1st July 2009
Film Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince 7
6:58 PM — It's been almost eight years since the first of the Harry Potter tales was consigned to celluloid. Over those eight years, the quality of the films has remained pretty much steady. This is the sixth and penultimate iteration in the series, and as such serves as a prelude to what is sure to be a climactic final instalment.
Film Review: The Proposal
6:52 PM — Sandra Bullock almost seems too sweet to play the hard-nosed Editor-in-chief, Margaret Tate, but The Proposal is clearly a movie made for the meaner side of her personality. Playing a character akin to The Devil Wears Prada's Miranda Priestley, Bullock's Tate is one of the most detestable bosses you'll ever see.
Film Review: The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
6:33 PM — Coming from something of a smothered childhood, the fifty-year-old Pippa Lee finds herself in an idyllic position in life, albeit on a merely superfluous level. Her husband, one of the last great publishers, and thirty years her senior, has cast a long shadow in the twilight of her life, but Pippa is happy to live her life in the shade, holding dinner parties, aiding her powerful husband and playing the part someone else has carved for her in her life.
21st April 2009
Film review: State of Play
2:38 PM — From the director, Kevin Macdonald, State of Play features the rise and fall of American congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) – who is handsome, unflappable, and ascending the ladder of power with unprecedented speed.
Film review: Star Trek 1
2:26 PM — JJ Abrams' new Star Trek is driven forwards by a time travel loop – allowing destiny to be altered and a new edge to the original continuity.
5th April 2009
Film Review: Not Easily Broken 1
6:25 PM — Dave Johnson (Morris Chestnut) has always dreamed of becoming Major League Baseball player, but, after getting injured, he settles for being a little league baseball coach.
Film Review: I Love You Man
6:19 PM — Many films have relied on the relationship between a couple of male friends and their various farting and vomiting jokes – and this one isn't that different.
Film Review: The boat that rocked
6:15 PM — Richard Curtis, by his own admission, has carved out his career by making modern classic love films. But the Love Actually and Notting Hill creators brand new movie, The Boat That Rocked turns its attention to his other love, music. The story is based on controversial pirate radio stations in the 1960s, in particular Radio Caroline. It is an ensemble comedy, where the romance is between the young people of the 60s, and pop music. Its about a band of DJs that captivate Britain, playing the music that defines a generation and standing up to a government that, incomprehensibly, prefers jazz.
24th January 2009
Film Review: Che Part Two
1:42 PM — In the second of a two part drama about the revolutionary life and times of Ernesto ''Che'' Guevara, viewers are taken to Bolivia for an on-the-ground document of guerrilla warfare. By all accounts , Che: Part Two it is the film Soderbergh originally wanted to make – but which would be difficult to stand on its own.
29th December 2008
Film Review: Frost Nixon
10:41 AM — Back in 1977, British satirist turned talk show host David Frost managed to secure unprecedented access to former American president Richard Nixon, still a global pariah and national disgrace following his 1974 fall from office after the notorious Watergate scandal. Little-known in the US, despite having managed to get Nixon's agreement to an almost insane 28-hour interview, stretched over 12 days, Frost had failed to sell the interviews to any television networks, funding the project out of his own money.
Film Review: The Spirit 1
10:35 AM — Liked the over-the-top, heavily stylised Sin City, with its quirkily graphical black-and-white, comic-book feel? Can't wait until 2010 for the sequel? Well, this might just keep you going until then.
Film Review: Defiance
10:31 AM — Actors who get cast as James Bond all too often find it hard to shake off that iconic character. Our last 007, Pierce Brosnan, has been finding it particularly tricky, picking up roles as sleazy losers in the likes of The Matador and cheesy all-singing, all-dancing clichés in Mamma Mia in a desperate attempt to show that he can do things other than look good in a tuxedo while fighting baddies and performing spectacular stunts. Bond before him Timothy Dalton spent a good decade carefully picking parts that would shake off the threat of typecasting, from villains to more nuanced and subtle characters on stage and small screen.
Film Review: Slumdog Millionaire 1
10:23 AM — As unlikely award contenders go, a film about the Indian version of popular TV quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? made by the guy who brought us that classic piece of mid-90s drug-addled madness Trainspotting has to be up there with the weirdest of them.
Film Review: Bedtime Stories 3
10:16 AM — After the release of the fun family adventure Inkheart two weeks ago, you may think that there's not much call for another movie about children's stories coming to life. But this is a very different take on a similar basic idea, and certainly shouldn't be written off right away. Where Inkheart opted for thrills and spectacle in a relatively straight, classic fantasy quest, this offering has instead gone for the comedy route – as the presence of Adam Sandler in the lead should attest.
Film Review: Che
10:07 AM — Argentinean revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara has long been a student hero – his beret-wearing, long-haired image adorning countless walls in university buildings world-wide even before his death, aged 39, by a Bolivian military firing-squad in 1967.
28th December 2008
Film Review: Australia
11:05 PM — Romantic epics, and especially romantic epics set amid tragedy and destruction, have long been some of the most popular – yet hard to pull off – of all film genres. The proof is in the money this type of film can make. 1997's Titanic, decidedly a romantic epic set on the most famous sinking ship of them all, is the highest-grossing film of all time.
14th December 2008
Film Review: Inkheart
3:20 PM — As with buses, so with films – you wait ages for a movie with a certain basic premise, then two come along at once. Be it alien invasion movies Independence Day and Mars Attacks! back in 1996 or asteroid strike flicks Armageddon and Deep Impact in 1998, or even the ultimate double-whammy of Fail Safe and Dr Strangelove back in 1964 (both based on the very same book), the history of cinema is littered with similar ideas hitting the big screen at around the same time. It's still rare, however, for two movies with such similar basic ideas at their heart to come out in the same month – but with Inkheart out this week and Disney's Bedtime Stories out on Boxing Day, that's precisely what's happened: two children's films about men who can – quite literally – bring stories to life.
Film Review: Madagascar – Escape 2 Africa
3:16 PM — In 2005, Madagascar ambled into our cinemas as just one of countless computer-animated kids' films featuring talking animals getting into scrapes. It's tale of a bunch of New York zoo animals who end up having to fend for themselves in the jungles of Africa, following the Shrek mould of chucking in movie references in an attempt to appeal to adult audiences, and on the surface had little to make it stand out amidst the seemingly never-ending line of similar talking animal animations that the last decade has brought us. Yet somehow, something clicked. It wasn't a classic, certainly, but something about the ninja-style penguins, or perhaps the talented voice cast – principally Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith and Sacha Baron Cohen – helped it to rise above the herd.
Film Review: Hamlet 2
3:12 PM — There was a time during the mid to late 90s that Steve Coogan was almost unanimously regarded as Britain's best comedian. He came from a strong troupe of comics, first coming to the public's attention via the cult Radio 4 satirical series On The Hour - that also launched the careers of the likes of master satirists Chris Morris and Armando Iannucci as well as Jerry Springer: The Opera writer Stuart Lee and his erstwhile comedy partner Richard Herring. First broadcast in 1991-2, it was On The Hour that saw the first appearance of the comedy character with whom Coogan will forever be associated – the Terry Wogan-inspired presenter Alan Partridge.
29th November 2008
Film Review: Waltz With Bashir
12:49 AM — It seems that the old idea that cartoons are for kids has finally been shattered. Hot on the heels of the stylized black and white animated exploration of the Iranian Revolution that was last year’s multiple award-winning (and Oscar-nominated) Persepolis comes another intriguing, award-winning take on another aspect of recent Middle Eastern history that’s largely unknown outside the region. And as with Persepolis, the animated approach may be unusual, but it is also an ideal way of increasing the accessibility of a subject that would, were it dealt with in more traditional forms, almost certainly turn many of us off before we even considered going to see it. Were this – or Persepolis – a documentary, few would have paid much attention. The gimmick of animation, especially animation done well, has worked a treat in expanding the potential audience.