Berlin fest gets under way

Posted by · 6:25 am · February 6th, 2009

As far as press coverage goes, the Berlin Film Festival tends to get a bit drowned in the flurry of Oscar season, so you could be forgiven for failing to notice that it actually kicked off last night, with the world premiere of Tom Tykwer’s corporate thriller “The International.”

Sadly, as I suspected, the film doesn’t seem to be much to write home about. Screen International describes it as “ploddingly talky,” describing stars Clive Owen and Naomi Watts as “leaden” and “struggling,” respectively. Variety is no more enthusiastic, deeming it a “mostly ho-hum” exercise. As a fan of both stars and the director, it’s disheartening to see them all punching so far below their weight; Owen, in particular, needs to have a word with his agent. (Why is one of the best actors of his generation stuck in a rut of identikit thrillers? Is “Inside Man 2” really called for?)

Anyway, onwards and upwards. Tonight sees the premiere of “Ricky,” the new one from Fran├žois Ozon, who is always interesting even when he misses the mark. (And I must admit that, after the unholy mess that was Ozon’s recent “Angel,” I don’t have the greatest of confidence in this new fantasy-comedy experiment.)

The weekend will shed some light on two very intriguing titles. Sally Potter’s “Rage,” which features (amongst other things) Judi Dench, Eddie Izzard and Jude Law in drag, promises to live up to the batty eccentricity of Potter’s best work — check out Nat Rogers’ illustrated preview here. Meanwhile, Lukas Moodysson’s “Mammoth,” a seemingly “Babel”-flavoured story of families in crisis, stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams, and has long been one of my most anticipated films of the year. Fingers crossed.

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3 responses so far

  • 1 2-06-2009 at 6:30 am

    Jason said...

    the movie i’m most looking forward to coming out of berlin is “cheri.” the reunion of stephen frears, christopher hampton & michelle pfeiffer instantly makes it to the top of my must-see list for ’09. “dangerous liaisons” is one of my all-time favorite movies – a period piece with contemporary relevance. hopefully, “cheri” will not disappoint.

  • 2 2-07-2009 at 3:42 am

    PJ said...

    Those Jude law/Judi Dench shots from “Rage” look very intriguing indeed.