Monday, 18 February 2013

Critical Week: This little piggie

The most striking film of the past week was an adaptation of Irvine Welsh's notorious, acclaimed novel Filth, starring James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Jim Broadbent, Imogen Poots and Shirley Henderson. Comments on the film are embargoed pending the announcement of a release date (or perhaps a prominent festival slot?). Once the embargo is lifted, this is likely to become one of the most talked-about movies of the year.

Two films were screened very late to critics this past week: the fifth in the Bruce Willis franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard, was more of the same although slightly more coherent than the previous episode, and the teen-franchise launcher Beautiful Creatures caught us off guard when it turned out to be rather good, with strong rising-star performances from Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert. We also had Viggo Mortensen speaking Spanish as identical twins in the atmospheric Argentine thriller Everybody Has a Plan, Brady Corbet speaking French in the unsettling sociopath drama Simon Killer, an indie cast speaking Shakespearean English in Joss Whedon's enjoyable but awkward black and white version of Much Ado About Nothing, Mathieu Kassovitz marshalling the French military on a South Pacific island in the riveting thriller Rebellion, and the contrived but charming New York graffiti artist comedy Gimme the Loot.

There were also three documentaries this week, including Reincarnated, which follows Snoop Dogg's trip to Jamaica to reinvent his music and himself. It's a bit of a stoner comedy, but has some strong moments. And I caught up with two docs nominated for the Oscar on Sunday night: from Israel, The Gatekeepers is a brainy, inventive look at how the Israeli government tries to control Palestine, while The Invisible War is an urgent, stomach-churning exposé of the sexual assault epidemic in the US military.

This coming week we have Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in the dramatic thriller The Place Beyond the Pines, another all-star Steven Soderbergh cast in the pharmaceutical thriller Side Effects, Richard Gere in the financial drama Arbitrage, Dominic Cooper in the art colony romance Summer in February, Michael Bay's found-footage thriller The Bay and two docs about Aids: Fire in the Blood and How to Survive a Plague, which is the final Oscar nominee for me to catch, just in time for Sunday's ceremony. Watch this space for my predictions as always...

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