8   +   4   =  

Stuck between tentpole releases, it’s a quiet week at the cinema. Disregarding a certain record breaking film on DVD, that means the perfect opportunity to catch the kind of films usually lost amidst hundred million dollar budgets. So you get pistols, trumpets and war photography before returning to lightsabers.

An armed Natalie Portman is certainly an intriguing prospect. In Jane Got a Gun, she’s forced into unlikely alliances to save a somewhat shady husband from Ewan McGregor’s ruthless gang. After a tumultuous production that saw the arrival and departure of various actors and the director, it launched to mixed reviews. But it does have Natalie Portman packing pistols in the Wild West.

There will come a time when we run out of musical icons and have to turn to lesser lights to immortalise on screen. That time is not now (ignoring One Chance), with jazz legend Miles Davis the latest to get the Hollywood treatment. Don Cheadle’s passion project sees the actor take the lead role while also co-writing the screenplay and stepping into the director’s chair. Reviews for Miles Ahead have been pretty solid as well so he obviously knows what he’s doing.

Joachim Trier’s Oslo, August 31st released a few years back really announced the Norwegian filmmaker (and distant relative of Lars von Trier) to the world. He follows it up with Louder Than Bombs, his third film and first in English. Jesse Eisenberg stars alongside Gabriel Byrne and Isabelle Huppert in a family struggling to come to terms with a loss that brings up unresolved issues. The switch to English doesn’t really work for Trier, the screenplay losing the nuance that made his first two films so good, but it’s worth seeing for strong performances and a few standout moments.

This low-key week concludes with a little film called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Out now on DVD, the hugely hyped and mostly successful sequel is bound to shift copies by the truck load. There have been complaints the UK version doesn’t bring much in the way of extras, but if you’re looking for good rousing blockbuster fun at home, you can’t really go wrong.

That’s all for now. Normal big budget service resumes next week with the latest Marvel extravaganza.

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