On this week’s show we have the unfortunate pleasure of honouring the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, both of whom succumbed to cancer this week aged 69. After that we take a look at the freshly announced Oscar Nominations before I review the week’s big new release, Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs.
This week we take a long look at X-Men:Days Of Future Past, the latest in a long series of mutant-obsessed action blockbusters and Disney’s Maleficent, a reworking of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale complete with yet another backstory, which prompts us to question the whole backstory obsession in today’s cinema.
Adapted form an 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, 12 Years A Slave traces the story of a free African American New Yorker who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. With a rich and deep lead performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor and consistently thoughtful and well chosen direction by Steve McQueen, this film effortlessly recreates a believable, if deeply disturbing picture of pre-Civil War USA.
One pleasant surprise was the outstanding performance by Lupita Nyong’o, as Patsey, the long suffering love interest of the despotic plantation owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). It’s an engaging performance that carries a lot of the emotional tension through the heart of the film.
Sadly, 12 Years A Slave falls away in the final act and by the time Brad Pitt’s enlightened, long haired carpenter Samuel Bass appears as a kind of enlightened Jesus figure, challenging Epps racist worldview, the film feels like it has run out of steam. However, the gravitas of the performances and artfulness of the direction still manage to make this one of the most engaging and moving cinematic experiences of recent years.
After months of hope and anticipation were replaced by aching disappointment when Prometheus first opened, I though it only fair to give the film a re-watch on Blu-ray. Sadly it remains as beautiful, infuriating & mind-numbingly stupid as it was on the big screen, populated solely by dumb, unlikable characters who insist on making the worst possible choices over and over again. The root of the problem here is in the frankly imbecilic script, and considering that is supposed to be where the creative process begins, any blame for the film’s failure to deliver must rest firmly with those who felt that what they had on paper was a project worthy of adapting. How wrong they were.