REVIEW: THE AMERICAN
DIRECTED BY ANTON CORBIJN. STARRING GEORGE CLOONEY, THELKA REUTEN, VIOLANTE PLACIDEO.
Opens November 26
RATING: TWO AND A HALF/FIVE
The term “International Man of Mystery” has just been taken to a whole new level. Based on Martin Booth’s 1990 novel A Very Private Gentleman, Anton Corbijn’s The American follows an assassin called Jack (what is it with Hollywood and that name?), as he broodingly wanders through picturesque Italian villages. And, eh, that’s about it. Despite what the trailer indicates, this isn’t a high-octane thriller with constant shoot-outs & a twisting plot – in fact, the violence is minimal & the plot is deliberately vague and sparse. Simultaneously pensive and cold, The American attempts to be both a thriller and a character study, but the lack of action, exposition, or even basic dialogue mean that it doesn’t really succeed at either.
As if we didn’t have enough reasons to love Pixar.
The film studio has joined Barack Obama, Chris Colfer, the employees of Facebook and countless others to contribute to columnist Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project. Savage, known for his sex advice column Savage Love, started the project following the suicide of American teenager Billy Lucas & a number of other young people who were the victims of homophobic bullying. The project asks individuals to upload a video of themselves talking about their own experiences of bullying, and how they overcame these difficult times to lead wonderful, fulfilling lives of acceptance. Over 6,000 videos have been uploaded so far, & now LGBT members of Pixar Studios have uploaded a gorgeous video supporting the cause.
I managed to make it through WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3 without shedding a single tear (I know, I have no soul), but damn it if I didn’t break down at 5.22 of the video. Watch, be inspired, then get on over to the It Gets Better website to take the pledge.
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REVIEW: THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST
DIRECTED BY DANIEL ALFREDSON. STARRING NOOMI RAPACE, MICHEAL NYQVIST, ANNIKA HALLIN, ANDERS AHLBOM.
Opens November 26
The final novel in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy was always going to have a tricky transition to the big screen. Its predecessor, The Girl Who Played With Fire ended just as Lisbeth Salander (the ever-impressive Noomi Rapace) was shot by her father Zalachenko and indestructible half-brother Niedermann. A dramatic climax indeed, but unfortunately it means that our enigmatic and engaging heroine now spends the majority of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest lying in a hospital bed, while outside the ward, government conspiracies and court cases are discussed in confusingly intricate and painfully lengthy detail.
Girl copied my eyeliner.
To be fair, the details are a necessary evil, as there’s a hell of a lot to cover. Lisbeth is up for the attempted murder of Zalachenko, so her former lover Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) convinces his sister to defend her. He, meanwhile, is busy finding evidence to bring down Dr. Teleborian (Anders Ahlbom), Lisbeth’s cartoonishly sadistic psychiatrist who wants her committed, while also uncovering a layered political conspiracy involving ‘The Section,’ a corrupt branch of the Secret Police. There may have been another plotline concerning Blomkvist’s journalist colleagues, but the information overload caused me to have a mild aneurysm, and I blacked out. That, or I dozed off. I can’t be sure. Continue reading
– Robert Zemekis, I thank you. In a world where nothing is sacred & not even Tim Burton can treat Alice In Wonderland with the respect it deserves, it’s refreshing to see a director turn down the chance to murder a classic.
Zemekis had been in talks with Warner Brothers about updating the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, but has confirmed that he will not be involved… Continue reading
DIRECTED BY TONY SCOTT. STARRING DENZEL WASHINGTON, CHRIS PINE, ROSARIO DAWSON.
Opens November 24
While film critics are obviously wild, crazy party animals (honestly, we are), we generally don’t give big reactions while reviewing movies because, I dunno, it’s not dignified or something. So when you’re reviewing in a theatre with a normal, noisy audience, you need to repress your desire to slip into librarian mode and shout “Shhh! I’m working here, stop laughing in my office! And I could also do without you two in the corner groping each other!”
So God help my professional reputation now. During Tony Scott’s wildly fun thriller Unstoppable, I not only gasped, laughed and squealed, but I repeatedly curled up in my seat and hid behind my knees. I promise to feel ashamed once the adrenalin rush wears off.
INTERVIEW WITH SPIKE JONZE
I’m always highly suspicious of people who everybody likes. Tiger Woods was sports’ golden boy til we read his text messages, we all thought Bertie was great craic til he lost our money and hid in a cupboard, and hell, apparently Ted Bundy made a delightful first impression. So after being repeatedly told what a lovely guy Spike Jonze is, I wasn’t surprised when he refused to shake my hand, instead waving me away with a grimace. I knew it. Don’t worry Jonzey, I won’t force you to make physical contact with a mere mortal like myself. In fact, I thank you for waving me away like a wasp at a picnic, as you’ve proved me right – there are no nice people in Hollywood, only bloody divas.
Then he sneezes. And smiles. “I’m so sorry, I keep sneezing and don’t want to get you sick. How ‘bout we be ghetto and knuckle-bump, it’ll be safer for you!” Goddamn it, he’s adorable. Let’s hope he has some dead bodies hidden somewhere in this fancy hotel suite, I hate being wrong.
* Have the Sex and the City films taught us nothing? (Apart from the fact that it’s okay to be racist as long as you do it in Dolce & Gabbana, and the only thing women value over orgasms is co-dependence and diamond rings, obviously.) Determined to truly murder our fond memories of the TV series, a third X-Files film may be inflicted upon us. Writing is underway and the project is waiting for a green light from Fox. Don’t they realize the only thing out there is apathy?
* Americans, take note: this is why we hate you. A live-action remake of the animated masterpiece Akira was wisely abandoned, but it seems they were just pulling a John Darwin, & have shown up on our doorstep in their culture-killing canoe. The Hughes brothers are set to direct, because Menance II Society and The Book of Eli clearly proved their talent for nuance. But then again, Let Me In was a great remake, so maybe Americans can be respectful of masterpieces… What? Zac Efron is in talks to star? Oh, f**k you.
* I rarely offer people relationship advice, but Tim Robbins: go beg Susan Sarandon to take you back, and restore my faith in love, and Tim Burton: find a crush other than Johnny Depp, because you’ve officially entered Woody Allen levels of creepy attachment. But if you crazy kids just have to make a remake of the 1960s vampire soap opera Dark Shadows together, it better be camp as hell, because if pull another crap Alice in Wonderland stunt, I’m telling Helena on you.
* Speaking of remakes that better be good, Disney have released the final Tron: Legacy trailer…and it doesn’t look half bad. Out this December it’ll be interesting to see whether it becomes a Pirate of the Caribbean franchise, or crash and burn like The Golden Compass. Then again, it’s easy to criticise – in the words of Kevin Flynn, on the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy…
REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
DIRECTED BY DAVID YATES. STARRING DANIEL RADCLIFFE, EMMA WATSON, RUPERT GRINT, RALPH FIENNES, HELENA BONHAM CARTER.
Opens November 19
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Based on the first half of J.K. Rowling’s final novel of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One follows Harry, Ron and Hermoine’s (largely unsuccessful) mission to find and destroy five Horcruxes; dark magical objects that are the secret to Voldemort’s immortality. But Harry is still crippled with guilt by the death of Dumbledore (God knows why – the original Dumbledore died four films ago and he didn’t seem to notice), and is determined to prevent anyone else dying in his honour, so the trio leave the comfort of their usual magical environment and enter the big bad real world to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, Voldemort’s reign over the magical world is growing, as his Death Eaters have seized power of the Ministry of Magic and are terrorizing anyone who dares oppose them. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) has moved from being the The Chosen One to Public Enemy Number One, and it’s a race against time for Harry to find the Horcruxes before Voldemort finds him. Except that, for a race against time, Harry spends a hell of a lot of the film just, well, sitting around. Continue reading
REVIEW: CHICO AND RITA
DIRECTED BY JAVIER MARISCAL AND FERNANDO TRUEBA. STARRING LENNY MANDEL AND LIMARE MENESES.
Opens November 19, Lighthouse Cinema
RATING: THREE AND A HALF/FIVE
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It’s a pity Dawson’s Creek wasn’t set in Cuba, because that whole Dawson/Pacey debacle would never have lasted six seasons. After three episodes, Joshua Jackson would have faced down James Van Der Irrelevant on a dancefloor, stealing Tom Cruise’s prisoner – I mean, wife – away for a sexually charged mambo before the two lads squared off in a knife-accompanied cha-cha, ‘Beat It’-style. When they were both killed, Joey would have mourned by stabbing herself, surviving just long enough to sing Lecuona’s ‘Always in my Heart’ before collapsing dramatically across both of her lovers’ bodies.
If you think that’s a tad over-dramatic, you clearly never watched Dawson’s Creek, (gold star for you), but you’ll also never appreciate the magic of Chico and Rita. A throw-back to 1940s romantic dramas like Casablanca, Chico and Rita is a traditional, melodramatic Latin love story focusing on a pianist and his muse, with all the passionate fighting, dramatic exits and fantastic music that implies. It’s just a pity that directors Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba chose to detract from the spirited narrative by using such a lifeless animation style. Continue reading
From the legends over at Cracked.com, it’s just so true. Enjoy this trailer for every Oscar Winning Movie Ever Made.
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