Jamal Woolard as Biggie in Notorious / image courtesy of 20th Century Fox
The weekly round-up of film reviews continues...
Another mass of releases this week, so let's get cracking. Notorious is the the tale of Notorious B.I.G., "the myth of the myth: a brashly entertaining biopic produced by Biggie's mum" (Guardian, 3 stars). Entertaining, yes; but in any way accurate? The story "has been elevated to tragic fairytale here - they're bigging him up - but you may not quite believe what you're seeing" (Telegraph, 2 stars). Empire is concerned whether Biggie's mentor Sean Combs "has altered history to his own ends" (2 stars), and the Biggie / Tupac issue gets fudged. We'll give the last word to the Guardian: "perhaps this is the danger for any movie produced by insiders: associates and relatives, witnesses and suspects. They safeguard their reputations and conceal as much as they reveal".
Hotel for Dogs is "a good-natured addition to the canine cinema club, perfectly timed for half-term" (The Mirror, 3 stars). The plot is what you think it is: abandoned hotel becomes home for strays. The Telegraph shrugs and finds it "not so very painful" but The Independent (2 stars) calls it "mangy stuff".
The Friday the 13th remake was released on Friday the 13th. Ahh, we see what they did there. "Unfortunately, this is less a reimagining than a reanimation of the long dead corpse of an idea" (The Times, 2 stars). Jason's back - "he of the hockey mask, the sharpened machete, and the somewhat prudish attitude to rutting youngsters" (Telegraph, 2 stars) - but the Independent finds it a "a paltry return for 90 minutes' screen time" (2 stars).
Turkish film Three Monkeys takes the plaudits this week. Plot-wise "an election candidate... asks his driver to take the rap for a hit-and-run" (Independent, 4 stars). The Telegraph drools over such "a tantalising, gorgeous-looking film, brooding with mysteries" (4 stars) and The Times calls it "hypnotic... not because of its fiendish twists, but because of the festering guilt" (4 stars). The Guardian (3 stars), though, prefers director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's earlier work, finding the newbie "trying to be too many things in too many styles and moreover poised on the edge of implausibility".
"Defeated groans" meet The Pink Panther 2 (Guardian, 1 star). Steve Martin reprises the role made famous by Peter Sellars, but Martin's "a slapstick zombie" by comparison (The Times, 1 star). The Telegraph dissects the film in detail and concludes it's just "cheap-looking, and peddling a humour that charitable folks will call broad and the rest of us will call unfunny" (1 star).
Everyone's favourite swearword is the subject of Fuck, which we were amused to see is asterisked in the more fainthearted papers. It's apparently "an example of the very worst kind of documentary film-making" (The Times, 1 star) and The Telegraph thinks it's "a facetious piece of work". The Guardian's barely happier, calling it "reasonable but unoriginal stuff" (2 stars).
Spanish thriller King of the Hill is "a tense, spare story of two strangers... [who] find themselves stranded and hunted in a forest" (The Times, 3 stars). The Guardian says the film is "at its best in a tense middle section that plays as a pared-down existential nightmare" (3 stars) but The Telegraph spots "a now-familiar twist... and it degenerates into something of a wild goose chase".
Under the Sea 3D is new at the Imax. The Telegraph basks in "beautiful and soothing" luminosity but The Guardian sees "a raw, brutal arena of cold-eyed predators chomping the weakest... fascinatingly unsentimental stuff" (4 stars). Must be an eye of the beholder thing.
Next week it's a clash of cultures as Che Part Two and Confessions of a Shopaholic go head to head.