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Rod White introduces the January 2016 brochure

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Tue 22 Dec 2015

Rod White introduces the January 2016 brochure

Happy Birthday, Roy Batty...

Well, it's 2016... cripes! But, before we get on with the business of bringing you the best films made in the world for release in 2016, we must get out of the way, as has become the tradition, showing again what we consider to have been the best films of 2015 (I say 'we', though I guess I really mean 'I'). Having compiled my own list with only a little cheating - including, as it does, one non-new title from our Martin Scorsese's Polish Masterpieces season - it was a trickier process than most years. A top ten took more whittling down from a longer long list this time around, for sure. It is of course a bunch of subjective nonsense, the old top ten, but so long as the end result is one where great films end up back on cinema screens, where's the harm?! Every year people let us know how much they appreciate the chance to catch up on some great films they missed, so, as long as you keep telling us that, we'll keep on doing it. Of course, I'm not the only one who feels compelled to ruminate on the subject at this time of year (though I am one of the few who gets to put them on a cinema screen!), and there's much enjoyment to be had comparing my list to others, and laughing, mockingly and disparagingly, at the questionable judgement on display. I mean, what serious list could have left out Timbuktu? Or Mad Max: Fury Road? Not mine, matey. But would you believe I found some that did? Jeez! One has to feel some sympathy for the serious film critic who must figure his/her top ten to include all the overlong, impenetrable, patience-testing, art house provocations (Long? Tick. Unintelligible? Tick. Has no audience? Tick.) or risk being laughed out of the club by his/her peers!

Segueing effortlessly into some films, one or two of which may well figure on my top ten list next year, The Revenant kicks off on the 15th of January, and is Alejandro González Iñárritu's astonishing follow up to last year's Birdman. It tells the (admittedly) violent tale of 19th century frontiersman, Hugh Glass (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), left for dead by his fellow hunters after a bear mauling, and his subsequent quest for revenge. A supremely simple tale brilliantly told, I saw it some weeks ago and still can't shake its incredible imagery and atmosphere (one reads how difficult the shoot was, well it's all up there on the screen!). Room is Lenny Abrahamson's nigh-perfect adaptation of Emma Donoghue's 2010 bestseller, which tells the story of a mother and her young son held captive in a small... room, and Joy is David O Russell's funny and moving Jennifer Lawrence-starring 'Miracle Mop' domestic drama. The Hateful Eight is Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited (ever since reports reached us the script had been leaked and he was abandoning the project altogether) latest which stars QT regular Samuel L Jackson as one of eight reportedly hateful individuals holed up in a stagecoach stopover during a blizzard in Civil War-era Wyoming. Early chatter is hugely positive... And critics are falling over themselves to praise Hou Hsiao-hsien's completely gorgeous entry into the wuxia genre, The Assassin.

In reference to the top of the page, a screening at home of Blade Runner recently alerted me to the fact that January 8, 2016 is indeed the birth date, or rather 'incept' date, of Rutger Hauer's replicant in the film, so it seemed a good time to stick it on. Perhaps we'll organise a rendition of 'Happy Birthday' just before the screening...

Rod White, Head of Filmhouse

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