FILMOFTHEWEEK THEOTHERBOLEYNGIRL(12A) ★★
While The Other Boleyn Girl is hardly a documentary, its screenwriter Peter Morgan, Oscar-nominated for The Queen, is nobody’s fool. What irritates is the soapy, soft-focus telling of the tale and the film’s lack of any cinematic ambition. Basing his screenplay on the bestseller by Philippa Gregory, Justin Chadwick’s film opens with Anne and Mary frolicking in the sunlight. Fast forward to the girls as women, and Mary (Scarlett Johansson) has stolen a march on her older sister Anne (Natalie Portman) by marrying first. Summoned before her father, Anne is told the king, Henry VIII, is in need of a distraction from his failing marriage. He wouldn’t be averse, either, to a male heir. Before Anne can take up her new role, circumstances bring her sister to the king’s attention. So begins a lifelong rivalry. Husbands, homes, babies – all will take second place to the triangular relationship between the Boleyn girls and the king (Eric Bana), who mostly spends his time striding down corridors, scowling. Johansson, as the meeker sister, balances Portman’s fiery Anne nicely, and the two together create just enough of a spark to make you believe that they might just be sisters. Bana, though, prefers to exist in his own acting universe. All three seem too big a presence for the film they’re in. Overall, the story of Anne Boleyn, her sister and the king is reduced to tabloid sex scandal. All that’s missing is the headline: Royal Love Rat Beds Sisters.
Fatih Akin’s film concerns itself with Germany’s Turkish population. The tension between old and new generations is summed up in the relationship between widower Ali (Tuncel Kurtiz) and his son Nejat (Baki Davrak). Ali decides the best cure for his loneliness is to hire a prostitute, Yeter (Nursel Kose), to live with him. Nejat, a professor, gets along well with Yeter and eventually sets out to find her daughter Ayten (Nurgul Yesilcay). One story feeds into another, so that by the end the film is juggling six characters across two countries. By the close the viewer is left pleasantly exhausted, as if we’ve travelled as many miles as the cast. Filmhouse, Edinburgh
Andy Fickman’s version of Three Men and a Baby is a predictable slog with little in the way of laughs. A confirmed singleton, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is brought up short by the arrival of a little girl who says she’s his daughter. Forced to care for someone other than himself, the American football star sets about changing his ways.
In 2005, a US patrol was blown up in Haditha, Iraq, killing one marine. The US military said 15 Iraqis were also killed by the roadside bomb, and more in the shooting that followed. The truth was different. Nick Broomfield’s docudrama approach builds characters into events to make us feel a greater connection to those involved and his style gives the film an urgency. The drama lacks quality, though, with roughly sketched characters who speak like participants in a public information film. Filmhouse, Edinburgh
To watch this Irish comedy-drama is to invite into your life a gnawing feeling of foreboding. Pat Shortt (Tom from Father Ted), is Josie, the petrol station employee at Garage’s heart. There’s an edge to the comedy which hints that this corner of rural Ireland will turn out to be a long way from Ballykissangel. A spirited, moving performance. Glasgow Film Theatre
Dennis Quaid does his best to pass for Jack Bauer in this slick but emptyheaded thriller. William Hurt plays a US president who finds himself the target of an assassination bid in Europe. What follows is a Rashomon-style reworking of the crucial minutes from the perspectives of a tourist (Forest Whitaker), the president, and various others. Though the action barrels along, the dialogue is mildly idiotic and the story itself is eye-wateringly contrived.
It’s a long march to the grave whenever George Romero is around. This time, a band of photogenic youngsters make a video diary of their flight from a viral horror sweeping America. It’s business as usual, with Romero having to dream up ever more inventive ways to dispatch the living dead.
Royal attraction: Natalie Portman