The Friday Review 20.01.06

A rundown of the week’s cinema and DVD releases.

A rundown of the week’s cinema and DVD releases.

A Cock and Bull Story (15): This post-modern reworking of Lawrence Sterne’s ‘unfilmable’ 18th century novel is a rare treat – a British film that isn’t hopelessly crap. In fact, it’s really rather good, especially given that a lot of the self-reflexive jokes in it could have fallen flat. The film starts off as period adaptation with Steve Coogan playing the central character and Rob Brydon as Captain Toby but soon descends into an elaborate film-within-a-film. Director Michael Winterbottom pokes a lot of fun at the process of making films and Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon provide a lot of laughs (often at their own expense). [Now showing nationwide]
Fun With Dick And Jane (12A): A remake of the 1977 comedy with George Segal and Jane Fonda, Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni play Dick and Jane Harper, a married couple who turn to robbery after Dick’s company goes bankrupt and they run out of money. A mediocre satire on corporate America (especially Enron), the film’s heart is in the right place but the whole enterprise is devoid of any effective humour. The comic situations are drawn out and the central gag of an affluent couple forced to deal with poverty wears thin very quickly. [Now showing nationwide]
Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ (15): Rapper 50 Cent makes it to the big screen in this underwritten and badly acted biopic about his early life as a criminal. It follows the template established by 8 Mile in 2002. Get a rapper (50 Cent instead of Eminem); a respected director (Jim Sheridan instead of Curtis Hanson) and create a rags to riches story loosely based on the protagonist’s life. The main problem is 50 Cent (real name: Curtis Jackson), as it appears he can’t act (even though he’s playing himself). The film also dabbles in low life gangster clich�’s and is devoid of any real drama, excitement or wit. [Now showing nationwide]
Shopgirl (15): Steve Martin stars in this adaptation of his own 2001 novella, directed by Anand Tucker and starring Claire Danes in the title role. Mirabelle (Danes) works at an upmarket department store in Los Angeles and her lonely existence is altered by the attentions of two men: Ray (Martin), a wealthy businessman and Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman), an amplifier salesman. Nicely shot and (for the most part) well acted, it suffers from a meandering plot and a pointless omniscient voiceover from Martin that is not the voice of his character. It bears some similarities to Lost in Translation, but is nowhere near as good. [Now showing nationwide]

Underworld: Evolution (18): This sequel to the 2003 vampire film with Kate Beckinsale wearing PVC s out this week but there was only one press screening and I couldn’t make it. Sorry.
A Bittersweet Life (Dalkomhan Insaeng) (18): According to Variety this is a “tour de force of noirish style and Korean ultra-violence”. Sounds good. [Now showing in selected cities]
Drink Drank Drunk (Chin bui but dzui) (12A): The BBC describe Derek Yee’s film as “Light romantic froth”. [Now showing in selected cities]

Stealth (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 12): This action film was a major disappointment for critics, audiences and the studio that released it in the summer. The story centres on a team of three stealth bomber pilots (Scott Lucas, Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx) who are forced to fly with EDI (“Extreme Deep Invader”), a computer-manned prototype plane that specialises in extra-precision bombing and downloading “all the songs” from the Internet (!). If you are looking for plot holes, bad dialogue (“"Pardon my C-cup!") and clich�’s galore, then Stealth has the lot. [Out on Monday 23rd January]

1. Brokeback Mountain
2. King Kong
3. A Cock and Bull Story
4. March of the Penguins
5. Jarhead


> Check out show times courtesy of The Guardian
> Find out show times via Google UK