Thursday, 4 December 2008

Critical Week: The big guns

Movies don't get much bigger than Baz Luhrmann's Australia! (No, the title doesn't actually have an exclamation mark in it, but it should.) Massively sweeping at 2 hours 45 minutes, it wallows happily in camp and cheese and sentiment, and is so thoroughly entertaining that you don't want it to end. So few filmmakers have the nerve to make movies like this anymore that you can't help but sit back and love it. And both Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman simply ooze movie star chemistry and presence. Whether it connects with awards voters is another issue altogether - they haven't quite known what to do with Lurhmann's previous stabs at genius.

Otherwise, over the past week I've had a break from worthy year-end movies, although it's all about to crank up again soon. This past week has gone to the dogs: Bolt and Beverly Hills Chihuahua, to be specific. Both films overcome their limitations to offer genuinely enjoyable entertainment. Slightly more serious is Yoji Yamada's terrific third samurai drama, Love and Honour, and the astonishingly engaging steroid documentary Bigger Faster Stronger, which gets far deeper into its subject matter than we expect.

Today I'll be at the press conference for The Spirit with Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes, and upcoming films include Seven Pounds, The Reader, Bedtime Stories, The Tale of Despereaux and The International.

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