Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Critical Week: Full of sound and fury

Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender bring their A-game to Macbeth, the visceral new film screened this week to London critics. It's emotional and strikingly visual, but much of Shakespeare's language is muffled in the process. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer are suave, bickering partners in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a groovy, stylish action romp without a whiff of meaning. The new version of Fantastic Four is a lot more enjoyable than the recent social media storm would suggest, although its final act is deeply flawed. And the surviving members of Monty Python reteamed for the wacky and rather astonishingly terrible sci-fi comedy Absolutely Anything, starring Simon Pegg and the voice of the late Robin Williams.

Even the smaller films were pretty high-profile this week. The Program is Stephen Frears' take on the Lance Armstrong scandal, and Ben Foster's central performance is the best thing about it. War Book is a riveting boardroom-roleplay drama pondering the fallout from nuclear war. Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism is a frantic and rather annoying British kids' romp with an all-star cast including Emily Watson, Lesley Manville and Dominic Monaghan. And The Curse of Downers Grove Air, cowritten by Bret Easton Ellis, is a bleak teen drama that never quite makes its point.

Coming up this week, we have Tom Hardy as both Kray brothers in Legend, Ed Helms in the Vacation sequel/reboot, Josh Hutcherson in Escobar: Paradise Lost, Marcia Gay Harden in After Words, more horror in Sinister 2, dark drama in Drown, family comedy-drama in Brahmin Bulls and a gonzo freak-out in the beautifully titled Aaaaaaaah!

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