Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Critical Week: Save your sole

It's been a very odd week for press screenings in London, the lull between the blockbusters. The only big-name movies I saw were a bit lacklustre: Adam Sandler in The Cobbler, an underwhelming comedy-drama with a supernatural touch; Simon Pegg in Kill Me Three Times, an uneven Aussie crime comedy that strains for a wacky Tarantino vibe; Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer in Elsa & Fred, a gentle romantic drama that never quite gets on track; and Justin Long and Emmy Rossum in the artful and evocative romance Comet.

More interesting were two darkly moving movies further from the beaten path, namely the cleverly understated German drama West, set in1978 Berlin, and the intensely introspective rural Hungarian drama Land of Storms. Both films explore societal pressures that can destabilise relationships and make people doubt themselves and their loved ones.

I also caught the extraordinary A Sinner in Mecca, a documentary having its world premiere at HotDocs in Toronto this week. It's about a devout Muslim exploring his faith by performing his hajj, the ritual pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, which in his case could be fatal since he is an openly gay filmmaker. A seriously stunning film that will find resonance with anyone who struggles to balance faith with sexuality.

Ahead, it's another long weekend with a short week next week. Screenings coming up include Chris Rock in Top Five, Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Beyond the Lights, the zombie horror What's Left of Us, the animated adventure Dino Time and the fashion-world doc Iris.

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