Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Critical Week: Manly men

Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell fight and snarl and bond like mad in The Eagle, one of the more enjoyable movies we critics saw this past week. Despite the corny script, the actors make it extremely watchable. And then there were The Company Men, a sharply well-written and beautifully acted drama with Oscar-winners Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper as victims of corporate downsizing. From Korea, we had a man on a brutal cat-and-mouse revenge mission in I Saw the Devil, a strikingly well made film designed to provoke some extreme reactions. From the Isle of Man, we had the  documentary Closer to the Edge, about the insane men who race in the life-threatening TT motorbike races. And from 1980s Germany we have the director's cut of the banned classic Taxi Zum Klo, about a school teacher with a lurid and not-quite-secret-enough gay life.

Meanwhile, women showed their manliness in the hit Aussie thriller Tomorrow, When the War Began, about a 17-year-old girl who leads her friends to resist foreign invaders in her home town, Red Dawn-style. Gwyneth Paltrow showed that female country stars can drink and carouse like any man (most notably Jeff Bridges) in the watchable but melodramatic Country Strong. And mothers drive the plot, and the Martian society, of the performance-capture adventure Mars Needs Moms, but they need boys to rescue them. And it might have been more fun as a live-action romp.

This coming week looks even more male-dominated, starting with Matthew McConaughey as guy who works in his car in The Lincoln Lawyer; Patrick Wilson in the haunted house/possessed child thriller Insidious; Jake Gyllenhaal in the sci-fi thriller Source Code, Duncan Jones' hotly anticipated follow-up to Moon; Bradley Cooper in in the brain-expanding drama Limitless; Paul Giamatti in Tom McCarthy's Win Win; the teen-boy Easter Bunny romp Hop; the medieval Italian shepherd drama Le Quattro Volte; and the Cannes-winning drama A Screaming Man, from Chad. Hey ladies, where are you?

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