Monday, 4 May 2009

Critical Week: And here we go again

It's official blockbuster season again, which means that virtually every week we'll get another mammoth, over-produced movie that hopes to attract your weekend spending money. This year's first summer tentpole is the cheesily titled X-men Origins: Wolverine, which brings Huge Action back to his iconic role as the hairy, muscled, claw-wielding mutant hero from the three X-men movies. After one of Fox's employees leaked the film online, they clamped down security and didn't let anyone see the film before last Monday. It does what you expect: bludgeons you with Wolverine's back-story. Although it lowers the tone even further than the third movie, by not only eliminating all subtext, but leaving out a coherent plot or any point at all. Even so, it's pretty watchable.

Other films last week includes the Matthew McConaughey Christmas Carol pastiche rom-com Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, which was also watchable and pretty bad; the clever Japanese black comedy Funuke, about a seriously dysfunctional family; the rather gloomy doc The End of the Line, which looks at how humanity has been fishing all the life out of the sea; the clever suburban drama The Private Lies of Pippa Lee, featuring a terrific performance from Robin Wright (formerly Penn); the superb indie comedy-drama Sunshine Cleaning, with fantastic performances from Amy Adams and Emily Blunt; the uneven British rom-com pastiche French Film, with the watchable Hugh Bonneville and Anne-Marie Duff; the surreal Mexican drama I'm Gonna Explode; and Godard's indulgent 1960s romp Pierrot le Fou.

Coming up this week is the summer's next blockbuster, Star Trek, which I've already seen but will get to watch again on the massive Imax screen; the blockbuster after that, Tom Hanks' return to DaVinci territory in Angels & Demons; the British drama Shadows in the Sun with Jean Simmons and James Wilby; Claire Denis' new film 35 Shots of Rum; and the acclaimed Hungarian drama Delta. We also have the programme launch for next month's Edinburgh Film Festival. And the tentpoles will keep on coming.

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