Monday, 5 August 2013

Critical Week: I've got your back

Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington provided some muscle for British critics this week in the action-comedy 2 Guns, which surprisingly is more skilfully written, directed and acted than most of this summer's action options. A pumped-up Wahlberg turned up to meet the press, right off the plane from the set of Transformers 4, charming us with his chatter. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa turns out to be another above-par action-comedy - it's a hilariously well-written and impeccably played romp bringing Steve Coogan's iconic 1990s radio/TV character to the big screen. The week's other big movie was the sequel no one really asked for, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. It's pacey and perfectly thrilling for its target pre-teen audience.

More high-brow fare came with Julianne Moore in What Maisie Knew, a strikingly astute family drama costarring Steve Coogan (again!), Alexander Skarsgard and astonishing newcomer Onata Aprile. We also had the trashy delights of Paul Shrader's The Canyons, starring a frazzled Lindsay Lohan alongside swaggering porn-icon James Deen; the fiercely clever and not quite as bleak conclusion to Ulrich Seidl's trilogy Paradise: Hope; the impeccably made but far too long girl-gang drama Foxfire; Ferzan Ozpetek's latest clever mix of present-day Italy with the ghosts of WWII in A Magnificent Haunting; and the involving true story of a gender-bending scandal at the Olympics in Berlin '36.

Coming this week: Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, Paul Rudd in Prince Avalanche, Keri Russell in Austenland, Bryan Cranston in Cold Comes the Night, Kristen Scott Thomas in Looking for Hortense, the Austrian-Turkish drama Kuma, Rikki Beadle Blair's bigotry drama Bashment and Lucy Walker's snowboarder doc The Crash Reel.

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