Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Critical Week: Play nicely

Among the bigger movies screened to London press this past week, Disney's Million Dollar Arm is the latest baseball-themed movie that will make a valiant attempt to crack the UK box office when it opens here in August (they rarely do well). It helps that the film stars Jon Hamm, and that it includes a cricket element. It's also a thoroughly engaging little film - never as edgy as it should be, but with a very strong script and cast.

We also saw Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys at a screening introduced by a few Four Seasons numbers from the West End stage show cast, including a couple of the film's stars. The movie is a bit too gritty and dry to really take off, but the songs are great. Meanwhile, Kevin Costner gives a wonderfully wheezy performance as a washed-up CIA hitman in 3 Days to Kill, which turns into a marvellously silly Taken-style thriller just as he's finally bonding with teen daughter Hailee Steinfeld. A nice guilty pleasure.

Further afield, the British horror-thriller Keeping Rosy stars the excellent Maxine Peake as a woman who does something unthinkable, then struggles to undo it. Cool, tense and involving. Laura Michelle Kelly stars in the musical-comedy Goddess, which is far too contrived to properly engage the audience, even with decent performances and ok songs. Wakolda is a superbly insinuating thriller from Argentina about a young teen girl in 1960s Patagonia who befriends a German doctor who just might be Josef Mengele. And The Man Whose Mind Exploded is a wonderful doc about Drako Zarharzar, a colourful eccentric in Brighton who's unable to form new memories and has a lot to say about ageing and memory.

Coming this week: Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo in Begin Again, Richard Linklater's Boyhood, the British rom-com Love Me Till Monday and the penis museum doc The Final Member. And then I'm taking a no-films-allowed holiday for a week!

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