This week we look backwards to World Trade Center, fast forward with Click and then arrive closer to home with Life & Lyrics.
Let's just get straight into it with Bradshaw's (1/5) review of WTC:
There are some films so awful, of such insidious dishonesty and mediocrity, that their existence is a kind of scandal... Stone never puts a foot right. He uses lumberingly misjudged state-funeral camerawork and elegaic music actually before, and during, the horrific attack itself, smothering its dramatic impact in a hundredweight of scented cotton wool. And he insists on performances of utter fakeness from everyone.
Ouch. No redeeming features at all then? What about the womenfolk sat at home fearing the worst?
These sleek Hollywood showponies are about as far from real human beings as Earth is from Alpha Centauri: they look like L'Oreal models in peril, twittering and wittering as the guys pull up outside in their squad cars and station wagons. Compare them, or anyone else from this film, with Paul Greengrass's United 93, that magnificently real tribute to American courage, and the sheer phoney-baloneyness of everything is just embarrassing.
Just go read the full review. It's been a while since we saw Bradders fire all guns and it’s entertaining as hell. Wendy Ide doesn't think it's quite so bad (
32/5) and reckons it would fair a lot better if it hadn't come so soon after the much superior United 93:
there are sequences in the film that are quietly, devastatingly powerful and others as incendiary as the fires at the heart of the wrecked towers.
Anthony Quinn, however, rates the film as high as he can (5/5) and yet also points out its flaws:
Bello and Gyllenhaal are good actresses, but there's almost nothing in Andrea Berloff's script to save them from the onslaught of cliché: they merely dig deeper into their separate wells of misery, and try to cope with moppets asking questions like, "Is Daddy coming home?" Craig Armstrong's lachrymose score twists your arm so hard you'll beg for it to stop.
There's agreement across the board though with the latest Adam Sandler vehicle, Click. In a perfect world Sandler would have retired after the sublime Punch Drunk Love instead he continues to wipe out any memory of him being anything but annoying. Or as Anthony Quinn (2/5) states, "Adam Sandler: two words that come around far too regularly in a film critic's life". Wendy (2/5) continues the theme:
The mass appeal of Adam Sandler is something of a mystery. Charmless, juvenile and given to flatulence-based humour, he’s the screen equivalent of the person who thinks belching the theme from Jaws is an acceptable alternative to wit
If you want to see Mr Sandler break wind into David Hasselhoff's face then this is the film for you. Bradders (2/5) gets the last word regarding the lead: "Jimmy Stewart he ain't"
Life & Lyrics is set in what Anthony Quinn (3/5) calls "the council badlands of south London". It sounds like Romeo & Juliet crossed with 8-Mile, but Quinn reckons it "locates a seam of truthfulness about lives endured in difficult and unparented circumstances". Andrew Pulver (2/5) thought less of it:
the climactic soundclash scenes definitely disappointing - despite the cusswords, they seem about as exciting as a school assembly.
Wendy Ide (3/5) though manages to make it sound a lot better than anything else on offer this week:
The soundtrack is slick, the accomplished screenplay gives depth to even the peripheral characters. But the real draw for this film is the cast — fresh, feisty and spitting with attitude, they own the screen.
Now grab a cape because we're concentrating on superhero news:
Robert Downey Jr. is going to have a go at a superhero franchise by donning armour for an Iron Man movie. He's probably not the obvious choice, but with some great turns recently in Good Night and Good Luck, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and A Scanner Darkly he's certainly got his acting chops back. Ex-Swinger Jon Favreau is set to direct (wasn't he doing a John Carter Mars movie at some point?) What we really need is for someone to make Fast Times at Hero High.
Michael Caine is back as Alfred in the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, and also lets slip he's in the remake of Sleuth. Having him on board made it sound less of a travesty until we found out Jude Law is also in it. Maybe Sir Michael only signed on so he could get close to Law and kick him in the bollocks for Alfie.
Trailer of the week - the dumb, but enjoyable looking Deja Vu.