Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Critical Week: Ready for battle

Last week we had the summer movie season's first big remake, sequel and reboot, so of course this week it's time for the big guns: a massive comic book movie that has the enormous weight of an entire publishing house behind it and is keyed in to comic book superhero movies past (Ironman, Hulk) and future (this summer's Captain America and, most importantly, 2012's summer tentpole The Avengers). We are of course talking about Thor, which was screened to the UK press last week in all its muscly, noisy, eye-popping 3D glory. It's a big movie that's almost as dumb as it looks but is helped by having Kenneth Branagh, however improbably, in the director's chair. Of course, the photo above isn't from Thor; it's from a bit of non-competition at the box office - Takashi Miike's higher-brow samurai battle drama 13 Assassins, which is entertaining but perhaps not as smart as it looks.

Also screened for us were Philip Seymour Hoffman's feature directing debut Jack Goes Boating, a wilfully "normal" indie drama; the freaky Italian thriller Shadow, which is stylishly made but a bit random; the West Indies cricket doc Fire in Babylon, a colourfully interesting film even for non-fans; and the micro-budget B-movie Airline Disaster, yet another so-bad-it's-hilarious crisis thriller from Asylum. Better than all of those, I got the chance to see Danny Boyle's amazing production of Frankenstein at the National Theatre, with Benedict Cumberbatch (as the professor) and Jonny Lee Miller (as the monster).

If last week was short (4 days) this week is even shorter, as we have holidays for both Easter Monday and Royal Wedding Friday. As a result, I only have four screenings (plus a handful of DVDs I really need to stop putting off): Trust is an online thriller with Clive Owen and Catherine Keener; A Screaming Man is a Cannes-winning drama from Chad; Bobby Fischer Against the World is an acclaimed doc about the chess player; and Flying Monsters is a dinosaur extravaganza in Imax 3D.

No comments: