Review: The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Posted on Updated on

The Pitch: Big Brother really has gotten rough, but at least they’re down to the last three…

The Review: The ideal model for an A list acting career these days seems to be able to have a blend of big box-office blockbusters and smaller, more intense dramas. Over the past couple of years Gemma Arterton has engineered herself into a place to be appearing on that list, with an increasing succession bigger parts in higher profile films. While she undoubtedly has talent, it’s only really her TV roles that have stretched her and nothing so far on the big screen has really answered the question – can she act?

Based on this evidence, the answer is a resounding yes. Completely throwing herself into the role, she’s physically and emotionally exposed, and is allowed to show real and raw emotion, vulnerability but also strength. There are only two other roles in the entire movie, but thankfully Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston also get plenty to get their teeth into.

The publicity for the movie deliberately hasn’t given much away, and this serves the movie well, as the narrative is driven along by a continuing series of reveals about the nature of the situation and the characters themselves, which is of course more complex than first appears. Between these reveals, many of the situations allow for real tension and this is expertly maintained by first time director J Blakeson.

The only slight disappointment comes at the end, which after all that has come before manages to be rather conventional and unsurprising, but this doesn’t diminish the power of what’s gone before. There is one reveal that elicited sniggers (you’ll guess which one when it happens), but that probably says more about the audience I saw it with than the film itself, and shouldn’t put you off a fine example of small British cinema.

Why see it at the cinema: The widescreen ratio is used to its best effect, creating feelings of both isolation and claustrophobia at the appropriate times.

The Score: 8/10

Review: Clash of the Titans

Posted on

The Pitch: Gods and monsters, and a man trying to make sense of it all whilst maintaining the same facial expression.

The Review: Titans. Will. Clash. Will they? Will they really? Not only one of the least imaginative taglines of all time, but also a false promise, as if suggesting that your Christmas stocking will contain a giant, fire-breathing, axe-wielding robot, but actually there’s just a small tangerine, that’s gone a bit off, and you’re allergic to tangerines.

Everything about this movie screams apathy, from the storyline, which barely manages to scrape together three acts, to the effects, which fail to generate anything other than a mild sense of surprise, rather than the awe which they should inspire. Only the Medusa sequence feels even vaguely suspenseful or dramatic, and even then plays out in an entirely predictable manner.

There are a few plus points in the acting – Ralph Fiennes and Gemma Arterton both feel like they should be in something better, and hopefully will do better in Potter and Persia respectively later this year. Hardly anyone else has anything to get their teeth into, and Sam Worthington continues to prove his abilities to suck the charisma out of almost any scene. The mythology is a little corrupted, but a new spin on some elements would have actually brought some freshness.

I’ll try my best not to mention the horribly derivative Hans Zimmer lite score or the the orangey cinematography. I’m trying to forget the horrible, horrible Bubo cameo which stops the film almost stone dead, making no sense in context. But I cannot avoid mentioning the worst crime, which was to slap a half-hearted 3D conversion on, which rarely has any depth of field and renders many of the action scenes unwatchable. For absolute die-hards only.

Why see it at the cinema: See it in 2D if you must see it, but Fiennes and Arterton really are the only worthwhile elements. If you see it in 3D all you’ll be doing is proving to yourself why conversions are a bad idea.

The Score: 3/10

Review: St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold

Posted on Updated on

The Pitch: Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the girls’ dormitory…

The Review: So, David Tennant. I can understand you not wanting to get typecast as Doctor Who, even though yours is one of the best portrayals ever. And I can also understand you not wanting to be bogged down in Shakespeare forever. But this? Really?

The first St. Trinians remake was an often charmless affair that still had a number of redeeming features – Russell Brand, Gemma Arterton in schoolgirl uniform, Rupert Everett cross-dressing, Colin Firth being a total wassock. This either removes such elements, marginalises them to the point of uselessness or simply doesn’t know what to do with them this time round.

From the toe-curling pirate opening to a mortifying flash-mob recreation, through to a tedious finale at the Globe, this does no favours for the reputations of any involved. See the first if you must, but avoid this one at all costs.

Why see this at the cinema: If you’re an 8 year old girl who’s lost the DVD of the first one, or a serial masochist who’s too proud to be British.

The Score: 2/10