This week - A dysfunctional family hop in a VW van and travel across the USA to take a young daughter to a beauty pageant (Little Miss Sunshine), a British comedy with Julie Walters and Rupert Grint (Driving Lessons) and some Americans join a German beer-drinking olympics (Beerfest).
Bradshaw gives it 2/5. For him, "Little Miss Sunshine is a genial and breezy film, with a neatly engineered dramatic twist - yet the satiric intent is weirdly uncertain." As with many films, it doesn't know what it wants to be. It's an "essentially conservative picture had dressed itself up as something a lot more daring" and Bradshaw no likey. An example of this is where,
Little Miss Sunshine tips a trembling toe in the murky pool of implied paedophilia and anxiously withdraws it preferring instead to convict beauty pageants on the more lenient and confused charge of being absurd.
The film is also dogged by "plot unrealities" which, "no matter how strenuously overlooked, make this a faintly unsatisfying watch."
However, Ian Johns in the Times and Anthony Quinn in the Independent both award the film 4/5 and write glowing reviews. Both Johns and Quinn are bowled over by the quality of the performances, Johns describing them as a
"superb ensemble" and asking "is it possible to fall in love with a whole cast?"
Quinn describes the "terrific performances". Carell, who we at Londonist regard as nothing short of brilliant, "proves himself a fine actor, not just a comic ... moving as well as funny."
Next up, Driving Lessons featuring Julie Walters and Rupert Grint of Harry Potter fame.
It all takes place in what Bradshaw (3/5) describes as the "badlands of the north London bourgeoisie: from the locations, I would guess somewhere between Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Hampstead Heath"
It seems to suffer from the ubiquity of many British films. According to Bradshaw, "It doesn't quite develop its own identity." also,
it's somehow inevitable that Dame Evie's hilarious swearing and opinionating fade away as sentimentality takes over. But it's a great turn from Julie Walters, and a likable film.
Anthony Quinn at the Independent (2/5) writes that,
screenwriter Jeremy Brock gets behind the camera for the first time, flings the L-plates aside and piles head-first into an awful Brit-com mess
Walters's character "may just set your teeth on edge" while "Grint contributes a goggle-eyed bemusement not very different from his Ron Weasley role" Oh dear.
The only bad words from Johns in the Times (3/5) has for this film is "the stagey climax" which is a "mistake". I wonder what it is?
Last up, this week's all-the-reviews-will-give-it-one-star-but-we'll-probably-end-up-watching-it-on-DVD
Bradshaw gives it one star,
This is a film in which the guys sink ale and the girls flash their breasts and the script appears to have been written by a drunken idiot with short-term memory loss.
Anthony Quinn in the Independent gives it one star,
This is like a stag night that seems to go on forever, though I realise that that might constitute a recommendation for some.
Yes, yes it might.
Other films out this week - Snow Cake (Alan Richman and Sigourney Weaver star in this film about a man traumatised by a tragic accident in his past becomes friends with an autistic woman.), Shanghai Dreams (Qinghong (Happy in her provincial surroundings, a girl questions her father's desire for his family to return to the city.), Right at Your Door (An out-of-work musician seals himself inside his house after dirty bombs go off in LA - but his wife is left outside.), Pulse (A computer hacker unleashes the living dead through a computer virus.), Earthlings: Ugly Bags Of Mostly Water (A look at the life, passions, and quirks of the members of the Star Trek-inspired Klingon Language Institute.)
Trailer of the week - Casino Royale A new trailer for the next James Bond installment.
Finally... We here at Londonist are not ones to spread gossipy rumours, but, why is Suri Cruise's hair so long?