Monday, 8 November 2010

Critical Week(s): In the picture

Yes, as usual at a Sunday morning press screening, I was placed into the world of Megamind yesterday morning. And the film wasn't too bad either. It's been a busy week or so since the London Film Festival wrapped up, as I've been catching up on screenings and doing rather a lot of writing as I get ready to take a break next week. And it's been such a strange mix of films that I've stopped trying to get in the right mood before a screening. Not that I really do that...

I'll start with the high-minded fare - the better quality movies that make me happy to do this job. I quite enjoyed Clint Eastwood's new drama Hereafter, a moving and thoroughly involving drama that's an intriguing departure for him as a director (and for Peter Morgan as a writer). Peter Weir's The Way Back is a beautifully made epic adventure with an amazing story and a solid cast. Fernando Trueba's Chico & Rita is a stunningly animated epic romance from Cuba that really gets under the skin. Alejandro Gonzalez IƱarritu's new film Biutiful is a little more problematic - Javier Bardem's performance is razor sharp, but the film's a little too dense and gloomy. Even more troubling is Rowan Joffe's remake of Brighton Rock, inventively filmed but too bleak to connect with.

There were also a few ambitious little films. One documentary held the interest effortlessly while telling a disturbing story: Into Eternity is an ethereal exploration of how we protect the distant future from our toxic nuclear waste. The internet thriller Chatroom is a great idea but doesn't quite work, while the Indonesian war drama Red & White is inspirational but derivative.

Moving to the more low-brow offerings, we had Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis on the road in the angry and strangely unfunny Due Date, which will no doubt make more money than every other film I've mentioned today. Zombies of Mass Destruction is a riotous satire of both zombie movies and American politics. And then there was Jackass 3D, which was exactly what we expected from these boneheads. Pity they didn't let us put ourselves into a still from that one!

Only a few screenings ahead for me this week: Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway star in Love and Other Drugs; Cher and Christina Aguilera give it their all in Burlesque; An Ordinary Execution is about the last days of Stalin; Men on the Bridge is a documentary about people working on the Bosphorus; and then there's a little movie called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.