Thursday, 4 August 2016

Critical week: Shark attack!

Aside from taking a few days off from moviegoing to spend some time with friends in Berlin, this past week has been all about the undersea menace! I had two shark-attack romps, from very different ends of the cinematic spectrum. First there was The Shallows, a taut, cleverly constructed thriller in which Blake Lively is stalked by a great white on a beach in Mexico. And then there was Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, easily the worst in a pretty terrible series. The biggest mystery is why, with the additional cash and (ahem!) filmmaking experience, this is such a complete and utter mess. Still, it has some great gags, and Ian Ziering and Tara Reid continue to approach the nonsense with hilariously straight faces.

Higher quality cinema came courtesy of Brian Cox in The Carer. As a raging thespian, Cox is on terrific scene-chomping form, and the film's refreshingly low-key approach makes it funny, warm and even provocative. There was also the documentary Can We Take a Joke? in which a bunch of stand-up comics discuss how they see society slipping away from free speech because everyone is always offended about everything. It's a strikingly important little film.

Coming up this next week, I'll catch a very late screening of the barely screened supervillain blockbuster Suicide Squad, Ricky Gervais' spin-off David Brent: Life on the Road, the horror sequel The Purge: Election Year, Jamie Dornan in The 9th Life of Louis Drax, the German drama Liebmann and the secret-society doc Tickled.

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