Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Critical Week: Secrets of success

Animation ruled this week, as two of the most enjoyable films I saw at press screenings were cartoons, namely the raucous and very silly 3D romp Despicable Me and the more intriguingly subtle and artful Oscar-nominee The Secret of Kells (pictured).

Three Hollywood movies were less successful simply because they were more formulaic and had most real life polished right out of them. Ben Affleck's The Town was well above average, as it at least has a genuinely introspective tone and enjoyably earthy action. Worst was Julia Roberts in the far too glossy find-yourself travelogue Eat Pray Love. Somewhere in between was the Heigl-Duhamel rom-com Life As We Know It.

And then there was the usual mixed bag of offbeat movies: Julian Schnabel's Israel drama Miral holds us enthralled until an abrupt final reel; British indie The Be All and End All honestly looks at mortality from a teenage perspective; and the lively road movie Africa United follows a group of kids hitchhiking from Rwanda to South Africa in the name of football while dealing off-handedly with some of the world's biggest issues. But the best film of the week, hands down, was the small French comedy My Afternoons With Margueritte, in which Gerard Depardieu gives a disarmingly astute performance as a simple middle-aged man discovering his own intellect for the first time.

This coming week, London critics will be watching the vampire remake Let Me In, teen horror-comedy The Loved Ones, Irish horror Outcast, British comedy-drama Fit, world music fairy tale Benda Bilili and British cinematic essay Robinson in Ruins.

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