COMEDY/FAMILY TOOTH FAIRY (PG) 101min ●●●●● HORROR [REC] 2 (15) 85min ●●●●●
Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza’s original [Rec] was a taut, unnerving chiller that brought a claustrophobic, Blair Witch-style sensibility to the zombie genre. Its sequel adopts more of an Aliens-style approach by swapping a TV reporter and some firemen for a SWAT team and a medical officer in search of the evil that lurks within. Picking up minutes after the original, [Rec] 2 still unfolds within the confines of the infected apartment as its central characters’ search for the evil host as well as a blood sample that might offer a cure.
The action continues to unfold
through a hand-held video camera and is just as chaotic, with more shocks and a higher body count that are in keeping with the rules of a sequel. This, in turn, compromises any real
character development but Balagueró and Plaza still have fun revealing some of the film’s truths as well as setting things up for an even broader three- quel (already on its way). Gripping enough for those committed to the journey. (Rob Carnevale) ■ General release from Fri 28 May.
DRAMA 24 CITY (ER SHI SI CHENG JI) (U) 112min ●●●●●
How does that Chinese proverb go? ‘If you stand straight, do not fear a crooked shadow.’ Sixth Generation Chinese filmmaker Zhang-ke Jia has been standing straight and telling it like it is for years. This brave and frequently brilliant director has been detailing the communal and individual effect of social and economic shifts in contemporary China for over a decade now. His deeply nuanced style mixes minimalism and realism in search of documentary truth. His previous fictional features – Xiao Wu, Platform, Unknown Pleasures, The World and Still Life – are unflinching dissections of how policies honed by communism, and later by globalisation, have affected China’s youth, arts community, childbirth, the tourist industry and those disaffected by industrial progress. 24 City is more of the same, but no less entrancing for all that. Blending
fictional and documentary storytelling techniques Jia follows three generations of characters from the sub-provincial southwestern city of Chengdu. His reason for doing so is because they all worked at a state owned airplane engine factory, which is to be closed down, and turned into apartment blocks. Their stories are ordinary but somehow poignant and oddly tragic. The thing that defined their connection is defunct, where does that leave them?
Like all Jia’s films 24 City is a slow, challenging and frequently difficult film with a bland, low budget, digital aesthetic that connects it more to the work of cinema experimentalists Chantal Akerman, Andy Warhol, Stan Brakhage and Michael Snow than to anything on the modern radar. It is also deeply textual (at one point actress Joan Chen, playing a factory employee, is seen watching herself in Zheng Zhang’s 1980 propaganda film Little Flower). 24 City is as anthropologically rich and emotive a work as this remarkable director has ever produced. If you have the patience this is worth your time. (Paul Dale) ■ GFT, Glasgow, Wed 2 & Thu 3 Jun; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 4–Tue 8 Jun.
Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, has a genial charm that’s salvaged many a predictable family flick – The Game Plan and Escape to Witch Mountain among them – but his best efforts raise few smiles in Michael Lembeck’s leaden fantasy. Johnson plays Derek Thompson, a
cynical ice hockey player who is better known for knocking out the teeth of his opponents than scoring goals. But when he cruelly disabuses a toddler of the notion that the tooth fairy exists, Thompson is whisked to Fairyland, where supervisor Lily (Julie Andrews) outfits him with a pink tutu and sentences him to a punishment of two weeks hard graft as a fairy. Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel’s
pun-heavy script has been kicking around Hollywood for nearly twenty years, and finds an ideal conduit in the form of Lembeck, who created two sequels in the thematically similar Santa Clause franchise. But the mixture of silly sports action, po-faced life lessons for children and slapstick never gels, not helped by weak support from Ashley Judd, Billy Crystal and Stephen Merchant, all of whom seem pleased to take the Tooth Fairy’s money and run. (Eddie Harrison) ■ General release from Fri 28 May.
MUSIC DOCUMENTARY RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE (12A) 106min ●●●●●
Despite massive success during the Canadian trio’s 35-year career, ‘The world’s most popular cult band’ have always existed alongside the mainstream, never in it. It could be argued that the showy musicianship and lyrical subject matter beyond standard rock fare (Reaganomics; Ayn Rand; the freewill vs determinism paradox) made sure of that, but, just as there’s nothing as uncool as trying to be cool, there’s nothing cooler that not giving a shit, making uncompromising music and being successful. Whilst the heartfelt contributions from fully signed-up Rush fans Billy Corgan, Trent
Reznor, Jack Black and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett make clear their considerable influence, documentarians Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn (whose previous collaborations include Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey), aren’t scared to address the easy targets (the high voice, the critics, the highbrow lyrics, the conspicuous musical virtuosity) either. Access to early footage from the band’s personal archives shows the friendship between
school friends Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson and ‘new boy’ Neil Peart as one of music’s most endearing. However, being a band of intelligent and funny individuals there are fewer of the Spinal Tap moments that gave Metallica doc Some Kind of Monster or Anvil: The Story of Anvil appeal beyond the fans, but those with any love for Rush, either current or (in my case) dormant, will love this film. (Hamish Brown) ■ Cineworld Edinburgh & Cineworld Renfrew St, Glasgow, Mon 7 Jul and selected release thereafter.
56 THE LIST 27 May–10 June 2010