Monday, 5 September 2011

Critical Week: Emmerich does Shakespeare

The big movie screened to UK critics this week was Roland Emmerich's ambitious drama Anonymous, which explores the Oxfordian theory of the authorship of Shakespeare's plays. As expected, it's a big starry movie - the hefty cast includes Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Rylance, Joely Richardson and David Thewlis and a bunch of rising star hotties. Much more intense action was to be had in Machine Gun Preacher, starring Gerard Butler as an ex-con who finds God and sets out to help orphans in Sudan; Warrior, with Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as Ultimate Fighter brothers on a collision course for a big match-up; and the riotously silly but enjoyable Colombiana, starring Zoe Saldana as a fierce Latina with a score to settle. Aside from the last one, I'm not yet allowed to tell you what I thought about these films, as reviews are under embargo.

And then there was Kevin Smith's notorious Red State, a furious and skilful thriller that actually has something to say; the fascinating and oddly superficial doc Ultrasuede, about the iconic designer Halston; the goofy, so bad it's funny gay bandwagon-jumping "thriller" Vampire Boys; and digital restorations of two terrific classics: Terrence Malick's stunning 1978 Richard Gere drama Days of Heaven and Peter Jackson's astounding 1994 thriller Heavenly Creatures, which introduced the world to a young Kate Winslet (she hasn't changed at all).

This week I will finally catch up with the imminent new adaptation of John LeCarre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - I've missed a couple of earlier screenings. I've also got the girlie dramas Monte Carlo and Soul Surfer, the French film Mademoiselle Chambon, and the rock doc Pearl Jam Twenty.

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