As the steady march towards Christmas gradually begins to reach its end, you’d be forgiven for switching focus towards end of year activities. Don’t be too hasty though. There are a number of impressive releases this week promising black holes or revelations; in some cases both. Christopher Nolan’s much awaited return is likely to steal all the headlines, but don’t let that obscure other treats further down the listings.
It is of course Interstellar that will occupy most screens. And adverts, and column inches etc. Now firmly established as the filmmaker offering blockbusters with a brain, he surpasses himself on scale this time around. Earth is dying and Matthew McConaughey must be launched into space along with a crew including Anne Hathaway to look for a new home. Yes, it all sounds pretty straightforward, and the intimate emotional scenes leave something to be desired, but oh the scale! Breathtakingly beautiful, thought provoking and moving; it’s his most flawed, and possibly most brilliant film. Also, do try to see it on an IMAX screen if you can. It’ll be worth it.
Beside the grandeur of Interstellar stands Leviathan. Set in the north of Russia, it offers a very different combination of black holes and revelations as a man attempts to protect his land from the corrupt local mayor. Shining a light at the dark heart of Putin’s country, it’s been picking up rave reviews wherever it wanders, including from Culturefly writer James when it played at the London Film Festival recently. If it’s showing near you, don’t miss out. And if it’s not, you’d better start planning travel routes.
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas is repeatedly quoted in Interstellar. If that wets your appetite, how about Set Fire to the Stars? Andy Goddard’s semi-biography stars Elijah Wood as aspiring poet John M. Brinnin who goes on a week-long retreat to save his hero. Early reviews have been mixed but it features a decent British cast and might be just the thing to counteract intergalactic missions and deeply rooted corruption.
This year’s runaway teen favourite, The Fault in Our Stars is also out on DVD this week. Starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as the seriously ill, and seriously in love teenagers, it’s been leaving audiences in tears since the summer. If you’ve been feeling too upbeat recently, what better way to spend a chilly autumnal evening wrapped up on the sofa?
So you’ve been taken far from the world this week. See you next Friday when Benedict Cumberbatch will help ease you back.