Out Now – 13th January 2011

War Horse
Michael Morpurgo (who I met when I was about nine) wrote a book about a young man who joins the army to follow his horse after it is sold to the cavalry. The book was adapted into an acclaimed stage show and is now a “major motion picture” directed by Stephen Spielberg that looks so epic, worthy and heart-warming I’m left completely numb.

Shame
Considering the amount of hits my discussion of this film has had from nudity seekers with poor Google skills, I think people may be expecting a sexy romp with nakedness aplenty. While the nudity quota certainly seems to be present, what we have here is a serious drama about a sex addict so may be more grim and less sexy than you expect. Go for the nudity and stay for the quality film-making. Probably one to take your “bit of stuff” to rather than your partner, or your gran. This is not a film about love and fidelity.

Margin Call
An impressive cast of TV faces and Kevin Spacey tell the story of the first 24 hours of the financial crisis. According to IMDb the film contains 85 swear words, but two of those are “ass” which hardly counts. Since first writing this dismissive summary I have heard lots of good feedback about this film, so give it a go if bleak sex and horse-love aren’t your cup of tea.

The Darkest Hour (limited release)
Remember how good Emile Hirsch was in Into the Wild and Milk? Well, hold onto those memories as now he is starring in a 3D film in which “five young people lead the charge against an alien race who have attacked Earth via our power supply.” Expect lots of frantic unplugging… IN 3D!!!

Tatsumi (limited release)
“A story based on the life and short stories of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, a mangaka known for his gekiga style of alternate Japanese manga.” I gave gekiga a tentative Google and apparently it just means “dramatic pictures” distinguishing them from other Manga or “irresponsible pictures”. Phew, no tentacles.

A Useful Life (limited release)
“A movie-theater employee adjusts to a new life after the cinema he worked at for over 25 years is forced to shut down.” Let’s hope he doesn’t go around killing people and stealing their ears as that would be surprisingly boring.