The Quotables Review: Bitesized Edition (#8) UK
UK Film Releases | Friday 1st April 2011
It’s another big week here at the UK box office, with a whopping 7 new releases ranging from indie comedy Passenger Seat to animated adventure Hop. As Ken Loach sets up shop in Glasgow to cast his new feature, his son Jim Loach is hitting our screens after a successful awards season. Killing Bono reminds us that Irish cinema still has it while Sucker Punch is sucking it up with some less-than-favourable reviews. Most of all, we’re looking forward to our Pick of the Week, which sees our pal Jake Gyllenhaal alongside second-time director Duncan Jones in Source Code.
From the makers of Ice Age, Hop stars Russell Brand as the voice of E.B. – the teenaged son of the Easter Bunny. Rather than succumbing to pressures of running the family business, he dreams of becoming a rock star drummer. He befriends Fred (James Marsden), a slacker with big ambitions and, when all goes Pete Tong in E.B.’s home on Easter Island, they must join forces to save easter.
Big, brash movies are typically made by an army of highly intelligent folk who know exactly what they are doing at every step. The sadness is so much of it feels subsumed by focus group editing, lame in-jokes and an adherence to cliché that screams lowest common denominator, safety first filmmaking.
— Anwar Brett, Scoop Online
Looks suspiciously like a cack Santa flick in which the fat red guy’s been switched with a talking rabbit.
— Robbie Collin, News of the World
A Dublin-based comedy about U2′s rise to fame, told from the perspective of their arch-rivals. Stars Ben Barnes and Robert Sheehan.
[Their] hiccups are comical at first, but by the time we get to Neil turning down the chance to write for Rod Stewart or support U2 at one of their gigs, the fact he’s too proud or stupid to take the opportunities offered to him begins to grate. Serafinowicz adds sparkle as a flaky promoter, and Postlethwaite is touching in his final screen appearance.
— Paul Greenwood, Scoop Online
Watchmen director Zack Snyder returns with Sucker Punch, an action fantasy that takes us into the vivid imagination of a young girl (Emily Browning) whose dream world provides the ultimate escape from her darker reality. Locked up against her will, she bands together with four fellow young girls to fight for freedom.
Great on paper, dull in practice, this is less Moulin Rouge meets Sin City and more Powerpuff Girls meet The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Proves that while masturbating over your cast may not make you blind, it can impair directorial vision.
— Catherine Bray, Film 4
Kudos to Snyder (who co-wrote the screenplay with Steve Shibuya) for letting his imagination run wild. It’s just a pity that imagination is so drastically circumscribed by the lurid “ho couture” culture of shoot-em-ups and soft porn.
— Tom Charity, CNN
Oranges and Sunshine
In Oranges and Sunshine, social worker Margaret Humphreys uncovers one of the most significant social scandals in recent times: the forced migration of children from the United Kingdom. Discovering a secret the British government had hidden for years, Margaret reunited thousands of families and brought authorities to account and worldwide attention to an extraordinary miscarriage of justice. Jim Loach tells the story in his directorial debut.
There is something about Hugo Weaving’s performance in Oranges and Sunshine that summarizes the film perfectly – mild, understated, slow to engage with, but ultimately, and without warning, powerful and heartbreaking.
— Tom Fordy, The Hollywood News
Like his father, Loach has made a film uncluttered by an obvious director’s stamp, peopled by sympathetic characters and driven by a desire to say something about the world without losing sight of human experience. In casting Watson, he’s also secured a performance that boldly lacks vanity while exuding a strength that leads you confidently through difficult, troubling terrain.
— Dave Calhoun, Time Out
Vincent Gallo stars in this thriller from Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski. Following a man captured by American forces and transported to frozen European woodlands. To escape, he must kill everyone in his path. Essential Killing won the Special Jury Prize at Venice FIlm Festival.
Gallo, who was named best actor at this year’s Venice Film Festival, proves galvanizing without uttering a single word. Rarely has such strict physicality been used on screen to such potent effect.
— Gary Goldstein, LA Times
Arguably the most abstract chase film since Joseph Losey’s Figures in the Landscape, this is a furious, pared-down parable enriched by the Polish director’s sardonic understanding of man’s desperation forever alternating between prey and predator.
— Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine
This indie comedy follows brothers Tobey and Michael (Adam Scott) on a road trip in search of the love of Tobey’s life. They get to know each other along the way, with odd places and wacky characters coming along for the ride.
Talk about making a virtue of your limitations: it’s a road movie set almost within one city, a romance where the love interest is off-screen and a moving family drama with no scenery-chewing showdown. What it has in spades is smart talk and tattered beauty…The faded hope of LA is perfectly captured, as is a depth of sibling love and resentment, with excellent performances, big laughs and emotional truth.
— Nev Pierce, Empire
If ultimately Passenger Side is a bitter pill to swallow, it is sweetened by the amiably bantering central performances, the hilariously caustic (and entirely credible) wit of the script, and by the perfect selection of songs on Michael’s retro mix tape… After all, even as some journeys change everything, others get you nowhere.
— Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
Pick of the Week: Source Code
In this sophomore film from Duncan Jones (Moon), Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up to find himself inside the body of an unknown man. He soon discovers he is part of a government experiment called the “Source Code”. Part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago Commuter train, Colter relives the incident during the final 8 minutes of the man’s life, piecing together the evidence of who is carrying out the attacks.
Those who inexplicably convinced themselves that Matt Damon and Emily Blunt had romantic chemistry in The Adjustment Bureau should check out true heat, courtesy of Gyllenhaal’s unblinking baby blues and Michelle Monaghan’s irrepressible glow. Dick would love the paranoid setup and probably hate the cheat of a denouement. But it all goes by too irresistibly fast to call a time-out for disbelief.
— David Edelstein, New York Magazine
Otherwise, it’s brilliantly constructed, going over an eight-minute cycle again and again with variations, each time advancing the plot — it may be that stories like these were inconceivable before choose-your-own-adventure books or computer games — but also bringing out the tragedy of a doom we are told is inescapable as the time-hopper makes different, deepening connections with the girl sitting next to him.
— Kim Newman, Empire
What are you off to watch at the cinema this weekend?