Our weekly roundup of film reviews returns, courtesy of James Bryan...
This week, Hellboy takes on the Olympics (a shame he didn’t qualify as he’d have been phenomenal in the track and field) and a few other films bravely dare to test whether anyone is going to be prised away from their sofas and into the cinemas.
The over-sized cigar-munching demon that is Hellboy returns in the well-reviewed sequel Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, directed by Guillermo del Toro who made Pan’s Labyrinth. The Independent (3-stars) says that its “visual invention is beyond doubt” describing the film as “more eclectic that your average blockbuster”. However it’s the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw who is most impressed (4-stars), saying it’s a “spectacular movie that seethes and fizzes with wit and energy”, and unable to resist the gag:
At his obviously mature age, Hellboy is incidentally entitled to upgrade his name to adult level, but has decided against it, perhaps because of unfortunate associations with mayonnaise.
He concludes that the movie is “a tingling boost to the senses”. The Times (3-stars) is also impressed with the visuals although less so with the depth of the film saying it has “the technical brilliance of a Renaissance masterpiece and a brain the size of a pea”. Del Toro’s next film is the juggernaut that is The Hobbit, a perfect choice of director. Excitingly we’ve only got three years to wait.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is getting crucified by critics, confirming what the trailer hinted at – it’s rubbish. 1-star in the Independent, “George Lucas's never-ending sci-fi saga gets an animation makeover, which at least spares us the agony of watching perfectly decent actors sporting hideous costumes and spouting banalities to one another.” And an angry 1-star in the Guardian, “The sheer, brain-frazzling pointlessness of it all predominates. Why? Why do this again? At 64, Lucas is surely not too old to have a crack at creating a movie that has nothing to do with Star Wars at all.” Couldn’t agree more.
This week in Crap Comedy Corner we have You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. Starring Adam Sandler as a Mossad super agent turned hairdresser. The Independent (1-star) says, “The one superpower Sandler will never master, I'm afraid, is the ability to be funny” while the Times (2-stars) reckons the creators, “lost interest in the story or ran out of ideas halfway through.” Please Mr Sandler, stop making this rubbish and be interesting again, like you briefly were in the brilliant Punch Drunk Love.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is unloved by the Guardian (1-star), who thinks “this frantic film has a deeply unrelaxed and misjudged awfulness” but gets better reviews elsewhere. Set in the London of the 1930s and starring the ever-reliable Frances McDormand as a woman who talks her way into a job working for a club singer, it’s a comedy of manners. The Times (3-stars) enjoys the film saying “as an escapist fairytale it works well, channelling the quick-fire, morally ambiguous screwball comedies of the era.”
If you’re in the mood for a documentary (and haven’t yet seen the phenomenal Man on Wire) then Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains is well reviewed. It follows the former US President on a tour of his book about Palestine and gets 4-stars in the Guardian, saying of the man himself, “he is thoughtful, high-minded and courageous in espousing America's most unfashionable political cause.” The Times (also 4-stars) says it is “an affectionate and admiring portrait of a politician who, like Al Gore, became more idealistic and effective on the world stage once he left office.”
Next week Shane Meadows Somers Town and Get Smart, a big budget version of an apparently much loved old US TV show that no one in the UK has ever heard of. Let’s wait for the movie version of Rentaghost to get our own back. Actually that would be amazing. Someone do that. Please.
By James Bryan