Adapted from Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoirs of the same name, 12 Years A Slave recounts his harrowing true story as a free man who is abducted and sold into slavery. He leads a pleasant life in New York with his family and it promises to be even better when he’s offered a lucrative job as a musician, but when Solomon wakes up in chains, his dark journey begins and Steve McQueen’s film never stops for breath. Continue reading 12 Years A Slave Review
Ever since the Harry Potter franchise adaptations of young adult literature have been a lucrative Hollywood trend. Yet the quality has descended into a ceaseless torrent of substandard replicas piloted by a toxic, pseudo-feminist, profit-driven vampire saga. That was until 2012 with the arrival of Gary Ross’ flawed, yet hugely successful The Hunger Games which towered above its feeble competition and though it failed to stem the flow it offered enough to restore at least a little faith in young adult films. Though fans remain loyal to their beloved franchise, a degree of scepticism remained to greet its successor, but Catching Fire surprises us all over again as a darker, more serious and far more mature sequel that surpasses the first in every way and reignites a genre that looked all but extinguished.
“Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. That’s no stupidity or weakness, that’s just human nature.”
Having begun his career in blistering fashion, but unfortunately stumbling in recent years, Marc Forster seeks to reignite his cinematic form with an intriguing, yet worryingly loose adaptation of Max Brooks’ acclaimed zombie horror novel. His World War Z reimagining bears little resemblance to its sublime forebear, but that’s part of the reason why he’s able to create such an exhilarating disaster movie brimming with fascinating stories, compelling drama and memorable action set pieces.
“I like to kill them softly, from a distance. Not close enough for feelings”
Andrew Dominik’s third feature film Killing Them Softly is a loose adaptation of George V Higgins’ 1974 novel Cogan’s Trade and follows enforcer Jackie Cogan who is hired to restore order after a robbery at a mob-protected card game causes the local criminal economy to collapse. For his neo-noir crime thriller Dominik reunites with Brad Pitt and frees himself from the shackles of popular cinema convention to deliver a visceral piece of Americana.
Rewriting the romantic comedy playbook.
With a near two-decade long career of critically acclaimed, but quietly released films, David O. Russell was regrettably little known within the UK. That was until the American director created what many regard as his most significant film, The Fighter. The compelling character study embedded within that biographical sports drama gripped audiences and increased Russell’s audience and popularity. So, expectations were high for his follow up film, an adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel Silver Linings Playbook.
“What is any ocean but a multitude of drops?”
When the Wachowski siblings and co-collaborator Tom Tykwer announced they would be creating an adaptation of Cloud Atlas message boards erupted with doubt and trepidation. Despite their shared filmmaking acclaim, could they really manage to film what many commentators had naturally assumed was an unfilmable novel? Having each previously excelled with imaginative, high concept films – the reality-questioning Matrix trilogy and the time-shifting thriller Run Lola Run – the trio decided the answer was “yes” and set about removing the ‘un’ from unfilmable.
“History prefers legends to men”.
With 2013 being the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation, it is hardly surprising that there has been an influx of filmic depictions of the iconic President’s life. While other releases, such as Spielberg’s Oscar-tipped Lincoln, have been period drama biographicals, there was also an unconventional addition – Timur Bekmambetov’s adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s biography/fantasy mash-up novel which, as the title suggests, sees the cultural icon depicted as a vampire hunter.