This week - Denzel Washington goes back in time (Déjà Vu) and a horrible Christmas slasher, (Black Christmas).
We're going to be frank. There really isn't anything exciting that has come out this week. Even the reviews are pretty boring. Go and see Pan's Labyrinth if you haven't already, go to a Carol concert, give a goose to your poor employee's family, if you don't his tiny becrutched son will surely die.
First up, Déjà Vu
James Christopher at the Times isn't impressed. He gives it 2/5,
Speaking of Déjà Vu, I’ve had a wonderful idea for a movie franchise called Pimp My Ghastly Plot ... This is Groundhog Day for action fans. Washington hasn’t changed his smarter-than-thou cop routine for ten years.
What if a top-secret government cabal of bearded, pizza-loving science geeks had the technology to transport Denzel Washington back to the past, say four days and six hours before the bomb destroys the ferry? Denzel could empty six bullets into the psycho’s skull, put 20 grand on the 3.40 at Sandown Park, and still have four days, five hours and fifty-five minutes to play Romeo with the scrumptious Claire.
What if indeed.
Bradshaw seems to like it, giving it 3/5, calling it "never anything other than enjoyable", especially when "it's being absolutely ridiculous." He describes it as "a time-travel forensic crime thriller" and then writes one of the best paragraphs in a review that we have ever read,
After an awful, plasma-screen-smashing row about the ethics of the whole business, the scientists are persuaded to let Washington hunch into their special pod, resembling the nosecone of Apollo 9, in which he can travel back in time, on a desperate mission to prevent the bombing and get jiggy with Claire in her pre-corpse state.
Anthony Quinn at the Independent really takes a dislike to this one and gives it 1/5. He doesn't just see this film as bad, he sees it as immoral,
There are several reasons why this strikes me as mildly immoral: one is the quite blatant way the film relies for emotional response on the audience's memories of September 11 and of Hurricane Katrina (later on, the film makes reference to Timothy McVeigh and the bombing of the federal building at Oklahoma City, completing a hat-trick of tasteless references to traumas in recent American history).
He goes on to call it "a tart of a film, ready to tell you whatever it thinks you want to hear" and expresses pity for Paula Patton, "If only I could go back in time and save her career."
He rounds off with,
I have to admit that, for all the words I'm wasting on it, this is one of those films that has already reviewed itself with painful accuracy in the title: you really have seen all this before - in Back to the Future, Time Cop (Jean-Claude Van Damme's finest hour, for what it's worth), Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, The Terminator and pretty much every other time-travel film Hollywood ever made. But at least those predecessors didn't take themselves this seriously.
Next up, Black Christmas
When we first caught a glimpse of the mercilessly overplayed television advert for this, we thought Black Christmas might have been a new James Brown Christmas album - it was going to be a funky Christmas. Upon watching the advert again we realized it was just a horror movie but we had high hopes for some sort of evil child eating Santa. Unfortunately it's just pap.
Robert Hanks in the Independent 2/5,
To really enjoy this one, you would need a far higher tolerance for gouged eyeballs than I possess. For what it's worth, my view (from under the seat, eyes screwed shut) was that this is an above-average slasher.
Bradshaw gives it 2/5,
For the first 20 minutes or so, Black Christmas has some smart ideas and gags: then it all just gets predictable. One for real horror-buffs only.
James Christopher in the Times gives it 1/5.
Glen Morgan’s Black Christmas is a pointless reprise of a dismal 1974 slasher. Morgan appears to have watched precisely no cinema for 32 years. Mad Billy escapes from his loony bin, returns to his old home, now stocked with juicy female students, and eats everyone’s eyeballs.
Other films out this week - The West Wittering Affair (After one crazy weekend of bed swapping and deceit, the lives of four emotionally challenged young Londoners spiral out of control.), It's Winter (As one man leaves his family to go look for work, another arrives and enters their circle.), Kabul Express (Soon after 9/11, two Indian journalists travel to Afghanistan in the hope of scooping the world with a Taliban interview. Things don't quite work out that way.), Grounded (When a blizzard shuts down an airport on Christmas Eve, five unaccompanied minors stranded there create their own fun.), Eragon (A farmboy's life is transformed when the polished blue stone that he chances on hatches a dragon.)
Trailer of the week - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix