29th April 2006
The Da Vinci Code
12:00 AM — Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is one of those novels that occasionally appears and inexplicably becomes a phenomenon. On the surface, there was nothing overly special or original about the standard airport thriller plot; the characters are all archetypes at best, stereotypes at worst, and the writing varied between bland and outright bad.Compare it with any other similar pulp thriller and there is little, if anything, to set it apart from the crowd, let alone to explain its almost unprecedented 40 million worldwide sales.
12:00 AM — The pitch is not a hard one to imagine - This Is Spinal Tap meets Four Weddings and a Funeral with just a touch of Pop Idol chucked in for good measure. Nonetheless, it is a strange experience to find a film where the biggest names in it are Martin Freeman, aka Tim from The Office, and Jimmy Carr, the ubiquitous host of innumerable nostalgic compilation TV shows.But put into the Spinal Tap-style mockumentary comedic tradition the fact that the cast is largely unrecognisable to most British, let alone American, audiences is all part of its charm.
Mission: Impossible III
12:00 AM — With the man behind the insanely popular and quirky TV series Lost, JJ Abrams, in the director's chair for this third installment of Tom Cruise's 60s TV show-inspired action series, it is likely that many cinemagoers will be expecting something a bit different.But, lest you forget, the last two Mission: Impossible films were also helmed by big names famed for their idiosyncratic styles, Scarface's Brian de Palma and Hong Kong legend John Woo. Neither was quite able to break the standard action movie mould. Yet it is doubtful if that was ever the intention.
Down In The Valley
12:00 AM — Edward Norton is generally regarded as one of the finest actors of his generation, an heir to the likes of De Niro and Brando, with two Oscar nominations to his name by the age of 30, and someone who can turn in performances of great subtlety even with rather sub-par material.Sadly, the past couple of years have seen him working with far more bad material than good, from the dire remake of The Italian Job to Ridley Scott's disappointing Kingdom of Heaven.
12:00 AM — Although at first glance this might seem to be a fairly typical romantic comedy, the utter lack of fame of the male lead compared with that of the two female stars on the poster should be an indication that this is a movie that's not so easy to pigeonhole.Yes, it's set in New York. Yes, there's some typical use of well-worn themes of New York Jewishness and sessions with therapists.
12:00 AM — Generally speaking, films set around the world of US high schools are to be given a very wide berth, especially when they are using a high school setting for an alternate backdrop to an established genre.There have been hundreds of tediously clichéd standoffs between the jocks and the nerds or the chess club and the cheerleaders over the years, and any number of unimaginative reworkings of Shakespeare, westerns and the rest in the corridors and classrooms of some generic school in a standard suburb.
Police forced to intervene in Polish gay rights march
12:00 AM — Riot police have been forced to intervene in a march for gay tolerance held in the Polish city of Krakow after counter demonstrations from members of far-right youth groups.Police officers reported that several arrests have taken place after members of the rightwing All Poland Youth Group threw stones and eggs at the participants of march for tolerance.