THE PROPOSAL * * * *
Cert 12A, 108 mins
Wedding movies are almost ten-a-penny in Hollywood these days, one of the staple genres which have replaced the long lost western.
Finding a man to look like Clint Eastwood, John Wayne or even Kevin Costner on a horse is clearly a lot harder than putting a woman in a wedding dress.
Last month, The Hangover got round even this minor problem by concentrating on the groom and his mates in what was a refreshingly different – if agreeably rude – journey down a well-travelled road.
The Proposal is a return to basics, as seen from the female perspective.
But it’s still an enjoyably silly one all the same if you are in the mood for some undemanding fun and can survive the ridiculous number of free plugs for Starbucks coffee.
Directed by Anne Fletcher (whose previous film 27 Dresses was about you-know-what), the film stars Sandra Bullock in the sort of all-too-rarely seen form which made her name (Speed, 1994) and then kept her fading career afloat six years later (Miss Congeniality).
As a tough-as-nails New York book editor called Margaret, she’s faced with deportation for daring to be a Canadian.
So will underling Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) really be the man to provide a marriage of convenience?
Taglined, ‘Here comes the bribe’, this is one for a girls’ night out, with Bullock’s first nude scenes at the age of 44, and her reaction to a stripper performing to Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, likely to be major talking points all the way home.
MOON * * *
Cert 15, 97 mins
Despite the admirable efforts by everyone to make this film in the first place, the distributors didn’t bother to preview it in time for last week’s column.
And so, in the battle for smaller films to survive the blockbuster onslaught of the likes of Harry Potter, Transformers 2, Ice Age 3, Terminator 4 and Star Trek (XI) etc, Vue Star City is again its sole West Midlands’ outpost.
Complete with some magnificent views of the Earth, it’s an ambitious, thought-provoking piece of science-fiction by debut director Duncan Jones – David Bowie’s son who has sensibly dropped the Zowie Bowie tag.
Shooting on the original Alien soundstage in just 33 days, most of the Earth’s energy is being provided through the moon’s potentially factual supply of Helium-3 (HE-3), a light, non-radioactive isotope of Helium which could help to turn nuclear fission (as opposed to the current fusion) a reality.
Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, a blue-collar astronaut caretaker working on the far side of the moon.
Longing to see his wife and daughter again after a near three-year stay he gets injured shortly before he’s due to return to Earth.
Bell then begins to find out exactly who he is, or may not be, while Kevin Spacey voices GERTY, a machine which can talk to him.
With respect to our own, increasingly technological isolation, Moon asks many relevant questions about the problems that remote living could have on long-distance relationships and, in Jones’ words, ‘how we anthropomorphise technology’.
Though dramatically weak it has a tense finale.
Moon will probably be a big hit on DVD one day with empathetic workers stuck out on remote North Sea gas and oil rigs.
KATYN * * * *
Cert 15, 121 mins
Now aged 83, legendary Polish director Andrzej Wajda (Danton) was awarded an honorary Oscar in the year 2000 for ‘five decades of extraordinary film direction’. Made in 2007 and Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film last year, Katyn is the best film by an octogenarian since Sidney Lumet’s Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead in February of last year.
Having lost his own father in the Soviet massacre of Polish officers in the Katyn forest in 1940, Wajda waited for the demise of communism before dealing with this heartfelt issue in the way that he knows best – on film. Beautifully shot and consummately acted, he tells the cover-up story through the hearts and souls of the women left behind.
It is showing at the Warwick Arts Centre at 8.45pm tonight, 6.30pm tomorrow and again at 7.30pm on Sunday.
ANTICHRIST * *
Cert 18, 109 mins
Easily the most controversial film since The Passion of The Christ, Lars Von Trier’s grim four-part film warrants a 600-word explanation from the British Board of Film Classification as to why it has been given a certificate at all.
Its thoughts can be summarised thus: ‘real sex with penetration, masturbation, genital mutilation and self-mutilation’.
While wishing that ‘adults should be free to chose their own entertainment, within the law’ the BBFC also points out that the film includes ‘a scene in which the woman drills a hole through the man’s leg with a bit and brace before bolting a large grindstone to the injured limb’.
If that doesn’t put you off, it’s worth noting that Breaking The Waves director Von Trier wrote this after a bleak spell suffering with depression to ‘test if I would ever make another film... scenes were added for no reason, images were composed free of logic or dramatic thinking’.
The mixed result is up there on screen as grieving couple He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) retreat to a remote cabin and end up either torturing each other or themselves.
Showing only at Cineworld Broad Street, this is absolutely not a first date movie.
And it’s unlikely to cure anybody else’s depression either.