Monday, 11 April 2011

Critical Week(s): The big bad wolf

This week's trend in press screenings was clearly female-centred fairy tales. Saoirse Ronan stars in Hanna as a Bourne-type teen being chased by a tooth-obsessive Cate Blanchett. Amanda Seyfried is Red Riding Hood in the werewolf twist on the old story, in which she has to pick between two male models while grandma (Julie Christie) shows off her unusually big eyes, ears and teeth. In Luc Besson's The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, Louise Bourgoin is a self-assured Indiana Jones-style heroine in pterodactyl-menaced 1911 Paris. And in the British independent thriller Island, Natalie Press is an unstable young woman confronting her birth mother (Janet McTeer) on a creepy Scottish isle.

To be fair, men were at the centre of three award-winning docs: Armadillo follows a group of young Danish soldiers on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and feels more like a drama than a documentary; The Oath centres on a terrorist-by-association on trial in Guantanamo while his brother-in-law provides a potent narrative in Yemen; and Becoming Chaz tells the story of Chastity Bono's female to male transition in a remarkably personal way.

And then there were two wild cards: Point Blank is a pulse-racing French thriller about a married couple caught up in an unimaginably violent nightmare, while Rubber is a playfully knowing art-house piece about a killer tyre.

The big movies showing to us in the next week don't look hugely promising, from Russell Brand's remake of Arthur to the gonzo chaos of Fast Five. More interesting are the smaller, less predictable movies like the British crime thriller The Veteran, with Brian Cox and Toby Kebbell; the French drama The Big Picture, with Romain Duris; the French coming-of-age drama Love Like Poison; and the Italian horror movie Shadow, the name of which I seem unable to type without adding an s at the end. I wonder why?

NB. The site's frontpage this week will be the same as last week, as Rio opens in the USA on Friday. Next week we'll have some meat.

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