Elizabethtown (12A)<br/> The Brothers Grimm (12A)<br/> Murderball (15)<br/> Black Orpheus (PG)

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Elizabethtown (12A)

By the end of this prostratingly tedious movie you may find it difficult just to pick yourself up and leave the cinema.What, in short, is the point of this piffle? Some years ago I would also have wondered how Cameron Crowe ( Singles, Almost Famous) could have been its director, but you only have to recall the insipid mush of his Tom Cruise vanity project Vanilla Sky to realise that the warning signs were there. Orlando Bloom sleepwalks through the role of a footwear designer whose new sports shoe loses his company nearly a billion dollars. He gets fired, and considers suicide, but then his father suddenly dies and he has to return to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, for the funeral.

On the plane he meets a garrulous, free-spirited cutie (Kirsten Dunst) who teaches him a few simple life lessons and... are you still there? Unfortunately I was, and can report that things get very whimsical and ingratiating before the film bellyflops into a family sobfest. Thank heavens for the jangly pop soundtrack, which is the only thing that stops it evaporating altogether. Don't even see this for a dare.

The Brothers Grimm (12A)

The week's other major fiasco is less surprising, given that Terry Gilliam hasn't made a decent film in 20 years. This is a film that would like to be prized for its "imagination", the problem being that what it imagines is so abysmal. Heath Ledger and Matt Damon play the eponymous brothers as a pair of fraudsters who tour Napoleonic Europe charging the gullible peasantry for the exorcism of so-called witches and demons. Then they stumble on a village that is haunted for real, which is the cue for a farcically overblown fantasia involving devouring forests, lycanthropes, kidnapped maidens and Peter Stormare chewing whatever scenery is left over. Shoddy of script and wayward of focus, the film loses its thread, retreats inside a welter of special effects and hopes for the best: all we can do is Grimm and bear it.

Murderball (15)

"Murderball" is the former (and apparently unmarketable) name for quad rugby, a brutal sport played by wheelchair-bound athletes. This documentary focuses on the rivalry that has sprung up between the Canadian and American national teams, personified in Team America spokesman Mark Zupan and Canada's bullish coach Joe Soares, himself an American and despised as a turncoat.

The film does a good job of blasting a hole through the ignorance and condescension that blankets disabled sportsmen, who in mindset and will-to-win are as fanatical as any able-bodied jock.

Black Orpheus (PG)

Originally seen in 1959, Marcel Camus' vibrant jazz opera transposes the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice to the riotous milieu of Rio de Janeiro's Carnival. Sultry and insinuating, it charts the doomed love affair between a guitar-playing lothario (Breno Mello) and a young woman (Marpessa Dawn) who's being stalked by a stranger.

The low comedy surrounding the lovers - Orpheus' firebrand fiancée Mira, Eurydice's conniving cousin - is exuberantly played, as is the frenzied pageant of colour and movement that Camus and his photographer Jean Bourgoin orchestrate. But it's the music, ecstatic, delirious, overwhelming, that is the star of the show: the bossa nova has never had a setting like this.

Comments