Winter sees the cream of the Hollywood crop vying to get on the big screen and all because award season is just around the corner. That aside, it is the best time of year for film; months of superhero themed folly will surely have tired out even the most avid Marvel fan, while we look forward to movies with a little more depth and diversity in them. In terms of TV, two networks continue to break boundaries: HBO and Netflix. And happily, their cold weather offerings are nothing short of brilliant. Below are three things we recommend staying in for during those long, dark evenings:
Could this finally be the year Amy Adams nabs that Oscar? With the critically acclaimed Nocturnal Animals already under her belt this year, Adams has been generating considerable buzz for her performance in Arrival – a smart, stylish sci-fi that sees her play a linguist tasked with communicating with aliens. Adams brings a quiet intelligence to the role; she’s a thinker who just happens to be the heroine who holds everything together. Those who were underwhelmed by Interstellar should love this modern take on science fiction – it’s based on Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life – and (thanks to a skilled director at its helm) sees an intriguing puzzle unfold beautifully on screen alongside a remarkable performance from a female lead.
Arrival is in cinemas now
This is generating so much hype in the US, but I fear it has yet to catch on here. Season one of the stylish new series has just ended overseas and if you’ve yet to watch, all we can simply say is: where have you been? Any film fan will remember the 1973’s Westworld by author and director Micheal Crichton; it was hailed a masterpiece of science fiction by fans and critics alike, in a setting that combined the trappings of the Wild West and robots intent to (eventually) run amuck. Fast forward to 2016 and the JJ Abrams-produced HBO reboot is already a hit after its first episode premiere. The plot from the original has stayed intact, only this remake is distinctly glossier; it’s trademark HBO with a few twists. Westworld is a theme park populated by state-of-the-art androids, otherwise known as “the locals.” Human customers attend the park to live out any wild west fantasies they may have, and this includes the option to interact with the cyborgs (mostly by either killing them or having sex with them). In episode one, the park is over three decades old and they are running out of new ways to keep the experience fresh for visitors, but it’s the robots, eerily real in every way, who suffer. The Bladerunner and Terminator influences are all there, but this time, it’s the humans who are the bad guys. With a stellar cast including Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton, Evan Rachel Wood and Ed Harris, this is a must-see series. Until you’ve seen it all, avoid the internet – not knowing what will happen next is all part of the fun.
Stream it now
Saoirse Ronan just missed out last year, but we could be rooting for another equally talented Irish actress to take home a statuette come February: Ruth Negga. Whispers of awards (and the seal of approval from Vogue) could see her be a real contender, thanks to her stirring performance in Loving. Set in Virginia in 1967, the film centers on Richard (played by Joel Edgerton) and Mildred (Negga) during a time when interracial marriage was forbidden. The story follows her fight through penalty, punishment, and imprisonment with the hope of achieving legal marriage to the love of her life. We predict big things following its anticipated release in February 2017.
In cinemas February 2017