Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Critical Week: Family values

While Sundance London was trundling along all week out at the O2, we still had the usual odd selection of press screenings to see back in Soho. One of the films was actually a Sundance Utah contender, Lynn Shelton's Your Sister's Sister, that wasn't in the London programme. It stars Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass (who were at Sundance London in Nobody Walks and Safety Not Guaranteed, respectively), plus Emily Blunt as three people who get into a contrived mess on holiday in an isolated cabin. It's enjoyable, even if the characters and situations are pretty unlikeable. More engaging was Jennifer Westfeldt's Friends With Kids (above), an insightful, hilarious comedy starring a terrific ensemble that includes Westfeldt, Adam Scott and half the cast of Bridesmaids (Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm and Chris O'Dowd).

Further off the beaten path, we had the French WWII drama Free Men, a slightly dull account of a seriously amazing series of events in which Muslims hid Jews from the Nazis; the French drama Polisse, a riveting, well-played and rather sprawling look at the life and work of child protective officers; Sokurov's cluttered, outrageous adaptation of Goethe's Faust, which isn't easy to follow but is never dull; and the involving and moving, if a bit scruffy, Australian documentary Salute, which traces the fascinating events leading up to and the fallout from the American athletes who gave the black-power salute at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

This coming week will be quieter screening-wise as it's a long weekend here. Although if this revolting weather continues I'm going to want to stay in and watch movies. Here's what I have in the diary: Mel Gibson in the action romp How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Andrea Riseborough in the IRA drama Shadow Dancer, the Spanish thriller Hidden Face, the Metallica-fan doc Mission to Lars, and Woody Allen: A Documentary, which is rather self-explanatory.

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