Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Critical Week: Take it to the Supreme Court

I finally caught a late press screening this week for Woman in Gold, the true drama that opened in US cinemas last week and hits the UK this Friday. It's the superb story of a woman fighting for restitution after Nazis stole her family's possessions, and it has a terrific central performance from Helen Mirren, plus strong support from Ryan Reynolds and Daniel Bruhl. Another late screening was for Ryan Gosling's directing debut Lost River, a surreal recession-era drama about a struggling family. Meandering and essentially plotless, it struggles to engage despite notable performances from Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker and Ben Mendelsohn.

Also this past week we had screenings of The Last Five Years, an engaging but fragmented and downbeat romantic musical starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan; the award-winning Clouds of Sils Maria, Olivier Assayas' clever but elusive exploration of celebrity beautifully played by Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart; the dark Irish drama Glassland, which features a turn by Jack Reynor that won the Sundance acting award for his excellent work opposite Toni Collette and Will Poulter; the mesmerising German freak-out thriller The Samurai, about a young cop confronting a cross-dressing, sword-wielding psycho; and Undocumented Executive, a witty, scruffy comedy playing with immigration and class issues in America.

And there were two documentaries that are a must for fans: Lambert & Stamp explores the two guys responsible for The Who, tracing both the band's history and the music, film and art scenes along the way; and A Fuller Life is a remarkable look at the life of iconic filmmaker Sam Fuller in his own words and as reflected in his films.

This coming week we have Tom Hardy's thriller Child 44, Nia Vardalos' comedy Helicopter Mom, the Iranian festival favourite A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the Chinese drama Exit, Mia Hansen Love's rave scene drama Eden, and the acclaimed USSR hockey doc Red Army.

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