Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Critical Week: Your biggest fan

I caught up with one of my most-anticipated films of the year this week, and it certainly didn't disappoint. Not only am I an unapologetic Julianne Moore fan, but films by David Cronenberg have been thrilling and tormenting me since I started writing about movies (starting with Scanners and Videodrome). Maps to the Stars challenges audiences with a glamorous and gruesome trawl through Hollywood's inbred underbelly. Cannes Best Actress Moore is of course amazing, as is another favourite of mine, Olivia Williams. There are also offbeat, clever performances from Mia Wasikowska (above), Robert Pattinson, Evan Bird and John Cusack.

It was a busy week, as I got back up to speed after five days off. Big movies included Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua's slick but formulaic The Equalizer, loosely based on the 1980s TV series; the rather off-putting British posh-university drama The Riot Club, which has a terrific rising-star cast including Sam Claflin, Max Irons and Douglas Booth; and Claflin in rom-com mode opposite Lily Collins in Love, Rosie.

There were also two foreign films: the Brazilian drama The Way He Looks, which won the Teddy at Berlin, is an utterly charming coming-of-age movie expanded from the award-winning short I Don't Want to Go Back Alone; and Human Capital is a strikingly bold Italian film that kind of bungles its central theme but thrills with its twisty plot. And there were four docs: Filmed in Supermarionation is the lively and witty story of Gerry Anderson (best known for Thunderbirds); Born to Fly features the goosebump-inducing work of Elizabeth Streb's acrobatic dance/circus group; I'm a Porn Star gets up close and very personal in the gay adult-movie business; and Dick: The Documentary is pretty much what it says on the tin: a group of men photographed from the neck down as they talk about their, ahem, masculinity.

This coming week we have Woody Allen's Magic in the Moonlight with Colin Firth and Emma Stone; Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children with Adam Sandler and Emma Thompson; The Giver with Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges; the Pittsburgh comedy Not Cool; the Aussie horror movie The Babadook; the multiple-personality thriller The Scribbler; and the British painter documentary Hockney. We're also cranking up for the 58th London Film Festival, which runs 8-19 October - press screenings start next week.

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