Monday, 22 March 2010

Critical Week: Attempting a smile

While mopiness knows no bounds in their film Remember Me, Robert Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin managed to smile on the red carpet in Leicester Square last week for the film's UK premiere. It was also one of the very few premieres I've attended, so it was fun to stroll down the bouncy carpet with shrieking girls all around (R-Patts was right next to me, no one seemed to even notice the tiny Emilie, but we exchanged smiles). They gave a giggly introduction to the film, which is one of the most maudlin things I've ever seen. Honestly, it's not easy to care if these miserable characters get together in the end, especially after a climactic plot turn.

The rest of the week in press screenings was pretty uneven. The best films I saw were the ones made for the kids: the riotous 3D Imax experience of How to Train Your Dragon is seriously eye-catching and also a terrifically funny film with exhilarating action scenes, and Emma Thompson's sequel Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang lives up to the enjoyable first film, with a smart script and an A-list cast that more than make up for the film's slapstick lapses.

Less successful were the indulgent festival darling Beeswax, about twin sisters interacting aimlessly with their friends, and Peter Greenaway's Nightwatching, which is visually ravishing and features some very strong acting, but never really makes any sense. At least the Australian drama Beautiful Kate has strong performances that augment its dark freak-out storyline. And I actually liked the skilful low-budget British horror Salvage, which is original and actually scary.

Meanwhile, the 24th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival kicked off at BFI Southbank, and continues for more than two weeks with some of the most acclaimed festival movies of the past year. This is the UK's 3rd largest festival, and well worth a look. I'm trying to keep up with reviews on the website, and will perhaps blog here later this week as well.

This coming week's press screenings include John Cusack's comedy Hot Tub Time Machine, Rachel Weisz in Alejandro Amenabar's Agora, the Uruguayan drama Leo's Room and the American indie comedy Dare.

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