Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Critical Week: Push the button

It was another slow movie week for London critics - I only saw seven films. One of the biggies was Richard Kelly's new Donnie Darko-esque thriller The Box, with Cameron Diaz facing a moral dilemma about whether or not to push that button. Alas, Kelly dodges the morality fable to instead dive down another of his bizarro sci-fi rabbit holes. The result is fitfully entertaining but ultimately a little annoying.

The week's other major film was another disappointment: Mira Nair's biopic Amelia, starring Hilary Swank as aviation pioneer Amelia Earhardt, should have been a riveting story of a maverick who pushed every boundary she came up against. Instead, it's an earnest, worthy, way over-designed period piece that fails to give its strong cast material they can run with.

Last week I also saw the enjoyable animated sci-fi romp Planet 51, the riveting if a little dry Battlestar Galactica movie The Plan, the silly but ultimately charming holiday comedy Make the Yuletide Gay, the rather aloof Korean childhood drama Treeless Mountain, the entertaining philosophy doc Examined Life.

Next week looks just as light - things won't heat up until awards contenders start crowding the calendar (although I already caught a lot of them at film festivals this year). This week's films include the Twilight sequel New Moon, Michael Moore's new provocation Capitalism: A Love Story, the British rock-scene drama Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, the British rock-fan doc The Posters Came From the Walls, the acclaimed drama The Stoning of Soraya M, the Eddie Izzard doc Believe, and I'm catching up with Percy Adlon's 1991 cult classic Salmonberries, just being released for the first time in the UK.

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