Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Critical Week: Brute strength

He-man actors dominated the press screenings this past week with pure muscle. First there was Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, a whizzy romp through ancient Middle East history with vivid action, elaborate effects and abs of steel. And then there was Russell Crowe romping through olde England in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood reboot, which is actually a prequel to the tales we're used to seeing, and a pretty meaty one at that, complete with an Oscar-calibre turn from Cate Blanchett.

More cerebral men were on hand in two low-key comedies: Kevin Spacey as a Los Angeles therapist in the intriguing Shrink and Ben Stiller as a dysfunctional Los Angeleno in the introspective Greenberg. The week's biggest surprise was the terrific Robin Williams black comedy World's Greatest Dad, while the most pointless remake of the year award goes to the American version of 2007 Brit-com Death at a Funeral. Off the beaten path we had Noel Clarke's fractured heist thriller, Andrew Kotting's deliberately obscure French fable Ivul, and the offbeat and rather irresistible end-of-the-world comedy Fish Story from Japan.

I only have a few films before I'm off on holiday for a week or so: the Russian-French comedy The Concert, the Catherine Zeta-Jones romance The Rebound, Catherine Keener in Please Give, and finally the Argentine Oscar winner The Secret in Their Eyes. which I've been trying to catch up with for weeks. And I come home to Sylvain Chomet's new animation The Illusionist, Oliver Stone's documentary South of the Border and the hyped-up sequel Sex and the City 2. And if I see one movie while I'm on holiday, it'll probably be Shrek Forever After.

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