Monday, 10 February 2014

Critical Week: But is it art?

The week's big film was George Clooney's The Monuments Men, which quickly answered questions about why its release was shifted outside awards contention and why it wasn't screened for the press until just a few days before release: it's only ok. The story it tells is certainly essential, but it's mainly watchable because the strong cast inserts engaging detail into thinly written characters. Speaking of whom, the gang descended on London for Tuesday's press junket and premiere: Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Dmitri Leonidas, plus author Robert Edsel and surviving Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger. Alas, no Cate Blanchett or Hugh Bonneville.

Another very late screening was for the remake of RoboCop, screened the night before it opened. It's not half bad, thanks to a solid performance from Gary Oldman. There was also the tepid remake of another 1980s movie, the romance Endless Love. And we also caught up with Craig Fairbrass in the rather clunky LA thriller The Outsider as well as the latest in Peccadillo's shorts collections, Boys on Film 11: We Are Animals. But the film of the week, hands down, was The Lego Movie, a hilariously inventive animated romp that landed atop the box office in America and is likely to do the same thing in Britain this weekend.

This coming week we've got Scarlett Johansson as a sexy alien in Under the Skin, Wes Anderson's all-star The Grand Budapest Hotel, the British workplace comedy 8 Minutes Idle, the designer biopic Yves Saint Laurent and the cinema doc A Story of Children and Film. And the British Academy Film Awards hands out the Baftas on Sunday night.

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