I SPY: Starring Owen Wilson, Eddie Murphy, Famke Janssen, Malcolm McDowell. Director: Betty Thomas
Tired Hollywood execs just can’t stop raiding TV’s archives, it seems, bringing us this formulaic team-up movie based on the 60s show that featured Bill Cosby.
Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy are thrown together as a bumbling American agent and a boxing champ to save the world from Malcom McDowell in an average spy spoof no-brainer.
It’s an OK pairing, but lacks the chemistry of Wilson’s previous team-up with Jackie Chan in Shanghai Noon, in a film that best rates as ‘agreeable’.
ABOUT SCHMIDT: Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, Dermot Mulroney. Director: Alexander Payne
Jack Nicholson scooped a Golden Globe with this clever character role in a subtle black comedy. Saggy and morose, Warren Schmidt makes Victor Meldrew look like the life and soul of a party. After he’s forced into retirement and his wife passes away, Schmidt feels quite lost. So he sets out in his motor home to try and convince his daughter not to marry her fiance.
It takes acting and directing of the highest calibre to draw the humour out of what could be a pathetic loser, which is why we’re in safe hands with Alexander Payne, the man behind the biting Election, as writer/director.
THE TRANSPORTER: Jason Statham, Shu Qi, Matt Schulze. Director: Cory Yuen
Transporting anything for the right price, ex-Special Forces hardman Frank Martin breaks his own rules when he undoes a package to release beautiful captive Lai, an action that leads to scene after scene of gun and martial arts mayhem.
Jason Lock, Stock... Statham shows he can play the leading man away from Guy Ritchie’s influence, and has worked hard to get those kicks and punches looking Hong Kong perfect.
But dodgy plotting and dialogue only emphasise the fact that this film is long on brawn, short on brain.
8 MILE: Starring Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer. Director: Curtis Hanson.
It’s probably not the biggest gamble in the world to have this as Eminem’s major acting debut. A film about a white trash rapper who sees music as his only way out of a dead-end job and trailer park life – it’s at least semi-autobiographical.
Why bother trying to find an actor who can rap, therefore, when you just sign up Slim Shady and hope that he can act. Fortunately, he can, which is a good job when most of the film rest upon his shoulders.
It’s a film that involves race, crossing boundaries, and breaking out of the pigeonholes that people like to use to neatly box up society. But with the verbal sparring of the pulsating rap ‘battles’, it comes across a lot like a hip-hop Rocky, with boxing gloves and bouts swapped for mics and machine-gun lyrics.
CHICAGO: Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere. Director: Rob Marshall.
Showtunes, sleaze, satire and sex – Chicago whisks all these up into a heady mix in an all-star version of the jailhouse musical set in the roaring 20s.
In our ‘fame at any cost’, celebrity obsessed society, Chicago has never been more relevant, and the showy musical spectacular picked up three Golden Globes this week to position itself as an Oscar front-runner.