Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Critical Week: Weep-o-rama

London critics have been able this week to catch up with the much-hyped weepy teen romance The Fault in Our Stars, although our comments have been embargoed until it opens in Britain next week. Pushed to top of this week's US box office chart by teen-girl fans of the novel, the movie stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (above). Also just out in the US and opening this week in the UK, The Sacrament is a fictionalised retelling of the gruesome events at Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978. Despite its tired found-footage stylings, it's involving and unnerving. Yet another shaky-cam movie, Earth to Echo is a teen-boy adventure that strains to capture the magic of three classics that are always worth watching again, regardless of your age: E.T., Stand by Me and The Goonies.

Further afield, we also caught Nicole Kidman and Mark Strong in the erratic Memento-meets-50 First Dates thriller Before I Go to Sleep Home, Emily Browning in the enjoyably offhanded Scottish musical God Help the Girl, Toby Jones in the urgent but uneven teen immigration drama Leave to Remain, Naya Rivera in the effectively creepy thriller Home, Diane Kruger in the too-wacky French rom-com A Perfect Plan, and the involving, fable-like Palestinian drama When I Saw You. But the most important film of the week was the finely crafted doc We Are Many, about how governments ignored the largest protest in human history in February 2003 and invaded Iraq anyway. But the lingering fallout from that day has changed the world.

I also was able to attend the launch event at the British Library for The Good Inn, a graphic novel created by Pixies frontman Black Francis, author Josh Frank and artist Stephen Appleby, all of whom were on hand to talk about their surreal story, which involves the early history of film in Paris. So at the event, they screened two early classics that inspired the project: Georges Melies' A Trip to the Moon and Luis Bunuel's Un Chien Andalou. A terrific evening!

This coming week's films include Clint Eastwood's movie of the hit stage show Jersey Boys, Jon Hamm in the baseball-cricket drama Million Dollar Arm, Maxine Peake in the British psycho-thriller Keeping Rosy, the acclaimed Argentine drama Wakolda, and two docs: exploring Russian discrimination in Children 404 and art and senility in The Man Whose Mind Exploded.

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