The Shapes of Things to Come

Blog by Ray Philp | 28 Aug 2009

Heinemann, arch purveyors of twee arithmetical conundrums (sample equation: “Beverley has three marbles. She gives two marbles to John. How many marbles does she have now?”), occupies a special place in the affections of the Film Blog - not because the Film Blog is some sort of maths whizz, you understand, but rather because it once provided a bountiful source of tenuous geometry-related links, for which the Blog is eternally grateful for. We’ve since moved on from such tiresome linguistic tricks, but the Blog is a sucker for sepia toned nostalgia, so for old times’ sake, let’s kick off on one.

After her recent Oscar-winning role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Penelope Cruz finds herself entangled in another love triangle; possibly the most salacious geometric shape of all. Pedro Almodovar’s latest opus Broken Embraces depicts Lena (Cruz), an actress whose career has been entirely dependent on the funds of her ‘sugar daddy’ Ernesto (Jose Luis Gomez). Ernesto and Lena maintain an evidently fragile relationship, exacerbated by the lop-sided power structure inherent in such an arrangement, coupled with an age gap that serves only to further alienate Lena from her ageing lover. Lena’s predicament sets the scene for her subsequent affair with film director Mateo Blanco (Lluis Homar), which, being an Almodovar film, is destined to portend a tragic denouement.

A not too dissimilar fate befalls authority dodging anti-hero Jacques Mesrine in part two of Jean-Francois Richet’s crime biopic, Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One. As Vincent Cassel continues his good form as the Gallic troublemaker, Richet’s film focuses on Mesrine’s ascendancy into the criminal underworld, followed by numerous spells of incarceration, daring escapes, and his ultimate downfall.

Meanwhile, the morbidity continues with The Final Destination arriving in theatres from today to confirm the old maxim that those who live fast, die young. Despite being the fourth film in the franchise, the ominous prefix would suggest that this will be the last stop for David R. Ellis’ teenage death orgy.

Finally, if the end of the Edinburgh Fringe is leaving you short for laughs, then Judd Appatow’s Funny People should more than make up for the deficit of chuckles that accompanies the end of another August. Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen are two stand-up comedians, the former of whom is an established performer who discovers he has a terminal illness. What at first glance would appear to be a rather grim premise for an Appatow film quickly becomes a touching comedy drama that explores the joys of a second chance in life, and the endless possibilities that come with it – namely, dick jokes and mocking the Australians.