Thursday, 18 July 2019

Critical Week: Vikings and knights

It seems obvious that the Lego's main rival would want its own movie, and there was a press screening this week of Playmobil: The Movie. It's not as sharp or smart as The Lego Movie, but it has a frantic energy that might keep kids entertained. Aside from wacky voice work from the likes of Daniel Radcliffe and Adam Lambert there's not much here for adults. A much bigger family film opens this week, of course. Disney's remake of its classic The Lion King, was screened to the press a bit late in the day. The state-of-the-art animation is staggering, and the story is well-told. Although the emotional impact feels oddly muted compared to the more expressive original.

Off the beaten path, Willem Dafoe stars in the artful Opus Zero, a complex drama that challenges the audience with its exploration of the creative process. Chain of Death is a slow-burning psychological thriller about a guy (John Patrick Amedori) caught up in a tangled web of murder/suicide for no logical reason. My Friend the Polish Girl is an offbeat British drama shot as a doc gone wrong. It's clever and darkly provocative. And the French drama Hidden Kisses is a strikingly well-told story that explores the nature and effects of homophobia in a society that refuses to educate its children. Powerfully timely and deeply moving.

This coming week's movies include the all-star British comedy spoof Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans, Sienna Miller in American Woman and the French WWII thriller Transit. I also have films to watch that are part of OutFest in Los Angeles, including Cubby, Seahorse, Label Me and Sell By.

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