Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Critical Week: Nicole's on fire

London critics had a double bill of Nicole Kidman this week, as she vamped her way through both Lee Daniels' The Paperboy and Park Chan-wook's Stoker. Both are the kind of movie you talk about - full of style and passion, colourful characters and controversial situations. And costars on fine form too: Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack in one, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode in the other.

The other big films included the funny-cruel British anti-romcom I Give It a Year, starring Rafe Spall, Rose Byrne, Stephen Merchant, Minnie Driver and everyone else they could rope into it. An even more outrageous cast populates the harshly unfunny Movie 43, which wasn't shown to the press (I bought a ticket Friday morning with all the other critics) and which is being sold on its Oscar-calibre cast alone. More likeable were the low-budget British films Papadopoulos & Sons and Do Elephants Pray, both of which yearn for simpler times by undermining a workaholic businessman. Neither is a classic, but the former is at least likeable.

We also had a trilogy of terror in Mama, a cleverly creepy horror starring Jessica Chastain; Chained, some effectively grisly nastiness from Jennifer Lynch; and Crawl, a twisted pitch-black comedy from Australia. More artful freakouts were had in the bracingly well shot and edited Danish ship-board thriller A Hijacking and the darkly artful Korean animated bullying drama The King of Pigs.

This coming week we have Ben Affleck in Terence Malick's To the Wonder, Al Pacino and Christopher Walken in Stand Up Guys, Nicholas Hoult in the zombie romance Warm Bodies, the undersea animation Sammy's Great Escape, the 3D crazy-stunt movie Nitro Circus and the Turkish drama Home (Yurt).

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