Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Critical Week: Welcome to the club

UK critics had a chance to screen Richard Linklater's new comedy Everybody Wants Some!!, a spiritual follow-up to two of his earlier films: Dazed and Confused and Boyhood. It's clever, funny and very sharp. Jake Gyllenhaal is simply terrific in Jean-Marc Vallee's Demolition, a parable that is a bit obvious in its metaphors but still wrenchingly powerful. By contrast, Melissa McCarthy's The Boss has a lot of potential, but it's squandered with filmmaking that's based on pratfalls instead of the vivid central character.

John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson find more intriguing characters than expected in the horror thriller Cell, a freaky twist on the zombie genre from Stephen King. Rio I Love You is the latest collection of shorts in the Cities of Love series, and a much more coherent, warm and involving film as a whole. Arabian Nights: The Desolate One is the second in Miguel Gomes' inventively surreal trilogy. This one's drier than the first one, but has a terrific dog at the centre of the third set of shorts.

Further into indie movie land, Daddy is a well-made and sharply acted American film that shifts uneasily from a lively rom-com into a very, very dark drama. And there were two low-budget British crime dramas: The Violators is a compelling story of siblings in crisis, while the fact-based Hard Tide follows a guy who discovers something valuable in himself. Both give in to cliches and underpowered filmmaking.

Of course, proper reviews will follow in each film's week of release - some are already up on the site.

Screening this next week: Tom Hanks in A Hologram for the King, Ricky Gervais in Special Correspondents, Susan Sarandon in Mothers and Daughters, the apocalyptic Aussie drama These Final Hours, the final episode in the trilogy Arabian Nights: The Enchanted One, Michael Moore's sociological doc Where to Invade Next and the British public unrest doc The Hard Stop. We also have a three day weekend ahead!

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