Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Critical Week: Grumpy old man

Clint Eastwood's epic biopic J Edgar may already be out in America, but here in Britain there have been very few press screenings. It's a gorgeously made film with big performances from DiCaprio, Hammer and Watts spanning some 40 years in their characters' lives. But it also feels eerily cold and sad. Much more fun was the animated spin-off Puss in Boots, which playfully mashes up fairy tales, Zorro movies and Sergio Leone imagery. We also had the oddly overlooked drama Welcome to the Rileys, featuring solidly against-type performances from James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo and Kristen Stewart, as well as Sing Your Song, a slightly too-worthy doc primarily about Harry Belafonte's political activism.

Annoyingly, there is only one extremely small press screening today for Breaking Dawn Part 1, limited to newspaper critics. So I won't see the film until it opens on Friday. Sure, some movies are critic-proof, but this kind of media strategy can also backfire when the film's opening isn't covered properly in the press. Not to mention the affect this has on those of us who earn our living on this side of the film industry. UK distributors are also refusing to screen some other upcoming biggies, from Scorsese's Hugo to Spielberg's War Horse. If you're not in their favoured inner-circle, forget about it. Thankfully, other studios are more friendly, and this week we'll see the penguin sequel Happy Feet Two, Sam Worthington as the Man on a Ledge, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs, Colm Meaney's drama Parked and the doc An African Election.

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