Having lurched to the top of the box office stateside last month, Mama makes its debut in Spain. The Spanish-Canadian horror has been championed by Guillermo del Toro, whose name appears as executive producer, and marks the feature debut of Argentina-born Andrés Muschietti, who based the movie on a three-minute, one-take short film he presented at the Sitges festival in 2008 (check it out on YouTube, it’s fantastically creepy). In a role a long way from her Bin Laden-hunting CIA officer in Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain dyes her flame-haired locks jet black to play the partner of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (of TV series Game of Thrones), the uncle of two girls who go missing after their father kills their mother. Five years later, the young sisters are discovered living a feral existence in a remote forest cabin and go back to live with the couple. But it soon becomes clear that a malevolent spirit — played by spindly-limbed Spanish actor Javier Botet (the REC trilogy) — has traveled back with them.
Gangster Squad is an all-star crime drama set in postwar Los Angeles from director Ruben Fleischer, previously known for comedy Zombieland. Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling are the leaders of a secret police unit assembled to take down real-life Jewish mobster Mickey Cohen, played by a heavily made-up Sean Penn, who runs most of California and is looking to muscle his way into Chicago. Nick Nolte, Emma Stone and Michael Peña also star.
Based on Stephen Chbosky’s bestselling coming-of-age tale, The Perks of Being a Wallflower finds Emma Watson looking to put Harry Potter’s Hermione behind her as a high-school senior who, along with brother Ezra Miller, takes shy and awkward classmate Logan Lerman under her wing. The killer soundtrack features Dexys Midnight Runners, New Order, The Smiths, Sonic Youth and David Bowie.
The ‘No’ vote
In Pablo Larraín’s No, Gael García Bernal is the adman entrusted with running the no-vote campaign in the 1988 referendum on Chilean dictator General Pinochet’s rule. One of the nominees for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, it’s based on Antonio Skármeta’s play El Plebiscito.
Finally we have Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, a documentary following the Serbian performance artist as she prepares for a major retrospective of her work at New York’s MoMA. As part of the exhibition, she sat motionless and silent in the museum over 30 days as visitors lined up to sit opposite her.