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Review: Sex and the City 2, Coco & Igor and StreetDance 3D

By December 30, 2010No Comments

It’s been a week­end made for movie watch­ing with cinemas across the city groan­ing under the weight of pat­rons escap­ing the filthy weath­er. It’s been so busy, in fact, that I failed to get in to either screen­ing of The Last Station that I tried to attend – sold out at the Lighthouse and the Penthouse. Obviously, I should know bet­ter than to not book in advance on a hol­i­day week­end but it means that I’m one down on the reviews I planned to offer you this week.

Sex and the City 2 posterInstead of Tolstoy and his Russian cul­tur­al leg­acy, then, we kick-off with Sex and the City 2, a film that already has had some notori­ously vicious reviews, and it deserves every single bit of vit­ri­ol the world can throw at it. SATC2 is an arti­fact of pure evil, a hate crime dis­guised as a puppy. I thought that the first film was point­less and dumb, but didn’t real­ise how offens­ive and per­ni­cious the val­ues on dis­play actu­ally are. There’s not a char­ac­ter in this film that isn’t a nar­ciss­ist­ic whiner, stuck in their priv­ileged little bubble, will­fully ignor­ant of any­thing oth­er than them­selves and the fantasy world they live in.

But there’s also a story and I sup­pose you should get an idea of what it is (for the sake of brev­ity I’ll assume you are famil­i­ar with either the ori­gin­al tv show or the pre­vi­ous film). After two years of mar­riage with Big (Chris Noth), Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is wor­ried that they are turn­ing into a bor­ing stay-at-home mar­ried couple because he wants to stay at home and watch tv instead of walk the red car­pet at a movie première – on a Monday! To help Carrie get over this tra­gic turn of events (and the oth­er girls get over their prob­lems with, you know, nan­nies and hard jobs with bosses who are beastly), sex queen Samantha (Kim Cattrall) scores a free trip to Abu Dhabi where they can blithely express their ignor­ance of oth­er soci­et­ies as well as their own in ways that get more and more breath­tak­ingly appalling as the film goes on.

Coco & Igor posterAnother romance that suf­fers ter­ribly from unap­peal­ing char­ac­ters is the art-house mini-biography Coco & Igor, about the post WWI affair between Coco Chanel and com­poser Igor Stravinsky. This rela­tion­ship appears to have had no effect on the work of either per­son, las­ted less than a sum­mer and done irre­par­able dam­age to Stravinsky’s fam­ily (which the film seems to write off as no more than col­lat­er­al damage).

Chanel (Anna Mouglalis) was on the rebound from he death of her English lov­er Boy (the great love of her life if you believe the earli­er Audrey Tautou film) and Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelsen) was on the rebound from a ter­rible response to his ground-breaking new work, The Rite of Spring, and the Russian Revolution. Chanel fan­cies him and sees a kindred spir­it in his vis­ion of a new mod­ern music. After offer­ing him and his tuber­cu­lar wife her home in the coun­try, they com­mence a brief affair that seems almost 100% phys­ic­al, she invents Chanel No. 5, he drinks too much and the wife takes off with the kids.

As you would expect, the clothes and the interi­ors are sump­tu­ous – far more to my taste than the gaudy pap in SATC2 – but the film itself is cold and the story doesn’t go any­where. It is worth watch­ing for an exten­ded recre­ation of the fam­ous Paris première of The Rite of Spring in 1913 – that sec­tion I really enjoyed.

StreetDance 3D posterFinally, this week a new 3D extra­vag­anza – this time from the BBC. StreetDance 3D is a film that (were it not in 3D) would be right at home on tv at about 4 ‘o’ clock on a week­day after­noon. Indeed, the “crew” of street dan­cers were so juven­ile I wouldn’t have been sur­prised if they had all gone home to live togeth­er in a double-decker bus. Carly’s Crew has made it to the National Street Dance cham­pi­on­ships but they don’t have stu­dio to rehearse in. When Carly (Nichola Burley) tries to blag her way in to use the National Ballet School, vis­ion­ary bal­let mis­tress Charlotte Rampling (yes, “the” Charlotte Rampling) sees a way to breathe new pas­sion into her stuck-up dan­cers and sug­gests a merger.

Of course, they start off hat­ing each oth­er and then come to an under­stand­ing – a romantic under­stand­ing in a few cases – and this won­der­ful new mix of bal­let and hip-hop blows the roof off the champs at the very last minute.

I can’t speak to the dan­cing – this sort of thing does noth­ing for me and it nev­er has – and apart from Ramples the act­ing is just ter­rible, but some­how I found myself not hat­ing this.

Printed in Wellington’s Capital Times on Wednesday 9 June, 2010.