Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Critical Week: I'm still alive

The rock-and-roll documentary Pearl Jam Twenty was a highlight for film critics this past week, tracing two decades (and then some) in the history of the band and the whole grunge movement. Even if it was a bit one-sided, it's packed with great interviews and terrific concert footage. But the biggest movie of the week for me was a late screening of John LeCarre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the all-star British espionage thriller directed by the insanely gifted Thomas Alfredson (Let the Right one In). The week's biggest event was the launch of the 55th London Film Festival, which takes place in October and features a strong programme of starry movies collected from recent festivals. Most of the world premieres this year will be for smaller independent films.

Slightly less stellar were the true drama Soul Surfer, which wasn't as mawkish as it could have been thanks to a solid cast; the British comedy-drama Reuniting the Rubins, which stars Timothy Spall but struggles to make anything about its contrived plot work; the indie American drama August, which is a lot more successful at evoking the lingering feelings after a break-up; and the French drama Mademoiselle Chambon, a gorgeously shot and played marital drama that never quite convinces us. I also caught up with 10 short films exploring the dark side of love on the Peccadillo compilation disc Boys on Film: Bad Romance.

This coming week we have press screenings for the 19th Raindance Film Festival, which starts 28 September. And as for theatrical releases, we'll see Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt in the cancer comedy-drama 50/50, Sarah Jessica Parker in the rom-com I Don't Know How She Does It, Hugh Jackman in the robot-boxing romp Real Steel, Craig Brewer's remake of the 80s dance hit Footloose, Andrea Arnold's reimagining of Wuthering Heights, and the documentary When Africa Met China.

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