8   +   1   =  

Right, 2015 proper has begun. No more pontificating on awards or moaning about snubs. It’s all forward looking from now as Oscar is safely tucked away for another year. So with all these months stretching joyfully ahead of us, what have we got to kick things off? Will Smith and horror it seems, hopefully not in the same film.

It’s been a while since we saw Will Smith on screen. After Earth was the last proper time and the less said about that catastrophe the better. Taking a break from forcing his children on us, he returns in con caper Focus. It looks light, breezy and empty, which might be just the Smith palate cleanser we need. He also has support from rising star Margot Robbie, and plenty of opportunity to wheel out wincingly portentous phrases. One about hammers and nails might sum up the intellectual level we’re pitching at here.

Hot on the heels of breakout horror The Babadook (it only received its DVD release last week) comes It Follows looking to take the title early for 2015. Trading in the stock cards of the genre while managing to add its own little twist, the story is straight forward. An evil spirit latches on to a person and can only be removed by passing it on to someone else. As happens to poor Maika Monroe early on when she’s left stripped and abandoned. From then on, expect smart scares aplenty.

Now for something different. If you’ve ever thought dogs make for delightfully cuddly creatures, White God, a Hungarian genre defying festival hit from last year, might make you think differently. It turns out there are limits to the abuse dogs will take. Push them too far and they’ll rise up in a bloody rebellion. Here’s the chance to see what happens when they do, though you might find certain images burnt into your memory for some time after.

If you’re staying home, DVD pick of the week is Fury. David Ayer’s World War II tank actioner stars Brad Pitt as Wardaddy, leading a chewed up crew who have to make space for Logan Lerman’s newbie. It descends into literal overkill at the end, but not before offering some incredibly tense tank encounters and cynical contemplation of their situation. Worth buying if you have the stomach for it.

That brings February to a close. See you next week for Julianne Moore’s Oscar winning turn and the next step in evolution.

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