The Hateful Eight (18)
Tarantino’s latest film is finally here, the result of a difficult and occasionally turbulent birth – a leaking of the script prompted him to shut down the project entirely for a while. But, as 2016 kicks off, Tarantino’s frosty western is ready for the screen and, as you would expect of the big man, the cast is packed with Hollywood vets (Kurt Russell), out-of-context A-listers (Channing Tatum) and old allies (Samuel L Jackson, Tim Roth).
Set in the US shortly after the Civil War, the film follows John “The Hangman” Ruth (Russell), who is trekking through a Wyoming blizzard with his victim (1980s icon Jennifer Jason Leigh as Daisy Domergue), on her way to be hanged. Meeting bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Jackson) and alleged sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) en route, they take shelter, where they meet the four remaining shady characters. From there, as you might imagine, things get messy, shots get fired and a whole lot of not-so-innocent blood gets spilled.
The 5th Wave (PG)
Another year, another young adult novel gets the big screen treatment – and another striking young Hollywood actress is doing the breathless, brow-furrowing thing in the face of general destruction. The “waves” in the book by Rick Yancey are a series of alien invasions that have decimated Earth and it’s up to a small band of humans to stick together to survive. You know, regular adolescent anxiety stuff. In the words of USA Today, the book “should do for aliens what Twilight did for vampires”.
In the film adaptation, pouty teen starlet du jour Chloe Moretz – very much on home turf considering the film was shot in her native Georgia – plays Cassie, a young girl who is searching for her young brother, Sammy. She then meets Evan (played by Brit actor Alex Roe), in whom she has to place her trust to stand any chance of making it. Oh, and the book’s a trilogy. So be prepared for more. And more. In cinemas on January 14
Ghayal Once Again (Hindi)
The much-hyped sequel to the 1990 action blockbuster is finally here, having undergone about 20 name changes from conception to delivery – Ghayal 2 and Ghayal Returns were among the early titles. Making a second instalment seems to have been a personal mission of original lead actor, Sunny Deol, who has both written and directed the movie, marking just the second time in his career he has wielded the megaphone – and the first for almost two decades. Ghayal Once Again picks up the threads of the original story, in which Ajay tried to avenge the death of his brother by a shadowy criminal gang who tried to frame him for the murder. Now, though, the action centres on four youngsters who displease the head of an influential conglomerate. In cinemas on January 14
Debuting at DIFF last month, Suffragette charts the struggle in Edwardian Britain for women’s right to vote. It’s the eve of World War I and, as the conservative strait-jacket of Victorian society is beginning to ease, women are seeking greater roles in education, business and politics, which leads to the demand for an electoral voice. Seen through the eyes of Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan), a laundry worker in London in 1912, Suffragette sweeps up the cause with vigour and style, helped by a stellar cast that includes Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter. In cinemas on January 14
Ride Along 2 (15)
There was, apparently, a Ride Along 1. There is, apparently, a public clamour for a follow up. This instalment follows Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) as he graduates from police academy and, with his soon-to-be-brother-in-law James Payton (played by Ice Cube), takes on a powerful drug lord in Miami. Low-level, predictable fun that does at least have Olivia Munn in it. In cinemas on January 14
Norm of the North (PG)
Perfectly wintry animated tale from Splash Entertainment, Norm of the North is a 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film about, well, Norm, a polar bear who along with his lemming friends ends up in New York City for reasons that don’t really matter. He then becomes the corporate mascot for a big, evil corporation that, he soon discovers, wants to do terrible things to his Arctic homeland. It’s a reasonable debut for director Trevor Wall, although prizes for originality won’t exactly be legion. In cinemas on January 15
Leonardo Di Caprio’s long and very lonely pursuit of an Oscar. Gripping, if a bit chilly.
Will Ferrell does Will Ferrell-y things as the stepdad trying to win the favour of Mark Wahlberg’s kids.
The surprising hit tale of the woman who invented a mop and became a TV superstar.