Old-school gangster movies are 10 a penny these days, but for the first time in a long time, something fresh and original has been added to the canon, in the form of Scott Cooper’s Black Mass.
The film tells the true story of James “Whitey” Bulger (an almost unrecognisable Johnny Depp), the brother of a state senator who rose to prominence in Boston’s Irish mafia in the 1970s and 80s, becoming the most violent criminal in the city’s history in the process.
After growing up together, John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) and James Bulger walked very different paths, one becoming a FBI agent and the other succumbing to a life of crime. But in return for the protection he received as a kid and in honour of their childhood bond, Connolly agrees to cover Bulger’s crimes – essentially becoming his lapdog – in return for information on the Italian mafia that is encroaching on the kingpin’s territory.
One look at the cast, which includes Depp, Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch and Kevin Bacon among many others, and you could say that Black Mass was bound to succeed. A film is not always the sum of its starring parts, though, and a decent screenplay, script and direction is also required, all of which are on point in this true crime drama.
The violence is visceral and the script shocking at times, but strangely, this just makes it all the more watchable.
On August 7, 1974, French high-wire artist, Philippe Petit, (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) set up a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. The Walk tells the story of this seemingly impossible and illegal task. Thanks to 3D technology, audiences are given a vertigo inducing, all-angle view that puts them right on the wire with Petit, hearing every creak, feeling every gust of wind and enjoying a view that until now, only one man in the world has experienced. If you can sit through Gordon-Levitt’s patchy French accent and have no problem with heights, The Walk is worth a watch.
Although a Wizard of Oz spin-off, Wicked Flying Monkeys, a Mexican-Indian film, is an original story with original characters. After being punished by the evil witch Eviline (Susana Zavaleta), Ozzy (Héctor Emmanuel Gómez), decides to steal her magic broom and go on a quest to find the Champions of Oz, but is beset by the witch’s winged monkeys along the way. The animation is good, but the story does lack some solidity, as does the script. Nevertheless, it is likely to fulfil its task of entertaining kids for an hour and a half.
Pamela (Mischa Barton) is a 911 operator who takes her job very seriously. When her line is intercepted by a mysterious man who has kidnapped her daughter she has no choice other than to comply with his demands, but ultimately finds herself faced with a difficult decision – save the city from the biggest crime in its history, or save her daughter.
A large step away from the traditional song and dance-fuelled escapism of Bollywood, Talvar focuses on the mysteries of the 2008 Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj double murder case, presenting several contrasting views as to who killed teenager, Shruti Tandon, and domestic help, Khempal. Starring Irrfan Khan, Ayesha Parveen, Neeraj Kabi and Konkona Sen Sharma, Talvar is sure to get minds ticking over.