To Boldly Go

Blog by Ray Philp | 07 Aug 2009

“Naeb’dy reads the Film Blog anyway, they only look at the bold wurds”. This suggestion, offered to me by an inebriated friend in the midst of a sinew-stretching rant in defence of Terminator: Salvation (go figure), as depressing as it was, also revealed a troubling hypothesis. If indeed this drunken Arnie Judas was right, then it’s entirely feasible that from now on I could write any old tat and get away with it, so long as I accommodate the skim readers among you with a protein shake addicted, ‘roid raging Arial font.

Well, that won’t do. In a renewed effort to wean you off the muscle biscuits, the B button has been dispatched to a location so secret that Osama Bin Laden and Lord Lucan are rumoured to have relocated to similar hideouts with no little haste.

We open this week with a film that should be fairly familiar to Skinny readers – following the GFT’s exclusive early bird screening last week, today will see Mesrine: Killer Instinct’s highly anticipated official release. Despite having touted this last Friday, another brazen attempt to extol the virtues of this pure dead guid film is entirely justified, if only for Vincent Cassel’s delightfully contemptuous sneer.

Jacques Mesrine, as a rule, largely reserved his expression of disdain for haughty authoritarian types, but he’d no doubt toss a derisory glance towards Orphan, yet another annoyingly derivative rip-off of The Omen. Jaume Collet-Serra, whose previous credits include Goal II: Living The Dream and House of Wax (the less said about either of them the better), directs this horror-with a-twist tale – Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) is the motherless child of the title, adopted by kind hearted husband and wife Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John Coleman (Peter Sarsgaard). Esther, needless to say, soon drops the sweet and innocent act and loses her shit in an almighty homicidal tantrum.

On the other hand, a film as heart-warming and highly regarded as Kisses, screening at the Dundee Contemporary Arts, may well serve to reinvigorate your faith in children, adopted or otherwise. Indeed, it’s possible that adoption would be no bad thing for our young protagonists, such is the level of abuse implied in this bittersweet tale of two pre-pubescent runaways, Kylie (Kelly O’Neill) and Dylan (Shane Curry). Set on various locations in Dublin, Lance Daly’s film has more to it than the typical coming-of-age tale – the cinematography bends itself to the will of the children by reflecting their emotions, gradually saturating the pallid Dublin housing estates with colour as they find themselves in happier places, away from their damaged families.

Back in Edinburgh, Jean-Luc Goddard’s Breathless, his debut feature and one of French new wave’s most acclaimed, provides a timely contrast to the slickness and sheen of Mesrine: Killer Instinct. Screening today and tomorrow only at the Filmhouse, Breathless (or ‘A Bout de Souffle’ to give it its indigenous title) charts the intensifying romance between petty thief Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and aspiring journalist girlfriend Patricia (Jean Seberg). As she gradually discovers the extent of Michel’s laissez-faire approach to abiding by the law, Patricia is confronted with a decision that jeopardises more than just her relationship with Michel.

Finally, battle-of-the-sexes romcom The Ugly Truth rears its grotesque bonce onto the big screen, announcing itself with as much tact as Jeremy Clarkson would driving a monster truck through a Greenpeace rally. Katherine Heigl portrays Abby, a television producer who has foul luck with men, which seems to be confirmed by the arrival of arrogant telly commentator bloke Mike (Gerard Butler), affecting a less than convincing American accent. After their mutual dislike begins to subside, Mike empathises with Abby and offers his services in order to bag her a boyfriend, only to realise that he wants Abby.