Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Critical Week: Taking care of business

I'm in Southern California visiting my family this week, so haven't exactly been trying to keep up with movies. I didn't even get to watch the Baftas - I had to read about them instead. I managed to catch one film that needed to be reviewed: John Wick: Chapter 2 sees Keanu Reeves return as the weary expert hitman dragged back from retirement to clean up another mess. It's a bit more reliant on the mythology this time, which makes it a little less fun. But the film is still slick and clever, and dares to pay attention to its plot and characters.

There were also a few films on the airplane. Keeping Up With the Joneses is a lively but inane action comedy with an ace cast led by Zac Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot and Isla Fisher. It's a nicely made, engaging romp about discovering that the new neighbours are spies, but it's also preposterous fluff. The Little Prince is an odd adaptation of the children's classic, which wraps it into the story of a little girl fantasising about the adventures of her old neighbour. While most of it looks great, some of the animation is simplistic and plasticky. And some of the story's gyrations lose the point. Morgan is a terrific little thriller starring Kate Mara as a corporate officer sent in to evaluate an experiment that might be going wrong. This involves the creation of an artificially engineered human-like being (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her nervous minders. Sharply well-made and seriously unnerving.

My holiday visiting friends and family in Los Angeles and nearby continues over the next week - doing my work remotely, but not in press screening mode. A couple of films opening here this weekend might be worth a look, including The Great Wall, A Cure for Wellness and Fist Fight. And I will attend the Galeca Dorian Awards winner's toast on Saturday - watch this space for a report.

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