The January 15 releases include two Hollywood movies that are slugging it out for awards glory, a low-budget tearjerker about noble teachers, and a movie starring Kate del Castillo, the Mexican actresses who along with Sean Penn played a role in nabbing the Mexican drug baron known as “El Chapo.”
The 33 In 2010, 33 miners were trapped for over two months in a mine in Chile. Running parallel to their ordeal were the efforts of Hollywood’s finest to make the first movie on their rescue. The film is finally out, and it stars the estimable Antonio Banderas as the leader of the miners, who eggs on his comrades even as their wives anxiously await their return and their mining company combats media criticism and adverse public opinion. The survival drama also stars Juliette Binoche, Gabriel Byrne, James Brolin and Rodrigo Santoro. Also look out for Kate del Castillo, the Mexican television actress who brokered the interview between fugitive druglord “El Chapo” and American actor Sean Penn that resulted in his recapture.
The Hateful Eight Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film has gathered the force of the same blizzard that confines its characters to a wayside inn. The period movie is set in the aftermath of the Civil War and examines the racism and general nastiness that rent the air. Seven men and one woman with revenge on their mind are out and about on a snow-crazed day. The characters include soldiers on either side of the Civil War, suspicious folks who might or might not be gang members in disguise trying to free a convict on death row, and one man claiming to be sheriff. The heavyweight cast includes Samuel L Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern and Channing Tatum.
The Danish Girl Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables) is back in the awards race with his adaptation of David Ebershoff’s novel of the same name. Set in Denmark in the 1920s and ’30s, The Danish Girl explores the transformation of Einar (Eddie Redmayne) into Lili. He is helped in his gender transition by his wife, fellow artist Greta (Alicia Vikander). The novel fictionalises the relationship between Lili Elbe, a pioneering volunteer for sex reassignment surgery, and his wife Gerda. Redmayne’s performance has awards juries in a tizzy – should he be nominated in the Best Actress category, perhaps?
Chalk N Duster The major Hindi release of the week stars Shabana Azmi and Juhi Chawla as idealistic teachers at a school that faces the threat of modernisation (read increased fees, a changed curriculum, and layoffs). Faced with a new principal with evil designs on their way of functioning, the teachers revolt. Directed by Jayant Gilatar, who has a couple of films and most several television series to his credit.
Rebellious Flower A biopic, in Hindi, of the formative years of the godman Rajneesh, who was known as Osho in his later years. Backed by the Osho Foundation in Pune and directed by Krishan Hooda, Rebellious Flower reveals how Raja, a young boy in a village, was transformed into the spiritual leader who attracted followers and controversy in equal measure.