Advertisement

Now showing: The movies to see and skip in February

Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck pack an emotional punch in Manchester by the Sea.

Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck pack an emotional punch in Manchester by the Sea.

Watch the video above for a quick summary of new releases

With the Oscars fast approaching you’re going to have your hands full with all the new release movies hitting cinemas this month.

We’ve rounded up five currently showing to tell you whether they’re worth your time.

Live by Night (January 26)

Ben Affleck wrote, produced, directed and starred in this two-hour saga following a gangster with a heart of gold from the streets of Boston to the clubs of Miami.

There are plenty of strong performances and the sets and costumes are absolutely stunning, but it’s Affleck who’s the weak link.

He appears emotionless and lacking in charisma in the midst of a cast of colourful characters like Sienna Miller, Elle Fanning and Chris Messina.

Some heavy-handed editing and a reduction of flabby, gratuitous drama would have made Live By Night a contender for awards season, but at best it’s an entertaining night out.

Parents, be warned: the heavy violence is definitely not suitable for children.

Verdict: See it

Zoe Saldana and Ben Affleck play star-crossed lovers in Live By Night.

Zoe Saldana and Ben Affleck play star-crossed lovers in Live By Night.

Manchester by the Sea (February 2)

Meanwhile, Ben’s little brother Casey Affleck stars alongside Michelle Williams and newcomer Lucas Hedges in the masterpiece Manchester by the Sea.

At the start of the film we meet Lee, expertly played by Affleck, a man who shuns human interaction and is inexplicably glum.

Piece by piece, the film fills in the blanks of his past to explain how Lee became so disconnected and the final reveal packs a massive emotional punch.

Although surprisingly bleak, there’s a lot of humour in the film, which is made all the more funny because it’s so unexpected.

It’s long and heavy-going but worth every minute — a very authentic portrayal of love and loss.

Verdict: See it

Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges play and uncle and his nephew.

Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges play and uncle and his nephew.

Moonlight (January 27)

Moonlight is a simple film, but it achieves immense complexity in its portrayal of a young, gay black man growing up in Florida in the 1980s.

A beautiful orchestral score, nuanced performances and restrained dialogue pack a powerful punch.

The second film by director Barry Jenkins, Moonlight has generated immense awards season buzz.

The best thing about it is its subtlety – at no point does it tell you what to feel. Instead, you’ll likely catch yourself still attempting to decipher it days after seeing it. For a full review, click here.

Verdict: See it

Alex R Hibbert is captivating as the young Chiron in Moonlight.

Alex R Hibbert is captivating as the young Chiron in Moonlight.

Gold (February 2)

Matthew McConaughey gained nearly 20 kilograms to star in this movie that’s loosely based on a real gold mining scandal in the ’90s.

He might look terrible, but McConaughey’s performance is energetic.

Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, the rest of the film is dull.

Half-hearted attempts at debauchery and weak peripheral characters leave it feeling a little like a poor man’s Wolf of Wall Street.

Verdict: Skip it

Matthew McConaughey (centre) went the whole hog in his transformation for Gold.

Matthew McConaughey (centre) went the whole hog in his transformation for Gold.

Silence (February 16)

Martin Scorsese’s religious epic starring Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson clocks in at two hours and 40 minutes (longer if you include the trailers beforehand).

Apparently the movie was Scorsese’s ultimate passion project and was 28 years in the making. Unfortunately it also feels like it’s 28 years long thanks to prolonged moments of inaction and some weighty themes.

Although it shines a light on a particularly fascinating part of history and is beautifully captured – a visual victory of epic proportions – it mostly feels tedious.

Verdict: Skip it, unless you’ve got three hours to kill

Liam Neeson's face after sitting through Silence.

Liam Neeson’s face after sitting through the full length of Silence.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.