HEADLINES

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Peter's Sunday Times film shorts

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Cert 15, 107 mins

Mentally impaired and proud of it, the latest Adam Sandler comedy to grace our screens has all the humping-dog and fart jokes we’ve come to expect from anything associated with this talentless, unpleasant performer. But this effort – about an overworked architect who gets the chance to change his life with the aid of a magical remote controller – goes one further and tacks on a good half hour of sentimental guff about missed opportunities and the importance of family life. Both the kitsch value of David Hasselhoff and the familiar shtick of Christopher Walken are defeated by Sandler’s ego, which ensures he’s in every scene. It’s left to Frank Coraci to move the cameras around.

One star.


ECHO PARK L.A



Cert 15, 90 mins

This slight but good-natured indie follows the troubles of two Mexican teenagers – one pregnant, the other gay – against the backdrop of their strictly traditional community in a shoddy part of LA which is being gentrified by incoming whites. Magdelena (Emily Rios) is dour but resourceful, Carlos (Jesse Garcia) a muscled but monosyllabic gay fantasy, and although their problems are deeply unoriginal, directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland manage to make us care enough not to be bored. Magdelena finally manages to turn things to her advantage, but Carlos is left hanging somewhat; he should travel the couple of miles to West Hollywood, where I guarantee he’d be set up for life within a week.

Three stars.


JOHANNA

Cert 15, 86 mins.

This is a Hungarian, operatic re-telling of the Passion of St.Joan, set in a modern hospital, so we’re talking serious niche market appeal here. Johanna (Orsi Toth) is a junkie-turned-nurse with the power to cure male patients through sex (female ones presumably fall by the wayside). Outraged, the doctors attempt to silence her. They should have tried harder. The crushingly gloomy scenario in director Kornel Mundruczo’s film is systematically un-enlivened by Zsofia Taller’s undistinguished music, and even if you’re prepared to swallow the modishly anti-science, pro-superstition message, you must really be seeking novelty for its own sake if you manage to make it to the end of this dirge.

Two stars.


MOUNTAIN PATROL

Cert 15, 85 mins.

Director Lu Chuan takes a parochial topic - the illegal poaching of Antelopes in the Chinese wilderness - and treats it with majesterial grandeur. However, wonderfully photographed landscapes and handsome Tibetan faces don't adequately compensate for the long-winded narrative, which we see unfold through the eyes of a reporter sent to cover the anti-poaching patrol. Ultimately, you have to be an antelope to really care.

Two stars.


NINA'S HEAVENLY DELIGHTS

Cert PG, 94 mins

Boy, does this movie celebrate diversity. Director Pratibha Parmar's gloopy, tedious and smug comedy follows the burgeoning feelings between Scottish-Asian restauranteur Nina (Shelly Conn) and Laura (Lisa Mackinlay), as they prepare for a TV curry competition. Scottish reels, gay Bollywood dancers and all-round shiny-eyed tolerance are thrown into the mix, leaving behind a distinctly queasy feeling.

One star.

If you've seen these movies or the other releases of the week, what are your thoughts?

2 comments:

Muttley said...

THE HISTORY BOYS

Cert 15, 110 mins

Awesome, almost as good as the stage play (which won three Oliviers and six Tonys). The story of eight boys at a Yorkshire grammar school in 1983 trying to get into Oxford under the guidance of two teachers (Richard Griffiths and Stephen Campbell Moore)with contrasting teaching styles. Alan Bennett's genius comes through and every line's a classic. Nick Hytner proves he can direct film as well as theatre. I want to see it again and again. Release date October 13th.

Ten stars

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