Film

Kung Fu Panda

By Gerald Aaron, July 4, 2008

(PG)

There have been times (Nacho Libre, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny and Be Kind Rewind,  for example) when Jack Black has effortlessly gone over the top and delivered cartoon-like performances. 

Here, seemingly uncurbed by directors John Stevenson, Mark Osborne and Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger’s simple slapstick-oriented screenplay, his  vocal characterisation of the overweight clumsy protagonist of this cheerful animated comedy is infectiously funny.

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The Mist

By Gerald Aaron, July 4, 2008

 (15)

It does not take writer-director Frank Darabont long to establish a tangible atmosphere of unease in his nerve-scraping film of Stephen King’s 1980 novella (co-produced by Darabont with, among others, Harvey and Bob Weinstein) .

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The Visitor

By Gerald Aaron, July 4, 2008

 (15)

Writer-director Tom McCarthy follows his 2003 drama The Station Agent with a well-intentioned if sometimes rather too obvious political drama.

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Female Agents

By MichaelSophocles, June 27, 2008

Last week, former Apprentice candidate Michael Sophocles revealed in an interview with the JC that he wanted to review films for us. Always willing to give someone a second chance, we invited him to cast his eye over a French-language wartime drama. Here’s what he thought.

 (15)

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Teeth

By Gerald Aaron, June 20, 2008

 (18)

This alleged black comedy about a chaste young woman whose sexual organs have teeth, to the terminal terror of her sexual partners, never adds up to anything more interesting than writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein’s deliberate but not very clever attempt to shock for shock’s sake. Avoid.

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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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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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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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