Thursday, 10 May 2018

Critical Week: Fight fire with fire

Since I'm not in Cannes with many of my fellow critics, I'm still catching up on screenings of films opening in cinemas at the moment. At least we're having Cannes-like weather in London! This week we had a very late press screening (just the night before it opens) for Breaking In, the home-invasion thriller starring Gabrielle Union as a tough-minded mother who isn't about to let a gang of violent thieves harm her children. This gender flip is very cool, and sharply played too, even if the script is rather standard fare.

Also rather standard, the British comedy Swimming With Men echoes The Full Monty in its story of a group of middle-aged men dealing with their issues as they form a male synchronised swimming team. The cast is so good that it makes it worth a look. And the American comedy Dating My Mother is somewhat awkward, but has a refreshing honesty to it.

There were also three documentaries. The first two have a showbiz slant: Filmworker is that riveting story of a British actor who gave up his career to be Stanley Kubrick's assistant for 30 years, and Always at the Carlyle is a star-packed look at the iconically elegant New York hotel. The third doc was something altogether different: Path of Blood uses acquired footage of Saudi security services battling local al Qaeda cells, including video seized from them. It's shocking, heart-pounding, eye-opening and, even though it's hard to watch, utterly essential.

Coming up this next week, we have press screenings of Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2, Diane Keaton in Book Club, Sundance hit The Miseducation of Cameron Post, British thriller Welcome to Curiosity and the Mexican drama Boy Undone. I also plan to buy a ticket to see John Cameron Mitchell's How to Talk To Girls at Parties, as its distributor never let me know about screenings even though I asked. (Another distributor didn't screen Melissa McCarthy's Life of the Party for critics at all, but I don't feel the need to seek that one out.)

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