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Friday Film News

By Rob Last edited 145 months ago
Friday Film News
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The first film up for review this week is Danny Boyle's Millions, which we've already covered in our own review back when the Raindance Festival was on.

Back then, our reviewer called it "the perfect antidote to vapid British-set movies", so do the broadsheets agree?

Well, it looks like Peter Bradshaw does, as he gives Boyle's 'family movie' three stars.

"If the Children's Film Foundation put together a version of Shallow Grave it might look weirdly like this," says Bradshaw, before going on to praise the writer Frank Cottrell Boyce who, "has written a nice script" for what Bradshaw sums up as "a jolly half-term outing."

It's another three stars from the Times, where Wendy Ide is falling for the charms of Alex Etel and Lewis McGibbon ("the fantastic young actors who run off with this engaging urban fairytale,") and sums up the film as "a rather endearing family movie", which is about as good as it gets for what is essentially a kids film.

There is a note of dissent emanating from the Independent though, where it's just two stars from Tony Quinn, who has a bit of a problem with the script:

"It is intolerable (to my ears, at least) to listen to kids spouting lines that are so clearly an adult's idea of what will be endearing (eg: social and intellectual sophistication), as opposed to what will be accurate (eg: shyness, boredom, banality of expression). Etel and McGibbon do the best they can, but they are hobbled by the knowingness of the script. Not one line of it sounds spontaneous. Boyle doesn't seem to notice this, allowing John Murphy's Harry Potter-like score far too much rope and using some favourite technical tricks, flash edits, fancy wipes and speeded-up montages included."

Moving on then to the Hilton-starring, horror remake that is House of Wax.

To be honest we were expecting one (or even no) stars across the board for this one, so we were surprised to see that all three broadsheets give it two stars.

"A film that seems determined to embrace every horror cliché in the book" says the Times. "This is the kind of film where the heroine will walk backwards towards almost certain jeopardy; where the supporting cast will strip down to their bra and knickers (thanks for that, Paris) in order to be pursued by a knife-wielding maniac; where people shout, 'We’ve got to go, now!' and then rush urgently into the cellar rather than out the front door."

And, yes, that can sometimes be a good thing. We understand that. But surely grumpy old Pete Bradshaw won't buy into the 'so crap it's good' philosophy?

Well, predictably, Pete kicks off his review with a dig at Paris ("This horror film about inert wax dummies who look like dead people stars ... Paris Hilton.") but then, shockingly, he seems to warm to the whole thing...maybe he's getting soft in his old age (or senile):

"There is something queasily efficient and effective about this nasty teen shocker," says Pete before going on to praise (well, almost) the Hilton heiress: "Paris herself is not obviously worse at acting than anyone else, but she's wisely kept off-screen for most of the time."

And, as for the Independent, well their review is just weird:

"What sets it apart is the titular house and the secret of its amazing lifelike figures: not since Kenneth Williams yelled: 'Frying tonight!' at the end of Carry on Screaming! has there been such a finale of deliquescence"

Usually we do try and cover one slightly more 'highbrow' release in our roundup, but this week, seeing as 200 UK cinemas have today been told that they are to get a Lottery 'windfall' in order to cut down on Hollywood films "in favour of British, classic and arthouse movies" we thought we'd go with the other British release out this week: It's All Gone Pete Tong.

Yes, we know, even the title is out-of-date and annoying, but as long as the studios keep excreting this turgid piffle, the deeper our domestic film industry's collective grave gets (Lottery money or no Lottery money).

No surprise then that the film gets just one star in the Independent:

Michael Dowse's uneasy vacillation between mockumentary, romantic comedy and disability drama, while Kaye's cheeky-chappy persona is as abrasively unfunny as it was in the crown-green bowls comedy Blackball. If you don't know rhyming slang, 'Pete Tong' means 'wrong'. That fairly encapsulates this movie.

And...yep...One star in the Guardian:

"breathtakingly charmless and humourless, and the whole subject is surely years past its sell-by date." "any satire involved is of an essentially celebratory and sycophantic sort; the comedy is leaden, the drama is flat"

And, needless to say the Times gives the film....Three whole stars!

"The hedonism and unabated joyful foolishness of club culture has rarely been captured as effectively as it is in this film" says Wendy Ide, who also thinks Paul Keye is "very impressive" as the "self-medicating club superstar."

We hate to say it, but we suspect that Wendy Ide has been on the sauce again. Bad Wendy!

A quick summary of the film news then before we send you off into the sunshine to start your bank holiday:

There's a new trailer for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory online, and it's as bonkers as you'd expect.

Richard Linklater has been talking about his adaptation of the book Fast Food Nation.

And talking of adaptations, will Leo DiCaprio star in the film version of For Whom The Bell Tolls? God we hope not.

And our trailer of the week? Has to be The Island doesn't it?

Last Updated 27 May 2005