Saturday Cinema Summary!

By Londonist_ben Last edited 135 months ago
Saturday Cinema Summary!

This week - The Mayan empire collapses (Apocalypto) and Renee Zelwegger is Beatrix Potter, (Miss Potter).

First up - it may sound like a fruity drink, but it's a film - Apocalypto!

Bradshaw gives it 4/5. It's Guardian film of the week.

If people have got it in for Mel Gibson, he has only himself to blame. His behaviour has been repulsive. Everyone is prejudiced against his films. I am prejudiced against his films. So the sentence following this is going to take me quite some time to write, because between every keystroke, there will be a three-minute pause while I clench my fists up to my temples and emit a long growl of resentment and rage.

Don't worry Peter, we get a bit like that when we have to admit that the tube is actually pretty cool.

Anyway, what does he think?

Mel Gibson's Apocalypto is pathologically brilliant. It is bizarre, stomach-turningly violent and frequently inspired.

The film "radiates a kind of electric, shamanic craziness" and is "brilliant for its sheer delirious excess, its brash, old-fashioned storytelling, and brash, new-fashioned violence."

Anthony Quinn also gives it 4/5,

The violence is dizzyingly savage: if you didn't already know it from Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ, here is a director obsessed with evisceration.

Eviscerate verb

To remove the entrails of; disembowel.

James Christopher at the Times gives it only 2/5, writing, "Mel Gibson’s mythic Mayan adventure is so tooth-grindingly tense it is almost impossible to enjoy it in any conventional sense of the word"

Heads are tossed down the bloody steps of the highest temple. They sound like coconuts being smashed. Still-pumping hearts are ripped out of terrified captives to sate the thirst of the Sun God.

Yuck... for James it "makes the stomach churn" and we're inclined to believe him. Although some of it sounds cool, there is,

a jaguar biting a man’s face off, and what it looks like bouncing around the floor from a severed head’s point of view.


Watch the trailer here.

Next up, Miss Potter.

Bradshaw, who this week seems to prefer harrowing violence to rabbit illustrations, gives it 1/5,

Watching this horrifically twee film is like having your face pushed into a bowl of pot-pourri for 90 minutes in a two-star B&B somewhere in Cumbria.

Apparently, the performances are "toe-curling" for example the "unrelaxed and unnatural" Ewan McGregor, doing his "posh Obi-Wan voice."

This view is not however shared by James Christopher in the Times who gives it 4/5.

The story of how Miss Potter defies her stuffy parents and gets secretly engaged to the first true love of her life is as gripping as the publishing deal that made her a fortune.

The casting is not toe-curling but "inch-perfect", Renée Zellweger being a "frumpy delight as the lonely Beatrix"

We're sceptical. Where Bradshawites here at Londonist. What does Anthony Quinn at the Independent think? Ahh good, 2/5,

Beatrix Potter actually led a fascinating life, which went beyond her fame as a children's author (she was a pioneering naturalist), but you wouldn't know it from this sweet-toothed and sanitised biopic.

For Quinn, the film's target audience is not certain,

the adults will be irked by its tweeness, while the children will not be switching their loyalties from Harry to Beatrix anytime soon.

The only winner here apparently is the National Trust, "whose well-upholstered properties receive a long and reverential advertisement."

Watch the trailer here.

Other films out this week - A Prairie Home Coming (A look at the backstage comings and goings during the final broadcast of America's most popular country music radio show.), Dark Horse (Voksne Mennesker) (Two dead-beat friends fall for the same girl, but in the course of this awkard love triangle, they discover some profound truths about life.), Employee of the Month (On hearing that the store pin-up will go on a date with whoever wins employee of the month, two slacker warehouse workers compete for the prize and her hand.), Little Red Flowers (Kan shang qu hen mei) (A young boy starting school for the first time struggles to fit into a regimented, post-revolutionary Chinese society.), Paris is Burning (A documentary about the fashion-obsessed New York underground scene that invented "voguing" and the strong bonds between the often outrageous drag queens who rule their fabulous roost.), White Noise 2: The Light (A man's family is killed and he is brought back from the verge of death. He then realises he can identify people who are about to die.)

Trailer of the week - Shrek the Third

Last Updated 06 January 2007


Bradshaw wrote about Mel Gibson:
"His behaviour has been repulsive. Everyone is prejudiced against his films. I am prejudiced against his films.<<

So you too are a bigot Bradshaw! You sound just like another pontificating film reviewer who pretends to be aghast at another celebrities behaviour as though you yourself could never, ever, ever think or do something wrong. You remind me of the Pharisees when looking down on the lowly publican (who was probably an alcoholic), "I thank you Father that I am not as other men or like this publican, I fast twice in the week......etc".


Yes of course we all do things wrong from time to time. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't criticize others who do wrong. Some people do deserve admonishment.


Bradshaw your answer to my comment:
>>Yes of course we all do things wrong from time to time. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't criticize others who do wrong. Some people do deserve admonishment.<<

Who gave you that right? Your a film critic, not a judge. And as a film critic you should separate the art from the artist. If you choose to go into the personal life and struggles of one artist you must do it for all of them.

Hollywood is full of indvididuals who's lives are so depraved that Gibson's one snap-shot in time would make his misdemeanour look like one of Beatrix Potter's rabbit stories.


I'm not Bradshaw! How I wish I was!

In my humble opinion it is wrong to separate art from the artist.


Here's an attempt to get a discussion about Apocalypto to get past the violence and look at the people who make up Mel's subject matter on this occasion. For the record, many students of Maya history and culture reckon that Mel's rather sold a whole civilisation short in his latest cinematic depiction. The fact that your post focuses solely on the violence would kind of endorse this point :-)


I don't think anyone should be surprised that Mel Gibson has made a film that bends the historical truth a little. Seen Braveheart?


Bending the truth's fine- that's what Hollywood does so supremely well. The point is who knows the historical truth Mel's bending? When I see posts about Apocalypto that just discuss the violence in it- it kind of makes me think no only that people don't know the truth that's being 'bent', but don't really care either. Hey- hate to put a dampner on an otherwise fine post :-) PS: Here's a couple of examples of reviews of Apocalypto that straighten out some of Mel's kinkiness Orcs in Loincloths and 'They're nothing like us'


>>In my humble opinion it is wrong to separate art from the artist.<<

Then the next time you review a film remember to drag out the artists personal indescretions, foibles, demons and illnesses, then you just might get a link to a tabloid newspaper and start a new career.


Jon - do you actually know who you are talking to here? The person you have quoted is not the person who wrote the review.

If you really want to have a rant at Peter Bradshaw, you might be better off contacting him via the Guardian website, rather than posting stroppy comments on Londonist!