As the summer months draw near, it’s time once again to break out the 3D glasses, buckets of popcorn and nachos slathered in a hot melted substance we are meant to believe is cheese. Yes ladies and gents, blockbuster season is almost upon us.
But if the thought of Fast and the Furious 6, Iron Man 3 or Star Trek: Into Darkness leaves you wanting to be sat anywhere but a dark room full of yabbering pests, On The Box has picked out some far cooler fare to look forward to this year.
12 Years A Slave
With Hunger and Shame, artist turned filmmaker Steve McQueen showed he is one contemporary cinema’s most fearless visionaries, unafraid to tackle the most wrenching of material. 12 Years A Slave, based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup, an African American born free in New York but kidnapped and sold into slavery, is undoubtedly the
sort of unflinching drama that few others could handle.
Boasting one of the finest casts it is possible to assemble – Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamati and Michael Kenneth Williams (Omar in The Wire) – it could well be the antidote to Tarantino’s rather too OTT Django Unchained.
A Field In England
If you’ve seen director Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, chances are you’re still recovering from the trauma of this psychological tour de force. Fresh off the back of screwball serial killer comedy Sightseers, Wheatley has teamed up with Kill List co-writer Amy Jump for A Field In England and another twisted take on genre cinema.
Set during the English Civil war, it centres on a group of deserters (including The League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmith and The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barrett) captured by an alchemist and forced to help search for buried treasure. After feasting on magic mushrooms and discovering the treasure may not be of the golden variety, things take a terrifying turn for the worse. Prepare to be horrified once again.
Thanks to Prometheus turning out to be such a dud, science fiction fans are still searching for something worthy of their hard earned cash. Gravity, the first film by Alfonso Cuarón since 2006’s stunning Children Of Men, could well be just that. Starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as two astronauts stranded when their space station collides with an asteroid, it is being spoken of as the closest thing to experiencing space without having to strap yourself into a rocket and leaving Earth’s atmosphere.
Test screenings have already attracted rave reviews, with awe-inspiring’, ‘masterpiece’ and ‘visual feast’ just some of the adjectives being used to describe it.
Inside Llewyn Davis
If you aren’t instantly excited when learning of a new Coen brothers film, you really have no right to call yourself a film fan. There are few directors that can boast such a phenomenal body of work as Joel and Ethan, and their powers of sight, sound and story show no signs of abating.
Inside Llewyn Davis sees them heading back into more obscure territory, being as it is the story of an aspiring singer-songwriter struggling to find himself in the New York folk scene of the 1960s. Although based loosely on the life of little-known Bob Dylan collaborator Dave Van Ronk, rather than Dylan himself, the sight of Carey Mulligan, John Goodman and O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack star T Bone Burnett amongst the credits can only further whet the appetite.
Only God Forgives
All the buzz surrounding Ryan Gosling currently centres on A Place Beyond The Pines, in which Hollywood’s newest hunk plays a stunt driver caught up in a criminal underworld whilst trying to save a mother and her child. Sound a bit familiar?
Far more exciting is his reunification with Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn in the forthcoming Only God
Forgives. Gosling plays the manager of a Bangkok-based Thai boxing club serving as a front for a drugs gang, who dispatched to ‘raise hell’ by his mother (the irrepressible Kristin Scott Thomas) when his brother is murdered. If that crazy synopsis doesn’t pique your interest, nothing will.
The Wolf Of Wall Street
It would almost be enough to say that The Wolf Of Wall Street is the next Martin Scorsese film. But then the last Martin Scorsese offering was Hugo, which was a children’s film, so we won’t. No such fear to be had here though, as he returns with the decidedly more adult tale of real-life New York stock broker Jordan Belfort, who indulged in the highlife of drugs, hookers and yachts before being jailed for swindling millions from investors.
Longtime Scorsese favourite Leonardo Di Caprio takes the lead role and is joined by a supreme ensemble cast, including Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Spike Jonze, Joanna Lumley and The Artist’s Jean Dujardin.