Have you worked out Peter Bradshaw's hidden code yet?
In his review of The Da Vinci Code in today's Guardian, Bradders wraps up his rather disturbing critique of the Ron Howard conspiracy flick with this even more disturbing revelation:
Well, every decoding is another encoding, as the structuralists used to say, and here is a paragraph by Leonardo about cryptography I have discovered in the British Library...
We then get a lengthy passage about 'exquisitely crafted codes' and weird xylophones and 'the most perilous truths to have existed', which, If you take the first letter of every fourth word, reveals a rather shocking prediction. If you want to go and work it out for yourself then be our guest, but if you can't be bothered, highlight the blank area below:
We told you it was shocking.
So after all that, what does Bradshaw actually make of the film? Well he hates it. A single steaming star of hate to be exact.
"A bizarre succession of baffling travelogue escapades," says Pete after claiming that the entire film is actually another chain in the great Sion plot to make us all not believe in their diabolical schemes...we think.
It takes balls for Bradshaw to actually spend so much of his review blatantly refusing to actually critically appraise the film, especially after he was attacked in the Guardian's letters page just a couple of weeks ago after his overly sarcastic drubbing of Mission: Impossible III.
Indeed Bradshaw spends more time ruminating on the hairstyles of Tatou and Hanks then had does on plot, character, dialogue, direction etc. But he hates it, that's all you need to know.
Anthony Quinn in the Independent follows Bradshaw's lead and dishes out another one star review. As compelling as a bowl of wax fruit," says Quinn of the filming, turning the knife by pointing out that the script was written by the same man who bought us Batman & Robin, and then turning it a bit more by...ouch...comparing it to Star Wars:
This may be the talkiest blockbuster ever made and, while it exists on a slightly higher plane of intelligence than George Lucas, it partakes of the same long-winded intricacy as Star Wars.
There is one scene that Quinn describes however that could actually force us to go and pay to see this film:
At one point, when the scene has switched to London, hero and heroine stop on a street. Hanks says, "I need to get to a library - fast", an exquisitely boring line that's made ridiculous when the pair of them then board (wait for it) a London bus. Yes, that should get them there fast.
If anyone can get that particular sequence up on to YouTube we will have our eternal gratitude.
And so over to the Times, where the Da Vinci Code gets it's sole decent broadsheet review with three stars from James Christopher.
Unfortunately JC (fitting initials don't you think?) also manages to give away a huge plot twist in THE FIRST SENTENCE OF HIS REVIEW.
Forget the protests going on outside cinemas around the world right now, that's nothing compared to the pissed off Dan Brown fanatics who'll be marching on the offices of the Times over the next few days.
Getting past the spoilers, Christopher explains that the highlight of the film is Paul Bettany’s albino monk, Silas, who he calls "an absolute peach." An albino, self-flagellating peach in robe of course, but a peach none the less.
It's also good to know that an McKellen manages to hold his own throughout the dross and hairstyles, but it can't be a good sign that a favourable review can only come about when the cinematic version is compared to the literary crap that preceded it:
A cat’s cradle of lunatic ideas with lashings of religious psychobabble, but it’s infinitely easier to forgive than the book that begat it,
Next up this week: The King.
This is a weird one because it's directed by a British guy, James Marsh, and stars Gael García Bernal in his first real English-speaking role. Plus it's co-written by the guy who wrote Monster's Ball and Birth, so there's a bit of added weirdness right there.
Anthony Quinn in the Independent awards it three stars because "The performances are outstanding:" and the story manages to hang together despite itself. But it's the "wilful and grotesque" change of mood halfway in which stops it getting any more stars from AQ, he'd prefer things a little less 'gothic'.
It's another three stars from the Times, where the word gothic crops up again:
A slow-burning Southern gothic, steeped in dysfunction and religious fundamentalism, is a tricky beast for the reviewer. Both its strengths and weakness are inextricably enmeshed with crucial plot points about which, ideally, the potential audience should know nothing. Elvis is an enigma throughout the film, but Bernal is sufficiently skilled to balance this moral ambiguity with a darker strand of real menace.
Full marks for Wendy Ide for not giving anything away...but surely that should be the case for every film, gothic or not?
In the Guardian it's yet another three stars, and we have to say any film that gets three stars from every broadsheet automatically makes us very wary. We just can't help but think 'bor-ring'. But maybe that's just us.
Bradders calls it "an engaging work: a steamy superimposition of outsider-drama and incestuous love story" which is about five more adjectives than the Dav Vinci Code got, and he stresses that William Hurt puts in an especially fine performance.
The story lets things down though; "once an intriguing emotional tangle has been established, the author can think of no way of advancing and then resolving the story," and it's the same complaint as the Independent, i.e. the plot resorts to an easy way out which seems to spoil things a bit.
To end this week (and God forgive us, but there really is nothing else out because of that damn Da Vinci Code) let's look at Waiting.
According to the website we just linked to this is "an incredibly funny independent film about restaurant life.". According to each and every single review we've just read it's a huge pile of wank...but not as bad as The Da Vinci Code.
Andrew Pulver gets this one for the Guardian (Pulver is like Bradshaw's 'sloppy seconds' guy) and he gives it two stars. He starts off with the claim that "Stoner comedies can be masterworks..." and then quickly dispels any notion that Waiting could get anywhere near that. Not least because Ryan Reynolds plays a waiter "whose yen for underage girls is made the subject of some very uncertain comedy. "
Wendy Ide is also giving this two stars and thinks that it "probably wishes it was made in the early 1980s just so that it might have had a chance of getting John Belushi to do a cameo."
Did John Belushi have a thing for underage girls? Probably.
And in the Independent it's a fairly predictable one star from Anthiony Quinn who just can't see the point:
A dungheap of witless riffs on food, sex and restaurant clientele that are either borderline racist or homophobic.
And so on to this week's rumours and news and stuff.
This is just bizarre: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti’s Christmas and Kevin Spacey in a seasonal comedy called Joe Claus?
More cool Hot Fuzz stuff from Simon Pegg. Can't wait for this.
And there's a trailer for Linklater's Fast Food Nation now. But our Trailer of the Week is Aardman Animations latest: