Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Critical Week: An actor's second skin

For me, the biggest event of the week was a visit to the V&A's Hollywood Costume exhibition, showcasing hundreds of iconic movie costumes - from the silent era up to this past year. It's a mind-boggling collection, and difficult to pick favourites. Obvious ones include gowns worn on screen by goddesses like Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo. But I really enjoyed the two Harrison Ford items - an expanded exploration of each item of Indiana Jones' costume, and the actual Han Solo outfit. There's also a superb section featuring Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, and several round-table discussions between actors, costume designers and directors (for example: Tippi Hedren, Edith Head and Alfred Hitchcock "discussing" The Birds). Unmissable.

As for screenings, there were two big action movies - Arnold Schwarzenegger and Forest Whitaker in The Last Stand and Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe in Broken City - and a big weepy - Josh Duhamel in Safe Haven. Sorry, but I can't say anything about these films just yet - embargoes apply. I can, however, confirm that the two revival films I saw this week were wonderful: the 3D conversion of my favourite Pixar movie Monsters Inc and a big screen revival of A Place in the Sun, starring Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor at their most achingly gorgeous. And I quite enjoyed the subtle, low-budget comedy The Men Next Door.

This coming week is pretty dominated by the 33rd London Critics' Circle Film Awards on Sunday night - I am the chair of the awards committee, so am thoroughly involved in organising the ceremony. It should be great fun as always - and I'll offer a full report. Screening-wise, we have James McAvoy in Welcome to the Punch, Pierce Brosnan in Love Is All You Need, and Alex Gibney's documentary Mea Maxima Culpa, among others.

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