Jackie, Sing and Split a movie roundup. January is shaping up to be a busy month for movies. It’s also Golden Globes month where worthy (mostly) winners collect a trophy in recognition of their work. I popped along to see three which are opening in Irish cinemas the weekend of January 20th to 22nd (Sing has previews). Two of them were among the Golden Globe nominees. Jackie which Natalie Portman was nominated for best actress, Sing for best animated picture and Split starring James McAvoy.
Written by: Noah Oppenheim. Directed by: Pablo Larrain. Starring: Natalie Portman, Greta Gerwig, Peter Sarsgaard. Run time: 1hr 40 minutes.
Natalie Portman was nominated for the best actress Golden Globe. In my opinion it was well earned. The movie is looped around a Life magazine interview and follows Jackie Kennedy in the aftermath of the assassination of her husband John. F. Kennedy. The struggle to deal with her husbands death. The pressure of the press. Caring for her two small children and questioning her faith. Its a glimpse behind the curtain of an American icon and the story never told of picking up the pieces left behind by the assassination. All with the added pressure of making way for an incoming president and planning a funeral. Portaman gives a stellar performance of a woman full of contradictions. At times she is stoic and controlled. Other times she is inconsolable and lost. It’s an exquisite showcase of personality and emotion.
I’m giving Jackie 4 out of 5. It might be slow moving at times but its a total eye opener. I’m still in awe of the whispery, breathy almost eerie voice which Portman uses throughout. Apparently it was spot on too. You will know what I mean when you watch it.
Written by: Garth Jennings. Directed by: Christophe Lourdelet, Garth Jennings. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson. Run time: 1hr 48 minutes.
Sing is everything good about animated movies. It’s entertaining, has lovable characters, sing along songs and a story line that appeals to all generations. Buster Moon is about to lose his much-loved theatre. In one last attempt to save it he decides to host a singing competition with a grand prize of $1000. One typo later and his posters are offering $100,000 to the winner and there are thousands lining the streets to audition. That of course doesn’t mean everything goes to plan, and it certainly doesn’t.
‘Who doesn’t love a signing competition’ asks Buster, and he is right. A film about a singing competition full of adorable animals is always going to be a hit. The characters are a fantastic mix of shy (Meena), confidant (Mike), outlandish (Gunter), lost (Jonny) and disillusioned with life (Rosita). I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5. Sing will have you tapping your foot and smiling broadly. It’s brought to you by the team at Illumination, who also brought you Despicable Me, Minions and The Secret Life of Pets so you know you are in safe hands.
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan. Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan. Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson. Run time: 1hr 57 minutes.
Split is a return to form for M. Night Shyamalan following some, how shall we say, not so great movies like Devil and Lady in the Water. James McAvoy is simply superb as Kevin, Dennis, Barry and the entire 23 personalities he is made up of. Some more disturbing than others. His ability to inhibit their varying personalities is enthralling. Dennis has kidnapped three girls in broad daylight and is keeping them hostage. As other personalities emerge, the girls begin to understand just how much of a dire situation they are in. Hedwig is childlike and easy to manipulate. Patricia is stern. Barry is flamboyant and Dennis is strong, frightening and suffers from OCD.
Which one can they convince to let them out and who is the ‘Beast’, the most frightening of all. Split will keep you glued to the screen and most likely make you look up split personalities the moment you leave the cinema. I’m giving it 4 out of 5. It’s original, clever, unnerving and James McAvoy is first class.