Thursday, 14 December 2017

Critical Week: Stop and smell the flowers

It was pretty daring of Fox to release the animated movie Ferdinand this week, but for critics it was a welcome respite from Star Wars mania. The warm-heated core story is still there the beloved 1930s book and short, although it has been expanded with mindless action-comedy chaos. Meanwhile, the big news of course was the single press screening on Monday night of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, introduced by writer-director Rian Johnson. It's a massive, slightly over-intense two and a half hour battle epic packed with excellent characters and surprising connections.

I also caught up with Margot Robbie's excellent performance in I, Tonya, a bitterly comical take on disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding. But there's an important point to the tone. Hugh Jackman stars in the colourful musical The Greatest Showman, which tells the story of circus founder PT Barnum with great songs and elaborate choreography. Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart reteam for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a somewhat pointless reboot to the franchise, although it's at least energetic. And Liam Neeson continues in mindless action mode for The Commuter, a contrived thriller set on a train.

Further afield, we had the offbeat British indie drama Beast, which tells a twisted story that's part romance and part thriller. And Peccadillo put out their latest compilation Boys on Film 17: Love Is the Drug, nine short films about desire. It's a very strong collection this time, with films made over the past five years.

I only have a couple of screenings over the next couple of weeks, including Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World and Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel. But I still have quite a few awards-season screeners to catch up with as time allows. I'll prioritise the ones that pick up nominations.

No comments: