The big movie release this week is the much-anticipated Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy, but it seems that only the Guardian have got round to reviewing it.
We're assuming this is because the film's got a London-only release for now and goes nationwide next week. To be honest, we're going to see it no matter what the critics say...but for the sake of consistency:
Peter Bradshaw give the sci-fi adaptation three stars, calling it "no disgrace" (can you say 'faint praise' Pete?) but bemoaning the fact that "it doesn't do justice to the open-ended inventiveness of the original".
Why didn't he just say "Well...it's not as good as the book." and get it over with?
Apparently "Martin Freeman is inspired casting as Dent," but, "the problem is with Sam Rockwell playing the bizarre figure of Zaphod Beeblebrox...[who] sashays about gamely, but largely uncomprehendingly, sporting a glam-rock costume and unreliable grin, but the character never really connects to anything or anyone else on screen. He's virtually on autopilot."
In the end, for Pete, the "playfully ruminative feel," of the book has been "downgraded in favour of a jolly but less interesting outerspace romp." But we love 'romps' so that's good enough for us!
(Go here for an Empire interview with 'voice of the Guide' Stephen Fry.)
And so on to Tarnation, the indie hit of the recent festivals and a pretty nasty film by all accounts. So nasty in fact, that all three broadsheet reviewers manage to compare it to last year's nasty-indie hit Capturing the Freidmans.
Bradshaw is in a three stars kind of mood this week, so that's what Tarnation gets in the Guardian, and somehow Pete manges to make "unwatchable" sound like a good thing: "An unwatchably raw memoir of how his mother suffered abuse at the hands of parents, foster homes and hospitals."
Not a date movie then.
And apparenty Bradshaw is getting old, because all those flashing lights and quick editing mean he can't quite keep up with the story: "it's the frenetic, stroboscopic flickering of images meant we often couldn't take a cold, clear look at the people involved."
Is stroboscopic even a word?
In the Times, Tarnation gets another three stars, and it's a similar set of adjectives beign employed to describe the "unnerving and painfully candid treatise on mental illness".
According to Wendy Ide, first time filmmaker Jonathan Caouette, "gives the audience a sense of mental illness more visceral and immediate than that of most other films that deal with the subject", but in the Independent Anthony Quinn is a little more cynical:
"There is a sense that what we are watching, for all its painfulness, has less to do with self-examination than self-advertisement. The experimental technique, with its wipes and dissolves and split screens, keeps drawing attention to itself instead of casting light on his subject."
So it's only two stars from Quinn, and he goes on to say that it might be Caouette's attitude to his mother that mars the film: "there is reason to doubt that he has been entirely fair to her...Isn't tact also part of the autobiographer's art?"
And so, finally, we get on to some real, quality cinema. Something with a bit of England (and yes, even London) in it. Something with jolly nice, stuttering upper class people in it,...and weddings! Yes it's The Wedding Date.
Let's start with the Independnet. Hmmm, one star. There's a surprise.
"The film's eagerness to catch some of the Four Weddings stardust is pitifully evidenced in the posh town-and-country Englishness, the glib misunderstandings and the awful mumming of minor characters"
We're liking this so far. Can the Times' own one star review, notch up the slagging stakes a bit?
"A romantic comedy so pieced together from other films with “wedding” in the title — and a big dollop of Pretty Woman — that it should really be called Bridesmaid of Frankenstein...Will Kat and Nick fall in love? Will the ch-ch-charming Brits embrace their Yank counterparts in pub crawling and country house parties? Will there be a last-minute dash for the on-off lovers to be reunited? Of course."
Hmmm... A good effort but not as vicious or as visceral as we'd like. So let's visit the master, Mr Peter Bradshaw himself...and this week Bradders has outdone himself by reviewing this Four Weddings rip off using WH Auden's Stop All The Clocks poem...is there no end to his genius?
You really should go and read the whole thing, but here's an excerpt for now:
"Dermot Mulroney. You know. The boring one who wasn't gay.
He here pretends to be the heroine's lay.
Her ex-boyfriend has to be made jealous;
Why we should care at all, the script won't tell us."
And so on to the film news. We know we keep banging on about War fo the Worlds but you have to admit it does look like a corker, so we feel no shame in telling you that the official website is now up and running with all the appropiate whistles and bells, including the pointless but addictive game! Hurray.
Meanwhile, in huge blockbuster casting news: Christopher Eccleston and Ian McKellen are to star in the Da Vinci Code adaptation alongide the insultingly mis-cast Tom Hanks.
And talking of mis-casting...Vinnie Jones to star in next X Men film? Oh dear.
Gus Van Sant attached himself to Tarnation as Executive Producer, but what he's really been working on recently is Last Days, his 'is it supposed to be Kurt Cobain then?' biopic. Go to the site, click on the white sqaure on the left and go to "film annonce" to see the trailer.
And finally, just a nice link for film geeks everywhere: the storyboards and concept art of Adma Brockbank.
Trailer of the week? Well it has to be the League of Gentlemen doesn't it?