Thursday, 29 November 2018

Critical Week: Level the playing field

As the critics groups start handing out their awards, it's clear that we're well into the prestige movie season. And indeed, many of my screenings have been awards-consideration screenings aiming to get my votes as I participate in four awards over the coming months. This week's highest profile films included Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer (above) in the clever, involving Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex, Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen in the rightfully acclaimed true road movie Green Book, and Elsie Fisher in Bo Burnham's astonishingly realistic adolescent drama Eighth Grade.

Others are both aiming at popular audiences and awards voters. Mary Poppins Returns strains to match the 1964 classic, and at times manages that nearly impossible feat, thanks to Emily Blunt. Ralph Breaks the Internet is as messy but feels even funnier than Wreck-it Ralph. Andy Serkis does a nice job keeping Mowgli faithful to Kipling's The Jungle Book, although it also looks a little cartoonish.

Saoirse Ronan is fierce in Mary Queen of Scots, a slightly over-produced historical drama costarring Margot Robbie as the pox-ridden Queen Elizabeth I. Alicia Vikander leads the all-star cast of another true historical drama, Tulip Fever, which is intriguing but awkwardly edited. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's epic Turkish drama The Wild Pear Tree is a riveting exploration of existence and connection. And Chilean drama Cola de Mono is a strikingly bold exploration of brotherhood and sexuality.

This coming week, we have screenings of the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Hugh Jackman in The Front Runner,  Nicole Kidman in Boy Erased, Jacques Audiard's Western The Sisters Brothers, the indie black comedy Newly Single, Milo Gibson in the British thriller All the Devil's Men, Jason Mitchell in the American indie thriller Tyrel, and the Kosovo drama The Marriage.

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