Barcelona battle for Javier
One of the most charming movies you’ll see this year is Vicky Cristina Barcelona, where Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Penelope Cruz all battle it out for the affections of Javier Bardem – an entirely understandable turn of events.
Javier plays a somewhat forward Barcelona painter who casually invites both Vicky and Cristina to head back to his place but no-one has bargained for the arrival of mad ex-wife Cruz, who steals the show with her temperamental outbursts.
Barcelona provides a splendid backdrop for this slight but engaging affair that sees Woody Allen – who wrote and directed – back to his best.
The special effects are undoubtedly the star in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, with Brad Pitt playing a man who is born 80 years old, but gradually grows younger into the Pitt we know and love. While most accept it’s Pitt’s finest hour, the movie itself has divided audiences. An elegant reflection on life and death or one long snooze? You decide.
Reflections on life and death aren’t to the fore in Bolt, but if it’s an animated dog with superpowers you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. John Travolta and Miley Cyrus do the voices in a fun story with none of the adult humour you have come to expect in kids’ movies. This one is purely for the youngsters and is all the better for that.
Two-time Academy Award winner and the recipient of a record-breaking fifteen Oscar nominations, Meryl Streep's latest offering is intense period drama Doubt, based on the hit play by John Patrick Shanley, who wrote and directed this unforgettable adaptation.
Streep plays Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the iron-gloved principal of a strict Catholic school in Sixties' New York.
"I'd seen the play years before," says Streep of how she came to the project. "My friend, Cherry Jones, had given what I thought was the definitive portrayal of Sister Aloysius. It was a great, great play, but I never thought it would be made into a movie until John invited me to lunch to talk about it. Honestly though, my first thought was for Cherry, and I asked why she wasn't doing it.
"John explained that for various reasons, including financial considerations, he had not directed the stage production and that he wanted his own hands on the film adaptation. That seemed valid to me, and besides, I sure wanted a crack at that Sister Aloysius."
On the verge of turning 60, Streep insists she was untroubled by wearing so little make up for the role. "Seriously," she emphasises, "it's really a very freeing thing. You throw away everything that women normally waste a great number of hours of the day on. You don't worry about how your hair looks, how your face is or what the state of the disarray is. Everything is gone and all you have is what you do. It's probably the way we should be, and it was very, very liberating and sort of spiritual, if I dare use the word."
Though today she's the inspiration for generations of rising actresses, when she was young herself, Streep reveals her biggest influences were her teachers. "I had a number of great teachers and the ones who were the strongest influences on me were women - really smart and interesting women. “
Streep has played an extraordinary number of amazing women over the years. But are there any she'd like to revisit? And which, if any, come close to her own personality?
"I have never really imagined revisiting any of them," she says frankly, "though there's word of a sequel to Mamma Mia! So, you might be inflicted with that one again! As for which one's like me... I think I'm all of them. I'm right there if anybody cares to look. You can find me in everything I play."
Tyson – The Movie
The rags to riches to prison rags tale of Mike Tyson, the most fearsome heavyweight champion of them all. Powerful documentary
After the success of Sin City, Frank Miller directs another graphic novel adaptation. Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson star.
A modern take on the American Western, Defiance is the small town to where a young man returns to avenge the death of his father.
Drop into your local Xtra-vision store or go online to make your selection at xtravision.ie