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I'm So Excited!

I'm So Excited!

Byzantium, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Look Of Love


June 2013

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I'm So Excited!
Javier Cámara, Cecilia Roth, Lola Dueñas
Considering Pedro Almodóvar’s last film, The Skin I Live In, was such a chilling house of horrors, the volte-face he pulls with this extravagantly camp airborne comedy couldn’t be more startling. But also welcome, with our man Pedro snuggling up to his feisty, funny 80s work like a drowning man clinging to a life raft. The screwball set-up couldn’t be simpler: when a Peninsula Airways flight develops engine trouble after take-off, the crew drugs the economy cabin to stop them complaining, leaving the pilots and business-class passengers (including Roth’s dominatrix and Dueñas’s virgin psychic) in the hands of three gay flight attendants (Cámara, Raúl Arévalo and Carlos Areces). They’re a flamboyant, mescaline-ingesting Greek chorus whose salty chatter gives way to carnal antics and a choreographed routine of the titular disco smash. If Almodóvar feels like taking a break from dark materials, who are we to complain? Frothy fun, with cameos from Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas to boot.

Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan
You’re forgiven if the diabolical Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters made you swear o. Gemma Arterton for a while. But trust us, this vampire thriller is heaps more fun. It’s also a century-hopping jumble, although the campy, vampy Arterton, dressed in sex-shop skimpies, has a blast playing her role like a blood-sucking drag queen. The always winning Ronan brings the mope as Gemma’s sulky daughter, and director Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire) revels in his return to gore.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Riz Ahmed, Liev Schreiber, Kate Hudson
Mira Nair makes a decent fist of adapting Mohsin Hamid’s best-seller, mostly capturing the complexity of a novel that slams extremism of any variety. Ahmed is superb as Changez, the Pakistani whose American dream (Wall Street job, rich artist girlfriend in the miscast Hudson) goes sour post-9/11 and who ends up a terror suspect back in modern-day Lahore, where he’s now an Islamic studies lecturer. Changez’s journey, told in flashback, is compelling; the CIA thriller Nair plasters across the top like sloppy cement, less so.

The Look Of Love
Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Imogen Poots
British smut-mag pioneer Paul Raymond, whose London property empire saw him dubbed The King of Soho, gets a biopic that falls between two stools. On the one hand, director Michael Winterbottom and Coogan relish the happy hedonism of Raymond’s self-made rise – drug-hoovering, mistresses. On the other, they attempt to deliver an emotional sting in Raymond’s softhearted relationship with beloved daughter Debbie (Poots). Neither strand satisfies nor delivers.

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