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Friday Film News

By Londonist_ben Last edited 121 months ago
Friday Film News
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This week - The Spartans resist Persian domination (300) and Carmen Electra shoots a British porno (I Want Candy).

First up, a film that went straight to the top of the box office chart in the USA, made a hatload and has angered some Iranians, 300.

First of all, you'll want to read our own review.

What do you mean that wasn't enough for you? What do you mean you want to hear from the likes of Peter Bradshaw and Wendy Ide?

Oh ok then.

Bradshaw gives it 2/5, calling it "fantastically silly".

Bradshaw deals with the moaning Iranians with a sentence that hits like a punch from Stallone full of growth hormone,

These people will presumably now redouble their commitment to historical sensitivity with another Holocaust Denial Conference.

Oooh! Bradshaw strikes a blow for the west, BOOM.

One of his main problems with the film is the acting. The Spartan King, Leonidas, is played by a Scot, "the grizzled, masculine, shouty figure of Gerard Butler, like a poor man's Russell Crowe" and the "silliest-sounding one" is the Australian actor David Wenham, who "has a strangulated English accent, as if he is auditioning to be a commentator on Test Match Special."

This "homoerotic battle fantasy" has also caused a stir with the critics this week with regards to costume. Writing about the soldiers, he writes,

I don't think I have ever seen a more unintimidating bunch. Were they up against Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Hyacinth Bucket we would see 300 arses - that is to say 600 tastefully smudged, semi-revealed Spartan buttocks - getting well and truly kicked.

There is also the issue of length,

Theron's most abysmal act of wickedness, while the King is away, is to force himself upon Leonidas's queen, played in full spirited-filly mode by Lena Headey. "This will not be over quickly," he hisses malevolently into her ear. "You will not enjoy this." I checked my watch at this stage, and found that on this issue, Theron had a point.

and it certainly isn't subtle ("I have never seen a film go in quite so enthusiastically for the ugly-equals-wicked equation") but Bradshaw realizes that there is a "level of cheerfully self-aware ridiculousness", which saves the film a little and means that it is "not entirely without entertainment value."

Wendy Ide gives it 3/5, writing,

300 is shaping up to be the first big hit movie of the year ... And it’s not hard to see why. Glorious, unashamed trash, the film reels in its core audience of teenage boys with computer game plotting, nonstop action and an unexpectedly high tally of exposed breasts.

For those who take issue with the historical inaccuracies of the film,

They are missing the point. The joy of this ludicrously over-the-top movie is to be found in its gleeful undercurrent of self-mockery.

The look of the film is "dazzling and distinctive" but "all the showy pyrotechnics come at a cost: most of the performances are just about adequate and some are very poor indeed."

However, Ide clinches it for us with mention of,

a team of masked ninjas, an attack rhino and a goat-headed man playing a lute, for no apparent reason other than it all looks cool.

News on the official londonist.com attack rhino will follow the reviews in next week's Friday Film News.

Anthony Quinn also gives it 3/5.

He also enjoys the aesthetics, happy that the film has stayed true to "its comic-strip origins and a colour palette of old golds, charcoal and crimson." However, Quinn's preoccupation is with the costumes,

But, for all its martial grandeur, it becomes increasingly difficult not to regard this as a clothes movie. The most fun anyone has here is the costume designer, Michael Wilkinson, who dresses the Spartans in the simple but attention-grabbing kit of scarlet cloaks and black leggings, allowing a clear view of each man's pecs and killer six-pack. The Persians go even further into camp; Xerxes himself is an epicene baldie who wears more bling than Elton John at his birthday party, and his gold facial piercings are just to die for. His elite guards go into battle wearing silver masks reminiscent of those Bafta trophies, which might be wishful thinking on the film-makers' part ... It comes as no surprise to learn that Wilkinson served his apprenticeship with Baz Luhrmann on Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet.

As with the other critics, Quinn's main problem is the performances. While the battle scenes are thrilling, "whenever the movie switches back to the home front ... the dramatic temperature drops steeply",

The central vacancy in 300 is for a team of actors to help us swallow the pieties and sonorities of epic adaptation. The language sounds a little portentous at the best of times, but nobody here (including David Wenham's peculiar narration, which is spoken as if through a 100-year-old beard) has a strong enough presence to carry it off.

Remember, you can catch it at the BFI IMAX.

Watch the trailer -

Next up, I Want Candy,

Bradshaw gives it 1/5,

If you fancy being depressed this weekend, why not pop along to this film about two British blokes making porn?

It's a dire sex comedy in the deeply dishonourable British tradition of the sex comedy that isn't sexy and isn't funny. It makes Sex Lives of the Potato Men look like Citizen Kane.

Wendy Ide gives it 1/5,

Juvenile and fatuous, I Want Candy is the kind of film that gets most of its comedy mileage from use of the word “boobies”

...

It’s seriously, painfully unfunny stuff. Watching it, you feel the will to live gradually seep out of you like the air from a blow-up doll.

Quinn makes it 3/15 with another 1/5 review,

I want back the 90 minutes of my life I wasted on this fatuous sex comedy.

It's just another lamebrain Britcom that will be weekend DVD fodder sooner than you can say "I want my money back".

It looks as if someone is going to have a hard time finding quotes for the poster... our advice is to look in 'Nuts'.

Watch the trailer -

Other films out this week - Catch A Fire (Set in apartheid South Africa, a man is driven to join the ANC and take on a daring mission after a run-in with the police.), Amazing Grace (Biopic of William Wilberforce, the 18th-century idealist who led the struggle to abolish the slave trade in the British empire.), Catch and Release (After the sudden death of her fiance, a woman finds unexpected comfort in his friends and discovers whole new facets to the man she lost.), Midnight Movies: From The Margins To The Mainstream (Documentary that examines six seminal, low-budget 1970s films that transformed film-making, including Night of the Living Dead, Pink Flamingos and Eraserhead.), Namastey, London (A sophisticated Londoner is brought by her father from England to India to marry a farmer who speaks little English.), TMNT (The four turtles, having drifted apart since their victory over their arch-nemesis, reunite when strange things start happening in New York.) and The Gigolos (When a high-class male escort injures himself, his manager steps in and realises his own potential in the job.)

Trailer of the week- Color Me Kubrick

Last Updated 23 March 2007

Adnan Y.

The Film Threat review of 300 is pretty flattering, and it does have one of my favourite paras:

This is no small feat, for if Zack Snyder stuck even more closely to Miller’s source material and depicted the Spartan warriors in the nude, “300” would officially be the gayest movie ever made. As it is, with the bulk of running time occupied with glistening pectorals and half-naked guys drenched in blood and sweat as they mow down wave after wave of attacking Persians, it’s still pretty close. I’d put it somewhere between “Top Gun” and “Commando” in terms of homoerotic military epics.