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Film: Bullet to the Head | Flight | Hitchcock

Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) faces the music in Flight

Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) faces the music in Flight

  • by ALISTAIR HARKNESS
 

This superficial, star-studded dramatisation of the making of Psycho doesn’t come close to uncovering and instead takes liberties with both the movie and the man who made it in order to create an insultingly idiotic portrait of Alfred Hitchcock that equates creativity with psychosis and speculates wildly on the state of his marriage and its influence on the film.

Hitchcock (12A) * *

The irony of exploring the difficulty of creating something original in a film that’s content to trade so heavily on its association with one the most famous movies in history seems lost on everyone, not least Anthony Hopkins, who gives a spectacularly lazy performance as the world’s first superstar director.

Bullet to the Head (15) * *

Now that The Expendables has provided Sylvester Stallone with another vaguely successful franchise beyond the Rocky and Rambo films, he seems to be getting another crack at making the kind of terrible action movie that has traditionally exposed his inability to engage with audiences outside of his best known roles – such as this retrograde, rubbish graphic novel adaptation about a double-crossed ridiculously named hitman, Jimmy Bobo.

Flight (15) * * *

For about 30 minutes Flight is mainstream Hollywood film-making at its best, director Robert Zemeckis ratcheting up the tension to near intolerable levels as Denzel Washington’s character, pilot William “Whip” Whitaker performs a dazzling and audacious array of (coke-fuelled) moves to land his plane safely. And then the plane crashes and the film does too – right into a sanctimonious, baby-brained Hollywood redemption story.

Hyde Park on Hudson (15) *

Likely rushed into production the moment The King’s Speech conquered all before it, this rather shameless wannabe prequel attempts to cash in by exploring the origins of the special relationship forged between Britain and America during King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s first state visit. in the summer of 1939. Largely charmless, it’s not helped by Bill Murray, as Franklin D Roosevelt, giving perhaps the worst performance of his career. And I include Garfield 2.

I Give It A Year (15) *

As the too-obviously mismatched couple who get married just months after believing they’ve fallen in love, Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall are fighting a losing battle in this charmless, faux-edgy British rom-com from the writer of Borat. Though it starts where most movies of this nature end, it proceeds to pile on every genre convention in the book as both characters fall for people more aesthetically suited to them. The end result is so schematic it feels like the product of a fascistic dating algorithm.

No (15) * * * *

Oscar-nominated Chilean drama from Pablo Larraín (Tony Manero, Post Mortem) that continues his exploration of life lived under Pinochet. Set towards the end of his regime, it casts Gael García Bernal as an advertising executive who helps the opposition win the battle for the public’s hearts and minds via a series of nightly TV spots in the run-up to 1988 referendum on whether Pinochet’s rule should be extended. What follows is a masterful, irony laced exploration of a country in the throes of an economic and political revolution.

Warm Bodies (12A) * * *

Sweet-natured adaptation of novelist Isaac Marion’s cult zombie love story starring Nicholas Hoult as a sensitive member of the undead who falls for the still very human Julie (Teresa Palmer) after ingesting her boyfriend’s brains. The zombie action is a little on the mild side, but it’s funny enough to sustain the concept. John Malkovich co-stars.

Wreck-It Ralph (PG) * * * *

An imaginative and entertainingly anarchic return to form for Disney Animation that absorbs the best lessons of Pixar to tell the story of a video game character who, tired of always being the bad guy, jumps into another game in an effort to prove his worth as a hero. Chaos ensues, but so too do wonderfully defined characters, great jokes and a loving tribute to gaming culture. John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman and 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer are among the voice cast.

 

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