First up in the film news this week we have to take a quick glimpse into the horrific mess that is Exorcist: The Beginning.
If you don’t know already, the production of this film has a murkier background than the fictional tale it depicts.
Original director Paul Schrader was ejected from his canvas chair after producing work which was “too subtle” and all the footage he had shot was subsequently binned. The producers then decided that the bloke who had directed Deep Blue Sea was a far better man for the job.
According to Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian, this decision has resulted in a “predictable and silly” film that revels in “crackly deep voices, hounds of hell, and hellish sexual crudity issuing forth from innocent lips.”
While Bradshaw gives the film two stars and doesn’t seem too offended by its crapness, the Independent is a little less forgiving, with Anthony Quinn awarding just one star and bemoaning the “nonsensical plot” and “tinny CGI battles”.
Ian Johns is in agreement in the Times, with another one star review, although he does offer a tiny glimmer of hope in the form of a “proposed DVD release of Schrader’s original version”. Fingers crossed.
And it seems Peter Bradshaw has been on the loony juice this week. His review of Finding Neverland, the J.M. Barrie story with Johnny Depp, starts off with one of the most confusing, stream of consciousness rambles we’ve ever read in a broadsheet:
“Ah, the golden, sun-dappled world of boyhood in our lost Edwardian age! The toasting of crumpets by the nursery fire, fondly superintended by one’s apple-cheeked nanny, the glorious picnics from Fortnum’s hampers on a dazzling white cloth! The cardboard bus tickets, the pennies as big as manhole-covers, the 10-shilling notes as big as newspapers; a world in which one might as a child bowl a hoop in one’s sailor suit along Kensington Gardens, where one’s make-believe games would be inspired by meeting a sad-eyed literary gentleman of a certain age who had no interest in chopping one up and attempting to hide the remains in an out-of-town self-storage facility.”
Bradshaw does actually end up reviewing the film, and gives it two stars, mainly (we think) because he finds Johnny Depp “very very odd”.
The reviews in the Independent and the Times are a little more sane, but only slightly more complimentary. Anthony Quinn awards the film three stars for Depp’s “decent Scots accent”, David Magee’s script and Roberto Schaefer’s photography; while Wendy Ide adds another three stars and suggests it could have earned more if only Kate Winslet could be a more convincing consumptive.
(The Independent have this interview with Winslett where she talks about the film and turning down Woody Allen…how dare she!)
The documentary of the month is The Corporation, which purports to dissect the mindset of big business.
If there’s on thing broadsheet reviewers don’t like it’s being preached at, and it shows in the reviews.
Bradshaw calls it “wildly over-long” and “self-indulgently long” as well as “unfocussed” and “unshapely”. So we’re guessing it’s quite long then.
Bradshaw’s three stars are echoed in the Independent by Anthony Quinn, who says “for 144 minutes the hand wringing becomes a bit much”. See how long this film is? 144 minutes!
And can you guess what Ide says in the Times? That’s right: “At more than two hours and 20 minutes in length, crammed with dense theorising, it requires concentration”.
So on to the upcoming stuff.
There’s a new trailer and some screen captures from Ocean’s 12 over at the official Warner Bros site. Don’t visit if the sight of Clooney and Pitt looking too cool for their own good might offend.
Meanwhile in superhero news, we have this picture of Michael Chiklis as The Thing from the Fantastic Four set. Looks pretty good we think. Damn stuffy…but cool.
And last but not least: here’s a ‘teaser poster’ for Star Wars – Revenge of the Sith….oooh creepy.