BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Quantum of Solace ★★★
This is a film with an identity crisis. It’s a Bond movie, of course, with Daniel Craig as 007. But judging from the screenplay and Marc Forster’s direction, it seems to have a secret yearning to belong to a different franchise, the Bourne trilogy — which is to say that it’s largely a matter of violent, nonstop action with precious little time for dialogue, humour or character development. Fine, if that’s the kind of thing you like, but it has nothing to do with James Bond. He’s not action man; he is, or should be, too smart and sophisticated for that, but here he does a lot and says little. Mathieu Amalric is the villain, trying to corner the water supply in Bolivia, God knows why, and Olga Kurylenko provides the Bond-girl eye candy. Craig is good, the best Bond since Connery, and the action is fast and furious. But next time around, please, let’s have the old, familiar and trusty formula.
11.05pm-1.45am Film Four
As a director, Mel Gibson has a steady hand, delivering thrills and thoughtful subtext in this epic chase set in ancient Mexico. Only he could get away with use of Mayan dialogue. Many of the cast were new to acting, and the jungle shoot was demanding, but the effort shows on the screen as Mayan warrior Rudy Youngblood is chased by a vicious tribe that wants him for a sacrifice.
GI Joe: the Rise of Cobra ★★★★
If you like the comic-book spectacle of Transformers, look no further than this action-packed adventure, full of high-tech hardware and nano-weapons that threaten the planet. Channing Tatum has the muscle, if not the charisma, as the head of a bunch of elite soldiers battling Sienna Miller’s evil criminal organisation, and the great gadgets help paper over the gaps in credibility.
The Wolfman ★★★
Nearly 70 years and $100 million later, Joe Johnston rekindles the atmosphere of Universal’s classic horror thriller, with Benicio Del Toro as the victim of a family curse. Johnston came on board at the last minute, and the movie did not fare well at the box office, but there’s an impressive cast and plenty to enjoy.
The Watch ★★★
9.00-11.05pm Film Four
An oddball neighbourhood watch team comes up against an alien invasion in this crudely funny comedy that, in places, goes too far with the crude at the expense of the comic. The plot makes you think that the production team had been watching Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy for inspiration, and the cast of Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill Vince Vaughan and Richard Ayoade make for an unlikely but pleasing bunch of heroes.
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