Friday Film News

By Rob Last edited 161 months ago
Friday Film News

Thank God the wait is finally over. The cinematic event of 2005 is finally here: Herbie: Fully Loaded has hit our screens and, as predicted, it is the biggest pile of steaming, foul-smelling celluloid ever produced.

In fact it's so bad that Peter Bradshaw feels the need to bring up the Third Reich in his one star review.

Ah yes: the Volkswagen Beetle, the only car design still on the roads to be personally and enthusiastically endorsed by Adolf Hitler.

Bradshaw calls the film an "excruciatingly unlovable sequel to the not-particularly-treasured Disney movies" during which "Michael Keaton emails in his performance" and Lindsay Lohan manages to utilise less facial expressions than the car.

"It's every bit as hilarious as it was in 1968," says Bradshaw and it seems Anthony Quinn agrees with him. It's just one more star from Tony in the Independent who reveals two slightly surprising facts: first, Matt Dillon is in this turgid piece of pap (he "should have a word with his agent" advises Quinn); and second, "the only noteworthy feature is all the weird innuendo over the sexual potency of a car".


Over in The Times James Christopher acually awards Herbie: Fully Loaded two stars, but we can't really work out why. He calls it "an awesome piece of fluff: a romantic comedy without a single sensible sprocket under its vintage bonnet," which is hardly a compliment, and calls the CGI stunts, "as preposterous as one could wish".

Maybe it's the "pneumatically blessed Lohan" that Jim likes, or (more likely) it could be "Dillon’s villain" (hey, that rhynmes!) who is "a shallow, toothy joy".

In the end it doesn't matter how bloody toothy Matt Dillon gets, we're still never going to submit ourselves to this film.

So why did we start off this week with such a turkey? Well, frankly, because there's bugger all else on major release this week.

We kind of had high hopes for Dear Wendy, but it looks like those hopes have been dashed on the rocky outcrops of the broadsheets' merciless coastline (sorry, we're bored with rubbish films so we've been reduced to forming contrived analogies).

The film (which was written by Lars Von Trier and directed by Thomas Vinterberg) only picks up two stars in the Times despite James Christopher's claim that it is the "only interesting new missive on offer this week by a long stretch."

The film is intended as a satire on US gun culture, but one that can only be viewed as "an exhilarating rites-of-passage film if you are a psychopathic, trigger-happy New Romantic" according to Christopher.

The "melodrama is dismal," apparently and "the consequences predictable", plus the "satirical psycho-drama" just gets "silly".

Pete Bradshaw likes it even less, handing out his second one star review of the week, but at least he manages to avoid mentioning Nazis this time.

Poor Jamie Bell, Britain's great post-child hope, has been saddled with a starring role in this unbelievably annoying film scripted by Lars von Trier, who has come up with yet another of his giggling exercises in parasitic, pseudo-satirical Americana.

Meow Peter!

"It would be great to see a film that exposes America's love affair with guns, and liberal America's guiltily complicit relationship with this love affair," Pete continues "But this terrible movie isn't it. Dear Wendy is a misfire, and a misfiring peashooter at that, a film that smirkingly attempts to hitch a free ride on the excitement of gunplay, while affecting to satirise it in a semi-fantasised locale which indemnifies the author against any possible charges of uncool disapproval."

Can't see that making it on to the press adverts.

Finally, in the Independent it's another solitary star from Anthony Quinn who just accuses the film of suffering from a "heavy-handed treatment and smugly absurdist tone".

Looks like Von Trier and Vinterberk have got their work cut out after this one.

So are there any films out there worth watching this week? Well, yes, but you have to go watch a documentary about Rwanda...not exactly a 'Friday night with a large coke and extra popcorn' job we know, but a decent film is a decent film.

Shake Hands with the Devil tells the story of Roméo Dallaire, the French-Canadian leader of the UN force sent to Rwanda in in the mid-Nineties. In his three star review in the Times says the film could act as "a companion piece to Hotel Rwanda," (there's a tough double bill if we ever saw one) and says that it "deepens our awareness of the causes and extent of the butchery that took place".

The only reason it doesn't pick up more stars is because "occasionally Dallaire’s guilty demons get in the way of the real heart of this story.".

That doesn't seem to bother Peter Bradshaw though, who gives it four stars and calls it an "outstanding documentary," a "gripping and moving film," and "the best new film of the week" (although it's on a limited release - Londoner's are maybe best going to the ICA to see it).

The film also "leaves us with tough questions," says Bradshaw, including "Have the western superpowers faced up to their own guilt? Where are the guilty men in Rwanda now, and what positions of power do they enjoy? On what basis do we divide the portions of moral responsibility between us and the Rwandans themselves?"

Like we said, definitely not a date movie but probably something you should think about seeing if you get the chance.

To the film news, and from one extreme to another: muppets! Well, nearly. Apparently Jim Henson's studio are ready to make a sequel to The Dark Crystal. Tentatively titled The Power of the Dark Crystal, it's apparently going to feature some CGI alongside the more traditional animatronics and you can expect it to be released in Autumn next year. Great stuff.

And if spooky muppets aren't quite trippy enough for you, what about the website for Darren Aronofsky's new film The Fountain? It doesn't do much apart from freak you out, but for some reason we like it. Plus you can download it as a screensaver...which might be a bit much thinking about it.

And if all that's not enough to supply you with some conversation fodder in the pub tonight then why not print out this list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

We know it's ludicrous and meaningless but we can't help but have a read. Forrest Gump?!

Trailer of the week this week has to be Broken Flowers. Jim Jarmusch? Bill Murray? Jessica Lange? This looks ace!

Last Updated 05 August 2005