Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Critical Week: A date with death

Yes, it's time for yet another duel between a group of sexy, young, anonymous actors and the Grim Reaper, as London film critics donned 3D specs for Final Destination 5. It's pretty much exactly what we expect by now - evil fun and a few random twists here and there. We did laugh. Our other 3D movie wasn't quite so much fun: Robert Rodriguez was back with a rather desperate-seeming fourth film in his series, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World, with the added marketing device of a 4D scratch-and-sniff card on which all the spots smelled like sugar. And the other big Hollywood offering was the goofy, enjoyably thin heist caper 30:Minutes or Less.

There was more 3D off the beaten path with the nutty Chinese spoof 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, which is so ridiculous that you can't help but laugh. Then things start to get better. The Australian horror movie Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, with Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, was simply terrific. The Danish prison drama R: Hit First, Hit Hardest is extremely well-made and thoroughly harrowing, even if it feels like we've seen it all before. And the Swedish documentary The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 addresses a pivotal, turbulent period in American history from a fresh perspective that clearly informs us that what we think we know about those years probably isn't true. Finally, I got to attend a private screening of an untitled film Ken Loach made in 1969 for Save the Children that hasn't been shown to anyone since. Loach was at the screening and chatted with us afterwards; the film is being premiered at the British Film Institute to launch a major retrospective of his work next month.

This coming week, we finally get to see Nicolas Winding Refn's Cannes-winning thriller Drive, the Aussie adventure Red Dog, the offbeat Aussie festival art-film Sleeping Beauty, the quirky Greek drama Attenberg and the horror romp The Dead. Yep, Death is hanging around for another week...

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