All we wanted from the broadsheet reviews this week was to be told that Flightplan is a great film.
To be honest, we’re going to see it over the weekend whatever the critics say, because even though we know the plot will be ludicrous and it will boil down to Panic Roon on a Plane, we just fancy a bit of high-concept nonsense. But question is: will it be good high-concept nonsense?
Well you’d think that if anyone was going to be particularly scathing about Flightplan it would be Pete Bradshaw, so the fact he’s given it three stars in his Guardian review means we’re off to a good start.
“An enjoyable if wildly implausible aeroplane thriller,” says Pete in his rather brief critique, “the screenplay is a Gruyère of plot holes but it’s entertaining stuff.”
A rather non-committal three stars from PB then, so let’s see what Anthony Quinn has to say in his review in the Independent where the film also picks up three stars.
“For about an hour the mid-air thriller Flightplan is terrific,” says Tony in the first line of his review, and we could of course just stop reading there and assume he continues with: “and the rest fo the film is equally as good,” but then we’d just be deluding ourselves.
What Tony Q actually goes on to say is “Eventually the wheels come off the plot, along with the tail, the wings and the undercarriage, but for that exhilarating first hour I’d trade in all my air-miles.” so it’s not all bad.
There’s also mention of Peter Sarsgaard’s performance being particularly impressive, which is good because we need something to balance out the fact that Sean ‘Blades’ Bean is playing the pilot.
So finally it’s over to the Times where we assume it’ll be another few paragraphs of half-hearted praise tinged with ‘absurd plot syndrome’. But no.
Wendy Ide is only in a one star mood when it comes to Flightplan it seems. She calls the film “a huge disappointment” while giving away a plot point we assume is in no way insignificant as all the other reviewers have avoided it. Cheers Wendy!
Now normally we would have looked at the reviews for Everything is Illuminated first because it’s one of those films we’ve been looking forward to seeing for a while now and there’s a general curiosity around just how the book has been transferred to the big screen.
Well, as it happens, we were so curious that we actually got tickets to see Everything is Illuminated a few weeks ago at the London Film Festival…and boy were we disappointed!
We won’t gointo the details of why we weren’t so impressed by the movie because most of the points are brought up by this weeks’ reviewers, which should give you some idea of the marks it gets.
We’ll start off with the lowest mark, which comes this time from the Independent. Quinn gives the film two stars saying, “Liev Schreiber’s feature debut is quite faithful to Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, though this doesn’t necessarily constitute a recommendation.”
Meow. It seems Anthony had a bit of a problem with the book before he even stepped inside the cinema (the last line of his review reads: “the insufferably arch tone of Foer’s writing presents a challenge that even good casting wouldn’t solve,”) so as a consquence his review isn’t all that informative.
Pete Bradshaw’s reasoning in the Guardian is a little more balanced, and results in another three star review from him.
Pete’s main grips is that “the movie is never entirely far from sentimentality,” something that the book seems to avoid but which the film “cannot filter out as effectively”, and as far as we’re concerned Pete hits the nail on the head when he says of one of the main character’s: “[his] fate is odd, it does not satisfactorily discharge its own pent-up drama and tragedy,” (if you go and see the film that’ll make much more sense).
Everything is Illuminated gets its second three star review of the week from the Times.
Wendy Ide also kicks off by comparing book and film, concluding that this is a “somewhat diluted version of the original material”, citing the voiceover provided by one of the main characters as the one thing which manages to “capture the essence of what was one of the great charms of the original book”.
Unfortunately this character isn’t the one playes by Elijah Wood and so Ide concludes, “Wood fares worst in the film,” just one of the “flaws” Ide identifies which go to make this film just a “promising directorial debut,” as far as she’s concerned.
(Can we just also just point out that the music got on our nerves after about half an hour.)
Finally this week it just has to be The Exorcism of Emily Rose doesn’t it?
Ian Johns in the Times argues that the mix of courtroom scenes and horror flashback don’t really work and “any tension is undercut by always returning to the leisurely, sterile court proceedings.” In the Indy, Tony Quinn sums up the film as “three top-drawer actors, one schlocky horror movie,” which actually sounds like a good mix to us. However Quinn lays the blame squarely at writer-director Scott Derrickson’s feet claiming that his reliance on “all the usual horror tricks… diabolic voices, freakish accidents, violent fits,” doesn’t serve the film well and “the only mystery is how Linney, Wilkinson and Scott involved themselves in it.”
Finally in the Guardian, Bradders makes the obvious comparison:
Moderately acted, yet nowhere near ingenious or exciting enough to rival its obvious predecessor, Friedkin’s The Exorcist – and too shallow to be a convincing investigation of religious ideals in a secular law court.
In film news this week, Judie Dench will be returning as the head of MI6 for Casino Royale but she won’t be based in London: “I heard today that I’m not going to be in London. I’m going to get to go to Prague and The Bahamas. They’re getting me out of my box.”
Slightly more exciting is the prospect of another Die Hard movie in 2006. “McClane will now be facing off against a group of computer hackers,” we’re told. Ok, so maybe it’s not that exciting.
Scariest news of the week:50 Cent wants to work with Scorcese. God help us.
Trailer of the week: M. Night Syamalamananalan’s Lady in the Water.
Teaser trailer fo the week (special added bonus this week only): Pirates of the Carribean 2 (click on ‘Movie’).