Monday, 12 March 2012

Critical Week: You betcha!

Julianne Moore gave a storming performance as Sarah Palin in the HBO movie Game Change, based on a memoir about the McCain presidential campaign. The film is a bit dense, but Moore lights up the screen ... kind of like Palin lit up the campaign. This helps it feel a lot less like a hatchet job than it could have been, turning Palin into an intriguing, engaging and yes, flawed character, like everyone else in the story. And the cast is excellent, including Ed Harris (as McCain), Woody Harrelson and Sarah Paulson.

Back in cinemas, UK critics were treated to Matt Damon in Cameron Crowe's bloated romantic-drama We Bought a Zoo, Mark Wahlberg in the ludicrous action-thriller Contraband, Audrey Tautou in the intriguingly involving French comedy-tragedy Delicacy and the enjoyably offbeat literary romance Bonsai from Chile. I also caught up with the slick all-star French special ops thriller Special Forces, the emotionally resonant issue-based dramas The Green and Gun Hill Road, and two remarkably engaging docs: Vito, about a gay activist, and Fragments, about the unfinished films of porn guru Peter de Rome. And best of all was a specially restored edition of Ken Russell's iconic 1971 classic The Devils with Vanessa Redgrave as a hunch-backed 17-century nun and Oliver Reed as a libidinous priest.

This coming week, screenings continue apace, including the year's first huge most-anticipated blockbuster The Hunger Games, Olympic Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as a long-term couple in Cloudburst, Elizabeth Olsen in the horror thriller Silent House, and two films about water rights: the Belgian comedy The Source and the Bolivian drama Even the Rain.

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