This week - Leo dodges bullets in Sierra Leone to find a pink diamond (Blood Diamond) and Peter O'Toole flirts with someone 50 years his junior (Venus).
First up Blood Diamond.
To begin, you must read the most authoritative review of all - our own.
After that it may seem like a waste of time to read what the broadsheets have to say but let's do it for tradition's sake eh?
Bradshaw gives it 2/5 and doesn't really explain in any great detail why he doesn't like it aside from the fact that he is bored of the way that,
Hollywood movies about Africa often contrive a balancing partnership of good black character and bad, or at least flawed, white character. The Last King of Scotland reversed this tradition but here normal service has been resumed.
He then, rather cryptically, writes,
The whole thing is more Gerald Ratner than Harry Winston.
(Gerald Ratner is that chap who joked that one of his firm's products was "total crap" and boasted that some of its ear rings were "cheaper than a prawn sandwich", thus destroying his business and Harry Winston is snazzy jeweller to the stars.)
James Christopher at the Times also gives it 2/5, calling it "bleak and depressing". His main problem with the film, however, is that "it is presented as a mainstream action movie" which makes it an "uncomfortable watch",
The moral high ground starts resembling an Indiana Jones movie. Rumours of a large pink diamond lure DiCaprio’s tough-as-old-boots mercenary to a fisherman called Solomon (Djimon Hounsou), who realises that the flawless stone he has hidden from the rebels might pay the way to his missing wife and family ... Their joint quest to recover the diamond from its hiding place rapidly turns into a sweaty chase movie complete with spectacular stunts, wonderful sunsets and helicopter shots of squalid slums lest we forget where we are ... I haven’t seen an actor magically dodge so many bullets and bombs since the glory days of Harrison Ford.
Oh dear. As Christopher puts it,
Once again Africa is indebted to a couple of white Hollywood stars who appear to have the only means of saving the entire continent from itself.
Anthony Quinn at the Independent gives it 3/5, writing,
Blood Diamond isn't a great movie by any stretch - it's overlong, and it trades in too many generic clichés - but it is purposeful, courageous even, in addressing a complicated issue of exploitation and trying to make it comprehensible, all within little more than the time it takes to munch your way through a vat of popcorn.
A definite good aspect of this film is Leo's acting. Quinn calls his performance "another career high"
Watch the trailer here.
Next up, Venus
Bradshaw gives it 3/5 calling it a "low-key, bittersweet little British comedy", "amiable, amusing and often affecting."
As with all the reviews, it is concentrated on praise for O'Toole,
The fact that O'Toole is playing a vain old actor makes his outrageous hamminess self-aware enough to be tolerable and even lovable.
This is an indulgent movie and needs to be watched in the same spirit, but its wry and wintry Englishness is engaging and O'Toole's Maurice, approaching his final curtain, appears to promise that what will survive of us is not love, but a mordant sense of humour.
James Christopher also awards it 3/5 calling O’Toole "a lecherous marvel, and worth every ounce of his Oscar nomination for Best Actor."
Anthony Quinn only gives it 2/5. Despite a good performance from O'Toole, he has problems with Hanif Kureishi's script. It "fails to develop what is a promising situation into an involving story"
Other films out this week - Bobby (The assassination of Robert F Kennedy in 1968 through the perspective of 22 people at the Ambassador Hotel.), Old Joy (Two old friends - one settled and awaiting the birth of his first child, the other a drifter - try to find common ground during a reunion camping trip.), Salaam-e-Ishq (Six groups of people, from different walks of life in different parts of the world, are brought together by destiny, fate and love.), Suburban Mayhem (A smalltown tearaway and single mum convinces one of her lovers to murder her dad for his house.), The Fountain (One man’s 1,000-year struggle to save the woman he loves, as a 16th century conquistador, a modern-day scientist, and a 26th century astronaut.), The Lives of the Saints (A sickly 10-year-old boy who appears to grant the wishes of others finds himself under the wing of a crime boss's stepson.) and Them (A couple live peacefully in their isolated house until one evening they hear a strange noise and realise that they are not alone.)
Trailer of the week - Transformers