Thursday, 6 September 2018

Critical Week: A family portrait

I'm missing being in Venice this year for the festival, but it's been a busy week for screenings in London. This week we've caught up with the Sundance hit Wildlife, Paul Dano's riveting, moving directing debut starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal as a couple coming apart in 1960 Montana. It's powerfully told from the perspective of a teen boy (Ed Oxenbould), as is Eli Roth's offbeat horror movie The House With a Clock in its Walls. Its main stars are Jack Black and Cate Blanchett as magical neighbours who take in a teen boy (Owen Vaccaro) with scary/comical results.

The most fun at the movies this week was the screening of US box office hit Crazy Rich Asians, a fairly standard rom-com plot packed with massively entertaining characters. The all-star true heist story King of Thieves features Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent and Tom Courtenay, and is more fascinating than thrilling. The all-star adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull features Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan and Elisabeth Moss, and is involving but perhaps over-ambitious. And Jeremy Irons has a great time chomping on scenery alongside Jack Huston in the engaging comedy-drama road movie An Actor Prepares.

And there were two less-starry offerings: Five Fingers for Marseilles is a gorgeously shot modern-day Western from South Africa about childhood friends facing off over the future of their struggling hometown. It's seriously powerful. And the Raindance documentary I Hate New York is the eye-opening profile of four trans icons who have changed the fabric of the city they love (yes, the title is ironic).

This coming week I'll be distracted from the goings-on in Venice and Toronto by Mark Wahlberg in Mile 22, Bella Thorne in Assassination Nation, Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky, Omari Hardwick in A Boy A Girl A Dream, Blaxploitation remake Superfly, the mystery thriller Lost Child, the British drama Sodom, the Palestinian drama Wajib, the Guatemalan drama José and the immigration doc Bisbee '17.

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