Monday, 8 February 2010

Critical Week: All-star love

The big screening last week was (and the big release this week is) the mega-ensemble romantic comedy Valentine's Day, which is unlikely to be trumped in star wattage this year. That it's actually a schmaltzy American version of Love Actually is beside the point; it's also an undemanding crowd-pleaser that's bound to make a box office fortune.

A much more polished blockbuster screened to critics last week was Martin Scorsese's mental hospital thriller Shutter Island, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley and Mark Ruffalo. And even Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief (to use the UK title) was great fun in an energetically Harry Potter-lite way. We also caught up with some more grown-up fare, including the lively Irish crime comedy Perrier's Bounty, the unsettling remake of the classic Aussie horror Long Weekend, the stylish Mussolini drama Vincere, the seriously unsettling Cannes-winning Greek drama Dogtooth, and the fascinating stand-up comic doc American: The Bill Hicks Story. But the best film I saw was part of a handful of screenings for an upcoming festival: the utterly stunning Canadian mother-son drama I Killed My Mother, written, directed, produced by and starring the remarkably talented 20-year-old Xavier Dolan.

This week's offerings include the big-budget monster movie The Wolfman, the Irish rom-com Happy Ever Afters, the gay drama Lucky Bastard and several more festival films. Hopefully there will be another gem in there somewhere, whether or not it has 20 A-listers in it.

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