Monday, 15 September 2008

Critical Week: My eyes!

It was another busy week in filmland! As the Toronto and Venice film festivals overlapped, I was here in London sitting in darkened screening rooms. A nice place to be while the weather was as gloomy as that - although it perked up nicely for a sunshiny weekend.

Big films for me this past week included the new Fernando Meirelles movie Blindness, with Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo navigating a seriously freak-out apocalypse - and a seriously haunting film. The Women featured Meg Ryan, Annette Bening and a cast of only females in a rather light version of Sex and the City. Choke, based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel, gave Sam Rockwell another outrageously hilarious role to sink his fangs into. And Barry Levinson's What Just Happened is a savvy, entertaining look under the veneer of Hollywood.

Further under the radar were Partition, with Jimi Mistry, Neve Campbell and Kristin Kreuk telling a Romeo & Juliet tale on the India-Pakistan border in 1947. Gonzo is a terrific doc about Hunter S Thompson, as examined by the filmmaker who gave us the masterful Oscar winner Taxi to the Dark Side. Zombie Strippers is an utterly unapologetic exploitation B-movie - and it's pretty funny too. And House of Usher is a shockingly inept made for cable movie written by a friend of mine - the script is genius, but the acting and directing are, erm, diabolical. And I also found time to rewatch one of my all-time favourites, Hitchcock's Rear Window, which features Grace Kelly at her most drop-dead gorgeous.

This coming week's delectable delights include Chewitel Ejiofor in David Mamet's Redbelt, Ulrich Seidl's Austria-Ukraine odyssey Import Export, the American remake of the cult Spanish film Rec, Quarantine, the 3D Imax animation Fly Me to the Moon, an arthouse oddity called OSS-117 Cairo Nest of Spies and the Peace Day doc The Day After Peace. It's not a bad job to watch all these things - the work comes in figuring out what to write or say about them when the time comes....

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