Thursday, 12 December 2013

Critical Week: Mountain-top experience

Year-end screenings continue as distributors try to show us their films before voting deadlines (London Critics' Circle votes for nominees on Friday; Online Film Critics Society votes in the final round on Saturday). This week's big hitters included Ben Stiller's remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, an earnest movie about life choices; Out of the Furnace, a gritty Rust Belt drama starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck; and Spike Jonze's lovely romantic drama Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a man who falls in love with his computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), and we believe it.

The other big one was Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the silly 10-years-later sequel to WIll Ferrell's cult classic. We also had the late-scheduled press screening for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the livelier and more involving sequel to last year's An Unexpected Journey, which ends in a cliffhanger until next year's There and Back Again. I also caught up with Paolo Sorrentino's gorgeous Fellini anthem The Great Beauty, as well as the German drama Two Mothers, an engaging, personal story of two women grappling with inequality in fertility treatment.

Next week things start to slow down for the holidays, although I still need to catch Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, and there's also Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie, the acclaimed doc Tim's Vermeer, and Mark Cousins' Albanian road movie Here Be Dragons. I'm also on the jury panel for a Shorts on Tap event on Tuesday evening in Shoreditch!

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