28 Thursday, 2 July 2009 London Lite T hegeneralcriticalview of the 2007 outlaw bio- pic, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, was that it was a sump- tuous piece of cinematography, more than a little bit long and often more dull than daring. The focal point of interest was, in fact, how Brad Pitts ruthless train robber James charmed the boots off every Wild West cowboy as a flirtatious, smooth-talking enigma. You see, everyone loves a baddie. Not a baddie who mugs little old ladies at knifepoint or a baddie who runs over puppies for kicks. No, everyone loves a baddie who opens doors for women and robs from the rich to give to the poor -- even if the poor is himself. Like Robin hood, in better trousers. James became a figure of legend and Robert Ford, his protg, became obsessed. A similar thing happens to Tom hankss detective in Catch Me If You Can as his life slowly wraps itself around the hunt for Leonardo DiCaprios con- man. And here, in Michael Manns new ber-violent copsnrobbers thriller, its Johnny Depps slick bank robber John Dillinger doing the charming (naturally) and Christian Bales testy FBI agent Melvin Purvis doing the obsessive stalking in an attempt to bust the killer. Set in bleak Depression-era Thirties Chicago, the film chroni- cles the last months of Dillingers life when, having escaped from jail for the final time, his adven- tures are finally curtailed. Americans adored his courage and daring, delighted someone had finally hit back at the government they felt had let them down (nice timing, Mann). Irritatingly, there is precious little of the financial catastrophe, Mann concentrating on the catnmouse chase and, moreover, Dillingers one weak- ness. Marion Cotillard, spotted across a crowded bar, is wooed by an enraptured Dillinger who decides he cant live without her. Swathing her in fur and jewels, he whisks her off to a life of money, champagne and unthink- able danger. Unrealistic maybe, but Depps quick-witted tongue, Cure-inspired kohled eyes and wicked little tache would get most girls in a bit of a tizzy. Cinematographer Dante Spinotti uses shaky-cam and poor lighting to create a grubby, rugged effect -- the thriller looks like it was filmed on a basic Nokia mobile -- complemented by a sketchy script that sounds improvised, seldom forced. But the whole piece builds to an obvious climax and, with clumpy frequency, repeats scenes and conversations. even the deaf- ening shoot-outs (two every half a second by my count) blur into one big, bloody, bar-room brawl. Depp glues the film together looking sexily smug, but Bale threatens to break it apart as the same moody loner he has played since Steven Spielbergs empire Of The Sun. Familiar faces -- Billy Crudup, Stephen Graham, Jason Clarke and Stephen Dorff -- seem to pop out at every burst of rifle fire and, mysteriously, you find yourself praying Dillinger is the only one not on the receiving end of the bullets. RIGHT, heres a plot for you. Slightly deranged male loner stumbles upon three unguarded infants and, desperate for his own family, decides to not only kidnap the three siblings but also encourage them to call him Mummy. So far, so unsettling. Soon, however, the infants real mother shows up, pretty damned miffed that the aforementioned unhinged loser has kidnapped her offspring, and proceeds to let her feelings be known. She has extra reason to be mad as her kids now believe the lone male kidnapper to be their mother. And heres the twist -- were meant to root for the kidnapper and regard the outraged parent as the baddie. What? Can you imagine the uproar if such a plot was used in an adults film? Yet, here in the third instalment of this sickly sweet animated franchise, such a frankly wrong storyline is deemed as acceptable and even amusing. So, we have ber- annoying sloth Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo), upset that his pals, mammoth couple Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are about to have a baby, deciding to purloin three dinosaur eggs. Cue a ripsnortingly angry tyrannosaurus rex mum chasing our, ahem, hero into a mysterious underworld of prehistoric creatures and a weasel, Buck (voiced by Simon Pegg but more than a little reminiscent of Ross Kemp), who sets out to aid Sids rescuers which include the mammoths as well as sabre- toothed tiger Diego (Denis Leary). Why theyre bothered is beyond me. Ice Age 3, suspect storyline aside, is decent fun for kids (the 3D version is excellent) but offers very little for parents other than a tsunami of sentimentality and an oblique coming out joke. If you dont have nippers, dont bother. Paul Connolly REVIEWSCINEMA Killinga careerin onesong Cuteforkids,butderanged dinoscutnoicewithadults Am I Black Enough For You Cert12A,90minsHHHHI Alsoshowing... Embodiment Of Evil Cert 18, 94 mins HIIII PADDY BReAThNAChS last movie, 2006s Shrooms, was a semi-successful tilt at the horror market. Red Mist focuses on bullied loner Kenneth (Andrew Lee Potts), who is drugged by his fellow students. A doctor, one of Kenneths persecutors, administers a powerful and untested cocktail of drugs to try to wake him but instead it awakens a dangerous ability in the victim that lets him seek vengeance from his hospital bed. Red Mist blends elements from John Carpenters The Thing and Japanese horror The Grudge to concoct a brutal shocker with a neat twist. A must for horror fans. PC Soul power: singing star Billy Paul REVIEW By MaRTHa DE laCEy Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs Cert U, 96 mins HHIII FANCY watching women eating their own sliced bum cheek? Me neither. But horror film buffs will flock to the last instalment of Jos Mojica Marinss Brazilian Coffin Joe trilogy, below. The director plays the undertaker looking for the right woman to bear his children -- and torturing everyone else. As appealing as eating your own appendages. lP Red Mist Cert 18, 90 mins HHHII Public Enemies Cert 15, 140 mins HHHII DeppsDillinger stealstheshow GoRAn HuGo oLSSonS documentary follows a cult soul legend, velvet- voiced singer Billy Paul. The Seventies no1 hit Me And Mrs Jones launched him into the limelight. But following the Grammy Award-winning song with the highly political career killer Am I Black Enough For You alienated many of Pauls white fans. Analysing why the racial anthem was ever released (producer Kenny Gamble takes the blame) becomes secondary to revealing the touching relationship between Paul and his wife, Blanche Williams, who definitely wears the trousers. Paul tells us she is not Mrs Jones (but never says who is). Williams retorts she at first thought he was gay, then that he was an idiot, but was converted when she heard him sing: no way he could sing like that and be a jerk. A funny, heart-warming reflection on music, race and love in the America of the Seventies.lauREn PaXMan In&ouTTonIGHT FIlMS Most wanted: Johnny Depp charms his way through Public Enemies as John Dillinger index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html