Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Critical Week: Under the sea

Before I left London last Thursday, the biggest film screened was Kevin Macdonald's submarine thriller Black Sea, starring Jude Law as an unemployed guy trying to reclaim some dignity by salvaging Nazi gold out from under the Russian fleet. It's fast-paced and enjoyably ludicrous. Horrible Bosses 2 is a sequel no one asked for, and the writers haven't bothered to be even remotely clever, but there are some decent gags and a solid cast (Chris Pine steals the show, randomly). Much better, JC Chandor's A Most Violent Year is a clever vice-grip of a drama set in 1981 New York starring the excellent Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. An inventive, soft-spoken spin on the mob thriller, the film is clammy and haunting.

And on the flight over to Los Angeles, I caught up with the enjoyable doc Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, following the indefatigable showbiz veteran through her paces in both TV and theatre (the film was completed before her death in July). I also revisited Moulin Rouge, as you do, one of my all-time favourites and one of those rare films that I can get caught up in completely every time I see it. And once here I  rewatched The Theory of Everything, marvelling even more at Eddie Redmayne's astonishing performance as Stephen Hawking.

Here in California for a couple of weeks, I am hoping to catch up with the animated spin-off Penguins of Madagascar,  the idiotic sequel Dumb and Dumber To, the all-star musical Into the Woods, Mark Wahlberg in The Gambler, Bradley Cooper in American Sniper and the civil rights drama Selma.

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