Black Mass leads the new cinema releases & trailers – w/e November 27th 2015

black-massThis weekend there are six new films out for you to choose from: Johnny Depp as gangster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, engaging family drama in Radiator, Swedish drama in My Skinny Sister, Cold War drama in Bridge Of Spies, 1950s drama (yes, there’s a lot of drama this week!) in Carol, and CGI animation in The Good Dinosaur.

Black Mass tells the true story of Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp), the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) and James “Whitey” Bulger grew up together on the streets of South Boston. Decades later, in the late 1970s, they would meet again. By then, Connolly was a major figure in the FBI’s Boston office and Whitey had become godfather of the Irish Mob. What happened between them – a dirty deal to trade secrets and take down Boston’s Italian Mafia in the process – would spiral out of control, leading to murders, drug dealing, racketeering indictments, and, ultimately, to Bulger making the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List.

This film looks shows Johnny Depp at his finest, making me feel as uncomfortable as I did when Joe Pesci was asking “Am I funny?” in Goodfellas

Black Mass is directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) from a screenplay by Jez Butterworth and Mark Mallouk, based on the book by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, and also stars a great cast including Dakota Johnson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, and one of my favourites, Juno Temple.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


Daniel (Daniel Cerqueira) receives a call from his elderly mother; his father Leonard (Richard Johnson), has got stuck on the sofa. He travels to their remote farm to discover that they have fallen over the edge of eccentricity into outright squalor. With a only few days free from work Daniel tries to help but his parents are unable to adapt to their new circumstances. Maria (Gemma JonesCapital) continues with her gloriously impractical style. Leonard uses his professional skills as psychiatrist to thwart Daniel. Maria dies suddenly. Leonard is forced to leave the family home. Daniel returns to London with a freedom that his parents had lost.

Directed by Tom Browne and also starring Julia Ford, Gemma Jones is always worth a watch and this looks far more worthy of cinema screenage than most of the rest of this week’s selections.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

My Skinny Sister

Just as Stella enters the exciting world of adolescence she discovers that her big sister and role model Katja is hiding an eating disorder. The disease slowly tears the family apart. A story about jealousy, love and betrayal told with warmth, depth and laughter – on and off the ice.

Starring Rebecka Josephson, Amy Deasismont, Henrik Norlén and Annika Hallin, this has an intriguing premise so I’m going to err on the side of…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Bridge of Spies stars Tom Hanks as insurance lawyer James Donovan, who is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.

In the shadow of war, one man showed the world what we stand for.

Directed by Steven Spielberg and also starring Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, Mark Rylance, Domenick Lombardozzi and Sebastian Koch, the more I see of this, the more I’m feeling a bit ‘meh’ about it. Maybe it’ll be better in the full telling, but it’s not really wowing me now.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Carol is set in 1950s New York, where department-store clerk Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), who dreams of a better life, falls for an older, married woman, Carol, played by Cate Blanchett.

Also starring Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler and Jake Lacy, and with a screenplay by Phyllis Nagy, based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, this is directed by Todd Haynes, and is released in the UK on November 27th.

According to IMDB, Film 4’s outgoing boss, Tessa Ross, said she had battled for 11 years to get the film made. Based on this trailer, she really shouldn’t have bothered, but then period dramas aren’t really my thing.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Good Dinosaur takes place during the time of the… well, dinosaurs, and gives CGI animators an excuse to make another film set during that period. After a traumatic event unsettles a lively Apatosaurus named Arlo, he sets out on a remarkable journey, gaining an unlikely companion along the way – a human boy.

Voices from famous include Judy Greer, Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Hader, Frances McDormand and John Lithgow, and it’s no doubt a softer side to dinosaurs than the angry ones featured in Jurassic World.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!