2007: The Summer of Cinema?

first_imgThis film follows career-girl Alison’s drunken one-night stand with the sweet but useless Ben. Considering the title, the end result is fairly predictable, but the real subject of the film is the journey through Alison’s nine months of pregnancy and her attempt to transform pot-smoking, unemployed Ben into a suitable father. The film includes the inevitable dose of crude humour, but raises important questions about what it takes to be a good parent, partner, and to make a relationship work. The graphic birth scene suggests that men should definitely remain at the head of the hospital bed while their partner gives birth, but strong performances from the leading actors and a genuinely funny and honest script make this amusing and enjoyable viewing.Emily DamesickMolièreThe premise is simple: take a period of Molière’s life about which next to nothing is known, and fill it with events strikingly similar to those in his masterpiece, Tartuffe. So far, so Shakespeare in Love. Director Laurent Tirard’s creation, however, is  refreshingly different. This surreal farce casually tackles such weighty issues as infidelity, unrequited love, and the pointlessness of attempting to be what you are not – aptly illustrated by comedic genius Molière’s doomed desire to be a great tragedian. The illustrious cast are laugh-out-loud funny, and the script is sharp and witty. If you can stand the subtitles, this is definitely worth a watch. Emma Whipday 1408Starring Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack, one can be forgiven for expecting 1408 to be at least partially worthwhile. Cusack stars as Mike Enslin, a writer who tours hotels in the hope of finding paranormal activity. Mike eventually stumbles across a haunted hotel room (number 1408, as it happens) that apparently kills anyone who sleeps there. Despite many ominous warnings he stubbornly insists on staying in this room and terrifying experiences naturally ensue. Unfortunately, after the first 20 minutes, the film disintergrates faster than you could say ‘Snakes on a Plane’. It’s hard to pin down exactly where the film became so utterly unwatchable; maybe it was when an assortment of Mike’s dead relatives emerged from various corners of his suite for cheesy reunions. In any case, the death knell for 1408’s chances of success came with the final ‘twist’; predictable and downright lame. Definitely one to miss.Mary Clare WaireriThe Simpsons MovieAt the beginning of The Simpsons Movie, Homer complains about paying for something he can usually watch for free. The irony is deliberate, of course, but the disappointment is that he’s right. Our television screens are often graced with classic Simpsons  episodes, mostly from the first few seasons. They’re a consistently and brilliantly funny concoction of wit, satire and endlessly quotable one-liners. So what do we get with the film? Well, there’s Spiderpig… In fact, like said pig, the film is silly, repetitive and full of pop-culture. It’s perfectly watchable and intermittently funny, but it’s also hugely inconsistent and sadly lacking in memorable scenes or dialogue, which means the experience is really just like paying to watch four newer episodes of The Simpsons back to back. And that’s pointless, because my college still has Sky. Jonathan Tan MISSESTransformers Unfortunately, the idea of taking a range of plastic toys and turning it into a summer blockbuster is not as unheard of as it should be. Shia LeBoeuf brings an adequately gawky presence to the role of the young man who happens upon a car that turns out to be a super-advanced alien robot, (cue jokes about the Japanese), but despite his efforts the film can’t deny what it is; a two-hour advert for the disturbing Optimus Prime and his companions. Michael Bay’s hamfisted portrayal of the heroic armed forces does nothing to help. In short, supremely missable. Unless you really, really, really like explosions.Monique DavisPrivate Fears in Public PlacesDirected by Alain Resnais and based on Alan Ayckbourne’s play, Private Fears in Public Places is an attempt to cash in on the tried and tested model of interwoven love stories – see Love Actually. Unfortunately, it fails miserably. There are three principle problems with this film: firstly the pile-up of short scenes (there are almost fifty in total) means that the film doesn’t unfold comfortably and development comes only in brief bursts. Secondly, and rather unconvincingly, the characters seem oblivious to their own interconnections – despite the fact that there are only six of them. Worse still, even with this restricted social spectrum, they do little more that tap one another on the shoulder, never really engaging and failing to convince us that there’s even anything interesting going on. Finally, the failure to make a complete departure from the stage makes this interpretation unsuccessful and clumsy: ‘invisible walls separating people’ are portrayed as an opaque office partition between two of the characters while snow marking the distinction between each scene symbolises the ‘coldness of their isolation’. It tries to tick all the boxes but sadly it’s a far cry from Renais’ acclaimed Last Year at Marienbad or Smoking/No Smoking. Katherine Evecenter_img For many, 2007 was to be the year in which the cinema was the place to see and be seen. With about 80 films released, it seemed a fairly safe bet that there would be something to cater to everyone’s tastes. However, it was also a summer of ‘threequels’- five of the ten highest-grossing films have been third installments of previous box office winners. So, we should ask whether the so-called summer of cinema represented a return to a golden age of film or just the film industry’s increased ability to churn out the kind of cinematic experience that inexplicably gets bums on seats. The many eyes of the Cherwell have been busy and here we present a breakdown of this summer’s most memorable films…HITSDeath ProofHeavily influenced by the low-budget high-carnage exploitation films of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Death Proof follows the exploits of maniacal stuntman Mike, expertly portrayed by Kurt Russell, and who uses his specially-reinforced car to stalk and brutally murder groups of unsuspecting girls. The plot may seem pedestrian but there is much more than meets the eye here; the dialogue is razor sharp, the stunts are jaw-dropping and the performances flawless. It’s unlikely that Tarantino’s latest offering will meet all tastes but, let’s face it, that’s not really the purpose of any Tarantino film. Ultimately, those appreciative of Tarantino’s slick, daring and borderline offensive style will find much to love about Death Proof. Despite receiving a lukewarm reception from some quarters, it seems clear that in time Death Proof will be recognised as one of Tarantino’s masterpieces. Mary Clare WaireriTell No OneBased on the bestselling novel by Harlen Coben, Tell No One opens with the brutal murder of Margot Beck. Several years after the tragedy, her husband Alex (Francois Cluzet) receives an e-mail containing a link to a live video feed of a woman he believes to be Margot. Haunted by the images he sees, and the accompanying message that he must “Tell no one”, Alex is convinced that his wife is still alive. As Alex embarks on a struggle to uncover the truth behind the e-mail, he becomes entangled in a web of deceipt and crime.  One of the best things about Tell No One is Cluzet; not only is he convincing as the grief-tormented widower, but also the sense of impotence he feels as he finds himself increasingly embroiled in a situation beyond his control is perfectly expressed. In short, Tell No One has all the ingredients of a tense, unpredictable and stimulating thriller.Genevieve GreyKnocked Uplast_img read more