Thursday, 24 October 2013

Critical Week: Chasing the rat pack

Post-London Film Festival, UK-based critics are now in catch-up mode with current releases, upcoming films and movies that are vying for our votes in year-end awards. Possibly the most starry movie screened to us this week was Last Vegas, featuring five Oscar winners: Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Kline (pictured above) and Mary Steenburgen. Comments are embargoed until next week on this one. We also finally got to see Harrison Ford's new movie Ender's Game, which opens this week and is a pretty thrilling ride for 12-year-old boys in the audience. It's very watchable for everyone else too.

The rest of the week was pretty eclectic. Idris Elba is impressive in the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which is a little too clearly designed to be the definitive movie about the great man. And his story is genuinely moving. Ralph Fiennes stars in and directs another biopic, The Invisible Woman, about Charles Dickens' secret romance. It's eye-catching but a bit dull and wilfully repressed. Two other films were the polar extreme: the insanely lively and colourful, but unimaginatively titled Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a lot of fun but a bit less satisfying than the first film. And the oddly gentle Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is packed with rude humour and raucous pranks, then surprises us with its sentimentality.

This coming week we will see the next Marvel movie, Thor: The Dark World, the animated adventure Free Birds, Lee Daniels' presidential drama The Butler, the Israeli comedy Cupcakes, the filmmaker doc Milius, and the nuclear power doc Pandora's Promise. And for awards consideration we have Mark Wahlberg in Lone Survivor and the Sundance winner Fruitvale Station. Among others....

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