I’ve never been a fan of Jude Law – sure, he was great in much-maligned Gattaca and The Talented Mr Ripley, but poor recent performances, coupled with an ever-receding hairline and off-screen shagnanigans, render him a rather unlikeable cove.
Misgivings aside, Law manages a fine performance (not to mention a surprisingly convincing Scottish accent) in Black Sea (December 5). Law plays Captain Robinson, a submarine captain (apparently still a profession) who, along with his hand-picked crew of ragtag Scotchmen, decides to seek out some long-forgotten submerged Nazi gold. Unsurprisingly, dingy submarine conditions, gold-lust and rival treasure hunters all conspire to drive crew and captain apart.
Can the crew get it together and raise all that Nazi gold, or will Captain Robinson have to give them Das Boot (sorry)? There’s only one way to find out.
Next up this month, something a bit different: visually-sumptuous marital arts ass-kickery in the form of The Grandmaster (December 5), starring Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s Ziyi Zhang.
The Grandmaster follows the real life story of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man (Leung) – the Man who taught the world’s most famous Kung Fu exponent, Bruce Lee, every kick he knew – beginning with his flight to Hong Kong after the second Sino Japanese war, and ending with the events leading up to his death in 1972. The movie simultaneously chronicles the end of an era in Chinese martial arts history that occurred in the immediate post-war period.
Ponderous political plot points notwithstanding, the real reason to see The Grandmaster is the jaw-dropping fight scenes (choreographed by Crouching Tiger’s Yuen Woo-ping). I could watch Ziyi Zhang axe-kick all day. Don’t kung-fool yourself into overlooking this gem this month!
Finally this month, The Good Lie (December 12) a schmaltzy, Blindside-y – and damn it! – heartwarming tale, starring Reece Witherspoon, who must be relieved that she will never again be confused with Renee Zellweger since the latter’s recent real-life Face-Off remake.
The story is thus: after 13 years in a Kenyan refugee camp, a trio of grown-up Sudanese orphans win a visa lottery which allows them to immigrate to the US. Jackpot! Once there, they meet Carrie (Witherspoon), a plucky job recruiter initially tasked with finding them jobs. Soon enough though, Carrie becomes a multi-purpose ambassador/cultural acclimatiser for the men, helping them navigate their new lives and escape the lingering horrors of their war-torn pasts.
The Good Lie features excellent performances (two of three male leads fled conflict zones in real life) and a feel-good, Oscar-bait type of vibe.