Neil Fox on film: John Carter, Bel Ami, The Raven

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John Carter

This is the kind of film where you just go with it in the cinema but as soon as you step back out into real life, you just think to yourself: What did I just watch?’

As you would expect, Wall-E director Andrew Stanton’s visual effects are brilliant; there is never a dull moment on screen and in the lead role Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) gives an outstanding performance.

But because so many adventure and fantasy films have taken inspiration from the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars stories it feels as if we’ve seen this film so many times before.

And even though it is too long, if feels far too rushed towards the end.

The script is bland and makes the Lynn Collins character look pathetic – her dialogue is ridiculous. No attention is paid to what she has to say, it’s all about what revealing attire she will wear next.

The action scenes aren’t very memorable, even though they look great. It’s as if Stanton does not understand either the source subject matter or his target audience.

We have seen him create films with phenomenal visuals, and in his first non-animated outing we expected something new.

John Carter is not a film to remember. Although it has its roots in a source which also helped bring us films like Avatar and Star Wars, it is only fleetingly imaginative and there’s nothing inspired about it.

Bel Ami

Ah, Robert Pattinson. It doesn’t matter how many sly digs at the Twilight franchise you make, the only way to win over true film fans is to put in great performances and to date, you have come up very short.

That’s the case again here, in this classic romantic tale of a (lucky) man who manipulates and is supported by a bevy of beautiful Parisian women including Kristin Scott Thomas, Uma Thurman and Christina Ricci before succumbing to and facing his crippling demons. It’s pompous, and poor Pattinson poses and pouts but remains all posturing and no poetry.

The Raven

The thought of John Cusack getting his teeth Edgar Allen Poe filled me with excitement.

Hopes were high that this could mean a much-needed return to form for an actor I have a lot of time for.

Then I saw the poster, which sees Cusack in a Denzel Washington pose, brandishing a gun. Er.

Taking just a few liberties the film sees the acclaimed writer become a detective as he hunts a serial killer using his writing as a source of murderous inspiration.

It’s ludicrous trash but because no one in it seems to care, it somehow doesn’t matter.

Or maybe that’s the Robert Pattinson factor talking.