Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Critical Week: Strike a pose

This big news this week is that Scarlett Johansson, with that tight catsuit and crash-bang fight moves, walks off with Iron Man 2, leaving us hoping for a Black Widow spin-off. Actually, I don't agree with the moaning critics; I found the film to be good fun despite the fragmented, thinly constructed plot. There are strong performances from Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell, while Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow easily slip back into that flirty banter that made the original seem so much better than it was.

Other Hollywood offerings last week included Jennifer Lopez's return to the rom-com after a seven-year break in the formulaic-but-watchable The Back-up Plan and Bruce Willis in the corny-but-watchable action comedy Cop Out. Much more interesting was Chris Morris' provocative Four Lions, which finds comedy in its characters and drama in its British terrorism premise. And at 87, Alain Resnais gives Wild Grass a bewildering but thoroughly magical tone.

But the week's biggest surprise was Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro, which was largely shrugged off at Cannes last year but turns out to be a gorgeously personal film with all sorts of artistic and dramatic layers - plus terrific performances from Vincent Gallo and Maribel Verdu.

This week's big screening is, erm, the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I'm not expecting much from that, but I am rather looking forward to REC 2 (the sequel to the Spanish thriller) and The Secret in Their Eyes (this year's foreign Oscar winner), as well as two French films: the romantic-comedy Heartbreakers with Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis, and Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky with the nearly ubiquitous Mads Mikkelsen. Less enticing are the comedy She's Out of My League and the cop drama Brooklyn's Finest. And I'm not sure what I'll make of the artful oil-mining doc Petropolis.

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