8   +   6   =  

The country is now under new leadership, and perhaps befitting the more serious mood at the moment, we have a set of releases short on glamour. In amongst the ice age, crazy Danes, social strife and Charlie Kaufman there’s enough content worth checking out though.

A relatively low-key week kicks off with Ice Age: Collision Course, the fifth in the venerable series that started in 2002. The old favourites are back again in an attempt to defend against a meteor strike threatening the very existence of life on earth, all because Scrat played around with an abandoned spaceship. Possibly in keeping with its chilly setting, the new film has received a cold welcome from critics. It will likely clean up at the box office anyway.

It would be hard to get further away from the safe world of Ice Age than Danish comedy Men and Chicken. Starring a barely recognisable Mads Mikkelsen alongside other Danish stalwarts, two brothers are informed on their father’s deathbed that they are actually adopted. An effort to track down their real father leads them to some horrible scientific discoveries. The humour ranges from obscene to slapstick, remaining constantly funny throughout. In a very strange way, it’s a real gem.

We take a bleaker turn with The Hard Stop, a documentary following two of Mark Duggan’s friends following his death at the hands of armed police in 2011. An intimately powerful film, it works best when focused on Mark’s childhood friends Marcus Knox Hooke and Kurtis Henville as they attempt to make sense of his death while trying to rebuild their own lives in an environment that seems heavily stacked against them. Not exactly light viewing, it is certainly worth seeing.

About the only thing that can be expected from Charlie Kaufman is the unexpected. With that in mind, Anomalisa, out now on DVD, doesn’t disappoint. Using stop-motion animation, Kaufman tells the story of an inspirational speaker coming back to life after meeting a unique woman. Packed full of odd gags, allusions to mental health conditions, and complete with one of the most weirdly brilliant sex scenes of recent times, this is very much a must own.

That’s all we have time for now. See you next week when Roald Dahl and Spielberg come together.

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