This week - A 14 year old James Bond, (Stormbreaker), Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn break up, (The Break-Up) and Garfield comes to the UK and finds himself in charge of a castle, (Garfield 2 )
First up, Stormbreaker. Peter Bradshaw gives it 3/5, dubbing it an "entertaining teen Bond fantasy" and writing "what's not to enjoy?"
This is the sort of summer film that doesn't go for subtleties. According to James Christopher in the Times (3/5) the "plot refuses to sit still for two minutes" and "the director, Geoffrey Sax, trashes expensive cars and motorbikes as if they were going out of fashion." He calls it "glorious ham". and writes that, "the shameless cultural poverty will dismay right-thinking parents and critics, but it will thrill everyone else."
There is a divergence of opinion regarding the 16 year old star, Alex Pettyfer. Christopher writes that "Pettyfer plays Rider with a grace that belies his years. He is disarmingly handsome, clearly intelligent and seemingly inoculated against arrogance. Quinn in the Independent (2/5) doesn't agree, writing that, "Pettyfer, a handsome kid, isn't quite at ease as an actor, though perhaps he'll grow into the role."
There are other good performances, however, this is certainly a star-studded movie - Ewan McGregor, Mickey Rourke, Alicia Silverstone, Stephen Fry, Robbie Coltrane and Bill Nighy who, according to Christopher, "is a camp and deadpan joy as the careless boss of the Secret Service, Mr Blunt. He wears Eric Morecambe glasses and a thin moustache, and every line he utters is a clipped and sardonic masterpiece."
it's basically an enactment of every 14-year-old boy's fantasy: he already has the skills (fighting, climbing, shooting etc) learnt courtesy of uncle Ewan; now he's loaded up with an arsenal of cool toys to help him out of tight spots... but I couldn't work up much enthusiasm
However, there is little negative written about this film. Bradshaw writes "I was sitting near a lively crowd of schoolkids at the cinema: they enjoyed it - so did I."
Next up, The Break-Up
Bradshaw gives it 2/5 and writes,
The Break-Up tries to be a date movie, appealing to both halves: girly and intimate; male and wisecracking. It breaks up along the gender line... Vaughn only really comes alive when he's going into gag mode with another male: Aniston is the wedding crasher in this movie. In any case, Aniston doesn't get to be funny. She's there to provide the rom - the com, what there is of it, is Vince's department.
James Christopher in the Times (2/5) comes to a similar conclusion, his main problem with the film being the relationship between Aniston's and Vaughn's characters. He asks, "She is a preppy art consultant in a chintzy upmarket gallery. He is a hot-dog munching, beer-swilling slob ... how on earth did this relationship ever happen?"
Just further proof that the classy ladies love hot-dog munching beer-swilling slobs James, get with the times. No.. I didn't mean THE Times, yes I know you already write for the Times... oh never mind.
This sweet-bitter movie is actually funnier and spikier than Doug Liman’s gun-crazy Mr & Mrs Smith, but the final reel is so damnably mawkish and painfully contrived that I felt an overwhelming desire to skewer both stars on the end of a pool cue.
The independent is a little more kind, giving it three stars.
It's not a bad movie, but it is misconceived. Once the laughs dry up - and there aren't many to start with - all the movie has left is the bitter Punch-and-Judy of recrimination.
Lastly, Garfield 2!
We love it when films get panned, it gives us a warm fuzzy feeling deep inside. Reviewers really shine when they passionately detest a movie, the words flow like poetry. Bradshaw deals it a 1/5 and then begins his onslaught,
Film critics are always being accused of having the world's jammiest job. It's true. Usually. Not in this case. I think I would rather watch a dozen live executions, back to back, concluding with my own, than sit through this again. In fact, I think I would rather execute the leading character: a cartoon cat. It's a staggeringly awful mix of animation and live-action about Garfield the unfunny American feline, who goes to Gorblimey-Engerland and gets mistaken for an unfunny posh Brit moggy, being victimised by a villainous lord, played by Billy Connolly, who takes unfunniness to a new level: warp factor unfunny.
Brilliant. He ends his review simply with, "Avoid"
TIMES - Ian Johns in the Times manages to give it two stars but still has nothing positive to say about it,
Don’t kids deserve to be given a bit more heart, humour and wonder? All they get here is a CGI cat dancing to the Black Eyed Peas.
Eugh... Black Eyed Peas.
Quinn in the Independent follows Bradshaw's lead and gives it one star,
At one point a whole chorus of farmyard animals, including Bob Hoskins as a bulldog, are herded into the kitchen to make lasagne, which involves a pig helping to roll pasta sheets. I laughed, but don't let that encourage you.
Other films out this week - Viva Zapatero! (A late-night satirical Italian TV show lampoons Silvio Berlusconi with dire consequences.), Little Fish (A woman trying to run away from her past gets caught up in a drug deal in Sydney.), Regular Lovers (Les Amants Réguliers) (A group of Parisian students get caught up in the excitement and disappointment of the 1968 événements.)
Trailer of the week - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Apparently, London's heatwave is hindering Woody Allen's attempts to get the right look for his latest movie. He is in London filming his next movie which is starring Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell. McGregor said,
Woody is enjoying being here. But there's one problem - he really likes the light flat, so we're currently nobbling him with all this sunshine!