Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Critical Week: Take to the sky

It's been a very busy week here, as awards-contender screenings have started for the season and I'm getting ready to travel for a couple of weeks. Oscar-buzzy contenders have included Alejandro G Inarritu's astonishing Birdman, starring Michael Keaton as an actor trying to have a comeback; Paul Thomas Anderson's chaotic Inherent Vice, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Josh Brolin in a series of hilariously raucous scenes loosely connected by an impenetrable plot; and the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything stars a seriously stunning Eddie Redmayne.

We also saw two surprisingly good British family movies: Paddington and Get Santa both benefit from their smart-witty scripts, gifted directors and up-for-it casts including Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and the voice of Ben Whishaw, and Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall and Warwick Davis, respectively. It's rare that two decent holiday movies arrive in such close succession.

Off the beaten path, we had: Wong Kar Wai's gorgeously shot but oddly aloof biopic The Grandmaster; the rude Aussie drug-smuggling comedy The Mule; the corny British rom-com Home for Christmas (not actually a Christmas movie); the corny American rom-com Big Gay Love; and the involving Roger Ebert doc Life Itself, which shouldn't be missed by film fans. Finally, there were two collections of queer shorts: Boys on Film 12: Confession is Peccadillo's latest line-up of gay-themed films, this time looking at youthful longings; and Travis Mathews' In Their Room intimately explores the lives of men in San Francisco, Berlin and London.

Later this week I'm flying to California for the next couple of weeks, where I plan to catch up with several more awards contenders (plus Penguins of Madagascar). But the real question is whether there will be anything showing on the plane that I haven't seen or wouldn't mind watching again. I'll be blogging as I go...

No comments: