The weekly round up of film reviews continues, courtesy of James Bryan...
This week, Ricky Gervais goes Hollywood in Ghost Town, the dancing zombies of High School Musical 3 and the disappointing Incendiary.
Ghost Town marks Ricky Gervais’s unlikely graduation to being the lead in a romantic comedy. He’s Bertram Pincus, a New York dentist who, after an operation, can see the dead and gets cajoled into helping them out. From the reviews, it looks like Gervais has pulled it off. As the Guardian says, he ‘has carried off a proper, big Hollywood film; he may not be a natural, but he's done it without any hesitation or cultural cringe or apologetic foregrounding of his Britishness. He's cracked it,’ (3-star) and that’s the general feeling elsewhere. The Times says he ‘manages to turn an unlikeable collection of tics into something like a screen personality,’ (3-star) and The Independent backs it up with ‘it is a warm, clever and often very funny film. On this showing, Gervais's assault on Hollywood looks winnable,’ (3-star). Let’s just hope it doesn’t go to his head.
It’s really not up to you whether you want to see High School Musical 3. Just watch this clip from Onion News instead. The actual reviews are irrelevant. So what if Zac Effron ‘leads a bunch of drearily desexualised, angst-free teens through a slight storyline and a series of bland songs about believing in yourself and being friends forever. (Independent 1-star). Who cares if ‘the sheer squeaky-cleanness of everything is creepy, and when the characters are called upon to dance, they do so with robotic efficiency, and sing in that decaffeinated high vibrato, like 21st-century Hollywood castrati.’ (Guardian 1-star). It doesn’t matter. Disney has won. Surrender.
Based on the book, Incendiary stars Ewan McGregor and follows the aftermath of a huge terrorist atrocity in London. An interesting and difficult subject matter that hasn’t translated well into film. 2-star) ‘the film wants to take the pulse of how a terrorist tragedy affects those left behind at ground zero, but these dolorous themes vie with trite, clumsily written romantic episodes.’ The Guardian is marginally more positive calling it an ‘ambitious attempt to dramatise the reality of living in a city vulnerable to terrorist threats, and honourably tries to imagine a redemptive future in which London achieves both survival and forgiveness.’ (2-star).
If you’re looking for some lashings of ultra-violence then Chocolate might do it for you. It’s an Asian martial arts movie where the ‘mediocre screenplay takes second place to a breathtaking display of some of the most daring fight choreography yet seen,’ (Times, 4-star). The Guardian describes it as an ‘OTT combat extravaganza.’ (3-star).
Next week Bond is back with his highly lucrative sideline in product placements. Is there nothing this man won’t try and sell us?