I first started writing this column back at the end of 2013. That’s a lot of films over the past 3 and a half years, and it’s been great fun, but all good things must end eventually so here we are with the final set of releases. And we have one of the most anticipated films of the year to get through, alongside contentious history and period adaptations. Enjoy.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been undeniably successful, but it also has a tendency to become a little samey. There are only so many times the same heroes can fight the same threats before boredom sets in. Then in 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy sent Marvel off into space for a free-wheeling and very funny adventure fronted by Chris Pratt. Now the crew is back for Vol. 2, this time investigating the strange heritage of Pratt’s Peter Quill. And it seems to be going down well too. Without the thrill of the unexpected, there’s plenty of humour to keep this sequel rolling along.
The Promise comes with an awfully impressive cast, throwing Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale into a love triangle with Charlotte Le Bon. There are also plenty of period drama trappings thrown on top for this tale taking place during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Genocide. It’s a fraught topic and controversy has arisen over a possible campaign on IMDB to vote the film down by deniers of the genocide, and to vote it back up by Armenians. The film itself might not warrant such vehement responses. It’s received a decent enough reception, though few are getting excited either way.
Back in September British film Lady Macbeth launched in Toronto and drew attention. Adapted from an 1865 novel by Nikolai Leskov, it focusses on a young woman sold into marriage to a middle-aged man. Florence Pugh, fast making a name for herself, takes the lead role; thrust into the kind of difficult situation faced by far too many women over the years. It knocked the socks off a number of people in Toronto, and stands as proof British cinema can still produce the goods.
Well that’s it for me. I bow out after a good run, and leave you with one final message: keep reading and keep watching.