Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Critical Week: Dancin' atcha!

The big press screening this week was, ahem, Step Up 3D, the latest instalment in the street dance series and the first one in 3D. (Although of course the British hit Streedance beat them to the punch few months back.) This is the most entertaining Step Up movie yet, but that isn't saying much: it's an unashamedly clunky plot strung together by rather fantastic dance scenes.

From Hollywood, we had the ham-fisted men-as-boys Adam Sandler and pals comedy Grown Ups and the Jerry Bruckheimer action-comedy extravaganza The Sorcerer's Apprentice, with Jay Baruchel and Nicolas Cage in an overwrought, effects-heavy bit of eye-catching nonsense. At least it wasn't in 3D. On the other hand, Joe Dante's The Hole is one of the finest uses of 3D we've seen since Avatar, subtly using it to make the imagery deeper rather than gimmicky in this old-style kid's adventure-thriller. More adult thrills came in the British horror F, about a gang of terrifying hooded students, although there isn't much to it. More horror came in the British-Dutch ick-fest The Human Centipede, which makes me queasy just thinking about it.

But by far the best and most original film of the week (if not the year) was the British biopic The Arbor, which blurs fiction and documentary to tell the life story of young playwright Andrea Dunbar. It's a stunner.

This week's offerings include Francois Ozon's Le Refuge, the crime drama Dog Pound, the British comedy A Town Called Panic and the British gang drama Down Terrace. Sadly, with this week's announcement of the abolishment of the UK Film Council, we probably won't have quite as many British films this time next year.

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