honourable mentions this time round that don’t quite fit the Month in Stubs criteria, of well, requiring an actual stub.
This was an interesting one. Hosted by Little White Lies and MUBI I was fortunate enough to attend the screening of John Hughes’ swan song, Curly Sue. A cute little 80s picture that never quite lived up to the standard of The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. There were load bursts of ironic laughter from a less than appreciative audience but while it’s not great the simplicity and shamelessness of its hackneyed approach was quite refreshing and actually rather enjoyable.
With Dad’s Army on Tuesday night and Curly Sue on Wednesday I was already beginning to feel a little exhausted with the comedic variety, then comes the special fan screening of Deadpool. Due to embargo rules I am unable to publish my review until 10th February, but it’s good, damn good! I can’t until the world sees it!
I hope you have enjoyed this installment of my Month in Stubs for JANUARY. Keep your eyes peeled for the February edition.
~ “That’s all folks” ~