Friday Film News

By Rob Last edited 166 months ago
Friday Film News

This week, if you're thinking of going to the pictures you've got a choice between a crazed asssassin in Washington, gun crime in Hackney...and Matthew McConaughey taking his shirt off in the desert.

At least you can't complain that the choice isn't 'varied'.

So first up: The Assassination of Richard Nixon.

In the Guardian, Peter Bradshaw likes this one but not enough to give it more than the 'industry standard' three stars.

"Sean Penn gives a pressure-cooker performance in the lead role - the kind that is perpetually threatening to overheat and splatter all over the walls," Bradders says, and we can't decide if it's a compliment or an insult. But Bradshaw does go on to ask the question: "So is the whole film a liberal way of sidling up to the 9/11 issue, a risk-free toe in the dangerous waters of terrorist-empathy?"

The answer: maybe, but then again, maybe not. What he does tell us is that The Assassination of Richard Nixon is "hyperreal, historicised dream-glimpse - overheated and overacted, but very watchable for all that."

Anthony Quinn is a little more generous in the Independent, awarding the film four stars, and calling it a "compellingly sombre first film".

He does save the most praise for Penn's co-stars: "Naomi Watts is very persuasive as wife Marie...Don Cheadle does good work as the kindly, exasperated Bonny, and the Australian actor Jack Thompson makes a memorable brute as Sam's boss."

Can Cheadle do no wrong this year? Maybe we'll have to wait until Ocean's 12 to be sure.

Finally, James Christoper, writing in the Times, gives the film three stars, again praising the support ("a brilliant, razor-sharp cameo by Jack Thompson") and bemoaning that the film is just not as good as it could be (" not exactly the satire of the season").

So on to Hackney and the So Solid Crew and Bullet Boy.

James Christopher (who seems to have stopped reviewing films in favour of just summarising them) gives Bullet Boy four stars and calls it "a gripping parable about street life that ought to touch everyone who sees it."

Peter Bradshaw is not so sure but still gives it three stars, damning it with a little bit of faint praise: "a creditable feature debut...[a] tough, heartfelt British social picture about what we quaintly call 'gun crime'".

Anthony Quinn, meanwhile, is a little undecided, comparing director Saul Dibb to Scorcese ("if he isn't quite in Scorsese's league yet there's real promise in his handling of the inner-city blues") and praising him for his confidence and unsentimental treatment...but still just three stars. Weird huh?

One film which definitely isn't dividing the reviewers this week is Sahara starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz.

It's another one of those Indiana Jones/Mummy knock offs...but crap.

Bradshaw is remarkably generous for Bradshaw and gives this two stars, but he does lay nicely into McConaughey:

"Once again, Matthew McConaughey proves that he is modern cinema's Mr Zero Charisma. He is the celluloid equivalent of Rohypnol: a deadening whiff of pure boredom that deprives you of the power to think, speak or move your limbs. It wears off after a few hours, leaving you face-down in a stagnant pool of vanilla Diet Coke."


In the Independent, Anthony Quinn also awards two stars, and sums up Sahara as "one great steaming mess of a movie." before warning us "not to tread in it."

Finally James Christopeher put the final nail in Sahara's coffin with his one star review, while complaining that "the entire film is required to swoon whenever McConaughey takes off his shirt — an invitation that is unfortunately never extended to Cruz."

Ok then...

In the news this week there's a hell fo a lot of interesting trailers, including:

Some new TV spots for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (bottom of the page).

Some Japanese trailers for War of the Worlds.

And this one for Night Watch, which looks pretty interesting as well as bloody scary.

But the weirdest snippet of gossip this week is that Justin Timberlake may play the baddy in Die Hard 4.

Yippy Kay Hay indeed

Last Updated 08 April 2005