The following films were all seen at the cinema within the last couple of months.
Planet Of The Apes cert.12 (8/10)
Crocodile Dundee in LA cert.12 (6½/10)
Lucky Break cert.15 (8½/10)
Tomb Raider cert.15 (7/10)
Save The Last Dance cert.12 (7/10)
Bridget Jones Diary cert.12 (6/10)
Tragically, this film is actually less interesting than the hype suggests. I found it quite dull and tedious in places, although in others it was amusing. Texan Renee Zellweger plays a just turned 30 English girl who seeems to be remarkably unlucky in love. Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are the two men between whom she bestows her favours, and who are both trying to get into her favours. Grant is his usual semi-charming self, both dislikable and likable. I found Firth to be gently charming, but ultimately very much a cold fish. There's a huge amount of talent involved in the British film industry, so quite why we needed a Texan, admittedly quite a talented one, to put on a reasonable if not perfect English accent, I'm not sure, but it does annoy me. If we have to have an American in the film, let them play an American, and let it be part of the story.
Miss Congeniality cert.12 (6/10)
Amiable, mindless good fun. Actually, better than I thought it would be. There's nothing not to like about this film, even though it is a fairly simple minded modern variant on My Fair Lady. Gracie Hart, played rather well by Sandra Bullock, is a rather uncouth FBI agent who has to go undercover at the Miss United States beauty pageant as a contestant when it is threatened by terrorists. Michael Caine is Victor Melling, the Proffessor Higgins character, who has to turn Gracie from Dirty Harriett, to a potential winner. This he does admirably, and although the voting is fixed to ensure that she gets into the top ten, it's not fixed beyond that, and to everyones surprise, not least her own FBI colleagues, she eventually comes second. There's some moments of high farce, and some wonderful humour, but at bottom it is still a remake of a classic musical. With William Shatner and Candace Bergen as the not so gracefully aging presenters of the show.
Blowdry cert.12 (8/10)
This film was both moving and funny, and a welcome break from much of the gratuitous violence. Alan Rickman (Die Hard), Natasha Richardson, Warren Clarke and Bill Nighy star in a clever and even thought provoking film about families, breakups and reconciliations. Set in the West Yorkshire town of Keighley (Keithley for the yanks!), the town is galvanised when the British hair dressing championships comes to town. It is a predictable film, but since much of the predictability of the film is actually almost incidental to the underlying story line it can be lived with. Very funny in places, and comi-tragic in others, and even very sad occasionally, all make for a tremendously watchable film. Another film where Americans try to put on English accents, just so that we can try and sell the film in the US. Idiotic. At least Rachel Leigh Cook played an English girl who had lived in america for a few years, so you could live with her accent, but Josh Hartnett's yorkshire accent was not very realistic. Otherwise, strongly recommended.
Dungeons & Dragons cert.18 (8/10)
Having played Dungeons and Dragons in my youth, I was somewhat sceptical that it could be turned into a film. I was wrong. This film, although almost certainly made by someone who has never actually played the game, was an excellent film, given its type. Jeremy Irons and Tom Baker were the only faces I recognised, Irons as the evil Profion, a powerful mage trying to take over the reins of government, and being opposed by the young empress Savina (Thora Birch). As a swords and sorcery type movie it was excellent, a much better story line than I had expected, or seen for a long time in this type of film, and remarkably stayed quite true to many of the ideas and concepts of the D & D game. This film should appeal to both long term gamers and to those who have never even considered playing.
Traffic cert.18 (7½/10)
A very strange film that in places was very hard to watch. There were two many separate strands to the story, some in america, some in Mexico. Director Stephen Soderbergh used a trange technique of colouring the film slightly depending upon which set of characters we were with. In Mexico everything has a yellow tint to it, parts of the US scenes had a slightly green tint, others seemed to have a slightly blue tint, all of which added to the atmosphere of the film, but which, paradoxically, actually made it harder to watch as well. A chilling account of drug trafficing, and what it does to people, telling the story from all sides, the trafficers, the cops trying to stop them, the victims, and even the families of all of them. Michael Douglas is hardline drug control 'czar' who quickly discovers that his own daughter is an addict. His semi-estrangement from wife Ami Irving hasn't helped matters, and now hinders their attempts to help their daughter. Catharine Zeta-Jones is the high society wife, and Dennis Quaid the lawyer, of a man arrested for drug trafficing. An entrancing and generally enjoyable film, but just a fraction too long.
© Dave Stratford 2001