Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Critical Week(s): Christmas is coming

Over the past two weeks during the London Film Festival, I still had to see all the normal film releases along with the festival things. And it's clear that the studios are preparing for the holiday season as usual, with such offerings as: Robert Zemeckis' eye-popping motion-capture animated version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, starring a very recognisable Jim Carrey as Scrooge, plus Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Robin Wright - plus 3D effects that are among the best I've ever seen. Rather less thrilling was the British comedy Nativity!, with a decent cast that includes Martin Freeman, Mark Wootton and Ashley Jensen but a script that's pretty much bereft of sense or humour until the rousing finale sends us out smiling.

Other movies screened to critics outside the festival included the enjoyable but lacklustre kids' thriller Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant; the thoroughly engaging all-star Tolstoy drama The Last Station, with Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer and James McAvoy; the wacky blurred sexuality comedy Mr Right; the astonishingly good four-hour Japanese rom-com Love Exposure; and one of the most shamelessly raucous entertainments I've seen in ages in the world-destroying mega-disaster epic 2012. As for the Michael Jackson concert-rehearsal documentary This Is It, there were no press screenings at all, so we had to go buy a ticket - imagine that!

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