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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Four films for spring 2015


    Alpha Core

    The spring semester always finds itself smack dab in the middle of the two most important, and possibly only, movie seasons: awards season and summer blockbuster season. The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were released Thursday, so if you haven’t checked out the awards heavy hitters, get to the local theater. Once you’ve done that, you may think there aren’t many reasons to hit up the cineplex anytime soon. However, there may not be as much of a dearth in quality cinema between January and May as one may imagine. Here are four films that possess some promise.

    “Mommy” (Feb. 13, The Loft) — French-Canadian Xavier Dolan is 25 years old, and “Mommy” isn’t even the first feature film that he’s directed. However, this film, unlike his others, received the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, an honor his film shared with “Goodbye to Language,” directed by the 84-year-old French master Jean-Luc Godard. Dolan, to say the least, is overachieving for his age. His current feature revolves around a single mother attempting to take care of her troubled, off-kilter son. However, when Diane (Anne Dorval) loses her job and is pushed to the brink, son Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon) assures her that they are a team. A mysterious neighbor (Suzanne Clément) also enters into the equation to try to help. This modern-day familial story seems charged with drama, comedy, sex and desperate, good-hearted people.

    “Leviathan” (February 20, The Loft) — One of the most critically acclaimed foreign films of the past year lands in Tucson. In a small coastal village in Northern Russia, Kolya lives in and works out of his childhood home with his young wife and teenage son. However, the corrupt mayor seeks to acquire Kolya’s land and evict his family. Employing the law services of an old friend, Kolya fights back. Director Andrey Zvyagintsev creates a down-to-earth social thriller where lowly citizens must fight against a Russian system that invokes the right of God. The film won Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Golden Globe Awards and is nominated for the same category for the upcoming Academy Awards.

    “Chappie” (March 6, wide)
    — A robot with the rather innocent, good-natured name of Chappie develops consciousness in a world that feels threatened by his self-awareness. Director Neill Blomkamp helms his third feature film. While 2009’s “District 9” was an incredibly fresh film centered around prawn-like aliens relegated to South African ghettos, his follow-up, the 2013 “Elysium,” was not as memorable. With the likes of Dev Patel (“Slumdog Millionaire”), Hugh Jackman and, in the strangest bit of casting of the year, Yolandi Visser and Watkin Tudor Jones of South African rap-rave duo Die Antwoord, “Chappie” seeks to reaffirm Blomkamp’s status one of the most original minds in sci-fi today.

    “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (May 1, wide) — The first blockbuster to be released has a good chance of rendering the rest of the summer’s fare lesser in comparison. Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow return in the follow-up to the 2012 hit that currently stands as the third highest-grossing movie ever. Though superhero-sized box office figures always accompany Marvel films, this sequel seems to improve upon a flaw that has become as ubiquitous to Marvel as a scene after the credits: lackluster villains. With the menacing, confident voice work from James Spader, Ultron, a self-aware AI created by Tony Stark to keep the peace, turns on the Avengers, seeking to destroy them and possibly all of humanity.


    Follow Alex Guyton on Twitter.

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