Monday, 18 May 2009

Critical Week: The morning after

It was another eclectic week in the screening rooms, with a dizzying array of films from every genre imaginable. Although it didn't quite leave me as shattered as the three guys in The Hangover, the raucous comedy that's simplistic and stupid and absolutely hilarious. Sam Rockwell's rude awakening in Moon sets up one of the most intriguing sci-fi thrillers in years, with heavy echoes of Silent Running, 2001 and Solaris. And Audrey Tautou is also terrific as the designer emerging from her dark youth in Coco Avant Chanel. By contrast, Vincent Cassel's riveting performance as French criminal Jacques Mesrine offers no awakening at all - his kinetic, energetic, fiercely relentless two-part story is told in Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy No 1.

Much more cathartic was the wonderful Sophie Okonedo in the astonishing South African drama Skin, featuring remarkably brave supporting turns by Sam Neill, Alice Krige and Tony Kgoroge. And even though it's been on a shelf for three years, Blind Dating has some terrific moments and a solid central turn by Captain Kirk, aka Chris Pine. On the other hand, we also had a couple of British horror films: the low-key and deeply haunting The Disappeared and the wacky Danny Dyer-Stephen Graham zombie romp Doghouse. And I also caught up with a couple of gorgeous Bruce Weber films on DVD (A Letter to True and especially Broken Noses) and had the opportunity to interview experimental filmmaking guru Kenneth Anger, who's still feisty and chatty at 82. Whew!

This week looks like another head-spinning foray into cinema, from Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell to the act-a-thon remake of The Taking of Pelham 123, by way of the Guarani drama Birdwatching, the award-winning French family drama The First Day of the Rest of Your Life, and a little sequel titled Terminator: Salvation.

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