Thursday, 21 September 2017

Critical Week: Take a break

Press screenings for the 61st BFI London Film Festival started on Monday, and first out of the block were films that have a UK release coming up soon after the festival ends (it runs 4-15 Oct). I'll write more about these movies during the festival itself, including full reviews of many of them. But this week I saw Luca Guadagnino's exquisite Call Me By Your Name starring Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet (above), Aubrey Plaza in the snappy black comedy Ingrid Goes West, Russian master Andrey Zvyagintsev's excellent Loveless, Japanese master Takashi Miike's gritty and layered samurai epic Blade of the Immortal, the quirky Zambian satire I Am Not a Witch, and the fascinating doc The Prince of Nothingwood about an outrageous Afghan filmmaker.

As for non-festival movies, since there were no press screenings I could attend, I had to buy a ticket to see Kingsman: The Golden Circle at my local cinema on Wednesday morning. It's good fun, in a nutty sort of way, but pales in comparison to the transgressive original. Reese Witherspoon and Michael Sheen showed up in person (pics on Instagram!) to introduce their new film Home Again, along with writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer and producer Nancy Meyers. It's the perfect film for people who love sappy movies about perfect white people. Much scruffier, Big Bear is a rather clunky Hangover-style bachelor party movie that turns violent. Shot is a riveting drama tracing the impact of a gunshot from a variety of angles. The Ritual is a twisty and atmospheric thriller about a group of Brits lost in a very creepy Swedish woodland. And In Between is the terrific Israeli comedy-drama that has caused all kinds of controversy in its homeland for its depiction of free-thinking Palestinian women.

Coming up this next week, we have the AA Milne biopic Goodbye Christopher Robin, Adam Sandler in The Meyerowitz Stories and the nature doc Earth: One Amazing Day. London Film Festival screenings include Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger, Claire Foy in Breathe, Michael Haneke's Happy End, Robin Campillo's 120 BPM, the black comedy Brigsby Bear, the Aussie thriller 1%, the Israeli drama Foxtrot, and the Chilean drama A Fantastic Woman. Yes, it'll be another busy one!

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