28 Thursday, 30 July 2009 London Lite H ands up whos seen the original 1974 ver- sion of The Taking Of Pelham 123. Thats not many of you. so, are you really interested in a blow-by-blow account of how Tony Top Gun scotts remake measures up to its predecessor? Thought not. Instead, lets just have a look at how scott has somehow taken a gloriously tense story, a very presentable cast and made a right old dogs breakfast out of the whole shebang. You know youre in trouble when you discover that your bad guy is John Travolta, all prison tatted-up, wearing a dodgy earring and an even dodgier moustache. Travolta is Ryder, a messed-up psychopathic ex-jailbird who leads a team of armed thugs as they commandeer a new York City subway car, holding its commuters hostage for $10m ransom. The calm to his storm is denzel Washington, all chubbed up, play- ing a compromised but essen- tially decent subway system executive, Walter Garber, whos been demoted while under inves- tigation for bribery. Things only get worse for Garber when Ryder hijacks a train on his watch and demands that $10m. The gist of the plot is refresh- ingly old school. Garber must get $10m to Ryders carriage within the hour or hostages will die. and, just to ensure we know Ryders not messing, when a hostage negotiator tries to take over from Garber, Ryder slaughters one of his captives in retaliation. Unfortunately for the film, Travolta plays Ryder with such eye-rolling melodrama and high camp that any sense of menace is dissipated -- he mostly looks as though someone else has eaten the last Krispy Kreme at break- fast rather than someone with a vendetta against society. scott also riddles the film with dead ends and moments that are so ridiculous that, even if you manage to briefly lose yourself in the film, they rip you right out and have you slapping your head and saying to yourself, Theres no way that would happen. Yet its the updating of the tale that irritates most. scott has claimed that this iteration of the story, based on a 1973 novel by John Godey, is a retelling rather than a remake of the original. Why, then, the need to shoehorn bludgeoning contemporary touches into the narrative? so, we have a completely pointless wi-fi internet sub-plot featuring webcams and lovers cooing to each other in the middle of a hostage crisis, Ryder checking the news online in the carriage and a big old all bankers are bad revelation towards the end. and dont get me started on scotts futile and annoying whizz- bang camera effects and stupid, unbelievable car chases. The Taking Of Pelham 123? Take it, please, and dont bring it back. I honestly have no idea at whom this appalling tosh is aimed. Its based on an old American kids sci-fi series which was, by all accounts, bloody awful, so at least it has kept faithful to the original. But there are no kids in the cast for the brats to identify with and much of the humour is, ostensibly at least, adult in nature (if an adults brain was replaced with a grapefruit). the plot? you really want to know? okay. Will Ferrell (hollywoods least funny man after Jim Carrey) stars as Dr Rick Marshall, a scientist with crackpot theories about time travel that have made him an outcast. his career is in ruins when another scientist, holly Cantrell (Anna Friel, predictably delish), shows up to encourage Marshall to follow through on some of his ideas. sure enough the two are off to an empty desert amusement park, run by a redneck (Danny McBride), where holly believes there is a portal to another dimension. there is, and thereafter follows an adventure with all the production values of a seventies Doctor Who episode, and all the wit of Antiques Roadshow, as the brave trio meet up with a primate that looks like Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters, a seriously hacked- off t-rex (is there any other kind?) and a race of bug-eyed blokes wearing rubber suits who want to invade the universe. theres one good joke (it features Chers song Believe) and lots of lingering shots of Ms Friel in a tight white vest. And thats all, folks. PC REVIEWSCINEMA The Taking Of Pelham 123 Cert 15, 105 mins HHIII Travoltathriller hitsthebuffersREVIEW BY PAUL CONNOLLY Perfectly styledfor Cocoslife CoCo ChAnel was the one fashionista named in times 100 most influential people of the 20th century, so its a surprise that theres been no major biopic of the woman who so thoroughly changed the face of fashion. Anne Fontaines compelling movie is not conventional -- Coco Before Chanel concentrates on her early life, a period she mythologised when she was alive, but which was not an easy ride. Audrey tautou may be more beautiful than Chanel was, but she conveys perfectly her beguiling blend of steel, obstinacy and exuberance -- in turn of the century France she must have been an exotic creature. After a childhood spent in an orphanage she was taken in by rakish, wealthy etienne Balsan (Benot Poelvoorde, magnificent) who may have been her benefactor but who surely loved her, too, as did Boy Capel (Alessandro nivola). But, as this elegant film emphasises, Chanel had but one passion -- fashion. PC Misadventure: Danny McBride, Will Ferrell and Anna Friel FrielstheonlyappealinLostplot Land Of The Lost Cert12A,101minsHIIII Alsoshowing... Camping it up: mustachioed Travolta fails to be menacing Fashion first: Tautou plays Chanel Coco Before Chanel Cert 12A, 110 mins HHHHI IN&OUTTONIGHT FILMS If YOU think The Kumars at no. 42 a sensitive portrait of British second-generation immigrants, youll love Mad, Sad & Bad (Cert 15, 90 mins, HIIII) with Meera syal. Three grown-up siblings struggle to deal with a mother who just wants to marry them off. With jokes presumably swept off the cutting room floor at BBC2, it lives up to its name. Harrison ford is a cop in Crossing Over (Cert 18, 113 mins, HHIII), dealing with illegal immigrants in California. so we have a Mexican factory worker, an arab extremist and a musician from, er, Hoxton (to judge by his porkpie hat). It makes big, serious points in a cack-handed way. In G-Force (Cert PG, 88 mins, HHHII), a 3d animation about secret agent guinea pigs, nicolas Cage, Penlope Cruz, sam Rockwell, and Jon favreau do the voices. The plot -- stopping Bill nighy destroying the world with morphing coffee machines -- may confuse kids, but itll keep them quiet for a good hour. Rumba (Cert PG, 77 mins, HHHII) is a clever, funny, near-wordless comedy about a married couple who just live to dance. a car wreck, an amputation and some brain damage later, all hells broken loose. silly but sometimes brilliant. Furry force: the secret agent guinea pigs of G-Force 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