Monthly Archives: May 2010

Sex and the City 2

Carrie and friends head to the Middle East in a misjudged and incredibly boring sequel

This put me in mind of a stunned and disillusioned childhood of multimedia consumption in the 1970s: watching the adventures of that sexy quartet, Kirk, Spock, Scotty and Bones, as with eternal dynamism they pursued space adventures on TV. And yet, up on the big screen, with each new movie … why did they look increasingly slow and dull and tired, often wearing new outfits which didn’t look very good? Perhaps, with Sex and the City 4, we will be treated to a heart-rending Death of Spock-type scene, in which Samantha is fired out of a Manhattan penthouse window in a sparkly coffin, having first transferred her “katra” to a demure assistant.

Anyway, Carrie and her best buds get it together for another big-screen go-around in this misjudged and quite incredibly boring sequel. As ever, the stars are Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon as columnist-turned-bestselling-author Carrie, heroically lascivious PR Samantha, Park Avenue princess Charlotte and smart lawyer Miranda. It is two years on from the last movie. Charlotte and Miranda are happy, if stressed, moms; Samantha is single and staving off the menopause with weird vitamins and Carrie is still married to smug Big (Chris Noth), but the romance is leaking out of their relationship. And iPhones, which so baffled Carrie in the last movie, are now ubiquitous. The gang have lots of fun at a gay wedding, there are a couple of nice jokes and then … well, something absolutely awful happens. Do they all get crushed by an oblong-shaped asteroid while they’re doing that empowered four-abreast march down the sidewalk? Do they get wiped out by swine flu? Do they have an epiphany and retreat to a nunnery in Lille? No.

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Four Lions

Chris Morris has been bold in his choice of target, but his home-grown jihadists are little more than sitcom characters

Published in 1907, Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent is not only one of the greatest, enduringly relevant novels about terrorism and its varied exponents, but it has increasingly come to be recognised as a darkly comic, savagely ironic masterpiece. Though Hitchcock saw nothing funny in The Secret Agent when he updated it as Sabotage in 1936, his film turns upon wiping the smile off the British public’s face.

Verloc, the agent provocateur, is hired to stage an explosion at London’s Battersea power station to discredit foreign political agitators. When it proves to be a brief inconvenience met with amused local stoicism, Verloc’s angry employers send him the instruction: “London must not laugh”, which leads him to arrange the planting of a bomb at Greenwich Observatory. This results in the destruction of his innocent stepson on screen, a sequence that so shocked contemporary audiences that Hitchcock never quite got over it.

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