Friday Film News

By Rob Last edited 163 months ago
Friday Film News
Jaws Screening.jpg

Well we've already seen what Londonist thinks about Batman Begins, so now it's time to see what the broadsheets think.

"The ultimate hoodie is back," says Pete Bradshaw in the Guardian. Weirdly though, Bradders doesn’t seem to know how to review a Batman film - there are seven (yes, seven) paragraphs of plot description in his review, and that's seven more than we'd like and isn't what we've come to expect from good old Pete, but at least he likes the film, awarding it a respectable three stars.

He calls Nolan "the smartest and most exciting British director for many years" and enjoys the "the muddy colours of Nolan's visual palette", but apart from that all he really has to say is "Batman begins, all right. Now where does he go?"

It's another three stars in the Independent, but Anthony Quinn, seems to have forgotten that this film is essentially an 'origin story' and spends a good few paragraphs complaining that Batman isn't in the film enough. But he does like the photography, which renders Gotham "glistening, rain-lashed and as glamorously sleazy as the metropolis of Blade Runner". Christian Bale "gives a respectable performance in the title role, if hardly a charismatic one", and in summary Quinn reckons this is "well-upholstered entertainment, and passes the time more agreeably than any of the other Batman flicks".

For Wendy Ide also this is "the most intelligent and rewarding Batman movie yet," and so it's four stars from her. What Ide likes best is the theme of 'terror' that runs through the movie ("there are some genuinely frightening moments along the way" apparently) but she also thinks that "the new Batmobile rocks" (which is why we'll always have a soft spot in our heart for Wendy).

And talking of hideous terror - We Don't Live Here Anymore is out this week, and it sucks by all accounts.

As you would except Pete Bradshaw give it a complete one star mauling in the Guardian, in fact we suspect it might be more enjoyable (not to mention cheaper) just to sit down with a box of popcorn and an oversized coke and read Bradshaw's review than actually go and see this film, so here's a potted version:

"This movie is a ghastly presentation pack for horrific indie-acting, a nightmare showreel of sensitivity. ..screenwriter Larry Gross deserves an Asbo, forbidding him to come within 250 feet of any John Updike novel. We kick off with Laura Dern doing some slo-mo, free-form dancing after a dinner party with Krause and Ruffalo looking on jadedly, a knowing presentiment of all the bonking and rowing heading our way. The groovy pageant of cliches continues with showing Krause at his job as a creative writing professor...Ruffalo teaches "Tolstoy in translation" at the same institution, where his students are baffled and grumpy, as well they might be. Meanwhile Laura is often seen with a balloon glass of wine to indicate incipient alcoholism, and artistic Naomi has one (thankfully short) moment in which she artistically takes artistic photographs of artistic things - the same artistry governs the middlebrow eroticism of her al fresco sex scenes: textural close-ups of buttocks grinding against tree-bark. Ouch! Can't these people go and emote somewhere else?

The trend continues in the Times where it's two stars from James Christopher. "An emotionally pungent piece of writing but a tortuous watch," says Jim, and apparently the "rips are utterly predictable. So too the mends." And although we have no idea what that means, we don't think it's good.

So what about the Independent? Well, in the Indy We Don't Live Here Anymore gets four stars. We love it when this happens.

Yes, this film "has an assurance and pointedness comparable to Todd Field's In the Bedroom apparently, and "Director John Curran handles the long, rancorous arguments with skill, and exacts fresh, detailed performances from his quartet" two of whom (Dern and Watts) "achieve moments of real pathos amid the shrillness of domestic discord."

All in all this is "grown-up cinema of a very high calibre" then. Or you could just go and see Batman.

So on to indie movie Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (can you guess what it's about?), and Wendy Ide is not a fan of this one.

"The kind of thing that is celebrated at the Sundance festival only to disappear afterwards" she reckons, after all it was made in 2001 and has only just got a worldwide release. However John Turturro and Alan Arkin are in it so that's something. But for Wendy (who gives it just two stars) this movie "sometimes resembles one of those fascistically ordered municipal gardens where even the smallest sprout of spontaneity is ruthlessly pruned back".

It's another two stars from the Independent where the problem with 13 Conversations is that "the storytelling isn't quite artful enough to make us care".

In the Guardian it's just another two star review from Bradshaw who gets annoyed by the director's "cutesy habit of prefiguring scenes with 'chapter headings' that superciliously quote from a previous piece of dialogue, thus attempting to garner a bit of unearned resonance" and wishes the whole film would have centered around Alan Arkin.

In film news this week there's more superhero stuff with a new trailer for the Fantastic Four movie (which isn't too bad), and we're really looking forward to the release of The Shark is Still Working a documentary charting the "impact and legacy of Jaws".

Did you know they're remaking the Poseidon Adventure? Well they are and they've just added some new names to the cast to star alongside Kurt Russell...oh dear.

So let's forget about that for the moment and cheer ourselves up with the trailer of the week: Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm.

Last Updated 17 June 2005