Monday, 23 June 2014

Critical Week: Soak up the sun

London critics had a chance to catch up with John Carney's long-awaited follow-up to Once, and Begin Again turns out to be essentially the same story retold with starrier actors in New York. It's also disarmingly enjoyable, with wonderful songs and nicely offhanded performances from the entire cast, which includes Keira Knightley (who can truly sing), Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine and James Corden. Richard Linklater's ambitious and utterly amazing Boyhood is nearly three hours long, was shot over 12 years, and stars Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as parents of young actors who grow up before our eyes.

We also caught up with the British indie Love Me Till Monday, a charming and somewhat thin romantic comedy that's mainly notable for its clever refusal to indulge in any formulaic rom-com plotting. And there were also two docs: Children 404 is an eye-opening look at children in Russia who identify themselves with the LGBT community and hate the way their government is sidelining them while making it acceptable to be targets of homophobic hatred (it's the closing film at the Open City Docs Fest). And The Final Member documents the world's only penis museum, which is located in northern Iceland, and its founder's tenacious attempt to complete his collection of mammals with a human specimen. It's dryly hilarious and rather telling too.

This week, I'm taking my first no-email/no-film holiday in six years and won't resurface until Sunday, 29th June. The first screenings on my return will be Melissa McCarthy's zany (sigh!) comedy Tammy, Philip Seymour Hoffman in God's Pocket, Noel Clarke and Ian Somerhalder in The Anomaly, and the Scandinavian crime-thriller The Keeper of Lost Causes. And I'll also be looking to catch up with things I missed while away, including How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Transformers: Age of Extinction. So until then, bring on the sunshine...

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