Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Critical Week: I'll be right here

It was a bit of a mixed bag of screenings this past week, with a variety of expectations leading to so-so movies. Paper Towns has a terrific lead in Nat Wolff, with plenty of presence from Cara Delevingne, but the story never quite develops into anything truly meaningful. Amy Schumer brings her distinct brand of comedy to the big-screen in Trainwreck, with a superior leading-man performance from Bill Hader, but the script hedges too many bets, ultimately winding up as a standard rom-com. And Pixels proves that Adam Sandler needs to take a long break and work out if he wants to make movies anymore. According to this evidence, he gave up long ago.

More intriguing, The Lobster is the latest bit of amazing weirdness from Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth), a pointed relationship satire with Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and Ben Whishaw. Max is a predictably slushy boy-and-his-dog movie sideswiped by an unnecessary arms-trade thriller subplot. Captain Webb is an enjoyably quirky low-budget British drama about the first man to swim the Channel, in 1875, but the narrative is pointlessly fragmented. From Ukraine, Stand is a harrowing Moscow-set drama about the result of government-sponsored bigotry against gay men. And the documentary Unity blends 100 starry narrators into a swirling collage about the meaning of humanity, concluding that we should all be vegetarians.

This coming week we have Michael Fassbender as Macbeth, Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong in The Program, and very, very late press screenings for the superhero remake Fantastic Four, the 60s-TV inspired action romp The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and the Monty Python gang's alien-invasion comedy Absolutely Anything.

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