Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Critical Week: The right stuff

It's been another odd collection of screenings for London critics. Julianne Moore and Ellen Page (above) give their usual storming performances in Freeheld, a true story about legal equality that feels a bit simplistic even with such strong characters. Chris Pine and Casey Affleck are excellent as quiet heroes in The Finest Hours, the true story of a 1952 ocean rescue that's told on an impressively grand scale. The British comedy Dad's Army brings the iconic 1970s TV series to the big screen with a terrific A-list cast but almost no comical energy. I'll See You in My Dreams is a nice but mopey and inconsequential romantic drama starring Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott and Martin Starr.

Further afield, Adrien Brody stars in Backtrack, a ghostly Aussie thriller that gets increasingly ridiculous as it goes along. Also from Australia, Oddball and the Penguins is the relentlessly charming and surprisingly important story of a big sheepdog that finds a new calling. From Greece, the acclaimed drama Xenia insightfully explores issues of immigration, community and sexuality through the eyes of two lively brothers. Battle Mountain is a properly inspirational doc about Scottish cycling champ Graeme Obree and his attempt to break a world record at age 48. And Peccadillo's latest collection, Boys on Film 14: Worlds Collide, features nine edgy, inventive short films from around the world, many dealing with political issues like class, homophobia and HIV.

Among this coming week's offerings, we have Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool, the Oscar-nominated Mustang, Freida Pinto in Desert Dancer and the Canadian drama Love in the Time of Civil War.

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