3   +   2   =  

Its early days but there are no obvious awards season front runners yet. However, this increasingly wet November week brings a new entry likely to receive a nomination or two, and a DVD release that deserves to sweep the board.

If Paul Potts and Pudsey the dog get biopics, it’s about time someone who actually achieved remarkable things is granted the same treatment. The restoration of Alan Turing’s reputation has been a long and arduous fight for his supporters, and it sadly came far too late for the man himself, but The Imitation Game at least does him the service of marvelling at his achievements. Benedict Cumberbatch steps into Turing’s shoes as he battles against time to decrypt the Nazi enigma machine. With an impressive cast including Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Mark Strong, it manages to be funny, stirring and engrossing all at once.

Acclaimed American film critic Roger Ebert died just over a year ago now. Filmed around his final months, Steve James’ documentary Life Itself captures the man who excited so many with his passionate TV show co-hosted with Gene Siskel, and beautifully written reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times, and later his own website. James didn’t know when he started that he was going to end up covering Ebert’s last days adding poignancy to a film that reveals a man who truly loved movies, and was capable of sharing that with so many.

Dennis Lehane has cast a long shadow over gritty north east crime drama in the US of recent years. He’s worked as a writer on The Wire and Boardwalk Empire, seen his novels Mystic River; Gone, Baby, Gone; and Shutter Island turned into acclaimed films, and been cited as an inspiration by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn. With all that in mind, and a cast including Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and the late James Gandolfini, The Drop really should be better. A typically murky Brooklyn drama; gangsters demand payments, unexplained deaths resurface and an abandoned dog pops up in a bin. It’s likeable enough but little more.

This really might be a week to stay in though, as Boyhood finally arrives on DVD. Richard Linklater has played with time before in the superb Before trilogy, but even that pales in comparison to his achievements here. Filmed over an eleven year period, it’s a coming of age drama like nothing you’ve seen before. Just make sure you’re in the right state of mind to sit down for this one as it’s an emotionally draining, albeit highly rewarding journey.

That’s this week wrapped up. See you back here in seven days for part one of Jennifer Lawrence saving the world.

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