Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Critical Week: If the shoe fits

Some big movies were screened to UK critics this week, including Disney's new live-action Cinderella, starring Lily James and Richard Madden, plus the likes of Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Holliday Grainger and Downton Abbey's Sophie McShera. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, this takes a more sumptuous, old-fashioned approach than Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland or last year's Maleficent, and it's rather charming. This screening included the first London showing of the hilariously entertaining short Frozen Fever, which will definitely further the franchise.

The other gorgeously well-made big-budget film was Suite Francaise, based on Irene Nemirovsky's acclaimed novel and starring an especially superb Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas. We also had very late screenings of two films opening this week around the world, and both have had their reviews embargoed until later in the week: Neil Blomkamp's Chappie and the Vince Vaughn comedy Unfinished Business. 

A bit further afield, there was Salma Hayek energetically fighting off a steady stream of goons in Everly, Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman facing creepy child ghosts in Colombia in Out of the Dark, Jean Dujardin chasing an elusive drug dealer in The Connection, a group of kids trying to be themselves in the astute comedy-drama Geography Club, some comically inept East End London criminals in the rather tired Hackney's Finest, and a subtle exploration of unexpected young love in Berlin in Silent Youth.

Coming up this week: Sean Penn in The Gunman, Charlotte Gainsbourg in Samba, Virginia Madsen in Walter, the hit American teen comedy The Duff, another meta-comical American rom-com Playing It Cool, the British indie drama The Goob, and the Colombian drama Gente de Bien.

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