February Film Picks
Inherent Vice (Released 30th January)
Visionary writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will be Blood, The Master) reunites with lead Joaquin Phoenix in his latest offering, a confounding and sprawling stoner comedy set in 1970 Los Angeles. Based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice follows the drug-fuelled private detective Larry “Doc” Sportello (Phoenix) who sets out on an investigation after an unexpected visit from his ex old-lady. With the film’s all-star cast which also includes Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson and its foot-tapping soundtrack put together by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood, Anderson’s crackerjack caper is certainly this month’s must-see release.
Update: Read my review here.
Selma (Released 6th February)
Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated biopic charts Martin Luther King’s (David Oyelowo) landmark campaign to secure equal voting rights in the US, via a marathon march starting from Selma, Alabama in 1965. Oyelowo’s performance in the lead has been widely praised, despite the British actor being controversially snubbed by the Academy for a best actor nomination at this year’s Oscars. DuVernay’s position as a black, female director may have also counted against her in the best director shortlist, but despite these disappointments, Selma grippingly charts this essential historical struggle, announcing both the lead and director as major talents to keep an eye on in the coming years.
Fifty Shades of Grey (Released 13th February)
Based on the erotic novel by E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey follows literature student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) as her life is changed forever after meeting handsome billionaire, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). The hunky Dornan seems perfect for the role of the sadomasochistic Grey, whose fifty shades the title refers to. The book rapidly became a global phenomenon and we should expect nothing less from this capable adaptation by Sam Taylor-Johnson in her directorial debut. Fans of the book will be hoping that the full on raunchiness hasn’t been toned down for cinema-goers, but this may well turn out to be the case if the initial clips are anything to go by. Though, with 2014’s most watched trailer and a pre-released soundtrack, anticipation will be palpable come Valentine’s Day.