In Cinemas: Foxcatcher (2014) + Birdman (2014)
If you managed to avoid Mark Schultz's recent social media meltdown, then you are better for it. Certainly avoid his misplaced mutterings (and as many plot details as possible) before going to see this based-on-a-true-story drama of two Olympic gold-medal winning wrestling brothers and their recruitment by wealthy heir John du Pont.
Channing Tatum portrays Mark, while Mark Ruffalo stars as his brother Dave, but the acting heft is particularly brought by a near unrecognisable Steve Carell as the unsettling du Pont. Unfortunately, 'Foxcatcher' (★★) feels overly ponderous and as sports-based biopics go, I would say Miller's 2011 far more emotionally resonant 'Moneyball' is the superior effort.
It's unlikely you'll ever see a film quite like 'Birdman' (★★★★), a meta-fantasy-drama with a stunningly fluid visual style. The film centres around Michael Keaton as a fading actor who peaked after playing a superhero, hoping to resurrect and reinvent his career by putting on his own Broadway production. Joined by an excellent cast, which also includes Edward Norton and Emma Stone, Keaton perhaps surprises by outdoing them all in the acting stakes.
Acclaimed director Alejandro González Iñárritu offers arguably his most ambitious work yet, which is especially reflected in the camerawork, and 'Gravity' director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki could well follow last year's Oscar cinematography win with another. It's unfortunate that the screenplay uses the term "cocksucker" as an insult - it's 2015, I'm pretty sure we should be over that thing by now. Aside from that and the undoubtedly divisive ending, 'Birdman' is likely to be one of 2015's most engaging efforts.
At Home: 'A Most Wanted Man' (2014) + 'Scandal' Season Three
Coming out next week on DVD and Blu-ray is 'Boyhood', but you know all about that so here's a couple of other selections. Philip Seymour Hoffman does his usual sterling job in Anton Corbijn's spy thriller 'A Most Wanted Man'. Starring as a weary German intelligence chief operating in the post-9/11 paranoia, Hoffman's weary disposition is endearing, and while the ending is not, this John le Carré adaptation is largely absorbing.
Elsewhere, the third series of TV series 'Scandal' also makes its way onto DVD next week - fresh off an appearance in Jordan FG's top TV shows of 2014. As explained by Jordan, the series may not have matched its predecessors but a strong finish made it all worthwhile.
TV & Movie News
The Golden Globes saw 'Boyhood' take away the top nod in the drama category, with director Richard Linklater also taking Best Director. On the TV side of things, 'Fargo' won Best TV Mini-series, while Amazon's online series 'Transparent' was a surprisingly refreshing winner. Read the full list of winners at goldenglobes.com.
We have the first proper look at Peyton Reed's 'Ant-Man', which sees Paul Rudd become the titular superhero. It's tough not to be sceptical about the project after Edgar Wright's unexpected departure from the directing seat but we shall see:
The 2015 Razzie nominations are out with 'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' and 'Tennage Ninja Mutant Turtles' two of the biggest casualties. Check out the list of nominations via the show more list here
While the remake rights to 1981's 'Escape To New York' have recently been purchased by Fox, John Carpenter (who will act as exec producer) has been busy creating new music. It's evocative of his typically haunting style, and you can listen to a track off his forthcoming album 'Lost Themes' below.