The weekly round up of film reviews continues, courtesy of James Bryan...
It’s best not to lie. This is not a good week for films. Your time would probably be better spent catching up with friends or doing a few jobs around the house. If you do find yourself at the cinema then consider what’s below as a warning.
There’s very little positive to say about Zack and Miri Make a Porno. The Guardian (2-star) hardly bothers calling it a "very middling smutty-sentimental sex comedy" with a "very ordinary script." There might have been some potential with Kevin Smith directing and Seth Rogan starring. It’s a story about how two friends in need of cash use the local coffee shop to make a low budget porno. The Times (2-star) thinks "Smith does at least whip things along (oo-er) swiftly, if not very comically, though his movie faces an insurmountable problem – namely, how to make porn look dafter and cheaper than it already is," while The Independent (2-star) just "wishes that the whole thing were funnier."
Mark Wahlberg films, particularly when he’s the lead, should always be approached with extreme caution. The consensus on Max Payne is that it should be filed (and forgotten) in the ‘just another bad videogame adaptation’ category. The Guardian (1-star) says that "the film combines ferocious self-importance with lashings of really nasty, unreflective violence," and Empire (2-star) goes for "This tired, neutered action thriller won’t cause you max pain, but you might wince every now and again." However The Times, in some bizarre parallel universe somehow rustles up 3-stars, saying it’s a "rollicking blast of film noir," and that there is some "real magic" in the film. This probably isn’t true.
The Baader Meinhof Complex is, as The Guardian says in a 2-star review, "more or less the entire life-story of West Germany's Red Army Faction from the late 1960s to the late 70s". While meticulously reconstructed, "the resulting film is a sprawling, episodic and interminable 70s period drama, ploddingly comparable to Steven Spielberg's Munich. All the clichés and hairstyles are present and correct." The Independent (1-star) bemoans that the Director’s approach has "simply been to cram everything he knows about the Baader Meinhof years into a running time of two and a half hours." The Times (2-star) finds it "curiously uninvolving."
Of more interest to the critics is I.O.U.S.A. which The Guardian (4-star) says is a "thoroughly admirable picture by documentary film-maker Patrick Creadon takes the driest subject in the world - America's national debt - and makes you deeply ashamed of not having been worried about it before now. Its thesis is that America's crack-cocaine-style debt addiction is a more serious problem than either terrorism or global warming." The Times agrees (4-star) calling it "unexpectedly entertaining."
Next week, possibly, there are better films. We shall see.
By James Bryan