Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Critical Week: Watch the skies...

Secret Cinema presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back hit London this past week, and looks set to be a box office presence until it winds up at the end of September. And rightly so: staged with a mind-boggling level of inventiveness, this is a staggering experience that lets the audience live the final sequences of A New Hope (travelling to Mos Eisley, the rebel base and the Death Star itself) and then watch The Empire Strikes Back as part of an epic six-hour evening. MY REPORT >

Other films screened to UK press this week include the gorgeously creative Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, starring John Cusack, Paul Dano and the great Elizabeth Banks; the corny farce She's Funny That Way, starring Imogen Poots, Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston; and the arty, mannered character study Manglehorn, starring Al Pacino. Further afield there were three uneven but promising low-budget dramas: American posh boys in Those People, a working class British guy in SoftLad, and three Sao Paulo teens in Boys in Brazil.

There were also a few more documentaries. Going Clear is a staggeringly strong doc about Scientology, taking only one side (no one else would talk) but still offering a rare glimpse into the workings of the mysterious religion. The Yes Men Are Revolting furthers the activists' cause with more lively pranks, this time calling attention to the urgency of climate change. And the still ahead-of-its-time experimental 1929 Soviet classic Man With a Movie Camera gets a digital restoration that reminds everyone why it's consistently named one of the 10 best films ever made.

This coming week I only have a couple of screenings before I take a week off, including the WW2 thriller 13 Minutes, the Brazilian drama The Second Mother, the British indie thriller 51 Degrees North and the supernatural gay thriller Angels With Tethered Wings.

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