Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Critical Week: The horror, the horror

Last week's big event was the unveiling of the new version of A Nightmare on Elm Street, yet another unnecessary horror remake from Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes. Not only is it unoriginal and never scary, but it wastes the skills of Oscar-nominee Jackie Earle Haley. But never mind, because today's teen audiences aren't exactly discriminating.

Much better horror was had in [REC]², the sequel to the Spanish hit (which was remade in America, shot-for-shot, as Quarantine). Surprisingly, the filmmakers actually come up with some clever ways to push the story further, as well as some nifty ways to scare us along the way.

Other happy surprises were two romantic comedies: She's Out of My League turns out to be an effectively sweet rom-com rather than just another lame sex comedy; and Heartbreaker is a hugely engaging romance starring the charming Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis. Another pair of films from the USA and France were less effective: Brooklyn's Finest has a superb turn from Ethan Hawke but never really rises above the level of a TV cop show; and Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky is intriguing but rather dull, although it features a terrific performance from Mads Mikkelsen. And finally there was Petropolis, a beautifully poetic doc consisting almost solely of aerial shots of a massive oil-mining operation in Canada.

Next week's offerings include another remake, an American version of British comedy Death at a Funeral, as well as Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia, Robin Williams as the World's Greatest Dad, Noel Clarke's, Andrew Kotting's Ivul, the Romanian drama The Happiest Girl in the World and the Japanese end-of-the-world comedy Fish Story.

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