Neither rocking nor rolling

What’s all this about Guy Ritchie’s Rocknrolla being a ‘return to form’? The film is mediocre at best.

First off comes one thing that really isn’t Mr Madge’s fault: it’s all about the ever-rising London property market, which, er, stopped rising right after this film was in the can. A year’s a long time in the London market, and this film feels as dated as Wall Street. However, there are too many other faults to forgive.

The characters are lazily drawn. Why was the Russian billionaire based so blatantly on Roman Abramovich, even clunkily inserting a football stadium and stubble into the art direction? And there wasn’t enough violence, making the film feel lightweight: Eastern Promises did it far better. There wasn’t enough comedy to make it another Snatch, nor enough storytelling to keep your attention. Worst of all, it’s not even a complete film: the final frame’s about the next film, leaving many plot threads untied. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

There’s only one good sequence – a slow-motion chase on foot between London wideboys and Russian mobsters as they get steadily more injured – but overall, the film’s slow-moving, with not enough action, and resorts to that laziest of all scripting tools, the narrative voiceover. The sense of waiting for things to happen is almost as bad as Ocean’s 13. And the sex scene with Thandie Newton lasts only seconds without interesting visuals, and if you’re filming a sex scene with Thandie, you really owe it to your viewers to show more than just her face.

The only reason I can imagine critics are calling this a ‘return to form’ is that they’re comparing it with Revolver, surely a candidate for Worst Film Ever Made. It really wasn’t worth the effort.

Standard Google

Here’s a great example of what happens when you rub the big G up the wrong way. The business model Google’s using to stamp out anything it perceives as competition is familiar to any MBA: it’s Standard Oil.

The journalist is remarkably even-handed, even analysing why Google itself feels it’s so wronged (all it’s trying to do is provide ‘the best possible user experience’, but Google’s at that stage of its evolution where it can’t comprehend that ‘best’ might not be ‘Google exclusively’.)