Friday Film News

By Rob Last edited 159 months ago
Friday Film News

Normally in the Friday Film news we talk about the big 'blockbuster' release first - gets it out of the way.

This week, we guess that film would be Bewitched, but we're going to save that for later, a) because it looks rubbish; and b) because there is a film out this week that we've already seen and that we love. A film that is our personal 'best film of 2005 so far', and is something we think should be seen by as many people as possible.

That film is Primer.

If you've been paying attention then you'll notice that we mentioned this film back in January after we saw it at the London Sci-F festival, and then again in April when the US DVD was released (which we bought of course).

After all that we have learnt one crucial lesson - DO NOT READ ANY REVIEWS OF THIS FILM.

The whole point of Londonists' Friday Film News is that we condense all the broadsheet film reviews and leave out the little plot summaries the critics almost always insert. We don't like plot summaries in reviews. We just want to know whether it's any good or not.

That's why it's called a review.

Anwyay - with Primer this rule is even more important. Not because of any contrived Shyamalanesque twists or anything like that, but because Primer is a hugely entertaining, thoughful, complex, and intelligent film which will be ruined for you if you have any slight inkling of what happens in the first half hour or so.

Please, trust us on this one - we adore this film and we want you to adore it too; so here are what the broadsheets say today without the plot summaries...and guess what? They love it too.

Peter Bradshaw likes it so much he gives it four stars, comparing it to "Darren Aronofsky's Pi and the downbeat menace of Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation," but then admitting that even those comaprison don't "do justice to its prickly originality".

Pete then goes on to talk about the construct of the film and the core ideas that lie within it's story - so we'll skip that bit and go right to the end where he says:

Primer really does spread a radioactive creepiness around its subject, simply by treating it as an everyday conspiracy thriller, and this radioactivity pours relentlessly from the screen. Like its characters, this film is very, very ambitious and rather mad. Yet how much more interesting than the usual low-IQ product elsewhere. It's an exhilarating, disturbing and funny experience.

With Tony Quinn in the Independent Primer pick up one less star with a very short review which basically says the movie's "potential is awesome,", but the flaw lies in his inability to understand what's happening: "most of the time I hadn't the smallest clue what they were on about. It looks good, though."

If you're anything like us then trying to work this film out is more than half the fun, but at least Quinn doesn't have time to give away the central premise of the film.

It's back up to four stars in the Times, where Ian Johns calls Primer "an admirable example of egghead-guerrilla film-making" (ooooh, our favourite kind) which only falls short of five stars because it "ends up feeling a bit too content with its own obliqueness".

So, in short: we love this film, they love this film, go and see this film.

And now on to Bewitched.

Now, to be honest, we never even liked the original version of this. It was just one of those US shows that would be on in the morning whenever the schools broke up for a holiday. Maybe we're too young but the attraction of Bewitched just passed us by. And, on top of that, what is Michael Caine doing? We had restored hopes after

Batman Begins but we guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Anthony Quinn hates it, giving it just one star, saying "there's absolutely no magic in the movie" (gettit?) and bemoaning Kidman's lack of comedic talent and chemistry with co-star Will Ferrell.

Bewitched does slightly better in the Times, with two stars, but Wendy Ide is not very forgiving, claiming that the film's main problem is "that it can’t seem to make up its mind about what kind of film it is." Apparently "the film positively smirks in the knowledge of how much cleverer it is than the original material, rather missing the point that part of the appeal of Bewitched was the glorious simplicity of its premise."

Ide also ends with a killer blow: "As for Kidman, this is a small improvement on the last remake of a kitsch piece of trash she was involved in. But saying that Bewitched is better than The Stepford Wives is faint praise indeed."


Finally, it's another two stars from Bradders in the Guardian who agrees with Ide in that "that big smirking central conceit undermines any genuine love story," and concludes "the spell wears off long before the final credits".

Last up this week is Appleseed, a shot of 80s comic manga action.

It gets pretty short shrift in the Guardian (two stars) or the Independent (two stars again) where it gets called "garbled and unrewarding" and "thin...and tedious" respectively.

But it's a different story over in the Times, where it picks up four stars and is called "jaw-dropping", "magnificent", and "cool".

Meanwhile in the news this week the Bond casting rumours continue and all we can tell you is that Brosnan definitely won't be doing it.

Elsewhere the release date for V for Vendetta has been pushed back to March 2006. It was of course supposed to debut on 5 November (clever!), but that's all ruined now. It will probably be rubbish anway. Much more entertaining is this site where a guy attempts to get a date with Natalie Portman. Best of luck fella.

Getting more local now, there's been two Heddon street film nights so far, but if you miised them there's two more to go : Cool Hand Luke on 23 August and An American In Paris on 30 August. If the weather's good it should be a good evening out.

DVD tie-in game of the week: Jaws: Shark Attack. Get munching!

Trailer of the week: Shopgirl with Steve Martin and Claire Danes.

Last Updated 19 August 2005