Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Critical Week: Blow it up

It wasn't a hugely busy week for press screenings, and the one film I actually wanted to see had no screenings at all - so there I was on Wednesday, buying a ticket at my local Odeon for Gamer, the latest action mayhem from Neveldine/Taylor. I quite enjoyed their Crank movies, but this one felt almost humourless by comparison - just a series of well-staged massive explosions that never made the most of a genuinely intriguing premise.

Other films this week included the surprising Departures, which shocked everyone by winning the foreign film Oscar (over the acclaimed Waltz With Bashir, The Class, Revanche and The Baader-Meinhof Complex) - and watching it, we can see why, since it carries a seriously emotional kick. We also saw the offbeat animated monster movie 9, the skilful and slightly too-quirky London drama Unmade Beds, the awkward gay drama The Art of Being Straight, and the engaging Canadian doc Died Young Stayed Pretty, about the artistic obsessives responsible for vintage rock poster culture.

The schedule is back to overflowing this week, with big movies like Ricky Gervais' The Invention of Lying, Bruce Willis in Surrogates and Dennis Quaid in Pandorum. There are two British thrillers: Christopher Smith's Triangle and Stuart Hazeldine's Exam, and two docs: Vanishing of the Bees, which is rather self explanatory, and It Might Get Loud, about three electric guitar virtuosos. I have no idea what Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno will be like, although it has been making the festival round this year. And I'm really looking forward to revisiting the original Toy Story in 3D.

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