Also showing (18/05/2012)
New films out this week
The Raid (18) ***
Gareth Evans, 101 mins
Starring: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim
Gareth Huw Evans's superviolent thriller hits the ground running as a SWAT team prepares to raid a high-rise slum in Jakarta that's hideout to a drug kingpin, countless thugs and an arsenal fit for World War III. When the police are outnumbered and trapped, rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) steps forward to launch the counterattack, floor by floor.
Evans understands the use of space, tensely confining the action to a single building just like Assault on Precinct 13 and Die Hard. Fightwise, the film's selling point is the martial art of Pencak Silat, a speeded-up balletic chopsocky involving athletic finesse and a lot of grunted "hai!"s. Like Jackie Chan, they make imaginative use of kitchen furniture, throwing each other over tables, fridges and ovens as they whirl about a room. The danger is overkill: one fight seemed to go on for about ten minutes, by which point you'd prefer one of them just to drop dead.
She Monkeys (12A) ***
Lisa Aschan, 83 mins
Starring: Mathilda Paradeiser, Linda Molin
Lisa Aschan's debut feature could be called a coming-of-age drama, though it's really a provocation on the subject of pubertal sexuality. Emma (Mathilda Paradeiser) is a self-contained teenager who's just joined the local pony club and found an admirer in killer-blonde Cassandra (Linda Molin). Emma's sister Sara (Isabella Lindquist) is a seven-year-old in love with the teenage cousin who babysits her. No wonder their widowed dad keeps out of things.
The story doesn't move along conventional rails, and is generally the more intriguing for it. The sight of a stallion mounting a mare is perhaps de trop – talk about a gratuitous sex scene – but elsewhere the film is graced with subtle and disquieting touches of comedy.
Even the Rain (15) **
Iciar Bollain, 103 mins
Starring: Luis Tosar, Gael Garcia Bernal
Colonial guilt crashes head-on with Bolivian insurrection in a drama scripted by Ken Loach regular Paul Laverty. A Spanish film crew arrives in the city of Cochabamba to start shooting a revisionist movie about Christopher Columbus, one that will tell the truth about the vicious depredations and murder inflicted upon the Indian population circa 1511.
The focus of the story shifts between the film's producer (Luis Tosar), director (Gael Garcia Bernal) and a local activist (Juan Carlos Aduviri) hired to play one of the rebellious natives. Soon a local dispute over the sale of water rights is echoing events of 500 years earlier, and the film production finds itself being eclipsed by real events out on the streets.
Laverty's script is wry about the difficulties of shooting in a foreign language ("How did Disney ever pass on this?") and rather didactic about everything else, including the eternal nature of colonial exploitation. It's based on an actual dispute of 2000, when civil demonstrators made war on the corporate privatisation of water – "even the rain" was up for grabs. The film steers an awkward, unconvincing course between the cushy narcissism of the film-makers and the idealised nobility of "the people".
2 Days in New York (15) **
Julie Delpy, 96 mins
Starring: Chris Rock, Julie Delpy
Julie Delpy follows up her 2 Days in Paris (2007) with another featherweight rom-com that will do nothing to improve US-French relations. Delpy again plays Marion, now in New York with a child by ex-boyfriend Jack and sharing an apartment with new partner Mingus (Chris Rock) and his kid.
Their relationship undergoes its first serious test when her father, her sister and her creepy boyfriend arrive from Paris to stay. Did the latter just invite a dope-dealer into their place? Did Delpy pere really object to sleeping on the couch because he wouldn't have anywhere to "jerk off"? Oui, malheureusement. Rock at least is funny; when Delpy describes her sister as "mildly schizophrenic", he asks her what that means: "I meant to kill Ringo, not John?" More of that, less of everything else would have been the ticket.
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (R/I) *****
Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 163 mins
Starring: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr
One of the most remarkable aspects of this Powell-Pressburger classic of 1943 is its timing. Britain was still in a fight to the death with Nazism when they made this civilised and touching picture about an old soldier and his embodiment of honour, decency and fair play. Churchill tried to have it banned, and no wonder: fair play would cut no ice against Hitler. Roger Livesey plays career soldier Clive Candy, from his rowdy youth in 1902 to crusty old age as a retired general in 1942, during which span he becomes fast friends with the German officer (Anton Walbrook) he first encountered in a Berlin duel.
The film is epic in scope yet intimate in its account of a man's character, of how it clings to youth and romance even as his body ages. Deborah Kerr was never more radiant, first as the woman both men love, and later as two near-doubles of Candy's elusive soulmate. Magnificent.
The Source (15) ***
Radu Mihaileanu, 135 mins
Starring: Leila Bekhti, Hafsia Herzi
Radu Mihaileanu's comedy drama is set in a poor mountain village in the present-day Middle East, where sexual equality and running water are both slow to arrive. Fed up with the slave's lot – women fetching and carrying while the men laze about drinking coffee – a young woman named Leila (Leila Bekhti) mobilises a wives' "love strike" until such time as the men establish a water system for the village. Leila becomes a target of resentment as the men invoke traditional arguments and methods (wife-beating).
Partly inspired by the Aristophanes comedy Lysistrata, it is strongly cast if overlong. But as a plea for yanking male attitudes out of the Dark Ages it's unarguable.
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 3 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Avengers: Age of Ultron set to make box office history with $84.5m US opening
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
Red Dwarf returns: Craig Charles quits Coronation Street to return to comedy sci-fi series
New on Netflix UK May 2015: From Fast & Furious 6 to World War Z and Grace and Frankie
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds