This week: Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, Broken Flowers and Into The Blue.
Kicking off this week then with more half-term, stop-animation goodness in the form of Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
The film gets three stars from Pete Bradhsaw who thinks it will be "best be enjoyed by tweenie goths, who will want to turn out for it out in full costume on Halloween night before getting into the real business of annoying the neighbours with a spot of trick-or-treat." Good God! Can you imagine going round Pete Bradshaw's house for trick or treat: Are those glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth supposed to be scary? I've seen scarier things on the Disney Channel. And call that a fake knife-wound? Someone needs to have serious words with their special effects department."
Where were we? Oh, yes Corpse Bride...Bradshaw can't seem to decide if it's any good or not (hence, the middling three stars) and concludes that "after the meticulous and thoroughly imagined triumph that was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this looks like something that Tim Burton dashed off in double time. He's done it with great panache, though."
In the Indie, Anthony Quinn is equally noncommital (especially as at the time of writing there doesn't seem to be a star rating attached to the film), preferring to praise the film's more technical aspects:
The animation, which recalls the pointiness and grotesquerie of Ronald Searle, is wonderful, so too the voicework and the denouement of self-sacrifice emerging from the titular bride's unlikely combination of Miss Havisham and Brian De Palma's Carrie.
In the end, we're told to think of it as "Tim Burton does, as "just a love story with skeletons". A sentence which,as you may realise, doesn't make any sense.
In the Times, James Christopher is in generous mood and awards Burton's film four stars, calling it "an animated marvel" and "a terrific puppet fantasy" mainly, it seems, for the way it portrays the zombie afterlife as "a Mexican Day of the Dead" (now that's a good idea for movie!).
Next up is Bill Muray in Broken Flowers. Now we would have covered this first, as we have been really looking forward to it...except we kind of suspected that all the reviewers have been really looking forward to it as well. It's just one of those kind of films.
True to form, Bradshaw gives the film four stars in the Guardian. "A lugubrious, lenient, sweetly acted comedy," gushes Bradders, adding that the film includes a "a tremendous performance from Bill Murray, whose fanbase is in for a treat"
And then Bradshaw gets all confessional on us:
Anyone who suspected that critical acclaim for that film was down to a global conspiracy of male-menopausal critics who thought that they, too, might one day entrance Scarlett Johansson with fatherly wit might have similar grounds for scepticism here. Murray gets to have highly-charged, if not always sexy encounters with four beautiful ex-girlfriends in their 40s, and indeed flirtatious scenes with two complete babes in their early 20s. And that doesn't even count the scenes with his current girlfriend: Julie Delpy.
Broken Flowers, concludes Bradshaw, has "big laughs [and] shrewd truths" and is Jarmusch's "most enjoyable, accessible work for some time, perhaps his most emotionally generous film". There's loads more praise in the review, but we think you get the idea by now.
It's a similar story in the Independent where the paper remembers to add the stars this time (four of them), except here Tony Quinn sees more of a correlation with films such as High Fidelity i.e. it's a 'revisiting old girlfriends' movie (although we would like to see the 'Bill Murray plays record shop employee' movie).
Quinn muses that the film wouldn't really work without "Murray, the sad-clown prince and world-class haunter of hotel rooms" holding the thing together; and "that Jarmusch hasn't quite got the willpower to pull it together as a movie," but despite that its the "terrific performances of the women in general and of Murray in particular" that makes the film a four-starrer.
Weirdly, when we got round to clicking on the Times' review we were actually willing James Christopher to not like the film...and we almost got our wish.
It's only three stars from Jimmy, who, despite a self-confessed "love [for] Jarmusch’s elusive heroes," finds "Murray’s stony-faced loner a tough ask."
And while he finds "joy..in the scenarios [that] never play out as expected," Christopher ends up feeling "that more, in this case, would be infinitely better."
After all that gushing praise we can hardly be blamed for wanting to read a few of the reviews for 'wet, attractive people, flick Into the Blue could we?
Bradsahw gives Jessica Alba et al a surprisingly weighty two stars, and coins our new favourite word into the bargain:
Jessica Alba - the most babeissimo woman in Hollywood right now - spends a great deal of the movie swimming around in a bikini which has been made from just enough material to fashion a beret for a mouse.
Goddammit Pete, now we want to see the 'mouse in a beret' film!
(And why we're on the topic of great words, full marks to Pete for getting the word 'pulchritudinous' into his review.)
Pete sums the film up as "fantastically silly, but it's moderate entertainment", while over in the Independent (no stars again, sorry) Tony Quinn seems a little less open to the idea:
I never imagined I'd be bored by Jessica Alba in a swimsuit, but Into the Blue brought me close. It's not the underwater adventure of treasure-hunting that palls so much as the cast: could there be a blander hero than Paul Walker? The plot is reduced to the devil (drug dealers) and the deep blue sea (sharks), with the sharks giving better performances.
That's the whole review.
The Times doesn't even bother to review the film...however it does give us our first 'film news' link this week: an interview with Woody Allen in which he professes his love (yes, again) for London:
"My family couldn’t wait to get back to London," Allen says, a sentiment echoed by Soon-Yi, who declares that "there’s so much special to do here for the children that I’ve managed not to duplicate anything special we did here last summer".
There's a slighlty more revealing interview in the Guardian's film section today: this one with Steve Coogan. So, does he admit to egtting Courtney Love preggers? You'll have to read the article.
Trailer of the week: could be Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (yes, Val Kilmer is in it, but it's supposed to be alright), it could be Brian Jones biopic, Stoned, or it could be Cillian Murphy in drag for Breakfast on Pluto, we can't decide.