Monday, 14 December 2009

Critical Week: Elementary, my dear

In a week of big screenings, the capper was a showing of Guy Ritchie's whizzy action version of Sherlock Holmes, which oddly feels more genuine than the more stodgy depictions of the Victorian detective that we're used to. Then on Monday morning I attended the junket at the Freemasons Hall at London's Grand Lodge - a perfect venue - with Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Kelly Reilly, Mark Strong, composer Hans Zimmer, and producers Joel Silver, Susan Downey, Lionel Wigram and Dan Lin. Yes, it was another raucous Warner Bros press conference - energetic and great fun.

Also screening this week for year-end awards consideration were Peter Jackson's big-budget The Lovely Bones (great acting but too big-budgeted), Rob Marshall's Fellini-based musical Nine (the amazing cast spices up some rather dull songs), Clint Eastwood's Nelson Mandela drama Invictus (gripping and astoundingly inspirational), Meryl Streep in the romantic-triangle comedy It's Complicated (enjoyably funny but nothing special) and Disney's hand-drawn The Princess and the Frog (gloriously beautiful animation and an engaging, simple story). In addition, we had the non-contending Hugh Grant in the rather clunky rom-com Did You Hear About the Morgans? and Chris Pine in the corny post-apocalyptic thriller Carriers.

This coming week sees the final puzzle pieces in the awards season as I get ready to vote for the London Critics' Circle Film Awards (deadline Friday) and the Online Film Critics Society Awards (in two weeks). Contenders ready? Here come James Cameron's Avatar, Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo and the acclaimed British docs Afghan Star and Mugabe and the White African, among several other things I'll catch up with on screener discs. I also have a screening of the Jim Carrey-Ewan McGregor rom-com (based on a true story) I Love You Phillip Morris and something called Firewall.

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