Thursday, 6 December 2012

Critical Week: Tiger taming

London critics have finally been able to catch up with some big awards contenders this past week, including Ang Lee's remarkable Life of Pi, a staggeringly beautiful film with rich, moving themes. Frankly it's difficult to believe that such a complex, delicate film made it through the Hollywood system. Even bigger is Tom Hooper's film of the long-running musical Les Miserables, with a powerhouse cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried. It's a bit too much to fit in a movie, frankly, and rather exhausting. But also unmissable.

More award hopefuls appear in Hitchcock, an enjoyable, lightweight look at Alfred Hitchcock's battles to make Psycho. Anthony Hopkins plays the title role exactly like Hitch's screen persona, but Helen Mirren steals the show as his wife. There's probably no chance of awards attention for The Man With the Iron Fists, a messy 1970s-style kung fu romp cowritten, directed and scored by and starring RZA. Genre geeks might enjoy it, but not many others will. And finally there was the doc Ballroom Dancer, following a world champion's attempt at a comeback while he alienates everyone around him. Compellingly dark but not easy to watch.

This coming week I've got screenings of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher and Carlos Reygada's Post Tenebrus Lux, among other things. It'll also be voting time at the end of next week for a couple of critics awards - my own meagre contribution to the awards-season hubbub.

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