The weekly round up of film reviews continues, courtesy of James Bryan...
Not a great week for film releases. The most interesting film is Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers return to comic farce which features their A-list mates frantically double-crossing each other and pretending to be stupid. Some of the reviews are bad, Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian thinks it’s their ‘most most mediocre film in a long time: a desperately strained black comic farce. What a dog's brunch.’ (2-star). The Independent agrees,‘laughing at dolts and cheats tying themselves up in knots has an appeal, but over the space of 90 minutes it's a very limited one.’ (2-star). The Times recognizes it’s not for everyone but enjoys it as an ‘an irreverent blast of screwball nihilism that has barely two sympathetic characters to rub together,’ (4-stars). For those that like all things Coen, it still sounds an interesting premise but it’s clearly no Big Lebowski.
Elsewhere the movie machine rumbles on. The Rocker is a comedy about an aging drummer who gets his belated shot at stardom with his nephews band – it gets 2-stars all round. The Guardian reckons ‘it all looks good and there's a decent cast but nothing really takes off,’ while the The Times call it a ‘disappointingly MOR comedy.’ The Independent says of Rainn Wilson (from the US Office) ‘we should perhaps enjoy his childish gurning and cavorting while it's still fresh.’
As for films you should definitely avoid this week, there’s two that get the special accolade of a clean sweep of 1-star reviews. First is Eagle Eye uniting the critics in its 1-star crapness. The Independent says that ‘Tony Scott was doing this sort of cyber-conspiracy stuff ten years ago, and it wasn't much cop even then’ and the Guardian thinks ‘some nonsense is fun, but this wears you down.’ We also have the bizarre looking animated stoner comedy Free Jimmy with a script allegedly by Simon Pegg. It’s ‘deeply unhinged, deeply awful’ according to the Times and a ‘joyless Enterprise’ in the Guardian. If you laugh at the trailer, seek help.
The best-reviewed film of the week is La Zona, a darkly satirical Mexican thriller getting 4-stars reviews. The Guardian finds it ‘a smart movie, dramatically lean and mean, exciting and often shocking.’ The Times a ‘searing commentary on life in contemporary Mexico,’ while The Independent calls it ‘a parable for the times.’
Next week Ricky Gervais in Ghost Town and just around the corner, Bond is back in the stupidly named Quantum of Solace.