Saturday, 6 September 2014

Critical Week: Race against time

This post is rather late in the week for one simple reason: I was getting ready to go on holiday and forgot to add "blog" to my to-do list. Working as a freelance offers all kinds of freedoms and work satisfaction, but it also means that I don't get paid vacations; if I go away, I have to do all my work in advance for the time I'm gone. Otherwise I end up working when I should be lounging on a beach with friends!

Anyway, the big film the week before I left was If I Stay, screened very late to UK critics in the week of release. It's had fairly lacklustre reviews, but I thought it was a lot more realistic and involving than the summer's other teenage tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars. It's also just as manipulative emotionally and aimed almost exclusively at prepubescent girls. Leads Chloe Grace Moretz (above) and Jamie Blackley are both terrific.

Also before escaping from Britain, I caught up with Grand Piano, an intriguing, nicely shot and edited mystery-thriller with Elijah Wood; Jackhammer, a relentlessly idiotic male-stripper comedy featuring "where is he now" actor Jamie Kennedy; Luna, Dave McKean's mesmerisingly beautiful and utterly impenetrable British exploration of relationships and emotions; the meandering ensemble drama Turtle Hill, Brooklyn, which feels a bit stagey but has some strong characters; the four-part anthology Eroddity(s), which borders on soft porn but also touches on resonant themes and is actually rather sexy; and the essential documentary Two: The Story of Roman & Nyro, about an utterly normal loving family that breaks all the rules of what we call "normal".

The film I'm most looking forward to now that I'm back in London (after a week in southern France) is The Wizard of Oz remastered in Imax 3D.

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