Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Critical Week: Face the music

As awards season begins to get serious (less than two weeks until my nominations deadlines begin in three groups), screenings are getting tricky to schedule in amongst the holiday parties! Yes, life is tough! This week's most mainstream offering was Jessica Chastain's drama Miss Sloane, an entertainingly twisty look at Washington DC lobbying. Kelly Reichardt's much more challenging Certain Women focuses tells three separate, very subtle stories about intriguing women (Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern). And the much more low-brow Office Christmas Party is also essentially female-centred, led by Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Munn and scene-stealing genius Kate McKinnon alongside costars Jason Bateman and TJ Miller. It's not quite as awful as it looks.

The most serious contenders were two docs with linked subject matter relating to race and justice. Ava DuVernay's 13th is a passionate, powerful exploration of America's prison system, exploring how it was essentially designed to continue slavery based on a clause in the 13th Amendment. And at nearly eight hours, O.J.: Made in America will stretch most viewers' patience, but it's a riveting exploration of a fallen superstar told in parallel with the checkered history of the LAPD and the weaknesses in the American judicial system. Both films are must-sees.

Films coming up this next week include this year's most anticipated blockbuster Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Martin Scorsese's Silence, Ben Affleck's Live by Night, Taraji P Henson in Hidden Figures, Michael Keaton in The Founder and the thriller The Eyes of My Mother.

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