Odeon Cinema, February 4–9
David O. Russell’s cross-generational biopic about Joy Mangano and her mop tackles capitalism head on, but its mood swings and incidental wackiness make it uneven and not entirely satisfying. ‘Since Joy is a David O. Russell film, the presence of a) Lawrence and b) bizarre, fizz-popping explosions of catharsis are to be expected. But the ringmaster of The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle seems to have mellowed a little, which means fewer outright belly laughs, but a more layered and involving emotional landscape’ (Telegraph). ‘Despite another solid performance from Jennifer Lawrence, anchoring Russell’s sincerely felt tribute to the power of a woman’s resolve in a man’s world, it’s hard not to wish Joy were better—that its various winsome parts added up to more than a flyweight product that still feels stuck in the development stage’ (Variety).
Odeon Cinema, February 10–14
THE HATEFUL EIGHT
Set in post-Civil War Wyoming is another outlaw tale from the creator of Django Unchained, taking us on a journey with bounty hunter John Ruth and his fugitive Daisy Dumurgue. The Hateful Eight has all the hallmarks of Quentin Tarantino’s films: kooky characters, cracking dialogue and stylized violence—and it might be one of his most merciless yet. ‘By the end of The Hateful Eight, its status as a tale of mystery and its deference to classic Westerns have all but disappeared, worn down by the grind of its sadistic vision. That is the Tarantino deal: by blowing out folks’ brains, he wants to blow our minds’ (New Yorker). ‘Twenty-three years after Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino has delivered his most intimate film since that auspicious debut. The Hateful Eight is a parlour-room epic, an entire nation in a single room, a film steeped in its own filminess but at the same time vital, riveting and real. Only Tarantino can do this’ (Telegraph).
Odeon Cinema, February 15–17
HOW TO BE SINGLE
Christian Ditter’s comedy takes a lighthearted look at the millennial Lonely Hearts of Manhattan through a group of friends all learning the ups and downs of the dating world as it changes. Exploring the murky waters of first dates and mixed text message signals, this romp provides a post-Valentine’s Day laugh for singletons of all stripes. Starring Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Anders Holm and Leslie Mann, the film comes to the Odeon just three days after its international debut.
Spazio Alfieri, February 15
Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 psychedelic-noirish novel. In 1970, drug-fuelled Los Angeles detective Larry “Doc” Sportello, reunited with his ex-girlfriend suddenly appearing out of nowhere, investigates a plot to kidnap a billionaire in a bizarre tangle of motives and passions. ‘Unfolds so organically, so gracefully and with such humanistic grace notes that even at its most preposterous, viewers will find themselves nodding along, sharing the buzz the filmmaker has so skillfully created’ (Washington Post). ‘Well-acted, intermittently compelling, often incoherent but always offbeat, Inherent Vice is a twisting story about twisted California stoners. Think of it as a film that’s meant to be experienced, more than fully understood’ (USA Today). ‘Take it from us—ignorance is bliss. The less you try to figure out Anderson’s rambling, mesmerising mystery, the better. Just relax and let this beautiful, haunting, hilarious, chaotic, irritating and possibly profound tragicomedy wash over you. There is nothing else out there like it’ (Empire). Copacetic!
Spazio Alfieri, February 8
Mike Leigh’s biographical drama on the life of 19th century British Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner stars Timothy Spall in a career-defining performance that won him the best actor title at Cannes in 2014. The film also makes quite an impact on a purely aesthetic level: in keeping with Turner’s style, which heavily influenced Impressionism, it plays thoughtfully with light and color. ‘Not only do we end up with a vivid, surprising and soulful sense of one artist and his work, but Leigh also offers us a commanding view of a city, London, and country at the dawn of the modern age and of a man being overawed and overtaken by new technologies such as photography and the railways. As ever with Leigh, Mr. Turner addresses the big questions with small moments. It’s an extraordinary film, all at once strange, entertaining, thoughtful and exciting’ (Time Out).