Monday, 12 August 2013

Critical Week: Woody goes west

London-based critics had our first screening of Woody Allen's new comedy-drama Blue Jasmine, which sees him return to America after working in Europe for most of the past decade. But he's not back in New York: it's San Francisco this time, and it's one of his best scripts in years. It also features a knock-out performance from Cate Blanchett. We also caught up with Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch in David Gordon Green's tender, endearingly offbeat comedy-drama Prince Avalanche, plus Keri Russell in the rather silly comedy Austenland, which is likely to appeal mainly to 40ish single women.

In the arthouse department, we had Cold Comes the Night, a tense, quiet and ultimately lightweight thriller with Alice Eve and Bryan Cranston. Kristin Scott Thomas once again steals the show in the French comedy-drama Looking for Hortense, but her role is secondary to Jean-Pierre Bacri in a less interesting role as a man in a muddle. Rikki Beadle-Blair's new British drama Bashment is a searing, fiercely important look at racism and homophobia in the music scene. Kuma is a fascinating, eerily urgent drama about a Turkish family in Vienna, caught in a tangled web of culture and class. And Lucy Walker's The Crash Reel is an astonishing documentary about traumatic brain injury, made much more personal as it's also the story of snowboarder Kevin Pearce.

This coming week we finally get to see Kick-Ass 2, just before it opens. And we have screenings of the next franchise-starter The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan in Le Week-end, the Patrick Wilson/Rose Byrne reunion Insidious 2, Clio Barnard's acclaimed The Selfish Giant, the award-winning Chilean comedy-drama Gloria, and the Swedish prostitution epic Call Girl. I'll also get to revisit Gregg Araki's Nowhere and Rene Clement's Plein Soleil.

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