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COMEDY/THRILLER THE BROTHERS BLOOM (12A) 113min ●●●●● ALSO RELEASED
THRILLER 18.104.22.168 (15) 116min ●●●●●
The shadow of Quentin Tarantino looms large over Noel ‘Adulthood’ Clarke’s ambitious second film, in which four girls (Emma Roberts, Tamsin Egerton, Ophelia Lovibond and Shanika Warren-Markland) have the weekend from hell. Clarke and his co-director Mark Davis aim admirably high, pushing against British drama traditions, telling interconnected stories with a cast of oddball characters spouting quirky dialogue via a narrative that playfully keeps reality at arms length. But while the resulting mash-up of conflicting tones and styles is entertaining and features moments of bizarre inspiration, 22.214.171.124 is ultimately less than the sum of its parts. The set-up is promising – the girls’ parallel stories play out one after
another, with the film rewinding to the same initial point after each one – but Clarke’s script is undisciplined, overflowing with ideas and not focused into a coherent and meaningful whole. A constant stream of attention- grabbing cameos adds to the patched-together feel, and the more dramatic story elements aren’t developed enough to hold much weight. The four actresses are great though, and their strong performances do a lot to carry the film through its weaker moments. Ophelia Lovibond is particularly impressive. (Paul Gallagher) ■ Selected release from Wed 2 Jun. See profile, index.
Sex and the City 2 (15) 146min Here come the girls again. Unable to review at time of going to press, will be reviewed at www.list.co.uk General release from Fri 28 May. Space Chimps 2 — Zartog Strikes Back 3D (U) 75min ●●●●● Those box office busting chimps are back for more family fun. General release from Fri 28 May. Kites: the Remix (12A) 122min ●●●●● Watchable if only mildly more titillating recut of Bollywood wanted man actioner by Hollywood gun for hire Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand, Rush Hour 3). Selected release from Fri 28 May. She’s Out of My League (15) 104min ●●●●● Cartoonish and vulgar but largely effective comedy in which rising comedy star Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder, Knocked Up) makes his leading man debut. He plays an every day schmuck who suddenly comes into the radar of a stunning young lady (Alice Eve). This likeable comedy benefits greatly from a fine cast and a well-honed screenplay. General release from Fri 4 Jun. A Room and a Half (Poltory komnaty ili sentimentalnoe puteshestvie na rodinu) (12A) 130min ●●●●● Russian writer/director Andrey Khrzhanovskiy’s semi-fictional animated biopic of Nobel Prize- winning Russian Jewish poet Joseph Brodsky, who was forced in to American exile in 1974. GFT, Glasgow, Mon 7–Wed 9 Jun.
In 2005, writer/director Rian Johnson transplanted ‘40s film noir to the modern high school and came up with Brick, an exhilarating debut that announced his arrival as a filmmaker of singular vision in no uncertain terms. For his follow-up Johnson had access to a bigger budget and some bigger names, but the convention- twisting spirit of his debut remains, and in The Brothers Bloom he offers a light-hearted spin on that favourite of cinematic sons, the con man. As in Brick, much of the film’s success comes from the well-chosen casting, with Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody balancing humour and heart as the titular tricksters, and Rachel Weisz staying just the right side of kooky as the eccentric millionairess they target for the time-honoured ‘last job’. Even a brief appearance from Robbie Coltrane as, of all things, a Belgian art dealer, hits the spot.
The emphasis is on comedy, and Johnson punctuates his shaggy dog of a story with clever visual gags and several laugh-out-loud moments that owe a debt to some (charmingly acknowledged) silent classics. While the near two-hour running time comes close to testing the patience, the story pays off with a final twist of melancholy that’s surprising and touching. (Paul Gallagher) ■ General release from Fri 4 Jun. See feature, page 57
DOCUMENTARY BANANAS!* (E) 87min ●●●●●
Bananas! (note both the exclamation mark and the asterisk in the title) recounts a David-versus-Goliath legal battle, which has strong echoes of Joe Berlinger’s recently released Crude. Here, a dozen Nicaraguan banana plantation workers launch a class action lawsuit against the giant multinational corporation Dole Food. In the landmark case, the plaintiffs argue that the company’s use of the pesticide DBCP, dating back to the 1970s, has rendered them sterile.
Swedish director Fredrik Gertten draws on footage shot in a 1982 Nicaraguan documentary Bananeras, which highlights the appalling conditions endured by plantation labourers. He also benefits from a charismatic protagonist in the form of the cigar-smoking, Ferrari-driving Juan Dominguez, who’s the Cuban-born, Los Angeles-based lawyer representing the underdogs. It’s a pity, however, that the film can’t incorporate the ongoing developments in the proceedings. After shooting was completed Dole took out and then withdrew a lawsuit against the filmmaker, and charges of fraud have also been levelled at Dominguez. The crucial moment in the film shouldn’t be forgotten, however: a senior Dole executive admits on the witness stand that despite DBCP being banned in California in 1977 on health grounds, the company continued to use the pesticide in South America. This release is supported by global action cinema project Take One Action and there will be an audience discussion after the opening screening. (Tom Dawson) ■ Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Mon 7–Thu 10 Jun.
27 May–10 June 2010 THE LIST 57