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Published January 20th 2017
A Golden Train Voyage by the Silent Sea?
As the school holidays end, February has become awards month as movie studios jostle for Golden Globe and Oscar wins. There are still a few action, comedy and horror flicks opening in February though, including the Chinese-produced blockbuster The Great Wall, but dramas dominate this month's premieres. Narrowly missing this month's top 5 shortlist were Fences, directed by and starring Denzel Washington in the adaptation of the Pulitzer-prize winning play, and Hidden Figures, a film adding depth to the library of true stories charting our journey into space.
Rated MA15 for strong coarse language Named one of the American Film Institute's top ten films of 2016 and nominated for 5 Golden Globe awards, including Best Film, Director and Screenplay and winning Best Actor, Manchester by the Sea begins with the shock death of a father and husband. When the man's brother (Casey Affleck) learns he's the sole guardian for his newly orphaned nephew, he reluctantly returns to his hometown, Manchester-by-the-Sea in Massachusetts, the site where his own sons died in a tragic accident he still blames himself for. Despite his ex-wife's (Michelle Williams) heartfelt plea for closure, absolving him of guilt, he struggles with his new role as a guardian until family friends become involved to dramatically change his nephew's future. The film also stars Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, Erica McDermott and Gretchen Mol.
In 1996, Irvine Welsh's novel, Trainspotting, was adapted for the cinema, instantly becoming a cult comedy of the drug culture. Set in the stark environs of Edinburgh, a group of friends, lost in heroin use and hijinx, fall further from 'normal' society as the visceral encounters with the drug, including a dive into a toilet bowl, force Mark (Ewan McGregor) to break from his friends and start a new life in London. Caught in a heist led by Begbie (Robert Carlyle), he escapes, now returning, 20 years later, to continue the story in T2: Trainspotting as his former friends catch up with him. The sequel, again based on John Hodge's script, features all the old sorrow, joy, hatred, friendship, love, fear, drugs and danger, waiting to be rediscovered. Directed by Danny Boyle, T2: Trainspotting also stars Jonny Lee Miller and Ewen Bremner.
Voyage of Time: Life's Journey (image by IMAX Corporation)
Rated G for sequences of nudity, and some disturbing images
In his first documentary feature, Terence Malik brings his waking dream perspective into the cosmos, telling the story of our universe, billions of years old and beginning with the Big Bang, in 90 minutes. Inspired by the captivating images captured by the Hubble telescope, Malik uses his unique talent for technical experimentation and philosophical questioning to invite the viewer to ask big questions, our ultimate questions of existence. Will the final scene reveal the answer as '42'? The feature film versions of Voyage of Time: Life's Journey is narrated by Cate Blanchett while the 40-minute IMAX version is narrated by Brad Pitt.
Rated R18 for disturbing violent content Since discovering Shusaku Endo's novel, Silence, almost 30 years ago, Martin Scorcese began plans to direct the screen version. In 2017, his plan has been realised. In Silence, a pair of Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver) journey from Portugal into the remote regions of Japan in the 17th century in search of their mentor (Liam Neeson) after receiving disturbing reports he'd been tortured until renouncing his faith. Led by a drunken fisherman into a country where Christianity is forbidden, they discover hidden communities of believers and a samurai, ironically named the inquisitor, brutally persecuting them just as non-believers were tortured by over-zealous Catholic interrogators in the Spanish Inquisition. When they encounter their mentor, the story takes a dramatic twist, creating an intriguing setup for the final act.
Rated M for coarse language In the early 1990s, Bre-X, a small Canadian mining conglomerate struck gold, lots of gold, in Borneo. As excited investors drove the company's value to $6 billion, Wall Street panicked as rumours of fraud spread. Inspired by this true story, Gold begins with a shrewd hustler convincing a downcast geologist to dig up one of the largest mining scandals in recent history. In the style of 'truth stranger than fiction' tales including American Hustle, Dallas Buyer's Club and Wolf of Wall Street, Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf Of Wall Street) leaves his trademark impression, despite the sudden hair loss. Directed by Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic), Gold also stars Bryce Dallas Howard (Hands Of Stone, The Girl On The Train) and Toby Kebbell (Jurassic World, Pete's Dragon).
Which movie tops your list for February? Please let us know with a comment.
Trainspotting is NOT by John Hodge. Better research and proof readin would be appreciated please - this was a transformative novel and its an insult to Irvine Welsh not to acknowledge him, even if he is a bit of an a*se