This week - A CCTV-tinged thriller set in Glasgow, (Red Road) and a rom-com with Crowe, (A Good Year).
First up, Red Road.
Bradshaw likes this one! (4/5) It is a film that is part of a three-way project called Advance Party devised jointly between Glasgow's Sigma Films and Denmark's Zentropa Studios. Andrea Arnold, Morag McKinnon, and Denmark's Mikkel Norgaard were reportedly each given the same set of characters and are to create a different story for them, the only other rule being that it has to take place in Scotland. It seems this first one from Arnold hits the mark. Bradshaw writes,
We are all now accustomed to suspect the Big Brother-ish qualities of our state CCTV cameras so it is an interesting reversal to see the CCTV operator turned into the victim, but one able to use the UK's security camera fetish as a means to exact revenge.
All of the reviews mention Dickie in the main role. Bradshaw describes an "excellent performance" while Quinn, who gives the film a whopping five stars describes her as "outstanding". The cast, "deserve every award that comes their way" and "so does this film, the best made in Britain this year."
Ian Johns in the Times only gives Red Road three stars, writing,
Gritty, raw and bleak. How often have you read such adjectives applied to a British film set on a rundown estate where drugs, drunkenness and loveless sex are the norm. Such dirty realism has become another British cinema genre to go alongside the white-flannels period film and geezer gangster movie.
Johns has a problem with the screenplay which "never matches her evocative visuals." Also, "the long build-up yields to a rushed final 20 minutes"
Looks good to us.
Next up, Russell Crowe stars in A Good Year.
indie - http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/film/reviews/article1930768.ece
When we heard that Russell Crowe was going to be starring in a romantic comedy we choked on our innocent smoothie. It seems that our fears have come true - he's gash.
In the Independent, Quinn (1/5) calls the film, "basically a long Renault ad with a gigantic bit of miscasting". No points for guessing who the miscast one is.
Crowe doesn't have the chops to convince as a devil-may-care English wit, looks awkward with comedy and is on a hiding to nothing with the laugh-free script.
Bradshaw (1/5) calls it, "the biggest case of miscasting in history" and believes that, "Anyone, anyone, would have been better in this part. Steven Seagal would have been better. Janette Krankie would have been better."
The film itself? "A humourless cinematic slice of tourist gastro-porn"
Wendy Ide in the Times is a little kinder and gives the film two stars. She's like one of those teachers at school who was really nice and didn't like giving out bad marks.
She descibes the film as "a sweet- natured piece of whimsy, a gentle comedy with a cheeky bouquet of British-abroad buffoonery and more than a hint of unabashed sentimentality." but still can't really get over the Crowe factor,
You tend to resist laughing at his antics, perhaps because of the suspicion that he would probably snap your neck like a stick of asparagus if he thought you were not taking him seriously enough.
Other films out this week - Be With Me (Three stories about love and solitude.), Container (A heavy-set man and a slim Asian woman wander in a landscape of rubbish.), Havoc (Two teenaged girls attempt to add spice to their sheltered, affluent lives by getting involved with a Latino gang in East LA.), strong>Snuff Movie (Four actors are invited to a renowned film-maker's isolated mansion, where his wife was murdered 14 years before.), Step up (Sparks fly when a boy from the wrong side of the tracks and a privileged ballet dancer meet.) All The King's Men (The career of a rabble-rousing Southern politician, loosely based on Governor Huey Long of Louisiana.)
Trailer of the week - Van Wilder's student Taj comes to Camford University, UK.