Though we’ve been known to take a bit of an interest in Susan Cole’s writing in this column, it almost seems untoward to add to any more fuel to the still roaring Susan Cole–fire (see what we did there?). But it’s impossible to talk about any of this week’s film coverage without noting the strange sort of dissonance going on in NOW’s film pages, relating specifically to Sasha Baron Cohen’s Brüno. First, we’ve got Norm Wilner’s overwhelmingly negative review, where he claims that “it’s shock comedy based entirely on gay panic”—a point that a lot of pre-release coverage implied. Then there’s Susan Cole’s “feature” on the movie, which is, ahem, another review of it. Though she admits that there’s a scene that “only reinforces the stereotypes it’s supposed to comment on,” she argues that Cohen’s “ability to comment on gay panic jokes from a queer perspective” is “so impressive.”
It’s…confusing, particularly when neither review makes comment on the fact that they’re holding completely opposing viewpoints. We can only suggest you read them both.
Moving on from Brüno, the film of the week (well, at least until the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince juggernaut rolls along next Wednesday) seems to be The Hurt Locker. Apparently a return to form for director Katheryn Bigelow, we’ve been waiting to see it—an Iraq-set drama about a bomb disposal squad—since we realized that film really hasn’t done a very good job of covering modern warfare in a thought-provoking manner (honestly, Call of Duty 4 is better at that than any film we’ve seen in about ten years). The Star’s Peter Howell taunts, “If you can sit through The Hurt Locker without your heart nearly pounding through your chest, you must be made of granite.”
This week also sees the release of the (heavily advertised) I Love You, Beth Cooper. The film is only notable, we think, for featuring the most transparently too-old-to-be-a-high-schooler we’ve seen in a while, Paul Rust, who looks about forty-three in the trailer as main character Denis. Liz Braun’s review in the Sun makes the whole film sound weird, anyway: “What’s most objectionable in the story is Denis’ discovery that even though he may not get the girl, he’s superior to her in intellectual and economic ways that will eventually make him her social better.”
Also out this week, Il Divo and Valentino: The Last Emperor, and Cinematheque Ontario continues its summer season with classics such as Bicycle Thieves.