SPOTLIGHT

UK release date: 29/01/16

Directed by: Tom McCarthy

Spotlight, the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, tells the true story of how one newspaper uncovered a child molestation scandal within the Catholic Archdiocese in Boston. Every single lead actor in the film was very good, and the real life characters they played all commented on how impressed (and probably freaked out) by their performances. If you are going to watch one film from 2016, make it this one. It is hard to watch at times, and the story is pretty harrowing, but it is all in all an amazing film.

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THE BIG SHORT

UK release date: 22/01/16

Directed by: Adam McKay

The Big Short was hard to follow and, I think, massively overrated. Based on the American crisis of 2005, there were good individual performances from a strong cast, and I did laugh about 7 times, but to me it was one, long, aggressive Powerpoint Presentation. What the hell is going on? Do these people all know each other? They don’t? They do? Why isn’t that man wearing shoes? I don’t know. It was kind of aesthetically pleasing, and well directed, but I personally don’t think it was in the same calibre of film as others nominated for Best Picture.

THE REVENANT

UK release date: 15/01/16

Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Set in the 1820s, The Revenant is the story of an absolute nutter who embarks on an expedition to trade fur, when he gets split up from his group and mauled by a bear, earning Leonardo DiCaprio his first Best Actor Oscar. I had many thoughts while watching this film. I will tell you a few of those thoughts now:

“wow!”

“what the hell?”

“is he climbing inside the dead horse?!”

“he must be freezing”

“wow…”

“what the hell?!”

“sweet holy Moses”

etc.

Worth the watch.

 

THE HATEFUL EIGHT

UK release date: 08/01/16

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

As a huge Tarantino fan, I had been waiting for what felt like my whole life for this film to be released, and it is safe to say that I wasn’t disappointed. The Hateful Eight is the bizarre tale of a bounty hunter and his prisoners who take refuge in a shack during a storm, and when there they meet many new faces. In classic Tarantino style, the picture was full of gore, and was cleverly split into chapters. With an incredible soundtrack from Ennio Morricone, it certainly didn’t feel like I was sat in the cinema for over three hours. But fair play, it was gross.

THE DANISH GIRL

UK release date: 01/01/16

Directed by: Tom Hooper

The Danish Girl is inspired by the story of Lili Elbe, portrayed by Eddie Redmayne, and shows Elbe’s struggling personal life before transitioning from a man to a woman in 1930. I thought this film was very good, and featured strong performances from all cast members, most notably Alicia Vikander, who picked up an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. For a subject that gets a lot of media coverage these days, I thought it was interesting to see a film about a transgender pioneer and I think it was pulled off in a very respectful way.

 

JOY

UK release date: 01/01/16

Directed by: David O. Russell

Joy is a film about a woman who invents a mop. And considering the simplicity of the premise, I found it highly enjoyable. Jennifer Lawrence picked up a Best Actress nomination for her performance as a determined business woman, and with a very strong ensemble cast, the picture was very easy to watch. It kind of reminded me of Erin Brockovich, but whenever I say this to anyone, they tell me I am wrong.