Monday, 28 November 2011

Critical Week: The front-runner

Meryl Streep surged to the top of the Oscar prediction charts the moment critics started seeing The Iron Lady. It's an oddly sympathetic biopic about the deeply unsympathetic Margaret Thatcher, and yet Streep manages to let us look into her soul. Remarkable. And there were other contenders screened to the British critics: Martin Scorsese's Hugo, a beautiful ode to early cinema wrapped in a youthful adventure, and Charlize Theron's brilliantly offbeat performance in Young Adult, which reunites Juno's writer and director.

We also saw the rather theatrical Margin Call, packed with terrific themes and performances; the odd mix of comedy and drama in The Big Year, combining the distinct styles of Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson; an unsettling exploration of religious obsession in Camp Hell; Raul Ruiz's 4.5-hour epic exploration of 19th century identity in Mysteries of Lisbon; and the silly-cute gay Texan rom-com Longhorns.

This coming week we have Steven Spielberg's WWI epic War Horse, the all-star ensemble rom-com New Year's Eve, Kenneth Lonergan's contentions Margaret, the kiddie three-quel Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked; Michelle Yeoh in the Burmese biopic The Lady; Kristin Scott Thomas in The Woman in the Fifth; and the French brothel drama House of Tolerance.

I've also started receiving awards-consideration dvd screeners at home, almost daily, including most of the biggest films of the season. There haven't been any biggies yet that I haven't seen, but here's hoping...

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