Monday, 2 March 2009

Critical Week: Real heroes?

It was pretty easy to figure out which was the biggest movie I saw last week, since it's the one everyone seems to be hyperventilating about at the moment. It's the excruciatingly long-awaited adaptation of the graphic novel that landed on what's been called one of the 10 best books of the 20th century. And at least Watchmen lives up to the hype, giving us nearly three hours of twisted plotlines, conflicted characters and big effects sequences. For someone who hasn't read the book, it also feels very, very long. But the ambitious filmmaking and complex narrative kept me completely hooked.

Of the British indies, the most impressive was Shank, a raw teen drama made in Bristol by a local cast and crew with an average age of about 21. Bronson is worth seeing for Tom Hardy's career-changing performance as a gleefully hotheaded prisoner. Meanwhile Hollywood presented itself in the watchable but predictable New in Town, starring Renee Zellweger, and the sentimental but solid Marley & Me, with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson.

Otherwise it was a fascinating collection of skilful Scandinavians (Norway's O'Horten and Sweden's Everlasting Moments), lovelorn multi-cultural Londoners (I Can't Think Straight), and straight-to-video novelties (Bruce Campbell's My Name Is Bruce and Paris Hilton in Repo! The Genetic Opera). And my favourite film of the week was the Michael Sheen/Peter Morgan reunion The Damned United.

This week isn't quite so busy, but includes The Burning Plain (Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger), Lesbian Vampire Killers (the Gavin & Stacey guys), Diminished Capacity (Matthew Broderick), Bottle Shock (Chris Pine), Sounds Like Teen Spirit (youth Eurovision doc), Tony Manero (Chilean drama) and possibly Richard Curtis' all-star The Boat that Rocked. I don't really expect any sympathy for being so busy. The problem is that with all these films to watch, when do I find the time to write about them?

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