From this week’s releases it may just be possible to discern an answer to that age old question. What’s the most terrifying thing you can think of? For all the carnage that comes with monsters from the deep, the answer is probably people. On that positive note, here’s what you have to check out over the weekend.
I shouldn’t admit this but I have a soft spot for Roland Emmerich’s 1998 Godzilla even though it clearly isn’t very good. Over 15 years later, everyone’s favourite city stomping reptilian monster is back with Gareth Edwards at the helm having proven his creature feature chops on the low-budget Monsters. The human cast features a post-meth dealing Bryan Cranston but we are really only here for one thing. Find the biggest screen you can and let Edwards unleash the destruction.
A Touch of Sin, Jia Zhangke’s latest feature, has taken its time to turn up on these shores. It was last year that it was in competition for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, picking up the screenplay prize in the process. With four compelling stories painting a dark picture of modern China, it looks like being worth the wait. Dealing equally in state of the nation tableaux’s and stylishly managed genre flourishes, Zhangke’s film promises much. Make sure you go see if he delivers.
If you’re thinking of holiday destinations, The Two Faces of January might go some way towards persuading you in the direction of Greece. To look at, it’s a beautifully glossy romp through the tourist highlights. But screenwriter Hossein Amini’s directorial debut has a sinister edge. It’s adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel after all. If it doesn’t quite manage to get beneath the skin of the three protagonists – small time conman Oscar Isaac, much bigger time conman Viggo Mortensen and his increasingly disgruntled wife Kirsten Dunst – there’s still enough to warrant a visit.
What can be said about 12 Years a Slave, out on DVD this week, that hasn’t already been said? Very little I expect but if ever a Best Picture winner at the Oscars deserves its praise repeating, it’s Steve McQueen’s superlative effort. Yes, it’s brutal but so is slavery. Yes it’s raw and hard to watch but so slavery should be. Chiwetel Ejiofor shows a remarkable poise at the centre as Solomon Northrup, the free man captured into slavery in 1841 in a meticulously paced and powerfully constructed attack on a cruel institution that receives remarkably little coverage on the big screen. Own it now.
That’s all for the moment. Check back next week when Hugh Jackman gets to don his Wolverine costume for the umpteenth time.