Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Critical Week: The eyes have it

Most of the films screened this week to UK critics are in the programme for the 55th London Film Festival, which starts next week. So it's been a rather higher quality week than normal for us, including: George Clooney's astute and entertaining political drama The Idea of March, starring the seemingly ubiquitous Ryan Gosling; Ralph Fiennes' inventive adaptation of Shakespeare's macho-soldier drama Coiriolanus, costarring the even more ubiquitous Jessica Chastain; Sean Penn as a goth rocker in Paolo Sorrentino's artful and intriguing This Must Be the Place; Todd Solondz's latest quirky and almost terrifyingly insightful black comedy Dark Horse; and Rebecca Hall and Dominic West in the period ghost thriller The Awakening.

Two films surprised us by being much better than we expected: Rod Lurie's skilful remake of Pekinpah's notorious 1970s thriller Straw Dogs and Rowan Atkinson's return as the spoof spy in Johnny English Reborn. Less starry but equally impressive independent films included the festival hit Martha Marcy May Marlene, about a young woman breaking away from a brainwashing commune; the superb British drama Wild Bill, with Will Poulter and Charlie Creed-Miles; the clever and involving German drama Harvest; and the Indian taboo-busting comedy-drama Gandu.

And this coming week will be just as busy, with the collision of three festivals: Raindance in London, Iris in Cardiff and continuing press screenings for the London Film Festival. Biggies include Roman Polanski's Carnage, starring Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster, the youthful romance Like Crazy, the Norwegian comedy-thriller Headhunters, the Israeli drama Footnote, and the Latino drama Las Acacias. Among other things to be revealed next week...

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