So let’s get right into this week with the first real UK broadsheet review of Star Wars courtesy of (who else?) Pete Bradshaw.
(No spoilers here by the way: Londonist policy).
Maybe not surprisingly, Pete gives the film just one star, and that’s pretty generous coming from someone who feels they’ve just sat through “what seems like seven hours of CGI action as dramatically weightless as the movement of tropical fish in an aquarium”.
We’ll take PB’s review with a pinch of salt because he’s a grouch at the best of times and we’re trying to keep our Sith spirits alive; but, if nothing else, the sheer vitriol Bradshaw spouts at the entire Star Wars package does make for an entertaining read:
“Once again, McGregor speaks in a simperingly lifeless Rada-English accent, a muddled and misconceived backdating of the Guinness original – the young fogey with the light-sabre. In boringness he is matched by that Jedi master of woodenness: Hayden Christensen, the flatliner to end all flatliners. As an actor Christensen must show the terrible embryo of future wickedness within himself. And how does he do this? By tilting his head down, looking up through lowered brows and giving the unmistakable impression that he is very, very cross. If Princess Diana had gone to the Dark Side, she would have looked a lot like this.”
Pete also moans about the fact that there is no ‘fun’ in the film (“C-3PO is allowed on to whinge briefly and unfunnily”) but does admit that “Yoda is good value as ever, though his character is never allowed to breathe in the airless galaxy Lucas creates”.
“There is a good sequence at the end,” says Pete, before going on to say what it is, but we won’t print that here for obvious reasons.
In summary Bradshaw thinks that Revenge of the Sith is “all too clearly a product of George Lucas’s overweening production giant Industrial Light and Magic. No magic, little light, but an awful lot of heavy industry.”
And it will make absolutely zero difference to the amount of people who will pay to go and see it.
So then, let’s move on to some serious martial arts ass kicking in the form of Ong-Bak.
Pete Bradshaw has some much kinder words for this “wildly enjoyable action thriller”, awarding it four stars. Pete obviously has a lot of time for “terrific free-running chase sequences” and he even resorts to using a real film reviewer cliché: “It’s all high-octane entertainment”, so it must be good.
Of course the appeal of Ong-Bak is the fact that there is no camera trickery or wire acrobatica, which means that “the stunts have the sweat and adrenaline of something happening in real life and not on a laptop computer.”
It’s the same conclusion over in the Times, where Wendy Ide gives the film four stars, and really the first line of her review alone, is enough to make us want to see this film: “You have to respect a man who remains cool and collected enough to win a fight even when his trousers are on fire.”
Wendy also likes the reality stunt sequences (“Every insane stunt, every flying leap from a balcony to knee a bad guy in the throat, is slowed down and repeated just in case we missed it. It’s a fairly rudimentary and clumsy directing technique but it is effective.”) and is slightly too pleased that the performers are quite clearly getting hurt in the process: “It’s abundantly clear that in Ong-Bak there is a fair amount of cartilage-shredding damage being done in practically every scene.”
The story is lightweight, accordign to Ide, but then again, “the story is the last reason to see this film. It’s a showcase, pure and simple, in which to witness a young man perform physical feats which hardly seem possible, and then to see them all over again in slow motion.”
Maybe it’s just us being stupid, but we can’t seem to find a review for Ong-Bak on the Independent’s website. If you know of one send it our way.
Next up this week is Adrien Brody in The Jacket.
We’re not fans of Brody (remember his ‘village idiot’ performance in The Village’?..stinker) but we did like director John Maybury’s Francis Bacon biopic Love is the Devil, so we were slightly torn about this one. Unfortunately it seems it may be a bit of a stinker.
It’s just two stars for The Jacket in the Independent, where Anthony Quinn seems similarly undecided:
“The implausibility of this time-travel psychodrama is countered by the strength-in-depth of its cast…John Maybury…beguiles us along the way without ever shaking off the ghosts of similar-themed movies such as Twelve Monkeys and Jacob’s Ladder.”
The two stars theme (and the comparisons) continue in the Times, but this time the criticism is a little more damning:
“Vaguely sinister men in white coats have poor Adrien Brody trapped in a mortuary drawer while they perform a dreadful experiment. Their plan is to genetically splice the DNA of Jacob’s Ladder with that of Memento and force Brody to appear in the resultant hallucinogenic mishmash of a supernatural thriller…For the love of all that is precious, don’t go to this silly, overcooked film or risk losing all respect for Brody and for the director.”
Hmm, we can’t see that last bit making it to the DVD sleeve.
Andrew Pulver, in the Guardian, joins the two star bandwagon and pretty much echoes the other papers: “Very little hangs together or amounts to very much,” Pulver says before offering a possible explanation for Maybury’s fall from grace: “Maybe the 16 other producer credits alongside Soderbergh and Clooney tell their own story.”
We couldn’t finish this week without glancing at Seed of Chucky.
Ok, so it only gets one star in the Independent, another one in the Times and two in the Guardian, but you know part of you still wants to see this film “in which the homicidal doll returns, this time with his bride and an androgynous carrot-topped offspring who bears a passing resemblance to a David Bowie puppet.”
That’s from the Inddpendent, but weirdly enough the Bowie comaprison pops up in the Guardian (“like a zombiefied Ziggy Stardust”) and in the Times (“an effete English doll who looks like a young Ziggy Stardust”).
Wow, are we sure this isn’t an uncredited David Bowie earnig a bit of extra cash?
Our favourite comment though comes from Tony Quinn who remembers the scene where, “hacking through a bathroom door with an axe, Chucky pokes his face through the splintered panel and leers… ‘I can’t think of a fucking thing to say!’ At this, I’m afraid, I laughed.”
We don’t blame you Tony.
Elsewhere this week, it’s all about Cannes of course, so we were glad to see Woody Allen talking about how much he loves London, and even more pleased to see that Woody’s new film might actually receive some good reviews for once.
And, what do you know? David Lynch has a new film in the pipeline.