I’M NOT THERE (12) (All major cinemas)
IT’S tempting to say that non Bob Dylan fans need not apply themselves to this ambitious and innovative bid by director Todd Haynes to capture this most elusive of talents.
The influence Dylan has had on popular culture over the past 40 years is undeniable but he is as capable of being loathed as he is loved – and that is particularly true of those who regard themselves as fans of the man.
For such an enigma, Haynes has chosen an unusual and commercially disastrous technique: at least six different Dylans portrayed by six different actors ranging from a young African-American boy to a woman.
They represent different facets and eras in the great man’s life although even the keenest admirers may struggle to recognise one or two of them.
The greatest acclaim and most familiar sequence features Cate Blanchett as arguably the most controversial Dylan, portraying the period when he decided to switch from acoustic folk to electric folk rock, incurring the wrath of millions of fans.
STAR RATING: ***
ST TRINIAN’S (PG) (All major cinemas)
THE decision to update the creaky St Trinian’s series from the 1950s for the 21st century comes as something of a surprise.
It is even more unexpected when you discover the film has an attitude towards femininity and sexuality that wouldn’t be far removed from that of the Fifties.
The main reason for raised eyebrows is the sexualising of schoolgirls for the purposes of popular entertainment – something you would have thought we had matured beyond as a race over the past half a century.
OK, so most of the girls who get to flaunt their natural assets haven’t seen the inside of a classroom in years but that is hardly the point when the tone and approach resembles that of Nuts or Zoo magazine.
The defenders of this approach would point to the power these girls wield over those who would try to get the upper hand over them. But even this harks back to the Girl Power heyday of the 90s which is currently being embarrassingly revived to no great success by the Spice Girls reunion.
The story of this anarchic bunch of young ladies having to find ways to save their school from bankruptcy is merely an excuse for everyone to ham it up and overact to their hearts’ content.
The idea of Rupert Everett dressing up in drag to take over the role of headmistress Miss Fritton from the legendary Alastair Sim is predictable beyond belief. Less so is Russell Brand in George Cole’s old role of Flash Harry but as popular as he may be, subtlety is hardly his speciality.
Quite what Colin Firth is doing there is anyone’s guess although one could also say that for co-director Oliver Parker who has two Oscar Wilde films and a Shakespeare under his belt and is slumming it big time here.
The gimmicky tone of the picture is best summed up by the high profile cameo by Girls Aloud which will date this picture so fast it will seem past its sell-by as soon as it comes out on DVD.
STAR RATING: **
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS (U)
APPARENTLY Alvin and the Chipmunks are something of a phenomenon in the States where they have managed to produce more than 10 albums of squeaky voiced pop.
As far as I am aware, we have been spared much of this kiddie cult in this country but that does not seem to extend to the first big screen movie.
The philosophy seems to be that during school holidays, children will lap up just about anything - or at least parents will be desperate to get them out of the house.
Just in case you’re interested, Jason Lee leads the otherwise unknown ‘human’ cast while Alvin himself is voiced by Justin Long.
STAR RATING: **