Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Critical Week: Manners. Maketh. Man.

Easy: the press screening of this past week was Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Secret Service, the Kick-Ass style James Bond spoof that's sure to have fans clamouring for more. It stars Colin Firth and rising-star Taron Egerton, plus the likes of Mark Strong, Michael Caine and Samuel L Jackson. The other high-profile screening this week was for Ex Machina, Alex Garland's debut as a director, a surprising artificial intelligence-themed sci-fi thriller starring Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and the increasingly unmissable Oscar Isaac.

Also: The Turning is an anthology film from Australia, mercifully cut in half for its international release. It features engulfing, emotional stories starring the likes of Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Rose Byrne and Miranda Otto. Black November is a Nigerian drama re-edited for global release with new footage featuring stars including Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Wyclef Jean and Akon. A great story, awkwardly told. It Follows is a freak-out horror movie that makes up for its essential simplicity with movie-style scares. And Snow in Paradise is yet another East End crime drama, tired but at least it takes an engagingly emotional approach.

This coming week we have Oscar nominations on Thursday and I am chairing the London Critics' Circle Awards on Sunday - always one of my busiest projects of the year as I put the event together and grapple with celebrities and their publicists. But Sunday night will be a lot of fun - look for the usual full report. As for screenings, there's Johnny Depp in Mortdecai, Daniel Bruhl in Michael Winterbottom's Face of an Angel, Stephen Daldry's Trash, Simon Helberg's We'll Never Have Paris, and the documentaries Dior and I, about the design house's new creative director, and Maidan, about the Ukrainian revolution.

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