Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Critical Week: Meatheads unite!

Yes, the big press screening this week was Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables, which is even louder and dumber than we could have hoped. Action fans will adore it, and not just because of that astonishing cast list. Two other big-name movies will have wider appeal: the Drew Barrymore-Justin Long romantic comedy Going the Distance, tracing a long-distance love story, and Stephen Frears' romance-novel romp Tamara Drewe, which stars the terrific Gemma Arterton, Dominic Cooper and Roger Allam.

From France we saw Le Refuge, one of Francois Ozon's more challenging films, mainly because it's so light-handed. And the Belgian animated comedy A Town Called Panic is simply impossible to describe: it uses toy figures to tell a nutty tale that keeps us giggling even though we don't know why.

Independent films included the revenge horror The Final, which starts extremely well before becoming rather pointless; the Canadian prison drama Dog Pound, which uses its edgy cast to unsettling effect; and the startlingly good Down Terrace, which cleverly reinvents the British crime drama as a black comedy set almost completely in a Brighton house.

This coming week we have John C Reilly and Jonah Hill in Cyrus, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd in Dinner for Schmucks, Owen Wilson voicing Marmaduke and the chair-lift horror Frozen, plus entries from Italy (Ferzan Ozpetek's Loose Cannons) and Sweden (Involuntary).

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