January 2015 on sale now
There is another great selection of films on offer in January. Our season features the best of new releases, including the black comedy Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, horror mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, and the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, while the cinema’s Under The Radar series continues to present brilliant independent films from around the world, such as the haunting documentary The Last of the Unjust. January’s classics include the musical Guys and Dolls with live broadcasts coming from Met Opera Live, NT Live and the Bolshoi Ballet.
Among the pick of the latest big releases is the romantic biopic The Theory of Everything, telling the extraordinary story of Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane, adapted from her memoirs. Nominated for four Golden Globes, the film features a stunning performance by Eddie Redmayne as the brilliant scientist. Another highlight is black comedy, Birdman, nominated for seven Golden Globes, starring Michael Keaton as a washed-up actor famed for playing a superhero and now struggling to mount a Broadway play in an attempt to recover his family, his career and himself. Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) directs and stars in What We Do in the Shadows, an hilarious horror mockumentary following four vampire flatmates in New Zealand tackling the challenges of modern life, from technology to household chores. Disney’s new fantasy film, Into the Woods, based on Stephen Sondheim’s acclaimed stage musical, brings together the heroes of many fairytales, as a childless couple seek to end a curse placed upon them by a witch (Meryl Streep).
Comic drama St Vincent sees a young boy whose parents have just divorced find an unlikely friend in new neighbour, misanthropic war veteran Bill Murray, with inevitable chaos ensuing. Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis and Olivia Wilde star in Third Person, a romantic drama telling the seemingly unconnected stories of three couples in three different cities, Rome, Paris and New York. There is period drama with Western The Homesman, directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones as a drifter who helps Hilary Swank transport three troubled women across the harsh Nebraska Territory of the 1850s. Based on Vera Brittain’s best-selling memoir, Testament of Youth follows a spirited young lady (Alicia Vikander) as she comes of age during the First World War. The life of James Brown is magnificently evoked in the biopic Get On Up, starring Chadwick Boseman as the ‘Godfather of Soul’ with Dan Ackroyd as his ruthless manager. Based on the tragic real-life story of Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz and his mentor, the gripping psychological drama Foxcatcher features superb performances by Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum.
In the third instalment of the sci-fi adventure, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), having twice survived the brutal Hunger Games, must now fight to save her co-victor Peeta, reluctantly becoming a symbol of mass rebellion against the Capitol. The Penguins of Madagascar 3D, a spin-off from Madagascar 3, sees four penguins attempting to thwart the plans of a wicked scientist, and features the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovitch and Werner Herzog.
One of the highlights of the Under The Radar selection of independent films and world cinema is Charlie’s Country, for which veteran actor David Gulpilil was named Best Actor in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, for his portrayal of an ageing indigenous Australian who heads off to live in the wild. January’s Q-Film screening is French film Eastern Boys, in which director Robin Campilo creates his own unique take on immigration in Paris, as a middle-aged businessman invites a young Eastern European immigrant into his life with unexpected consequences. A gripping documentary screened to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, The Last of the Unjust is a study of a ‘model’ camp used by the Nazis to disguise the true nature of the holocaust, bringing to light interviews filmed in 1975 with the remarkable Benjamin Murmelstein, the last President of the Jewish Council in the Czechoslovakian ghetto. The screening will be introduced by Dr Larissa Allwork from The University of Northampton. January’s programme also includes the documentary Bicycle, an engaging history of pedalling machines, from their Victorian origins to today, with a Q&A with its BAFTA-winning director Michael B Clifford.
Our programme of classic films features the sparkling 1955 MGM romantic comedy from the golden age of Hollywood musicals, Guys and Dolls, starring Marlon Brandon and Frank Sinatra. The University of Northampton’s Cult Film Club presents Katsuhiro Otomo’s cyberpunk classic from 1988, Akira, a landmark of Japanese animation set in a futuristic Tokyo.
Live screenings for January include two productions from Met Opera Live, Lehar’s enchanting operetta about the femme fatale who captivates all of Paris, The Merry Widow, in a new staging by Broadway virtuoso director Susan Stroman (The Producers), and Offenbach’s operatic masterpiece Les Contes d’Hoffman, both broadcast live from New York. Screened live from Moscow there will the chance to see the Bolshoi’s production of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, Swan Lake, while the National Theatre in London bring to life Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of murder, money and mutiny, Treasure Island, in a thrilling new stage adaptation. Other special events include Exhibition Live: Girl with the Pearl Earring, a beautifully filmed documentary investigating the many unanswered questions behind Vermeer’s extraordinary painting.
There will also be second chance to catch some of the most popular films from recent months, with repeat screenings of David Fincher’s twisting thriller Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck, and The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch as the code-breaking English mathematician and logician Alan Turing.