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Reviews Archive - E


FEATURING:

Eastern Promises
Easy A
Edge of Darkness (2010)
8 1/2
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Enchanted
The Expendables


Eastern Promises
(2007) 

Cronenberg's back on the form he was in during the late '80s. He may have switched to the thriller genre, but his visceral obsessions are intact, and I love that he's still making economical films when everyone else seems to think you have to make a movie that's two hours plus if it's going to bear the mark of quality. Viggo Mortensen gives a tremendous performance and the bathhouse scene is rivetingly nasty.

****

Easy A  
(2010) 

First tier teen comedy in which Emma Stone gains a (false) reputation as the school bike. The performances and dialogue are wonderful, and if it never reaches Heathers-levels of satire, this is still a rare high school flick that’s brimming with smarts. Particularly striking are the characterisations of the adults; Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Stone's witty, understanding parents and Thomas Hayden Church as one of her teachers.

****


Edge of Darkness
(2010)

It may not have any of the resonance of the original, but this is a well-made, well-acted conspiracy thriller. Mel Gibson's very good in sombre mode, and he and Ray Winstone spark off each other nicely. Winstone's character, in particular, gets some great dialogue and decent character strokes.

****

8 1/2 
(1963) 

A bit redundant to call this indulgent, but while it's intermittently engaging, I much prefer Woody Allen's direct rip-off, Stardust Memories.

***

Elizabeth: The Golden Age 
(2007) 

Kind of crap, particularly when Clive Owen's riding on the bow of a ship when he should have been on dry land, but strangely watchable. It's generally been critically torn apart because of the shameless disinterest in historical accuracy, but what damages it the most is that it's more a collection of scenes than a coherent film. Still, Blanchett is excellent, and Samantha Morton steals the film in her underwritten cameo as Queen Mary.

***

Enchanted 
(2007) 

Surprisingly intelligent deconstruction of fairy tales from the Mouse House, with Amy Adams (see also her arse's starring role in A Night at the Museum 2) getting thrown from cartoon to real world, with attendant fish-out-of-water incidents ensuing. 

James Marsden all but seals the film with a great comic turn as the cartoon prince made real (a shock because he often appears to be approximating a plank of wood in other roles) and Timothy Spall and a squirrel lend support.

****

The Expendables
(2010) 

Rubbish, and it becomes tiresome in the middle section, but there's enough stupid action and clunky semi-thesping to maintain a decent entertainment level. 

It says something that the Stat comes out of this looking like a proper actor, and that Stallone wipes the floor with Arnie in their scene together. I was most tickled by Dolph, though, and his gun that blows upper torsos into pulverised juices. And, given his character's "arc", the final scene with him is hysterically nonsensical.

**1/2

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