4   +   10   =  

The Golden Globes have shown the way, and now the Oscar nominations are out to set the direction for the next month and a half. And after last week’s light offering, we have some big-hitters arriving in UK cinemas. So get in now because you’ll be hearing a lot about them for the next few weeks.

He walked away with the big prizes last year for Birdman, and odds are narrowing on Alejandro G. Iñárritu doing it again for The Revenant. Aside from the long takes, the films could hardly be further apart. Gone is the hip, biting entertainment industry satire, replaced by pain and suffering as Leonardo DiCaprio comes back to gain revenge after being left for dead in the American wilderness. The shoot was famously brutal, and reviews so far suggest it shows on screen. In a good way if that’s possible.

Room sounds like a film that is either going to be unremittingly bleak or disgustingly corny. In the hands of director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Emma Donoghue (who also penned the novel), it’s neither. The plot is simple – Brie Larson is kidnapped as a teenager, raped and locked in a single room where she brings up the child born to her capturer. There they spend their days plotting escape from the only world the boy has ever known. It’s gripping, emotional, and underscored by great performances from Larson and Jacob Tremblay as the boy. No wonder it’s nominated for so many awards.

A Rocky spin-off based around Apollo Creed’s son doesn’t sound like a good idea. Luckily, they hired Ryan Coogler to co-write and direct, and teamed him up again with Michael B. Jordan, the two having worked together on the excellent Fruitvale Station. Sly pops up as well to train Creed junior and grab an award or two in a mainstream boxing film that looks like it might pull off the difficult feat of being both popular and good.

Out on DVD there’s another awards hopeful in Straight Outta Compton. The biopic of pioneering group N.W.A. proved phenomenally successful in the cinema, and with good reason. Going from their early days to the fall-out, it tracks the rise of a clutch of influential figures including Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E. The film is rough when it needs to be, but is mostly just great fun. And it comes, unsurprisingly, with a great soundtrack.

There’s definitely plenty to keep you occupied this week. See you next time for financial misdeeds galore.

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