January is a strange month for cinema. While American audiences are bemoaning the lack of decent new releases, here in the UK we are enjoying this years big Oscar contenders.
12 Years a Slave: The true story of Solomon Northup, a free man who is sold into slavery. Suffers from a week sense of time and space but still an excellent film Chiwetel Ejiofor finally gets a part to live up to the promise he demonstrated in Dirty Pretty Things. (Nominated for 9 Oscars)
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: The CliffsNotes of Nelson Mandela’s life. Idris Elba is excellent but the film lacks is too sporadic. It would have worked better as a mini series or a two part movie like Steven Soderbergh’s Che. (Nominated for 1 Oscar)
The Wolf of Wall Street: My fourth movie of the year, and the fourth based on a true story. Martin Scorsese’s take on Jordan Belfort makes Boiler Room (2000) look tame. Scorsese’s best movie in years and possibly Leonardo DiCaprio’s best performance. (Nominated for 4 Oscars)
August: Osage County: The third and most accessible but possibly weakest movie based on a Tracy Letts play. The fantastic cast is led by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts who are both nominated for Oscars. (Nominated for 2 Oscars)
Inside Llewyn Davis: A week in the life of fictional folk singer Llewyn Davis set in Greenwich Village folk in 1961. A film only the Coen Brothers could have made, and all the better for it! (Nominated for 2 Oscars)