Thursday, 31 October 2013

Critical Week: This year's Help

UK critics finally got their first look at Lee Daniels' all-star epic drama The Butler this week. While it plays out essentially a Civil Rights-themed variation on Forrest Gump, it's actually a true story. And an unusually slushy film for Daniels. We had a lot more fun watching the sequel Thor: The Dark World, an oversized blockbuster that's so ridiculous that you can't help but smile. But the best movie this past week was Ryan Coogler's Sundance-winning Fruitvale Station, a shocking true drama skilfully filmed without pushing any sort of message other than this kind of thing must never happen again.

Off the beaten path, there was the surreal adventure thriller Escape From Tomorrow, a fiendishly clever film shot guerrilla-style at Disney theme parks; the British gypsy drama Traveller, which isn't well enough made to overcome its cliches; and the dark gay thriller Triple Crossed, which makes up for its low budget with a twisty plot and intriguing characters. And we also had three documentaries: the rousing Milius exploring filmmaker John Milius' astounding life and work; the harrowing Pandora's Promise looking into the truth about nuclear power an how it's probably the answer to climate change; and the witty but dry Rough Cut remaking scenes from a fake 1980s slasher horror.

This coming week we have Jude Law in Dom Hemingway, the animated adventure Free Birds, the British comedy Breakfast With Jonny Wilkinson, the political thriller Exposed, and the Israeli drama Fill the Void.

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