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The Day The Earth Stood Still – you say Klaatu, I say Keanu, let’s call the whole thing off

Tweet The Day The Earth Stood Still – Scott Derrickson Keanu Reeves is an Alien: it’s not often you get to write a sentence with three different meanings that is true whichever of them you apply. As a description of Keanu’s role in this re-make of the 50’s Sci-Fi classic it is factually true; as […]

Nights In Rodanthe – the love story – toughest genre in movies

Tweet Nights In Rodanthe – George C Wolfe Women aren’t romantic. That’s why they love romantic men. Women are far too sensible to believe either that love ‘conquers all’, or is “all you need.” It’s genetic and evolutionary: being responsible for bearing, giving birth, protecting, nurturing and raising the children of the next generation, gives […]

Sideways – 2 guys, one looking for love, the other hunting for sex

Tweet Sideways – Director Alexander Payne Colours to the mast. I hated About Schmidt (Review in Archive). Sideways is much better, but its spirit and emotional tone make it very much a companion piece. Both pose the question: is pathos enough to drive a movie? I’d always thought of pathos as a bit like happiness: […]

We Don’t Live Here Any More – time filler in the waiting room of old age

Tweet We Don’t Live Here Any More – John Curran Critical reaction to this bemuses me. Time Out calls it strong stuff and one of the more mature American movies of recent years. Others have agreed, as it won awards in 2004. For me it is a miscast, emotionally illiterate, poorly written, nicely filmed, well […]

The Producers – slap-schtick

Tweet The Producers – Director Susan Stroman Make ’em laugh… make ’em laugh…The Producers was always a musical trying to get out. Both satirical farce and farcical satire, its broad, exuberant style and totally performance-dependent appeal is made for the immediacy of the stage and the vitality of live audience participation. Its intentionally tasteless premise […]

Mission Impossible III – Tom’s pension fund

Tweet Mission Impossible 3 – Director JJ Abrams It’s a toss-up – a day at Alton Towers or MI3? Both will offer you a series of white knuckle rides with no other purpose than to pump adrenaline and make your knuckles white. True Tom Cruise runs a lot; emotes a lot; and plots a little. […]

Keeping Mum – the absurdities of the English Middle Class

Tweet Keeping Mum – Niall Johnson Not quite Ealing – but close. At times. Ealing comedies were all about tone: a kind of arch, insouciant darkness to relish not just enjoy. The logic of the English social class system followed through to its ultimate absurdity. All the fixed butts of Englishness that were affectionately ridiculed […]

Layer Cake – an “‘ere guv sling us the swag” kinda movie

Tweet Layer Cake – Matthew Vaughan Layer Cake has all the warmth and depth of characterisation of the Tarantino films it emulates, but without their visual flair, imagination, style and wicked irony. Like Quentin, director Matthew Vaughn is irreducibly referential – Seven, Lock Stock of course and the quintessential British Gangster movie – Get Carter. […]

The Kingdom – Desert Foxx: but Jamie ain’t no Rommel

Tweet The Kingdom – Peter Berg It’s the sub-text that sucks. On a superficial level this is just an averagely competent action movie with performances better than it deserves. The only difference is the Saudi Arabian setting of the title. The film opens with a well choreographed, strongly edited, only-too-real atrocity committed in one of […]

Happy Feet – these penguinpromorphised penguins rock!

Tweet Happy Feet – George Miller Cosmically kitsch. And a pure delight. This absurd, irresistible mixture of genres, movies, performers and most of all, great foot-tapping music, like any good cocktail, delivers a terrific punch, even if at times it is a tad too sweet. It’s farcical, surreal, witty exuberance will make you laugh out […]