Monday, 16 March 2009

Critical Week: Sweet, sweet hangin'

It wasn't a bad week at all for me in the screening room, including the chance to see the funniest film of the year so far, I Love You, Man, a "bro-mance" starring Paul Rudd, who puts an hilarious spin on every line he delivers in the film. Also entertaining were the snazzy Duplicity, which is lit up by the chemistry between Clive Owen and Julia Roberts; the darkly involving Fireflies in the Garden, which costars Ms Roberts in a much less flattering role; Is Anybody There?, an extremely well-played drama about a young boy (Bill Milner) who befriends a cantankerous old magician (Michael Caine); Waveriders, an intriguing doc tracing the roots and future of surfing back to, erm, Ireland; and a big-screen restoration for Francois Truffaut's classroom classic The Four Hundred Blows.

Less amazing but still entertaining was the Disney revamp Race to Witch Mountain, which survives only because of Dwayne Johnson's powerful charisma but doesn't even begin to approach the magic of the 1975 original (which has a big place in my childhood!). I also caught up with the terrific documentary Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon, about sexuality-swapping porn star Jack Wrangler, and the wonderful 1994 Cuban Oscar nominee Strawberry & Chocolate, which is finally coming out on DVD here in Britain next week.

The screening schedule is a bit thin this week for me, perhaps because I've seen most of this week's press-screened films at festivals. I'm really looking forward to catching up with Henry Selick's 3D stop-motion kids' horror fairy tale Coraline, as well as Richard Jobson's new film New Town Killers, starring Dougray Scott, which I managed to miss at a couple of festivals. And so it goes.

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