Thursday, 28 September 2017

Critical Week: Into the woods

It's been another very long week for me, with screenings of films both heading for regular cinemas and featuring in the forthcoming London Film Festival. Some movies fit in both categories, of course. One of the bigger ones was Goodbye Christopher Robin, the AA Milne biopic starring Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie. It's gorgeously produced and thankfully much grittier than expected. Another surprise was Stronger, the biopic starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a man injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. Completely lacking in rah-rah patriotism, the film is a gruelling, expertly told story of a flawed man everyone called a hero.

Also heading for cinemas are the documentary Earth: One Amazing Day, which puts stunning footage from the BBC's Planet Earth II up on the big screen, with some added scenes. The Unseen is a British film set up as a Hitchcockian thriller about a couple haunted by the death of their son. Double Date is a British comedy thriller that's gleefully grisly and funny without being scary. And Furious Desires is a collection of lusty short films from Brazil, Mexico and Italy.

London Film Festival offerings included Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman in the surreal thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer, the witty and pointed black comedy Brigsby Bear, Michael Haneke's offbeat comical drama Happy End, Aidan Gillen in the improvised comedy-drama Pickups, the simply gorgeous Chilean drama A Fantastic Woman, the powerfully moving French drama 120 Beats Per Minute, the cleverly scary Icelandic thriller Rift and the thoughtful Finnish romance A Moment in the Reeds. There were also two Israeli films: the sharply inventive Foxtrot and the gently moving romance The Cakemaker. More on those coming soon.

Up this week are Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049, Kate Winslet in The Mountain Between Us, Jessica Chastain in Molly's Game and Josh Hartnett in 6 Below. The 61st BFI London Film Festival officially kicks off on Wednesday, and press screenings include Julianne Moore in Wonderstruck, Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes, Cate Blanchett in Manifesto, Carey Mulligan in Mudbound, Clio Barnard's Dark River, Sean Baker's The Florida Project and Michel Hazanavicius' Redoubtable. My daily LFF updates will start next Thursday.

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