Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Critical Week: All hands on deck

London critics caught up this past week with Ron Howard's watery epic In the Heart of the Sea, starring Chris Hemsworth. It's an impressive film, based on the story that inspired Moby Dick and plotted like a small indie film rather than the blockbuster it looks like, which may not help its box office prospects. Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell star in Daddy's Home, a comedy pitting a father against a stepdad. It's funny and rather lightweight. Taron Egerton stars in a biopic about Britain's most notorious Winter Olympian Eddie the Eagle, a crowdpleaser costarring Hugh Jackman. And Matthias Schoenaerts continues his stream of superb performances this year in the creepy Belgian PTSD drama Disorder.

And there was just one press screening of the year's most anticipated movie, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the 30-years-later sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi reuniting stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, plus a terrific collection of young actors including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson. It's a rousing adventure that harks back constantly to the original trilogy. And it relaunches the franchise in energetic style.

Between screenings, most of my week has been spent organising the nominations announcement for the London Critics' Circle Film Awards on Tuesday 15th December (see the FULL LIST OF NOMINEES). This coming week I'll catch up on nominees I may have missed, plus the Jason Sudeikis comedy Sleeping With Other People and two Zac Efron movies: the comedy Dirty Grandpa with Robert DeNiro and the drama At Any Price with Dennis Quaid.

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