Film

The Ruins

By Gerald Aaron, June 20, 2008

 (18)

This grisly but dim shocker recalls all those rickety low-budget 1950s genre B films but without their zest, but with plenty of added gore, including an on-screen double amputation. 

A formulaic tall tale of American college in which students fall victim to killer vines on top of an ancient Mayan pyramid, it is shaky drivel, strictly for horror-flick aficionados only.

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The Edge Of Love

By Gerald Aaron, June 20, 2008

 (15)

I thought Keira Knightley’s finest performance was her compelling portrait of a troubled waitress in director John Maybury’s barely-seen fantasy thriller The Jacket — much better than her work in the much-praised hit Atonement.

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Israel through a scuffed lens

By Julia Weiner, June 20, 2008

Judy Price’s films play with ambiguity of vision and interpretation

Earlier this year, Judy Price curated a programme of archival films exploring the British Mandate in Palestine. The show was greeted favourably, but the curator herself was criticised after the publication of private emails she had sent led to suggestions that she was anti-Zionist.

Though she is a member of the pro-Arab group Jews for Justice for Palestinians, she advocates a two-state solution. 

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The Incredible Hulk

By Gerald Aaron, June 13, 2008

(12A)

Five years ago the execrable flop The Incredible Hulk deservedly dashed art-house director Ang Lee’s bid for multiplex glory.

The experience left Marvel Comics licking their wounds and hoping to revive a potentially 24-carat comic-strip franchise.

And, if plentiful action enlivened by superb CGI special effects and punctuated by aspirant intellectuality are what audiences want, then producer Avi Arad and director Louis Leterrier have delivered a surefire hit. 

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The Happening

By Gerald Aaron, June 13, 2008

(15)

Having earned his place in cinema history with the milestone thriller The Sixth Sense, writer-director M Night Shyamalan has gone on to prove the law of diminishing returns with increasingly underwhelming movies like Unbreakable, Signs and the Titanic-scale aquatic disaster Lady in the Water. 

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Priceless

By Gerald Aaron, June 13, 2008

 (12A)

Genuine charm is rare in contemporary movies, which makes this light but entertaining French-language romantic comedy even more engaging, largely thanks to the charismatic appeal of Audrey Tautou. 

She is utterly delightful as the scheming adventuress Irene who, dropped by her elderly rich lover, mistakes shy barman/waiter Jean (Gad Elmaleh) for another convenient millionaire to woo. 

Understandably smitten, Jean goes along with the deception, paying for his expensive courtship by becoming a gigolo.

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You think I’m wild? You should see my mother

By Stephen Applebaum, June 6, 2008

In the swinging ’60s, Marianne Faithfull lived a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll, and almost ended up paying the ultimate price. But, as she reveals, she wasn’t the first wild child in her extraordinary Jewish family

Marianne Faithfull was raised as a Catholic, but the husky-voiced singer says she has her Jewish roots to thank for her acclaimed renditions of the songs of Bertholt Brecht and Kurt Weill. People were astounded when they first heard her perform their work, she recalls — which started her wondering why she had such an innate flair for their music.

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Gone Baby Gone

By Gerald Aaron, June 6, 2008

(15) Eleven years ago, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won the best screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting. Since then, Damon has established himself as the thinking man’s James Bond in the Bourne thrillers, whereas Affleck’s acting career faltered, reaching its nadir with the dreadful Gigli. Now, on the evidence of this riveting thriller, Affleck has finally found his true métier, which is not actor, but director.

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Mongol

By Gerald Aaron, June 6, 2008

(15)

Russian co-writer-director Sergei Bodrov certainly deserved his Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign-Language Film of 2008 for this stunning vision of the life and legend of Genghis Khan.

Bodrov vividly illuminates the formative years in the life of Mongolian fighter Temudgin who was born in 1162. He chooses his future first wife Borte at the age of nine, briefly becomes leader of his tribe after his father is poisoned by a rival, is variously betrayed, captured and sold into slavery while Borte is abducted by a rival.

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Superhero Movie

By Gerald Aaron, June 6, 2008

(12A)

David Zucker, the man behind such landmark comedies as Airplane!, The Naked Gun and Scary Movie, joins writer-director Craig Mazin for another outburst of hit-and-miss parody.

This time he is aiming his scattershot attack at cinematic superheroes, particularly Spider-Man, as nerdy high-school student Rick (Drake Bell) gains bizarre superhuman powers after being bitten by a genetically enhanced dragon-fly.

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