Life support

Call 999, this conspiracy needs to be kept alive! BRIAN VINER review Ambulance

Ambulance (15, 136 mins)

Verdict: Not really roadworthy


The worst person in the world (15, 128 min)

Verdict: A Nordic masterpiece


Eric Morecambe’s immortal words – “he won’t sell a lot of ice cream at this speed” – came inexorably to mind during Ambulancea preposterous action-thriller in which the eponymous vehicle roars through the streets of Los Angeles carrying a pair of bank robbers, two hostages and $16 million in loot, but sadly no survival machine for the plot.

There’s nothing wrong with the premise, at least nothing that you can’t swallow with the help of medical intervention.

A heavily armed heist goes awry spectacularly and the bad guys escape by hijacking an ambulance in which a handsome paramedic treats an injured rookie cop. A dramatic chase ensues.

Oh, and there’s some moral ambiguity, as one of the thieves is a war hero who only wants his share of the loot so his smiling wife can have surgery.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jake Gyllenhaal are doing their best but Ambulance is no kind of vehicle for their talents.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jake Gyllenhaal are doing their best but Ambulance is no kind of vehicle for their talents.

He further proves his basic decency by doing his best for the sick cop. Granted, he shot the guy in the first place, but the back of a speeding ambulance is no place to split hairs.

Promisingly, the main thief, Danny, is played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Less promising, the director is Michael Bay, whose credits include Armageddon (1998) and who has never come across a pudding that it doesn’t quite egg.

So as the music throbs and the camera races, the gunfight that follows the robbery rages like a mortar battle in the middle of a war zone, while the ambulance chase is essentially a stockcar race under steroids, making The Top Gear’s Craziest Jeremy Clarkson Years look like elderly parishioners on their way to church.

During the chase, several retail stalls are sent flying. Naturally, they all sell fruit. When has a stall closed for six in a bad movie car chase ever sold second-hand knitwear or books? Fruit, you see, is so colorful and streamlined.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Danny Sharp in Ambulance, directed by Michael Bay

Jake Gyllenhaal as Danny Sharp in Ambulance, directed by Michael Bay

Meanwhile, the gorgeous paramedic (Eiza Gonzalez) is forced to perform emergency surgery on the stricken cop, but of course, it’s not just surgery, it’s a riot of blood and blood. Gut.

And despite the life-and-death hype, most of the characters speak in carefully crafted banter, further alienating the film from any semblance of authenticity.

Bay premiered in London on Wednesday night but left no indication that he intended to keep us laughing through it all.

I hope he does, because his film is no more tense than a high-flying, low-lying act, with the appearance of something striking but lacking in substance. It’s a pink fist bump from a movie.

And while Gyllenhaal does his best – much like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as his sidekick and foster brother Will, the war hero – Ambulance is no kind of vehicle for their talents.

Cake: the talented Renate Reinsve in the role of Julie in The worst person in the world

Cake: the talented Renate Reinsve in the role of Julie in The worst person in the world

The worst person in the world, on the other hand, positively bursts with talent. I saw it for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival last year and was eagerly awaiting its UK release so I could talk about it again.

Well, here it is, and I invite you to see it. A funny, charming and immensely moving Norwegian-language film set in Oslo, it chronicles the life and loves of Julie (Renate Reinsve), a bright, engaging but directionless woman about to leave her 20s behind.

Classic movie on TV


A wildly over-the-top performance from Brenda Blethyn can’t dampen the charms of this melancholy film about a reclusive girl with a stunning voice. Jane Horrocks is superb in the title role, with top notch support from Michael Caine and Jim Broadbent. Saturday, C5, 2:30 p.m.

It’s a coming-of-age story, really vaguely reminiscent of Noah Baumbach’s 2012 film Frances Ha, but the comparisons actually do it a disservice, because it’s delightfully original.

Reinsve won Best Actress at Cannes and you can immediately see why; this is her first major screen role and stardom surely awaits her. Initially, Julie is a medical student who seems to know her own mind.

But then she abandoned medicine for psychology, before switching back to photography.

Her serial uncertainty also extends to the men in her life; an encounter at a wedding party she is hosting helps her realize her older boyfriend’s limitations.

Told in chapters, it’s beautifully written and directed (by Joachim Trier), exquisitely acted, and worth watching for just one magical scene, when everything and everything in Oslo comes to a standstill as Julie’s new romance unravels. ignite.

As a cinematic expression of the first tremors of love, when the world around you seems to stop spinning, it’s as smooth and inventive as anything I’ve ever seen.

The Worst Person in the World is up for an Oscar this weekend, in the Best Foreign Language Film category. It would be an extremely worthy winner.

It’s a disaster movie as Nan’s roadtrip takes a terrible turn

Matthew Horne and Catherine Tate star in The Nan Movie

Matthew Horne and Catherine Tate star in The Nan Movie

There are disaster films and there are disastrous films. Nan movie (★✩✩✩✩ 15, 95 minutes) firmly belongs to the latter category.

It’s such a crude and crass ‘comedy’, so painfully mindless, that you can hardly believe such a talented writer and performer as Catherine Tate, whose crass and cantankerous ‘nan’ was one of the most most remarkable of its show of television sketches, thought for a second that it would pass the course with the public of the cinema.

I had the misfortune to see him at the Odeon in Hereford on Monday evening. The auditorium was about a third full, with a large group of friends giggling happily.

But that was before the lights went out. The movie then played out in complete silence, literally no snickering, and at least a dozen people left long before it was over.

I think it’s been replicated across the country. If the box office numbers allowed the releases, they would likely tell a truly damning story. As for the story itself, it hardly needs to hold us back.

Nan receives a letter of reconciliation from her estranged, dying younger sister, Nell (Katherine Parkinson), who lives (get ready for one of the film’s “gags”) on an island “off the coast of Ireland.”

'Nah is such a crude, crude comedy, so painfully mindless'

‘Nah is such a crude, crude comedy, so painfully mindless’

Flashbacks to the war years explain why Nan resents Nell so much, and she flatly refuses to visit him. She is tricked by her grandson (Mathew Horne) into going on a trip, she thinks of a spa in Coventry, actually the Emerald Isle via Liverpool.

If all of this has piqued your interest even slightly, know that the road trip involves Nan not pissing too carefully in a Tupperware box.

By definition, sketch characters are designed to amuse us in a few meticulously crafted minutes, so putting them in a feature film is risky.

Harry Enfield nearly got away with it in Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000). But it’s all about the writing, and here it looks like Tate handed the job to a few fifths.

Some silly animation sequences offer no respite from the agony, and at the end of it all, no one gets directing credit. Whoever it is (apparently, theater manager Josie Rourke) can’t be blamed for wanting their name removed.

A smarter idea would have been to emulate Nan herself and bark “what a load of ****” while refusing to take on such a hopelessly ill-conceived project in the first place.

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