Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Critical Week: A boy and his horse

Several big films screened to UK critics this past week, including Steven Spielberg's ambitious and hugely emotive adaptation of beloved novel and play War Horse, the deeply annoying a-list ensemble rom-com New Year's Eve and Daniel Radcliffe in the eerie freak-out The Woman in Black. The nicest surprise was Kenneth Lonergan's sprawling and involving complex drama Margaret, featuring a terrific, awards-worthy performance from Anna Paquin.

A bit off the beaten path, we also had Luc Besson's The Lady, a moving biopic about Aung San Suu Kyi starring Michelle Yeoh; Pawel Pawlikowski's moody and insinuating The Woman in the Fifth, starring Ethan Hawke andKristin Scott Thomas; the goofy, rude and surprisingly warm-hearted third  romp A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas; another third comedy in the disarmingly silly Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked; and the oddly unstructured French period brothel drama House of Tolerance.

This coming week we'll see a couple of blockbusters (Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Robert Downey Jr's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) as well as a major awards contender (Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close). And there are also a couple of acclaimed documentaries to catch up with (Khordorkovsky and Bombay Beach).

It's also awards season, which means that DVD screeners are falling through my letter box every day. So far I've already seen all of the films (except for four American independent films I'd never even heard of before), but I'm sure there will be a few over the next couple of weeks that will help me catch up before voting deadlines.

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