ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY
The Book of Eli ★★★
At the end of 2009, cinema audiences were subjected to the relentlessly gloomy post-apocalyptic privations of The Road, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cormac McCarthy novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it flopped. It was immediately followed in January 2010 by The Book of Eli, a comparably bleak vision of a post-nuclear wasteland, which made money. Why the commercial disparity? Well, it boasted Denzel Washington, whose taciturn stranger had more than a touch of the western gunslinger about him, and stylish directing duo the Hughes brothers paying visual homage to the dust-caked Mad Max series. It’s a combination that makes an altogether sexier package, along with Gary Oldman as a power-hungry town tyrant and sufficient theosophical hot air about Washington’s mysterious tome to give it a highfalutin graphic-novel feel (it’s actually an original screenplay). With support from Tom Waits, Mila Kunis and, less predictably, Frances de la Tour, it’s an enjoyable bit of hokum. Although I still prefer The Road.
48 HRS ★★★★
The mutha of all buddy movies finds Nick Nolte’s gruff, racist cop forced to spring Eddie Murphy’s quick-quipping criminal from the slammer in order to chase down some (largely irrelevant) bad guys. Still hard to believe this was Murphy’s first film.
Robin Hood ★★★
It’s Gladiator in Lincoln green as director Ridley Scott and star Russell Crowe reteam to put their own spin on the Nottingham legend. This one also boasts Cate Blanchett as Maid Marion and Mark Strong as boo-hiss baddie Sir Godfrey.
Nutty Professor 2: the Klumps ★★★
Here’s another helping of Eddie Murphy, only this time he shares the screen mostly with himself as he takes on multiple roles. Depending on your tolerance for Murphy’s family-oriented fare, this will either be comedy manna or manure.
French Film ★★★
The title is a bit misleading here, as this very British romcom casts Downton’s Hugh Bonneville as a journalist who receives some lessons in love from a Gallic film director, played with amusing pretentiousness by Eric Cantona.