27th September 2008
Film Review: What Just Happened? 1
2:15 PM — Back in 1976 the young Robert De Niro, at the height of his powers, appeared in a restrained classic movie about moviemaking, The Last Tycoon. Based on the final, unfinished novel by one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century, F. Scott Fitzgerald – a man with a strong Hollywood track record of his own – it revolved around a workaholic Hollywood hotshot producer and his efforts to form a relationship with a young woman. The parallels between the moviemaking genius of the lead character and that of the masterly young actor portraying him were apparent to all.
Film Review: How To Lose Friends And Alienate People
2:12 PM — British comedy's invasion of Hollywood continues apace. Ricky Gervais is hailed as a comedy god, with awards aplenty alongside appearances on cult favourites The Simpsons and computer game smash hit Grand Theft Auto IV, as well as a bunch of small roles in films such as Stardust and For Your Consideration, and his first starring role in a Hollywood movie coming up later this month.
Film Review: 88 Minutes
2:08 PM — Al Pacino is undeniably one of the greatest actors in Hollywood history – a star whose name can pretty much ensure a film's commercial success, and bring cachet to projects that would otherwise barely merit a glance. His strong track record of picking interesting character pieces has given us some of the best performances of the last forty years, in films ranging from the Godfather trilogy (he's even good in the much-derided Part III) to his iconic turn in the 80s classic Scarface, through the over-the-top yet still fun turns he's given in movies such as The Devil's Advocate and Dick Tracey to smaller, more restrained character studies in the likes of The Insider and Glengarry Glen Ross.
14th September 2008
Film Review: Swing Vote
4:46 PM — With pretty much the entire press having gone gaga for US presidential hopeful Barack Obama during his European tour back at the end of July, it's unlikely that many people will be unaware that there's another one of those American election things coming up pretty soon – November, to be precise. There's also a good chance that most of us will remember how close the race was back in 2004, when a Democratic candidate polled more votes than any previous winner in a presidential election, yet still lost out to incumbent Republican George W Bush.
Film Review: Death Race
4:42 PM — It is somewhat bizarre that two directors with the same name should have such wildly divergent critical perceptions. Paul Thomas Anderson is lauded as some kind of filmmaking genius, the heir to the legendary Robert Altman thanks to his apparent obsession with complex interweaving plotlines involving multiple characters. This was most notable in his breakthrough hit Boogie Nights and 1999's sprawling Magnolia, and he was recently lauded for last year's multiple Oscar-nominated There Will Be Blood.
Film Review: Tropic Thunder
4:38 PM — Ben Stiller is way up there as one of Hollywood's most successful comedians of the last ten years, as well as one of the most prolific. Part of that broad circle of Hollywood comedy buddies that includes Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughan, Owen and Luke Wilson and others dubbed "the Frat Pack". He's cropped up in cameos and more major roles alongside all of these actors in dozens of films over the last few years, from Starsky and Hutch to Dodgeball, Anchorman to Tenacious D, while still finding time to be the comic lead in films as varied as kids' flick Night at the Museum, romcom Along Came Polly, and his hit relationship comedy Meet the Parents and its sequel Meet the Fockers.
Film Review: Righteous Kill
4:35 PM — For any fans of American cinema from the last forty years, there are three principle giants of the screen: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson. These three, all emerging around the same time at the end of the Sixties and start of the Seventies, ushered in a new era of gritty, rough cinematic realism – albeit building on the work of the likes of Marlon Brando, James Dean and their fellow method actors from the Fifties. But unlike Brando and co they were given an added freedom by the concurrent rise of a new wave of experimental directors: the likes of Scorsese, Coppola, Forman, Kubrick, Friedkin – even Lucas and Spielberg – who were keen to try something new, and in the process shook Hollywood by its very foundations.
13th September 2008
Film Review: The Women
12:49 PM — Over the last couple of decades, the battle for women's lib seemed to many to have been won. Yet though the situation may be better, the fight goes on. Women are still paid less, occupy fewer high-up positions in business and remain hugely under-represented in politics. 2008 was the year that many American women thought the tide would finally change with Hilary Clinton's campaign for the US presidency – and yet her bid failed.
Film Review: Pineapple Express
12:45 PM — There's been a sizable, if not quite noble, tradition of stoner comedies in American cinema going back the last forty years or more. This has been largely since the arrival of the late sixties counterculture generation and the realization that people who smoke cannabis are not only easily amused, but can also be quite amusing to watch. The idea was itself an offshoot of the age-old comedies of drunkenness that have been a part of human entertainment pretty much since the first caveman ate the wrong sort of mushrooms and started to walk into things.
Film Review: The Duchess
12:39 PM — Keira Knightley is undeniably beautiful, of that there has been little argument since she first appeared on the public radar with 2002's Bend It Like Beckham. But since her rocketing rise to global stardom, thanks largely to the Pirates of the Caribbean films, one thing has constantly been in dispute: can Knightley actually act, or is she just another in a long line of good-looking girls who can wear a corset and speak with a crisp middle-class English accent?
Film Review: RocknRolla
12:35 PM — It's hard not to feel just a little bit sorry for Guy Richie. Yes, he may be a multi-millionaire, his life seemingly consisting of a succession of glitzy parties in a world of beautiful people and extravagant celebs. But at the same time he's become a laughing stock. He's in the public eye more thanks to being the husband of one of the most famous women on the planet, especially during the last few months of rumours of marital difficulties, than for any success of his own. And, lest we forget, it's been ten years since he first hit the big time – and ten years since he last made a good film.
15th August 2008
Film Review: Step Brothers
9:39 PM — Will Ferrell's place as one of Hollywood's favourite comedians is, these days, pretty much secure. He may well have made a fair few duds – Bewitched and Kicking and Screaming (both 2005) spring to mind – but he's also the man responsible for one of the funniest movies of recent years, 2004's Anchorman. He has been so prolifically hard-working that he's cropped up in everything from the first two Austin Powers movies to a Woody Allen film, the animated kids' movie Curious George to the film version of the stage version of The Producers. Thanks to his “Frat Pack” credentials he's also had cameos in the likes of Zoolander, Wedding Crashers and Starsky & Hutch to boot – not to mention the entertaining short skits he's been producing for the internet.
Film Review: Hellboy II: The Golden Army
9:31 PM — There's a good chance that, of all the many dozens of superhero movies released during the last few years, Hellboy is the one you haven't seen. A protagonist who's a big red demon? Not a single A-list star (unless you count John Hurt, which sadly few do)? A director who, at the time of Hellboy's release in 2004 was best known for the so-so superhero sequel Blade II and shoddy monster movie Mimic?
10th August 2008
Film Review: Get Smart
11:52 AM — After the glut of remakes of 1960s TV shows back in the late nineties (Mission: Impossible, The Avengers, Maverick, Wild Wild West, etc.) churned out more duds than hits, it seemed as if Hollywood had since given up on the idea.
Film Review: You Don’t Mess With The Zohan 1
11:43 AM — For those of us who just don't find Adam Sandler funny, and who have seen no merit to date in any of his movie offerings, his continued Hollywood success is inexplicable.
Film Review: Star Wars – The Clone Wars
11:39 AM — The three Star Wars prequels still divide fans of the original trilogy. Was Jar-Jar Binks a travesty, or just The Phantom Menace's answer to the Ewoks? Were the epic battles little more than over-the-top and confusing computer game cut-scenes, or George Lucas once again pushing movie technology to its very limit?
27th July 2008
Film Review: The Mummy – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor 3
11:18 AM — When the first Mummy film came out nearly a decade ago, many film fans approached it with a sense of deep trepidation. It was, after all, being billed as a remake of the 1932 Boris Karloff classic. It’s one of those sacred film texts, almost up there with Citizen Kane and Casablanca, that many film buffs felt should never be remade.
Film Review: The X-Files – I Want to Believe
11:12 AM — It's nearly fifteen years since Mulder and Scully first burst onto our screens, creating one of the TV fads of the nineties. For pretty much the first time, it became acceptable to watch a show revolving around aliens, ghosts and assorted other ghoulies.
Film Review: The Love Guru
11:06 AM — Ever since his big screen breakthrough with the comedy classic Wayne’s World back in 1992, Mike Myers has been Hollywood gold. To date, pretty much every film in which he’s starred has done well both critically and commercially, with even the disappointments – like 1993’s So I Married an Axe Murderer and last year’s Shrek the Third – only being moaned about thanks to the high standards of Myers’ previous outings.
21st June 2008
Film Review: Mamma Mia! 1
10:24 PM — If, a few years ago during the height of his James Bond-inspired superstardom, you’d told Pierce Brosnan that his next genuine global smash hit was going to be a musical, he’d probably have called security....