Monday, 25 May 2009

Critical Week: Revenge of the Fanboys

Well, it has been 25 years since the first film, after all. So you wouldn't expect T4 to have the same ethos or style as T1. But Terminator Salvation turned out to be a much bigger drift than expected - a vacuous action cliche that looked like it was inspired by a videogame, with wafer-thin characters and dopey action sequences. It may look so cool on screen that most fanboys won't notice, but it's essentially a franchise-killer.

Last week's other sequel was Night at the Museum 2, or to use its overwrought American title: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (was, maybe, Night at Another Museum too subtle and complex?). That aside, this film was surprisingly better than the original, which isn't saying much. But at least it keeps us laughing with some hilariously bizarre improvised dialog, plus the nutty skills of Hank Azaria and the raw charm of Amy Adams.

The other biggies last week were Sam Raimi's return to horror in Drag Me to Hell, a rollicking funhouse of a movie that's deeply entertaining in its willingness to get truly, gleefully ugly, and the remake of The Taking of Pelham 123, which is a guilty pleasure concoction of preposterous action and even more preposterous acting. More serious - and more satisfying - were the thoughtful Brazilian rainforest drama BirdWatchers, the twisty Spanish mathematics thriller Fermat's Room and the powerfully emotional French family drama The First Day of the Rest of Your Life.

This week is a bit thin on press screenings at the moment: just the Beyonce bunny-boiler Obsessed, Ken Loach's Cannes charmer Looking for Ericthe Burmese protest doc Burma VJ, another festival favourite, and the doc Soul Power, about a 1974 music festival in Zaire.

No comments: