New Year offerings

January looks like being an interesting month in the cinemas

For starters, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio renew their collaboration from Shutter Island days with The Wolf of Wall Street. This has DiCaprio as a fraudulent Long Island stockbroker heading for a fall after a riotous lifestyle starts to catch up with him.

The Coen Brothers travel back in time for Inside Llewyn Davis, a valentine to the folk boom of the sixties in Greenwich Village. It centres on a week in the life of a young folk singer struggling to make it in the freezing winter of 1961.

Fans of psycho-dramas might prefer Colin Firth being guided by his wife Nicole Kidman through a bout of post traumatic stress disorder after a spell as a prisoner of war in The Railway Man. He’s been traumatised by the experience of working on the Thai/Burma railway in World War II. When Kidman discovers a young Japanese officer who tormented him is still alive she doesn’t know whether to let him know or not.

Christian Bale

Christian Bale plays a character who takes matters into his own hands in Out of the Furnace when his brother (Casey Affleck) goes missing and he doesn’t feel the forces of law and order are doing enough about it. Of somewhat more of the moment is Mandela, a biopic chronicling the recently deceased Nelson Mandela’s fight against apartheid in South Africa.

Liam Neeson

Joaquin Phoenix appears in the futuristic Her which deals whimsically with the theme of online dating. Liam Neeson, meanwhile, again adopts the ‘tough guy’ persona he showed in Taken and Unknown (and their sequels) in Non-Stop.

This time the burly Northern Ireland man is an American air marshall on board a plane trying to outsmart a ransom-seeking terrorist. It’s sad to see Neeson being shoehorned into this sort of stuff almost as a matter of course by now but if that’s where the money is it would take a brave man to turn it down.

Kate Winslet plays a world-weary single mother falling in love with an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) she picks up one day in her car in Jason Reitman’s Labour Day, a moving psychological drama.

Charles Dickens
For literary buffs, Ralph Fiennes takes on the guise of Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman. This deals with Dickens’ 13-year love affair with a woman half his age, played here by Felicity Jones. It’s based on Claire Tomalin’s highly acclaimed biography of the author. 

If none of these intrigue you there’s also a remake of Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop; an epic, Pompeii; and a salsa movie, Cuban Fury, dealing with the attempted comeback of a dancer (Nick Frost) 22 years after his career has been ruined by a rival. The film also stars that fairly ubiquitous Boyle man, Chris O’Dowd.

For younger viewers there’s the computer-generated feature, The Lego Movie. If your tastes run to the ‘spooktacular’ you might be drawn instead towards I, Frankenstein with Aaron Eckhart.