December is here meaning Christmas and the end of 2016 lie just around the corner. Before we sink into the festive spirit, there’s a new week of releases bringing four films from a quartet of high-quality directors. Settle back for all-American heroes, gangland Chicago, small-town madness and an iconic action series.
With Clint Eastwood you usually know what you’re going to get. An efficient, straight-forward director, he wastes little time on visual flourishes or overly complicated narratives. It’s a style that’s turned out a number of excellent films over the years. The latest to join his repertoire is Sully, a big-screen re-telling of the 2009 incident in which Captain Chesley Sullenberger successfully landed his stricken passenger plane in the Hudson. Tom Hanks is on duty to take the lead role in an effective if undemanding drama.
Over at the other end of the scale we have Spike Lee, a filmmaker prone to the unexpected. For Chi-Raq he updates Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata, moving the action to the violence of present-day Chicago. A wildly uneven ride diverting through satire, musical and crime conventions, it’s also the best work Lee has done in some time.
Now we move to David Lynch and the thirtieth anniversary re-release of 1986 classic Blue Velvet. Mixing a film noir look with his own distorted imagery, Kyle MacLachlan’s discovery of a severed ear in his small North Carolina hometown leads him into a confusing mystery that throws in Isabella Rossellini, an unhinged Dennis Hopper and Laura Dern, alongside a healthy dose of Roy Orbison. Lynch’s depiction of the nightmare beneath homely America has lost none of its power over the years. Take the chance to see it on the big-screen while you can.
To round off our collection of acclaimed directors, we have Paul Greengrass returning to Jason Bourne. Out now on DVD, Matt Damon also comes back to his most famous role for the fourth film starring Bourne, the fifth in the wider universe, and the third director and star have made together. Picking up where they left off, Bourne remains on the run, trying to uncover family secrets. It hasn’t met with the same success as their previous two collaborations, but there’s still a lot to enjoy.
That’s all there is this week. See you next time for a return to America’s dark past.