Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Critical Week: Take aim

Critics got back to work this week with the first press screenings of the year accompanied by a glut of awards action - including nominees from Bafta as well as producers, directors and writers guilds. This weekend's Golden Globes kick off the ceremony season, while Oscar nominations next Wednesday shift things up another gear. But back to the movies...

Perhaps the most fun this week was had watching Bounty Killer (above), a trashy B-movie action romp that isn't very good but makes up for that with a lot of lurid energy. More low-budget fun was had with The Devil's Bargain, a devilishly twisty micro Brit-horror about three people cavorting naked in a field before the world ends ... in 1974.

Only slightly more mainstream, Giuseppe Tornatore's art-world thriller The Best Offer stars Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess and Donald Sutherland. It's slightly underpowered and predictable, but looks great. Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffmann play Yanks abroad in intriguingly offbeat Chilean road movie Crystal Fairy & the Magic Cactus. Rising star Tom Schilling is a likeable slacker in the Woody Allen-style German comedy-drama Oh Boy. And the snappy documentary 1: Life on the Limit oddly blends a celebration of Formula One history with a rather sobering chronicle of the sport's fatalities over the decades.

This coming week is a mixed bag, as we've already seen most of the awards contenders that are opening in cinemas over the next month. Up next are Zac Efron and Michael B Jordan in That Awkward Moment, Nick Frost in Cuban Fury, the British comedies Svengali and 8 Minutes Idle, and the award-winning Greek mystery Miss Violence.

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