Coming Soon

Tom King and Dan Kipling take a look at whats coming up on the big screen

The first week of February sees the release of Walk the Line, the story of country legend Johnny Cash. From humble Arkansas beginnings Cash signs with Sun records and begins touring with the likes of Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Success seems within his grasp but will he lose it all to the drink, the drugs and his own inner demons?

Joaquin Phoenix IS Johnny Cash in manner and in voice, even capturing Cash’s unique singing style, as well as performing all his songs live. Cash’s life-story is interesting enough for the film not to have to rely on conjecture, and Reese Witherspoon is excellent as June Carter, the love of his life. Though some may dismiss this biopic as a cynical Oscars bid, there are good reasons why it is tipped for nomination.

Good Night and Good Luck tells the story of Edward Murrow, a ‘50s TV journalist who, with his team, stood up to Senator McCarthy’s communist witch-hunt. This is George Clooney’s second film in which he stars and directs, and he has so far proven himself in both fields. The actors that helm it, also, are not shy of controversy. Clooney, Robert Downey Jr. and David Strathairn have all dipped into the truth-telling, stuff-politics melting pot. So there are few fears that this will be dogged by censorship; this film is out to tell the truth.

This is an intelligent period piece: neither action nor intrigue. There is plenty of tension, but the film looks set to entertain informatively. It also stands out as one of the first Oscar-seeking films of the year, which some might say takes away any genuinely artistic motive for making a film. While its reception may be dominated by taste, the sheer acting talent present marks it as worth watching.

Julian Noble is an amoral contract killer on a downward slide: still able to do his job but hard-drinking, and starved of human contact. So when he strikes up a chance conversation with a travelling salesman in a hotel bar, it soon grows into an unexpected friendship as each offers the other a way out of their problems.

Brosnan claims that his role in The Matador is not an “anti-Bond”, but if he was looking for a role to revive him after 007 he couldn’t have chosen better. This film sees him stride across a hotel lobby in nought but a pair of cowboy boots and white briefs, and even disguise himself as a cheerleader (with a fine moustache), all the while maintaining an air of suave panache and a certain twisted pathos.

For the second film in our spring term preview to feature George Clooney we turn to Syriana. The film is based on the (fictional) statement of Max Baer, a CIA insider, who uncovers a conspiracy by his own agency to destabilise the Middle East in order for US interests to thrive; and is summarily turned onby the CIA. Bottom line? Plot like The Constant Gardener, structure like Traffic with a healthy dose of action thrown in. A good prospect.

Set in a totalitarian England, V for Vendetta has all the promise of a great graphic novel adaptation; and it has Sin City to beat. Judging by the trailers, it probably won’t disappoint. Cool and dark, the film is a typical Wachowski production. Director J McTeigue has been involved with The Matrix and Star Wars, and even Hugo Weaving is along for the ride. The latter looks brilliantly sinister as freedom fighter ‘V’: he’s good with knives, has a new accent, and is even bulletproof!

There may be some worries: this is McTeigue’s first directorial outing, and big-budget action is the order of the day. He is, though, supported by a tried and tested team in that particular genre; and the addition of Natalie Portman can only bolster V’s chances of success. Stylish and well-acted this could be one of the big films of the year.

by Tom King and Dan Kipling

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