Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Critical Week: Jack's back

Easily the biggest press screening of the past week, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was shown to UK critics in advance of this week's European premiere as well as the big Cannes Festival screening this weekend. Johnny Depp is back for another comical romp, indicating that this franchise could possibly go on forever. The other Hollywood movies this week were both very late week-of-release screenings: Priest is a noisy, derivative futuristic vampire thriller starring Paul Bettany in yet another offbeat religious role; Take Me Home Tonight is a raucous, derivative 80s-style comedy starring Topher Grace in yet another offbeat period role.

Acclaimed foreign films included the Oscar-winning Danish drama In a Better World, exploring the human proclivity to violence through the eyes of two boys; and A Screaming Man, an intensely personal look at life in war-torn Africa. And there were some intriguing smaller dramas as well, including Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington in the stage-like relationship drama Last Night; Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington (again) and Marton Csokas in the Mossad dramatic-thriller The Debt; Charlotte Gainsbourg and Marton Csokas (again) in the Aussie family drama The Tree; the amazing Mia Wasikowska in Gus Van Sant's sensitive drama Restless; and Jason Statham in the enjoyably corny London cop thriller Blitz. Wildcard movies included Prom, another Disneyfied high school romp, and Senna, a documentary about one of the greatest Formula One drivers ever.

This coming week is calmer, if scarier, with the Spanish horror thriller Julia's Eyes, the slasher-horror remake Mother's Day, the Italian crime thriller Angels of Evil, the gritty prison drama Ghosted, plus two scary-looking docs: Countdown to Zero, about the nuclear arms race, and Donor Unknown, about a guy who discovers he has a child. And of course the 64th Cannes Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday with the latest Woody Allen movie. But I'm staying in sunny London this year.

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