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All reviews - Movies (88) - TV Shows (1)

Plays for shock and fails to even do tha

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 14 May 2007 09:04 (A review of London to Brighton (2006))

I've heard this film described as dazzling, gripping, a solid drama over the past few months. I expected it to live up to at least one of its boasts, It didn't. It would be best described as an unimaginative tv workshop movie that plays for shocks but fails to even do that. The major twist is so obvious the filmmakers may as well of dressed it in a dayglo t-shirt with the slogan 'It's coming' emblazoned across the front. Don't waste your time.

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Little to love here

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 10 May 2007 08:08 (A review of Little Children (2006))

American Beauty meets Desperate Housewives, yet like the latter it's better suited to the small screen

Little Children didn't hit the right notes for me. The performances are all good enough but the story is excessive, especially the perverts fate. If you can listen to the narrator throughout without feeling even slightly annoyed you'll deserve a medal. It felt as if the writers struggled to adapt the original text, and settled for the easy option instead.

Winslet was far better than the material.

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Freak Scene

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 8 May 2007 05:12 (A review of Brothers of the Head (2005))

With ‘Brothers Of The Head’, Lost In La Mancha film makers Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe take a side-step from documentary to mockumentary. And with this small step they inject a maturity into the genre I struggle to recall having seen before.

Brothers of the Head is the story of conjoined twins Tom and Barry Howe; a freak show who are plucked from obscurity, and groomed by rock royalty into a pre-punk phenomenon.

Joined at the stomach, Tom is able to use both his arms and is trained as the lead guitarist; Barry, forced by anatomy to live his life peering over his brother’s left shoulder, is the lead vocalist.

Don’t get me wrong, this film does have many a laugh out loud moment, the bands first meeting with groupie turned journalist ‘Laura Ashworth’ being particularly memorable (see trailer below). However, the film is encapsulated in a much darker theme – Our impulse to celebrate the weird and extraordinary, and our compulsion to own it, de-mystify it, and ultimately destroy it when the appeal begins to wear off. Kinda like the modern day music press and their ‘build a band up to knock ‘em down’ attitude. It’s not exclusive to siamese twin rockers.

The lyrics to Dinosaur Jr’s ‘Freak Scene’ also spring to mind.

“Seen enough to eye you
But Ive seen to much to try you
Its always weirdness while you
Dig it much too much to fry you
The weirdness flows between us
Anyone can tell to see us
Freak scene just cant believe us
Why cant it just be cool and free us?”

The film makers capture the music and spirit of the times perfectly. On the odd occasion when ‘Bang Bang’ were on stage it felt like I was actually there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them touring for real if Brothers In The Head bags the cult status I believe it deserves.

The Treadaway brothers as Tom and Barry are a revelation, it’s hard to imagine a tougher ask for two actors so young to their trade, but they pull it off with ease. Some of the supporting characters lack depth, main culprits being the rest of the band, but there’s a cool cameo from Ken Russell that’s worth it’s weight in gold. B.O.T.H. does have its quota of cliche but tell me what rock topical film doesn’t?

Brothers Of The Head, I’m sure Is a cult smash in the making. I expected nothing going in and came out with an experience that would compete for a place on my all-time favourite films list. If I happened to have one.

See it! Buy it! don’t deny it!

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Marie Antoinette

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 26 April 2007 04:26 (A review of Marie Antoinette (2006))

It felt like I was watching a Vivienne Westwood fashion show at times. If the same attention to detail had gone into the script I may have enjoyed this film more.

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Grange Hill meets Dead Poets Society

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 26 April 2007 04:13 (A review of The History Boys)

Makes me think of Grange Hill meets Dead Poets Society. Set in an early 1980's comprehensive school not so different to my own, this intelligent and humorous film and it's music brought the memories flooding back. What I've come to expect from an Alan Bennett script.

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Captivating urban western

Posted : 11 years, 3 months ago on 5 April 2007 05:19 (A review of Down in the Valley (2005))

A captivating urban western held up by a solid plot and four fine performances. Ed Norton hasn't been this good for a long while, it's great to see him back to his best.

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Doesn't match its ambition

Posted : 11 years, 3 months ago on 1 April 2007 12:29 (A review of Hollywoodland)

Hollywoodland doesn't quite live up to it's ambition. I really dug the structure, the way it flashes back and forth from post to pre-murder, and the performances are fine, particularly from the supporting cast. Robin Tunney especially stood out for me. Affleck I felt nailed his role, more-so than Brody who I never fully bought. It seemed to me that the film-makers were trying to give us another Chinatown but hit a few too many diversion signs en-route.

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Bizarre Love Triangle

Posted : 11 years, 4 months ago on 17 March 2007 09:15 (A review of Gilda (1946))

A fantastic noir focused around a bizarre love triangle between a gambler, his boss (a front for a Nazi cartel) and his boss' wife (who is also the gamblers ex-lover). Look under the hood and you'll see a film themed on male self-loathing, misogyny and the fear of liberated female sexuality. On the surface its all about the strikingly beautiful Rita Hayworth. Fans of The Shawshank Redemption will remember the famous Hayworth poster image, that was taken from Gilda.

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The French Heat

Posted : 11 years, 4 months ago on 17 March 2007 08:56 (A review of 36th Precinct )

Going into 36 I'd heard about its similarities to the Michael Mann film 'Heat'. I dig that film and having watched this now I'd say the two are on a par. Both gritty crime thrillers with top draw acting and gripping stories. Will definitely buy the DVD and watch again.

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Public hangman #1

Posted : 11 years, 4 months ago on 6 March 2007 04:14 (A review of Pierrepoint - The Last Hangman)

Most Brits are familiar with the names Ruth Ellis, Derek Bentley, Timothy Evans, John Christie and Lord Haw Haw. We know of their trials and their eventual fate at the gallows. What is not so well publicised is that they all met their maker at the hands of the same man. His was the last voice they heard and the last pair of eyes they looked into. That man was Albert Pierrepoint.

Timothy Spall's performance is brilliant as he conveys the way that Pierrepoint moves from being utterly confident and comfortable in his role as Public Hangman Number One to being progressively disturbed and disillusioned.

You might feel that a film focused on such a bleak subject matter is not for you, but Pierrepoint is drama at its utmost best. It's style and imagery remind me so much of Mike Leigh's 'Vera Drake' but this film even though originally meant for TV only surpasses it in terms of substance and story.

My only gripe is that it's not entirely historically correct, it skips over the years too fast. Alberts career progression from assistant to hangman was actually much slower.

Nonetheless Pierrepoint is a fantastic film, I urge you all to grab the DVD.

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