Monday, 6 December 2010

Critical Week(s): Guilty pleasures

It's been awhile since the last entry in this blog, mainly due to the fact that I was in Los Angeles for two weeks visiting friends and family. I also managed to see five films while I was out there, including the almost criminally enjoyable Burlesque, Cher's first film in seven years, which she steals effortlessly from first-time actor Christina Aquilera. It's bad, but it knows it. The other guilty pleasure was Unstoppable, Tony Scott's true-life runaway train action movie, which is lent gravitas by Denzel Washington but never tries to be anything more than a roaring thriller. I also saw Morning Glory (good undemanding fun), Fair Game (slightly too-demanding drama) and Tangled (enjoyably unambitious).

Before leaving London, there were screenings of: the Jake Gyllenhaal / Anne Hathaway romance Love & Other Drugs, which I really enjoyed (and which was followed by a lively interview with Jake, Anne and director Ed Zwick); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, which was more emotional than expected; An Ordinary Execution, a darkly involving French drama about the last days of Stalin; and Men on the Bridge, an intriguing drama about people working on the Bosphorus.

Since returning home, we've had: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the enjoyable but childish third Narnia adventure; Tron: Legacy, the disappointing 28-years-later sequel;Cell 211, the rightly acclaimed gritty Spanish prison drama; and Norwegian Wood, a moody, gorgeously filmed drama from Japan.

And coming up this week are The Tourist (Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp), Rabbit Hole (Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart), Barney's Version (Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman), Gulliver's Travels (Jack Black), and two films I know nothing about: The Wake Wood and Age of Heroes. Not to mention a growing stack of awards-contender DVDs I have to watch. I think I need another holiday.

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