Thursday 8 December 2022

Critical Week: All for one and one for all

I'm back in London today after a few weeks in Los Angeles visiting friends and family, celebrating Thanksgiving with them, and catching up with a few films there as well. Jet lag will make the next few days a challenge, as will Britain's icy cold snap, but I have too much going on during awards season to give in to that feeling that I should be sleeping. 

Matilda the Musical
The Silent Twins
The Alleys • Hidden Letters
The forthcoming sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish continues the lively antics of the swashbuckling cat voiced by Antonio Banderas, alongside Salma Hayek's Kitty Softpaws. It's hilariously entertaining, as expected. Less satisfying is Devotion, based on an inspiring true story about Korean War pilots that's told with far too much earnest reverence. There's enough to hold the interest and stir the emotions, but the film feels like it plays out in slow motion. And then there's the doc All That Breathes, which sneaks up on us with its bracing insights and vividly involving people who rescue traumatised birds in Delhi.

I also managed to catch up with two movies on the flight home. Infinite Storm, directed by Malgorzata Szumowska, stars Naomi Watts, Billy Howle, Denis O'Hare and Parker Sawyers in a contained, often silent story of survival on a snowy mountain. A jaw-dropping true story, it's spectacularly shot to put the audience in the situation with Watts' tenacious rescue worker. Ad The Outfit, directed by Graham Moore, stars Mark Rylance, Zoey Deutch, Johnny Flynn, Dylan O'Brien and the fabulous Nikki Amuka-Bird in a 1950s Chicago-set tale of a suit maker who becomes entangled with feuding mob bosses. The twisty plot is great fun, even if the film is rather uneven.

Movies this coming week include the blockbuster sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, Hirokazu Kore-eda's Broker, Ulrich Seidl's Rimini, Pakistani drama Joyland, the Iranian drama Winners, Italian comedy Marscapone, Spanish musical The Phantom of the Sauna and last year's surprise Oscar nominee Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom.

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