February is the highlight of the movie year, being awards season central. The BAFTAs hit the Royal Opera House on 14 February, aka Valentine’s Day, which will reveal a lot about the career vs relationship priorities of the nominees, unless they’re planning to multitask and take their significant others for a quick Masala Zone round the corner after.
Then, the big daddy of them all, The Oscars, takes place on 28 February in La La Land. If your frock is already ironed and you’ve been down Ladbrokes to place your bets, here are 10 new movies to pass the time till the big nights, many with a London-y twist.
Trumbo — London Talent
Director: Jay Roach Certificate: 15 Release Date: 5 February 2016
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Louis C.K.
Hollywood loves nothing better than a story about Hollywood. Chuck in some boo! hiss! Commies to boot, and it’s no great shocker that Trumbo has garnered star Bryan Cranston BAFTA and Oscar Best Actor nominations, as well as several Golden Globes nods. Based on the true story of top Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who himself won two Oscars before being blacklisted for alleged Communist sympathies, it also stars the ever fabulous Londoner Helen Mirren.
Dad’s Army — London Talent
Director: Oliver Parker Certificate: PG Release date: 5 February 2016
Stars: Toby Jones, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Sarah Lancashire, Mark Gatiss
Hammersmith boy Toby Jones uses his dry comic talent, last seen in the marvellous Detectorists, to take on Captain Mainwairing in this big screen adaptation of the classic TV show. Doubtless you are either a) awash with fuzzy, warm, 1970s childhood nostalgia at the prospect or b) not. Either way, your granddad will like the sight of Catherine Z J in 40s retro tight skirt and high heels, so do the old boy a favour and take him along.
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies — London set
Director: Burr Steers Certificate: 15 Release Date: 11 February 2016
Stars: Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcoate, Douglas Booth, Suki Waterhouse, Matt Smith, Charles Dance, Lena Headey
Just when you thought the world had reached peak zombie, some bright spark realised nobody had put them in corsets. Partly filmed in west London’s beautiful Syon Park, it sees Jane Austen’s iconic Bennet sisters transformed into badass action heroines who keep knives in their garter belts and drop kick the undead, in between charming potential suitors and attending local balls. Sam Riley has the unenviable task of filling Colin Firth’s massive breeches as Mr Darcy to Lily James’s Elizabeth Bennett.
A Bigger Splash — London talent
Director: Luca Guadagnino Certificate: 15 Release Date: 12 February 2016
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts, Dakota Johnson
Now there’s a cast list to get the critics salivating. Goddess Tilda Swinton (who, despite her Scottish heritage, was actually born here in London) plays an aging rock star holidaying in the Med with her hunky cheesecake partner, while recovering from a throat operation. Their peace is soon interrupted by the arrival of her old flame and his sexually provocative young daughter played by Dakota Johnson, nominee for the BAFTA Rising Star Award. Emotional mayhem inevitably ensues.
Director: Ben Stiller Certificate: TBC Release Date: 12 February 2016
Stars: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell
Landing just in time for London Fashion Week, which starts on 19 February, everyone’s favourite vacuous show ponies Derek and Hansel are back and on a mission to save the world’s beautiful people from being killed by a master criminal. Look out for a surreal cameo from Londoner Benedict Cumberbatch, putting his famous cheekbones to good use.
Chronic — London Talent
Director: Michel Franco Certificate: 15 Release Date: 19 February 2016
Stars: Tim Roth, Sarah Sutherland
A private nurse tending to terminally ill patients hardly sounds like scintillating subject matter for a movie. However, Chronic won Best Screenplay at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Palme D’Or. Dulwich boy Tim Roth turns in a tremendous performance as the nurse whose conduct raises questions of ethical and medical boundaries. Admittedly it’s not the easiest of watches, but it’s intelligent, moving and treats controversial and sensitive issues in a non-judgmental and thought provoking way.
Director: David Leon Certificate: 15 Release Date: 19 February 2016
Stars: Stephen Graham
Staying on the sensitive tip, the Jewish community is the setting for Orthodox, developed from a short film originally premiered at the 2012 London Film Festival. Stephen Graham gives a typically gritty performance as a Jewish man bullied for his faith who takes up bare knuckle boxing as a means of self-defence, only to find himself further alienated. A series of events leads to a prison sentence and subsequent attempt to rehabilitate himself on his release.
Triple 9 — London Talent
Director: John Hilcoat Certificate: 15 Release Date: 19 February 2016
Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson
Sometimes you don’t want gritty or difficult or sensitive, you just want car chases and Kate Winslet with an outrageously back combed hairdo. Triple 9 delivers both in spades. A gang of criminals plan to kill a police officer as distraction while simultaneously pulling off an enormous heist elsewhere. Expect proper, old skool robbers in Halloween masks and Woody Harrelson chewing scenery. Londoner and growing Hollywood player Chiwetel Ejiofor pops up among the chaos.
Grimsby — London Set, London Talent
Director: Louis LeTerrier Certificate: TBC Release Date: 24 February 2016
Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong
Not at all similar to 2014’s Kingsman The Secret Service which spoofed spy movies, was set in London and starred Mark Strong, Grimbsy spoofs spy movies, is set in London and stars Mark Strong. But hey, what’s not to like about all three things? From the twisted mind of Sacha Baron Cohen comes this tale of a star MI6 agent reluctantly reunited with his long-lost football hooligan and Liam Gallagher-a-like brother. Squarely skewering anything and everything Northern, it’s probably best seen with friends from south of the Watford gap.
Secret In Their Eyes — London Talent
Director: Billy Ray Certificate: 15 Release Date: 24 February 2016
Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts
Busy boy Chiwetel pops up in his second high profile role this month. A remake of El Secreto De Sus Ojos, winner of the 2009 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, don’t get all pretentious and annoy your mates by bleating on about how the original was soooo much better (even though it was). It’s still a taut, effective thriller, following the efforts of a team of investigators to catch the killer responsible for the murder of one of their own children. Don’t have nightmares.