Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Critical Week: Palatial kitsch

The most talked-about screening in London this week was for Steven Soderbergh's superb Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, featuring revelatory performances from Michael Douglas, Matt Damon and a superior supporting cast. The film is so good (it also took Cannes by storm) that everyone is perplexed as to why HBO didn't put it in cinemas for a week to make it eligible for the Oscars. So look for it to mop up awards from Bafta, the London Film Critics and probably Emmys and TV Golden Globes as well. We also had a last-minute screening of The Hangover Part III, at which critics laughed just once, leaving us even colder than Part II did.

More interesting were two smaller thrillers: Blood, starring Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham, and Black Rock, with Katie Aselton, Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell - both are effectively unsettling (the girls' film is actually scary). And further afield, we caught up with Studio Ghibli's From Up on Poppy Hill, another beautifully mature animated drama; the arty and involving French odyssey Atomic Age; and a pristine rerelease of John Schlesinger's 1972 forgotten gem The King of Marvin Gardens, with marvellous against-type turns from Jack Nicholson, Ellen Burstyn and recent Cannes-winner Bruce Dern.

This coming week I'll be seeing Ethan Hawke in the horror film The Purge, Logan Lerman in the comedy Stuck in Love, the human trafficking drama Eden, Travis Matthews' controversial I Want Your Love, the British drama Dream On, the first in Ulrich Seidl's trilogy Paradise: Love, the German romance Men to Kiss, and the Johnny Cash doc My Father and the Man in Black.

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