In the UK this Friday (6th December 2013), there are many, many films releasing in the cinema. Of those, I’ve seen a few, most of which I can recommend highly. I already have reviews of Disney’s Frozen, which I adored, and Alexander Payne’s Nebraska , which I liked, on the site. Frozen might even end up on my year’s best list, which will come later on this month, so that is the most recommended film to come out this Friday.
Also out this Friday, is Kill Your Darlings starring Dane DeHaan and Daniel Radcliffe, as Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg, respectively. The plot is centred around the apparently true story of the murder of David Kammerer, around the time the founders of the Beat generation came together for the first time. It is pleasantly more than just an attempt at leaving behind Harry Potter, though that is seeming to prove quite difficult, especially since Ginsberg’s spectacles were also round… Radcliffe gives a very decent performance, proving that there definitely is more to him, acting-wise, than the popular wizard franchise, and we have a lot to look forward to. The film, by debut director John Krokidas, really belongs to DeHaan though, who after Chronicle and The Place Beyond The Pines, gives another great performance. Some of the audience might go in just because of Radcliffe, but will come out talking about DeHaan. If you’re looking for something a little less Disney, but Nebraska seems too art-house (it’s not, it’s just in black and white), then Kill Your Darlings might be just right. Definitely worth a watch even if the names Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs etc. mean nothing to you. It also stars Elisabeth Olsen, Michael C. Hall and Ben Foster.
I almost feel bad not recommending the independent British film releasing this week, but unfortunately Powder Room just isn’t as good as the other films I have seen out of the 20 scheduled for release. Directed by M. J. Delaney, and starring Sheridan Smith, Jamie Winstone, Kate Nash and Oona Chaplin (from Game of Thrones), it is based on the play “When Women We”, by Rachel Hirons. Set in the ladies room of a night club, majority of the film plays out in that one setting, which for a play I can see working perfectly, and I think the kind of topics they cover are a lot more contemporary theatre than they are British indie films. Not that themes can’t cross, or the topics that they cover during the course of the night shouldn’t be discussed on film, it is just a much harder sell as the audience tends to be quite different, and I think it will have trouble at the box office, especially since the weekend is so crowded. I did find the film funny, though at times I wasn’t entirely sure I should be laughing, and not everyone in the screening was laughing with me. The lighter moments definitely work better than the more emotionally intense scenes, which came across as a little too scripted. Sheridan Smith is good in the role, but I think the inexperience of the director shows in her performance at times. Personally, I would have thought Sheridan would be a little better than this, and she also seems older than the rest of the cast, though the characters were meant to be the same age. None of the characters were particularly like-able, so I didn’t really care how it was going to work out for any of them. I’m sure there are people out there to whom Powder Room really does appeal to as a film, but it doesn’t to me.
Those four are the films I have seen. I have not heard good things about Black Nativity, Homefront, the James Franco-Jason Statham starrer, or the Hollywood remake of Oldboy, directed by Spike Lee, though I will be seeing the latter all the same. The Bollywood release of the week is R… Rajkumar, starring Shahid Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha, though I don’t have it in me to recommend it, because it is exactly the kind of Bollywood I want them to stop making.
So, for the weekend of 6th December 2013, I first recommend Frozen, then Nebraska, followed very closely by Kill Your Darlings. Then probably one of the various foreign films that are on limited release, and then after that, anything really. But there are 20 films coming out, and plenty good ones still playing, so go see something this weekend.