Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Critical Week: Summer's last hurrah

London had a flurry of hot summery sunshine last week before the much cooler weekend arrived with rainstorms and more typically chilly autumnal weather. All hope isn't gone for a bit more warmth, but the effect is likely to be pretty dramatic at the box office! Meanwhile, I caught up with the summery Adore, a beach-town drama from Australia starring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright as lifelong friends who fall for each others' sons (Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville). It's a strikingly grown-up, startlingly involving movie by French filmmaker Anne Fontaine.

Not only did it open in the US last week, but it features in the line-up for the forthcoming 57th London Film Festival, which was announced last week at a gala launch event attended by Paul Greengrass, director of the opening night film Captain Phillips. The LFF is a festival of festival, with no significant world premieres but lots of amazing movies from other festivals. It runs 9-20 October, but press screenings begin on 23 September.

Other films viewed by UK press last week include: 42, a hugely involving biopic about groundbreaking baseball icon Jackie Robinson; R.I.P.D., a derivative and unfunny ghostly action-comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges; Like Father Like Son, a masterful Japanese drama about parenthood from the gifted Hirokazu Kore-eda;  Cal, a darkly dramatic sequel to the Bristol gang-drama Shank; The Broken Circle Breakdown, a gorgeously made and bleakly emotional Belgian drama infused with bluegrass music; and Fire in the Blood, an urgently important documentary about the injustices of Big Pharma when dealing with the global impact of Aids. I also caught up with two stunning restorations: the trippy 1969 ancient Rome odyssey Fellini-Satyricon and the magisterial 1924 expedition doc The Epic of Everest - watching each of these was like having a mystical experience. Very different ones, I should add.

This coming week, we have screenings of: Naomi Watts in the already notorious Diana biopic, Anna Kendrick in the comedy Drinking Buddies, the Danny Trejo in the B-movie sequel Machete Kills, Brie Larson in the acclaimed drama Short Term 12, the Glasgow rom-com Not Another Happy Ending, the British thriller Harrigan, the thriller The Conspiracy, and a restoration of Herzog/Kinski's gonzo classic Nosferatu.

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