January is finally drawing to a close – which can only mean one thing. Okay, two things. Detoxified livers everywhere are salivating at the prospect of a first alcoholic beverage in weeks, and Oscar hopefuls all over the world are laying out their finery on their beds and practicing their acceptance speech in front of the mirror. The Edinburgh Filmhouse’s new releases for the month reflect that latter hoo-ha with an Academy Award-heavy setlist, so here’s a peek at what’s in store for the month of February:
Saul Dibb / UK / 2017 / 107 mins
Adapted from a 1928 play by R C Sherriff, this gritty drama argues that war, huh, what is it good for? Diddly squat, by all accounts. Eager-to-please puppydog Asa Butterfield sets out to experience all the glory of war alongside his sister’s beau and long-time idol Paul Bettany, only to find that the horrors of conflict have fashioned his hero a heavy pair of feet.
Paul Thomas Anderson / USA / 2017 / 115 mins
What’s that? Daniel Day-Lewis starring in his last ever film? Being directed by the man who earned him one of his previous three Best Actor gongs? Surely Day-Lewis is set to pick up number four with this, his swansong. Here, he plays a hugely successful dressmaker in 1950s London, who finds his regimented lifestyle upset by fluttering butterflies in the stomach and the suchlike.
Andrey Zvyagintsev / Russia, France, Germany, Belgium / 2017 / 127 mins
One of five flicks up for Best Foreign Language Film, Loveless sees director Zvyagintsev up to his old tricks (Leviathan, also nominated for the same category in 2015) in this tale of the effect of a tumultuous divorce on the unhappy couple’s young sprog. Eager to start anew with their respective partners, mum and dad are forced back together when 12-year-old Alyosha does a runner.
@ Filmhouse from Fri 9 to Thu 22 Feb *** Special preview screening on Sun 4 Feb ***
James Marsh / UK / 2017 / 102 mins
One of only two new releases at the Filmhouse not to be nominated for an Oscar, The Mercy is the true story of a seafaring rookie who threw caution to the wind and attempted to win the first ever single-handed, round-the-world yacht race in 1968. After bidding his family a tearful farewell, Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) soon finds he may have bitten off more than he can chew.
Guillermo del Toro / USA, Canada / 2017 / 123 mins
Director del Toro has (arguably) never quite hit the same heights as the superb Pan’s Labyrinth, but judging by the shedload of Oscar nominations (13) his latest effort has attracted, he might just have got the formula right here. Sally Hawkins plays a mute cleaner working in a top-secret government facility who forges an unlikely connection with a mysterious water creature. Delightfully bizarre.
Steven Spielberg / USA / 2017 / 116 mins
Perhaps the only thing more Oscar-ish on this year’s shortlist than DD-L acting for PTA is Spielberg directing Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in a historical drama about a government cover-up. The pair play the publisher and editor of The Washington Post as they try and keep up with The New York Times in its coverage of a huge scandal spanning four presidents and three decades. Academy Awards ahoy!