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The Movie Show New Year Special: The Theory of Everything, Birdman, The Woman in Black: Angel of Death

Paul Whitington of The Independent and George Byrne of The Herald join Independent.ie Entertainment Editor Aoife Kelly to talk this week's biggest releases.

Oscar buzz surrounds two of our New Year special movie releases with The Theory of Everything boasting a career-defining performance from Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking and Michael Keaton making something of a comeback in the excellent Hollywood satire, Birdman.

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A scene from 'The Theory of Everything'

A scene from 'The Theory of Everything'

A scene from 'The Theory of Everything'

"Eddie Redmayne has already been nominated for a Golden Globe and this really does tick every box you can imagine for Oscars, for awards season," says George.

"It's based on the life story of the genuis that is Stephen Hawking, so you have a real person, real disease, transformation, he acts out the crippling motor neorone disease and it's all done well, very glossily and Redmayne is fantastic in it."

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Jeremy Irvine in Woman in Black 2

Jeremy Irvine in Woman in Black 2

Jeremy Irvine in Woman in Black 2

He adds, "It's handled with a great humour.  This could have been a mawkish disease of the week movie but it's helped by a brilliant performance from Redmayne."

Paul Whitington adds, "One of the things it does really well it wears its science lightly which could have been a real problem dummies like us as told enough but not too much its never allowed to dominate what dominates is Hawking's personality."

Next up is Birdman, a Hollywood satire starring Michael Keaton as a washed up actor who was a big deal in the 80s and 90s in action films and who is plotting his comeback with a serious Broadway show.

"He seems a bit unstable, to put it mildly," says Paul.  "He keeps having these conversations with this character Birdman who was the superhero he played, this big feathery thing, who denigrades him all the time.

"It's a very unusual film if you call it mainstream which I'm not sure it is.  The director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, he follows him around this Broadway theatre an the the theatre almost becomes a character in the play.

"The film is all about his performance and his performance is extraordinary.  It has a sense of humour.  It's no po-faced but it will divide and it divided the audience at the screening I was at.  I really liked it but I'd like to see it again."

Finally, there's one for the horror fans with The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, the sequel of sorts to the very successful Woman in Black which starred Daniel Radcliffe.  This film lacks Radcliffe and, as George says, it tends to startle rather than scare the audience.

"It's fine," says George.  "As these things go it's not a cliched, American people running around the place.  Because it's a Hammer film and set in Britain it does have certain British reserve which is to be commended.  However, it's nowhere near as scary as The Babdook, which is the scariest film of the year and everyone shod get it out on DVD.

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