Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Critical Week: High school blues

This week's most impressive debut came from Gia Coppola (Francis' granddaughter), adapting James Franco's internalised short story collection Palo Alto. A strikingly honest exploration of teen life, it also features a star-making lead performance from Jack Kilmer (Val's son) alongside Emma Roberts (pictured), Nat Wolff and Franco himself. The other two big movies shown to London critics this week were colon-wielding sequels. The Purge: Anarchy carries on the lawful carnage one year later from the opposite economical perspective, which drains the premise of the irony that made the first film work so well. And Planes: Fire & Rescue is actually an improvement, a better-written and occasionally enjoyable romp that's still marred by that ropey "World of Cars" premise.

Off the beaten path we had a fearless Gerard Depardieu as a shameless womanising politician in Abel Ferrara's controversial and superbly outrageous Welcome to New York; the charming but cheesy gay romantic comedy Love or Whatever; the edgy but somewhat familiar Danish youth drama Northwest; and two documentaries: Nick Cave's artful, fiercely inventive and vaguely pretentious 20,000 Days on Earth and Charlie Lyne's enjoyable romp through a decade of teen movies in Beyond Clueless.

In the coming week, we'll be catching up with the summer's big Marvel blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, Dwayne Johnson as Hercules, Jennifer Aniston in Life of Crime, Colin Firth in A Most Wanted Man, the next in the neverending franchise Step Up: All In, the indie sibling drama Tiger Orange, and Al Pacino's take on Oscar Wilde's Salome, plus the making-of doc Wild Salome.

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