This week, to set the pulses racing, the film world has given us a film about paedophilia (Hard Candy), a satire about the cigarette industry (Thank You For Smoking) and a movie about a bunch of chavvy wankers (The Fast and the Furious : Tokyo Drift).
First up, Hard Candy.
A warning to you, dear reader. Almost all of the reviews for this film reveal the end. Now, lowly as we are here at Londonist in the world of film reviewing, we'd rather not know the end before we see a movie and expect that you think the same. All we'll give you is a quote from Monsieur Bradshaw, "The climax is a drawn-out scene that will have males crossing their legs and cringing." Lovely!
The crux of this movie is, as Bradders puts it in his three star review, "the central role-reversal of manipulation and violence". It's hard to explain without revealing some rather large plot twists, but the relationship between paedophile and victim is not as clean cut as one might expect. For Bradshaw, this "obtusely misrepresents the actual power relations of sex abuse both in the real world and on the net."
All of the reviewers are impressed by Ellen Page, who plays object of the paedophile's affections. Wendy Ide in her two star review in the Times writes, "As a cold, angry and implacable head on barely pubescent shoulders, Page turns in an impressive performance." Quinn in the Independent (3/5) writes, "Ellen Page dominates the screen with terrifying precocity. You won't forget her anytime soon." However, Ide does add one caveat, "It’s not her fault that her character speaks with the voice of a thirtysomething screenwriter rather than a credible teenage girl."
It may not have had amazing reviews but we think this sounds excruciating and very interesting.
Next up, Thank You For Smoking,
Bradshaw gives it 2/5, describing it as, "intermittently funny but muddled satire about the cigarette industry. Is it taking the mickey out of "big tobacco" - or anti-choice puritans? Difficult to tell." Anthony Quinn at the Independent (3/5) agrees, describing the plot as "basically all over the place." It seems that the book which this film has been based on has been hard to convert to the big screen. James Christopher in the Times (3/5) writes that, "the irreverent script, taken from Christopher Buckley’s original novel, is so distractingly light and funny that you cease to care about the issues." Sukhdev Sandhu in the Telegraph writes that "it falls someway short of being the bracing satire that it aspires to be. A satire that nuzzles rather than scourges its ostensible target, its fatal softness is clear from the fact that not a single character in the film is actually shown lighting a cigarette." As with much American 'subversion', "For all its subversive talk the film is more conservative than it thinks."
In the Telegraph there is also a curious passage in which Sandhu writes that Katie Holmes plays,
a Washington reporter with "glorious tits"
We're tempted to go and see this film to see whether that is a feature of the film or just Sukhdev's own personal feelings.
He also reminds us that writer and director of this film, Jason Reitman, is the son of Ivan Reitman who made the greatest film ever known to man, Ghostbusters. (Ok, he didn't write that bit about the greatest film known to man, but it is) and Kindergarten Cop (a close second). Suddenly our own fathers don't seem so cool.
Last up, The Fast and Furious : Tokyo Drift
Bradshaw slaps a hearty 1/5 on this movie and concludes "The only Drift you'll experience is the one towards sleep." Oh you are funny, Peter.
If Anthony Quinn could give this film any less than one star, he probably would. Here is his review,
Yet more pedal-to-the-metal thrills as cars with souped-up engines go faster and faster, this time in Japan. This third outing made me almost nostalgic for the original movie starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Almost. Teenage boys and Jeremy Clarkson should be satisfied.
So if you are a teenage boy or Jeremy Clarkson (hi Jeremy!) you know where to go. As for the rest of you,
Trailer of the week - Casino Royale
Other films out this week - 10th District Court (10e Chambre - Instants d'Audience) (Documentary following the proceedings of a Paris courtroom - zzzzz), An Unfinished Life (An estranged father (Redford) and daughter (J-Lo) are thrown together and forced to settle their differences - looks rubbish), Dumplings (A film from Hong Kong about a middle-aged woman who experiments with anti-ageing dumplings containing a very sinister secret ingredient - suet?), Imagine Me and You (Brit-rom-com about lesbians - dross)
Let's face it. None of this week's films look very good. 'The Scoop', an amphitheatre next to the GLA building is showing free movies every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night at 9.15pm until the end of June. Tonight is Johnny Cash biopic, Walk The Line and next week the awesome The Wicker Man and Alien - Directors Cut are being shown on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. For more information, visit their website here.
Also, next week a film that we've been looking forward to all year, Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes The Barley This film that has already been attacked by Simon Heffer in The Daily Telegraph, Dominic Lawson in The Independent, Ruth Dudley-Edwards in The Daily Mail and Michael Gove in The Times even though they haven't seen it (by their own admission).
Loach hates this country, yet leeches off it, using public funds to make his repulsive films. And no, I haven’t seen it, any more than I need to read Mein Kampf to know what a louse Hitler was.
Simon Heffer, the Telegraph.
Are these reviewers empire apologists? Does Loach hate Britain? Does it glorify the I.R.A.? Why was Neighbours cancelled today to make way for the World Cup? All these questions answered next week.