Mad about movies

Mad about movies

We delve through the UAE’s latest cinema releases



Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (in 3D)

WRITER-DIRECTOR ROBERT Rodriguez flogs a dead horse with the fourth installment of the popular Spy Kids family franchise.

This time the series – which in the past has seen appearances from the likes of George Clooney, Steve Buscemi, Elijah Wood and Teri Hatcher – welcomes some famous new faces to help fight the forces of evil.

The divine Jessica Alba also hops on board to help film-going dads pass the time as the head of the Wilson family, who are related to the Cortez family from the first three outings.

Together with husband Wilbur (Joel McHale) and their three kids, they battle Jeremy Piven’s villainous Timekeeper, whose aims to conquer the world rest on a red sapphire necklace (what is it with movie bad guys and their love of mystical jewellery?).

Cue lots of gadgets, chase scenes, noise and a cameo from Ricky Gervais as a robot dog.

Nick Schager of The Village Voice summed up critics’ displeasure with the film, calling it “a tediously cartoonish candy-coloured rollercoaster”, while others criticised its reliance on toilet humour and poor puns.

Nonetheless, it has performed respectably at the box office, and a fifth film is being readied for next year.

Trivia:

· Robert Rodriguez has said that the Spy Kids series began as a mix between Willy Wonka and James Bond.

· In the USA, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World was released in ‘4D’ – as the audience were given scratch and sniff cards to let them smell odours which correlate with the film’s storyline.

Drive

HOT ON THE heels of his swoon-inducing turn in Crazy, Stupid, Love, Ryan Gosling cements his status as Hollywood’s hottest property with Drive.

Gosling plays a stuntman and part-time getaway driver, who discovers that a contract has been put out on his life after a heist gone wrong. He must also protect his neighbour and new love Irene, a young mother whose criminal ex-husband has re-entered the fold.

Supporting roles are filled by the likes of the ravishing Christina Hendricks, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman.

The thriller has proven enormously popular with critics. Peter Debruge of Variety writes, “Drive takes the tired heist-gone-bad genre out for a spin, delivering fresh guilty-pleasure thrills in the process”, while Liam Lacey from The Globe and Mail has compared Gosling to Steve McQueen in Bullitt.

Trivia:

· In a recent interview, Ryan Gosling claimed he would be “shocked” if he was still acting in 10 years time.

· Carey Mulligan has revealed she got pulled over by cops while giving director Nicolas Winding Refn a lift home at 3am after a day on the set. The policeman was suspicious because Mulligan had been swerving across the road, as she was talking to Refn and trying to find songs on her iPod. Eventually, he let the “terrified” actress go.

Cowboys and Aliens

A DAFT-LOOKING blockbuster even by Hollywood standards, Cowboys and Aliens has proven a shaky investment for its $160 million price tag.

Based on the 2006 graphic novel of the same name, the film sees a posse of Arizona townsfolk fighting off an alien invasion in 1873.

Despite having the dependable Jon Favreau (Iron Man) in the director’s chair, plus the acting talents of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell, Cowboys and Aliens has proven a muddling genre mash-up.

Terms bandied around by critics for the film have included “predictable”, “incoherent”, “lifeless”, “plodding” and “depressing”.

Or, to quote Christopher Orr of The Atlantic, “(It’s a) phenomenally successful two-man war against narrative clarity and continuity.”

Trivia:

· Jon Favreau has claimed that Harrison Ford is “our generation’s John Wayne”, a statement that Daniel Craig has seconded.

· Daniel Craig has revealed that he “glued” his hat to his head during filming, after the cast and crew kept teasing him for letting it fall off his head.

Final Destination 5 (in 3D)

THE ALWAYS PROFITABLE horror series takes another gaggle of good-looking youths and then slices and dices them for your entertainment.

A cast of little-known names (Nicholas D’Agosto anyone?) go on a company retreat, only for freak weather to destroy the suspension bridge they’re crossing.

The survivors learn what anyone familiar with the Final Destination films already knows: you can’t cheat death. Hence each of them starts getting picked off in a series of inventively brutal ways. While reviews for the film have been divisive, cinephiles have agreed that the movie makes cracking use of its 3D and that the deaths scenes are handled with careful suspense.

“Beyond a kinkier-than-usual jolt of black humour and some clever red herrings, the formula remains rote,” said Aaron Hills of The Village Voice.

However, positive write-ups have included Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian, who claimed, “Fans of this franchise know precisely what to expect, and the film delivers it with wit and flair.”

Trivia:

· 2000’s original Final Destination film began life as a spec script for The X-Files, penned by Jeffrey Reddick.

· Nicholas D’Agosto has revealed he was hesitant about joining the cast of Final Destination 5, as he thought that the fourth installment was poor. “It wasn’t very good and all the producers – everyone – will tell you that,” he said.


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