6   +   4   =  

Just a couple more days and the awards circus shuts up shop for another year. The Oscars on Sunday (or early Monday morning if you happen to be this side of the Atlantic) will bring the curtain down on the annual bun fight for shiny baubles. Before though, there’s a new slate of releases to sink your teeth into starting with more Michael Mann.

Mann is responsible for some of the slickest, coolest crime thrillers of the past few decades. Blackhat moves him with the times, focussing on cybercrime (a far technological cry from the manual jewel heists at the heart of Thief, his first feature). This being Mann, expect meticulous detail and shiny surfaces as Chris Hemsworth’s hacker is recruited by the establishment to stop a grave threat. It’s taken something of a beating on its US release but there have been fans. Let’s hope they’re right.

Fifty Shades of Grey has hoovered up headlines recently, and will undoubtedly retain top spot at the box office this week; this despite it being about as erotic as a forklift truck in action. If you’re looking for proper erotic cinema, try Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy. To take one succinct synopsis, it’s a sado-masochistic relationship between lesbian entomologists. Christian Grey and his swish, soulless apartment it is not. Three cheers for that.

If that’s not weird enough for you, there’s always Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. Now, you may be a fan of the Coen Brothers 1996 crime classic Fargo. You might also like the excellent TV show from last year. You probably didn’t think any of it was real though. Based on an alleged incident in which a Japanese woman became obsessed to the point that she mistook the film for a treasure map and set off around the world to retrieve Steve Buscemi’s buried suitcase of cash, it’s odd and remarkably entertaining independent cinema.

For those of you unwilling to brave the local big screen, the DVD pick of the week is The Babadook. High up the list of favourite 2014 films for many people, this Australian horror from Jennifer Kent follows widowed Essie Davis’ attempts to keep her and her son safe from the sinister Babadook. If you fancy a scare, there’s no better place to look.

Well that’s all for now. I’ll see you next week when the red carpet has been rolled away and Will Smith, strange forces and rampant dogs come out to play.

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