Back at the end of December we listed the films that we were particularly looking forward to in 2005.
So far that list seems to have acted like a kiss of death on the movies we mentioned. Meet the Fockers was generally received as a bit of a disappointment and there was no argument that the sequel didn’t live up to expectations. Then it was the turn of Ocean’s 12, which faired equally badly with the critics.
Next up for the ‘Curse of Londonist’ treatment is Wes Anderson’s latest outing: The Life Aquatic, starring Bill Murray. Worryingly there have been disquieting murmurs about this film, mainly that Wes Anderson has descended into his quirky universe a little too far for many people’s tastes. So how has it gone down with the broadsheet critics?
Well the Independent give us cause for hope. Wendy Ide awards the film four stars, calling it “a lovely, slightly wistful, tragicomedy”.
Ide seems to like the trademark Anderson touches such as “Portuguese acoustic versions of David Bowie songs [and] the Adidas limited-edition Zissou trainer” but it is the “base note of despair and anguish that rumbles throughout and occasionally cuts to the surface like a torpedo” that really sets the film apart for her.
The film drops a star in the Times with Anthony Quinn echoing our own sentiments regarding Anderson’s last film:
“Is it a brilliantly eccentric tragicomedy of lost-and-found father- hood or just the worst case of over-calculated, under-felt whimsy since The Royal Tenenbaums?”
Quinn seems to think that whether or not you like this film depends on “your appetite for the picturesquely dysfunctional” which Ide obviously did.
And so over to Pete Bradshaw in the Guardian. Now, if anyone is going to slag this film it’s the Bradshaw but, perhaps surprisingly, this week Pete seems to be hedging his bets: awarding The Life Aquatic three stars and calling it “one of the most thoroughly and elaborately designed movies I have ever seen”.
That doesn’t mean he loves of course. “If only it were a bit funnier” he moans at one pint, suggesting that Bradders really wanted to like this film more than he did.
Still, it’s the bets performing Londonist pick of 2005 so far, and it’s a relief to know that we’re not single-handedly bringing down the modern film industry as we know it (although sometimes we think we’d be pretty proud of ourselves if we did).
We have to take a look at In Good Company this week, if only because it has Scarlett Johansson in it (we know, we know: we’re weak, shallow people…but there you go).
To be honest, when we saw the trailer for this film we wondered what the hell Scarlett was doing (and, yes, we feel like we can call her by her first name, we’re that close). But the critics seem to quite like what Quinn calls “a comedy of corporate and familial tension”.
Quinn gives the film three stars and praises the three main principals who keep the “back-of-an-envelope plot that could so easily misfire” motoring along at an entertaining pace.
We were looking forward to a good, old-fashioned Bradshaw mauling in the Guardian but it seems Pete has got himself a young apprentice called Andrew Pulver…oh well. Pulver also gives the film three stars and is impressed by the “considerable chemistry” between Quaid and Topher Grace (previously seen in That 70s Show).
Johansson meanwhile demonstrates “a magnetic screen presence in a not-too-demanding role”, which is good enough for us (although this might be a ‘wait until it comes out on video’ film as far as we’re concerned).
Wendy Ide is the only reviewer not to like the film, giving it two stars mainly because “it all feels rather too much like wish-fulfilment for middle-aged men who’d like to see young upstarts taught a thing or two.” Although she does like Topher Grace as well.
Stinker of the week is undoubtedly Shall we Dance starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez. Londonist actually had the chance of seeing this film during a transatlantic flight last week and, we have to admit, we opted to watch that episode of The Office where David Brent gets a new secretary for a record third time rather than sit through this tripe.
Unsurprisingly Anthony Quinn agrees with us, giving Gere et al just one star and bemoaning the fact that this remake of a “wonderful Japanese film” has been completely ruined “under the weight of the preening narcissism of its two stars.”
Another one star from Ide in the Times who sums up the entire film in a succinct, two word phrase: “Profoundly irritating.”
And so over to the Guardian for a proper Bradshaw uber-rant…hang on! It’s that upstart Pulver again. What’s going on here? Is Bradshaw paying this guy to go and watch all the shit films? If so that’s a great shame, we love a nice Peter Bradshaw mauling on a Friday, it kind of sets us up for the weekend.
And, to make matters worse, Pulver gives the film two whole stars, his excuse being that there is a “certain goofy charm on display here”.
The Londonist’s Bring Back Bradshaw campaign will begin in earnest next week.
In film news this week it seems that Revenge of the Sith is to debut at Cannes. No pressure there then Mr Lucas.
In very weird news this week it seems that the tragic story of the 14-year-old Manchester kid who tried to entice another teenager to murder him via the internet has been picked up for adaptation by Bryan ‘Superman’ Singer.
And best news of the week has to be the appearance of another Bruce Willis thriller. Yay! While we’re waiting for Sin City, Die Hard 4, and the promise of an Unbreakable 2 we can content ourselves with the fact that Bruce is set to play another “cop with a rough, unhealthy outlook on life” role. You can read the story over in Empire to get all the facts, but we’re sure you can guess most of it.
Trailer of the week? Well it has to be that brilliant one for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy doesn’t it?