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Friday Film News

By Rob Last edited 143 months ago
Friday Film News
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We covered the Guardian's (one star) review of Revenge of the Sith last week, so for the sake of consistency we should look at what the Independent and the Times make of Part III today.

As you might have already guessed, neither paper is really 'enthusiastic' for the film. In the Independent it's just one star from Anthony Quinn, who calls the film a "turgid, subliterate spaceballs"...before getting really nasty:

I would like to bet that Lucas, master of his own billion-dollar imperium, intended nothing of the sort when he put this juggernaut together. Even if he did, a geopolitical analogy could only work if the film had the necessary ballast to sustain it, and the dismal folly before us plainly has no such grounding.

Without giving too much away we can tell you that Quinn dislikes the story, as well as the acting and even the special effects, but he reserves most of his vitriol for the commercial juggernaut the franchise has become:

"Revenge of the Sith is simply the outrider of a vast merchandising strategy, a tool with which to sell toys. Ironic, is it not, that a movie so lacking in dramatic finesse should be so steeped in commercial calculation. The bean-counters at Skywalker Ranch will have a field day. The Force, I'm afraid, is definitely with them"

In the Times it's the same story with a one star review by James Christopher.

For Jim, Sith is just "the damp anti-climax that critics have been denying carefully for years," and the whole thing is made worse by the fact that "Lucas clearly knows nothing about acting, or actors, but he clings to his childish faith in special effects. There are sparkling blue electricity fights, and severed limbs are two-a-penny. Faces crinkle like walnuts. The starship battles are state-of-the-art, but there is no rhyme or reason why they begin or end."

Rather strangely, Christopher also claims that George Lucas "has matured like Michael Jackson".

If we were Lucas, we'd sue.

Notre Musique is Jean-Luc Godard;s latest offering and it seems to be confusing allcomers.

Pete Bradshaw makes it his film of the week and awards the film three stars, but he still can't seem to make his mind up about what he's actually reviewing:

It is clotted, opaque, often absurd. It sometimes reads like the most self-indulgent and maundering commonplace book, pregnant with ideas and jottings, their author unwilling or unable to develop them cogently. But like his last feature, In Praise of Love, something obscurely affecting trickles through the fragments of text and celluloid that would not be forthcoming in any other style.

You know you should be worried when Bradshaw writes that the film is closer to conceptual art than conventional ideas of what a film ought to look and sound like." And it only gets worse when he tries to figure out the meaning behind the whole venture: "What is Godard getting at? That all discourse is artefactual, ideologically monolithic, that it has no durable link with the physical world it purports to describe?"

But in the end Pete does like the film ("However exasperating, Notre Musique represents that most unfashionable and vulnerable of things: the cinema of ideas.") which is more than can be said for Wendy Ide in the Times and Tony Quinn in the Indy who both give it two stars.

"A characteristically abstruse essay on war," writes Quinn as he struggles to find the appropiate adjective: "'challenging' would be the polite word; "meandering" the honest one."

Ide meanwhile cuts right to the chase, asking the question everyone else was too afraid to ask:

"Who are the pair of Native Americans who wander into shot every so often? Is it valid to draw parallels between the Bosnian conflict and the Israeli/Palestinian situation?"

Erm...yes?

Finally this week we have Mysterious Skin, a"provocative, nicely modulated drama", according to Anthony Quinn, who gives it three stars.

"Director Gregg Araki isn't one for making things easy, and even if you guess what's coming there are scenes that deliver a shock to the system," Quinn says, after already given away quite a large chunk of the plot.

And it's the same with Steve Rose in the Guardian. In fact we struggled to find much to actually quote from Steve Rose's four star review because it's nearly all plot, but we can tell you that he calls the film "a powerful, disorienting hallucination of a film," and that the "bright, crisp visuals and ethereal score only add to the sense of detachment, although the two lead actors, and the carefully constructed retro landscape around them, ground the film in reality."

It's another four stars from the Times for Mysterious Skin, where Ide goes to town on the adjectives ("a lush, skin-pricklingly sultry telling of the stories of two boys...") before calling it Araki's best work to date: "[his] unflinching approach to taboo subjects has never worked better than it does in this excellent film."

As for what the Web has to offer in the form of film news this week, we should point you in the direction of this link where you can find the opening five minutes of The League of Gentleman's Apocalypse. We're off to see this at the Prince Charles next Saturday (introduced by the cast) and we can't wait.

More War of the Worlds goodness over at Moviefone where there's yet another trailer for the Cruise v Aliens blockbuster...but this time you get a glimspe of the baddies! We can tell you're excited.

And although tentacled meanies from another planet are pretty scary you haven't known fear until you've witnessed....THE WERE-RABBIT. Yep, it's the new Wallace and Grommit outing and it's (obviously) our trailer of the week (WMV file).

Last Updated 20 May 2005