Monday, 9 November 2009

Critical week: Bump in the night

After weeks of hype, Paranormal Activity was finally screened to UK critics this past week. (One day they'll learn to show us films before the buzz starts so we have a better chance of actually enjoying them.) It's very cleverly made but, needless to say, it doesn't live up to to expectations, possibly because the now-familiar home-video thriller genre isn't new anymore. But there's also the fact that this film doesn't really set up suspense properly.

Much better was the independent drama Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire. Despite that mouthful of a title, this is a lean, powerfully involving drama that really grapples with some big issues and features a wonderful performance from newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, plus very strong against-type roles for Mo'Nique, Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.

Also last week, we had John Malkovich in the searing South African drama Disgrace, the edgy chucklehead stag-night comedy I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, and the clever 1960s French superspy spoof sequel OSS 117: Lost in Rio.

After the rush of movies during the film festival season, this feels like a holiday. And this coming week even more sparse, with Hilary Swank in the aviatrix drama Amelia, Cameron Diaz in the thriller The Box, the animated sci-fi comedy Planet 51, the Korean drama Treeless Mountain and the education doc Examined Life.

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