23 Jan

In the midst of awards season, there invariably emerge a few gong hungry stinkers that spoil the party. This week perhaps sees the most flagrant of this year’s bunch with the release of Clint Eastwood’s J.Edgar, a biopic of the FBI’s “is he gay or isn’t he” founding father J.Edgar Hoover. We’re also treated, in the loosest sense of the word, to Madonna’s second directorial feature, W.E., Steven Soderbergh’s kick ass pic Haywire which can only be an improvement on the woeful Contagion which he inflicted upon us with last year and Ralph Fiennes’ take on Shakespeare’s epic tragedy Coriolanus.

Although effectively retired from acting, one wonders how much longer it will be until Clint Eastwood hangs up his metaphorical directing gloves. At 81 it can’t be long and if his muddled latest J.Edgar is indicative of his recent form then the end might come sooner than we all might think. Hot on the heels of his dreadful supernatural drama Hereafter, comes this Leo Di Caprio starring snoozefest which has garnered more attention for its dodgy prosthetics than it has for any convincing performances or engaging narrative.

Leo ponders the cause of his seemingly melting face...

But Clint can rest easy in the knowledge that his is far from the worst film out this week. Madonna’s second picture W.E. relays the story of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and Wally Winthorp (Abbie Cornish) a New Yorker obsessed with Simpson, whom she believes epitomises the ultimate love story, having had the king abdicate his throne for the sake of their love. Criticised for its shonky direction and wafer thin acting, W.E. will at least go down in the record books for having won a Golden Globe, for you’ve guessed it, best original song. Best stick to what you do best from now on eh Madge?

Steven Soderbergh has been threatening to quit filmmaking for quite some time, and you might be forgiven for thinking he already had given the state of his last effort Contagion. But, a stellar cast, including the ubiquitous Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, Ewan McGregor and Michael Douglas, support former Gladiator Gina Carano in his frenetic, punchy thriller Haywire. Carano plays a double crossed black ops freelancer who must seemingly kick and punch her way through a plethora of goons and stooges to exact revenge and save the day. Probably.

Haywire: contains fighting. Lots of it...

Revenge also forms the basis of Coriolanus, a contemporary version of the tale of a banished Roman hero (Fiennes) who makes a pact with his sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) to destroy the city that has cast him out. Expect plenty of visceral bloodshed and expert acting from Shakespeare vets Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave, who plays Coriolanus’ mother Volumnia.

Or, if bloody revenge or risible historical dramas are not your thing, then scoot along to The Sitter, a no doubt hilarious babysitting comedy, starring go to funny fat guy Jonah Hill. Oh my sides…

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