Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Critical Week: She's not human

I'm not feeling massively human myself after such a busy week. The 21st Raindance Film Festival came to a close Sunday night with the creepy British thriller The Machine (pictured), which also won the top prize for best UK feature. Exploring artificial intelligence with an emotional edge, the film features sharp performances and some genuinely unnerving touches. Also at Raindance, I caught up with the Argentine comedy The Critic, which touched a few nerves in its engaging, cleverly told tale of a film critic's messy life.

I saw a couple of independent films outside Raindance: Who Needs Enemies is a low-budget London crime thriller that takes a clever approach to the genre and has a superb cast, but doesn't quite come together. And the comedy-documentary Seduced & Abandoned is a joy for movie fans, as Alec Baldwin and James Toback hit Cannes to sell their Iraq-set remake Last Tango in Tikrit. Pointed and very funny, it's packed with big-name cameos including Bertolucci himself, as well as surprisingly adept raconteur Ryan Gosling. And just last night I attended a massive Ender's Game teaser event with Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld and Ben Kingsley in attendance, but we'll have to wait to actually see the movie.

In continuing press screenings for the 57th London Film Festival, which opens Wednesday night, we caught up with Robert Redford's staggeringly well-made but somewhat over-done solo thriller All Is Lost; the amazing Robin Wright as a version of herself in Ari Folman's striking but confusing live-action/animated The Congress; the warm but implausible Brit-com Hello Carter with the likeable Charlie Cox, Christian Cooke and Jodie Whittaker; the provocative French drama Stranger by the Lake, which morphs from a quiet drama into a Hitcockian freakout on a gay-naturist beach; and the documentary Teenage, mixing terrific archive footage along with matching faked scenes that kind of undermine the entire point.

This coming week is pretty much devoted to the LFF with screenings of: Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, Alexander Payne's Nebraska, Jason Reitman's Labor Day, Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem, Kelly Reichardt's Night Moves, Xavier Dolan's Tom at the Farm, Bruno Dumont's Camille Claudel 1915, Lukas Moodysson's We Are the Best, David Mackenzie's Starred Up, Hong Sangsoo's Haewon, the Berlinale winner Child's Pose, and the sexploitation doc The Sarnos. There's also a screening of two London movies: the crime thriller Vendetta and the comedy World of Hurt. Whew.

No comments: