You've seen the hangman posters around town, you've probably also heard about the dramatic weight loss (of almost Zellweger proportions) of the star but now it looks like it's actually time to see the movie. The Machinist is out this weekend and is the story of Trevor Resnick (although every time we see his name we read it as Trent Reznor, the man behind Nine Inch Nails), an emaciated wreck of a man played by Christine Bale who hasn't slept for over a year. There's mystery, industrial accidents, exposed ribs and a prostitute (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh), so it's probably not going to be the feel good hit of the year but apparently Bale, despite weighing less than the average Sainsbury’s shopping bag puts in a heavyweight performance.
James Christopher in the Times gives it 3 stars and says "It’s like Hitchcock drunk in charge of a thriller with no exit signs" but doesn't sound like he enjoyed it very much, while Peter Bradshaw enjoyed it's moodiness but then becomes wistful about Bale's career choices wondering if his first role in Empire of the Sun "set him down a dark, Ballardian career path?". Well we've seen Equilibrium so our guess is no.
Constantine is also in wide release, a comic book adaptation that has Keanu Reeves exorcising demons left right and centre and smoking a lot. This is because he's complicated. We've already had one review on this site and as with most comic book "interpretations" it depends on your familiarity of, or emotional investiture in the source material as to how much of an open mind you can keep going into it. The rabid fanboy community went mental with Keanu’s casting and other changes, and the film did reasonable business in the U.S. it gets a good old fashioned English kicking over here. The Times gives it two stars, Bradshaw hated it, giving a solitary star and making some fairly unkind remarks about Keanu's lack of facial expression.
Ice Age director Chris Wedge's latest effort Robots is also out, a computer animated robot boy goes into big wide world meets amusing characters, rights wrongs and probably learns something about himself in the progress kind of story. As with most PG movies the general expectation is that the kids will love it and there will be another layer for the adults to enjoy. This may or may not be the case with Robots as it gets two stars in the Times with Christopher thinking that "The sentiments of Wedge’s film are uniformly childish" but then Bradshaw in the Guardian believes it contains a "sharp satirical jab at the world of consumer-obsolescence" and gives it four stars.
In other film news this week Wonder Woman finally gets a director, and it's none other than Joss "I'm all about strong female characterisation" Whedon who is currently wrapping up on his big screen Firely film Serenity. We never really caught too much of Firefly except for the odd episode on the Sci-fi channel, we liked what we saw but you have to admire a man whose series gets axed and he thinks screw that, I’m going to turn it into a feature film. Now though he will have to contend with an absolute fanboy frenzy around Wonder Woman casting, not only is she a comic book character but she's fantasy material for a large portion of the male population.
Now that Whedon is doing Wonder Woman this means that the director’s slot on X-Men three stayed free (or was it the other way round?) for Matthew Vaughn, the director of Layer Cake.
Layer Cake star Daniel Craig is apparently down to a shortlist of two for James Bond, up against Nip Tuck star, and soon to be Doctor Doom in the Fantastic Four, Julian McMahon. If this rumour is to be believed, and we doubt it, we fall in the Craig camp, he actual looks hard and would be perfect for a shift towards an edgier Bond closer to the original Fleming character. That and there's just something wrong about McMahon's eyebrows. It's distracting.
Pictures have come out of the Superman set in Australia, helmed by ex-X-men director Bryan Singer, and the man charged with turning comic book masterpiece Watchmen into 2 hours of celluloid gold, Paul Greengrass, is in talkative mood:
"I believe two things, really: I do believe, obviously because I am here, that you can make a film based on Watchmen the novel that is both truthful to the novel and also works in two hours. I really do believe that, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t."
We want to believe as well Paul, we really do.
And finally, seeing as it's been all about the comics today why not try the frankly piss easy Comics to Film quiz over at the Guardian.