Films out this week: Dancer, Catfight, and I.T. reviewed

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Our reviews of the films out this week:

Dancer (12A)
Dir. Steven Cantor

★★☆☆☆ By Melissa York

Does being talented and doing the thing you love make you happy? Well, it didn’t cheer Sergei Polunin up. The former prodigy and youngest ever principal dancer at the Royal Ballet hit the headlines when he huffed out of the company in 2012, saying that “the artist in him was dying.” This documentary tells his side of the story and follows him as he seeks to regain his artistic mojo.

Friends, family and the ‘bad boy of ballet’ himself give intimate interviews interspliced with breaktaking footage of Polunin’s performances. These are remarkable – he’s an extraordinary dancer – but overall it focuses heavily on sacrifices Polunin made, while skimming over those made by his family, scattered all over Europe to finance his dream. A flawed, egocentric look at a formidable talent.

Catfight (15)
Dir. Onur Tukel

★★★☆☆ By James Luxford

Anne Heche and Sandra Oh come out swinging in this jet-black comedy. Heche’s struggling artist comes to blows with Oh’s wealthy housewife, kicking off a feud that last for years and consumes them both.

Heche and Oh are both deliciously contemptible as they sneer at each others’ success and the hollow trappings of wealth, and violence inevitably ensues. Like a spiteful The Prince and the Pauper, the pair’s fortunes waver over the years, the only constant being their hate for each other. If you want blood, this film has got it. As entertaining as these explosive interactions are, however, things often get swallowed up in cynicism.

It’s difficult to say what the point of all this snarkiness is. Nevertheless, Catfight is a fun, vicarious thrill that nicely reflects the contentious times in which we live.

I.T. (15)
Dir. John Moore

★☆☆☆☆ By James Luxford

Take a bog-standard, straight-to-video stalker thriller, add smartphones and you have I.T., a staggeringly poor tech nightmare that already feels past its sell-by date. Pierce Brosnan’s character is the owner of a private jet company whose career and safety come under threat when his company’s I.T. guy (James Frecheville) takes a shine to his daughter.

Clearly meant to inspire paranoia in our connected society, a smart idea is horrifically executed. Brosnan’s over-the-top businessman offers little to root for, and I spent an inordinate amount of time wondering who decided he should don a thick Northern Irish accent. Frecheville’s mopey geek/psychopath, meanwhile, is ripped straight from the trashiest TV cop drama. Far from making you fear your phone, this trope-filled mess will have you checking your messages long before the credits.

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