Thursday, 7 November 2013

Critical Week: James Franco's eyes

Yes, James Franco goes evil for the new Jason Statham thriller Homefront, about a former government agent hiding out in a Louisiana bayou with his young daughter. Comments on the film are embargoed until it opens in a couple of weeks. Comments are also embargoed for Vince Vaughn's new film Delivery Man, Ken Scott's own remake of his 2011 French Canadian comedy-drama Starbuck, about a guy who discovers he has 533 kids due to a mix-up at a sperm bank.

I can however comment on Ridley Scott's new film The Counsellor, a slickly made thriller with an impenetrable story and characters, which leaves it oddly uninvolving. But Michael Fassbender and Penelope Cruz are especially good in a cast that includes Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt. Free Birds is the Thanksgiving-themed animation that mixes wildly inane storytelling and some hilariously deranged humour.

A bit further off the beaten path, the British comedy-drama Breakfast With Jonny Wilkinson is a charming if somewhat silly farce about a small group of people watching the nailbiting final of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. And then there were three Jewish movies: Cupcakes is Eytan Fox's massively entertaining pastiche of Eurovision mania with a terrific cast and great songs; Fill the Void is an involving drama set within an Orthodox Jewish family; Let My People Go is an enjoyably wacky French comedy about the romantic problems of a young gay man and his particularly nutty Jewish family.

This coming week I only have a couple of screenings in the diary: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire screens to the UK press on Friday 8th November ahead of its world premiere in London on Monday night. And I have an awards-consideration screening of Matthew McConaughey's Dallas Buyers Club. I've also got a number of videos to watch before I fly out next Friday for two weeks with family and friends in Southern California, where of course I hope to catch up with a few other things....

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