1st July 2007
Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution
5:10 PM — Catherine Tate is a bizarre phenomenon. Her rise over the last few years has been so rapid that the expression "meteoric" seems to have been made for it.She's now a big enough name that pretty much everyone in Britain has surely heard of her, but for those who haven't watched her BBC2 comedy sketch series, modestly entitled The Catherine Tate Show, the precise nature of her talents seems a little vague.
5:10 PM — This latest outing from George Clooney is another of the character pieces in which he is beginning to specialise - a close study of one flawed man up against overwhelming odds.After taking on similar parts in the likes of Syriana and The Good German, and having directed films revolving around the same basic concept in Good Night and Good Luck and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, it seems that this is becoming Clooney's personal trademark.
5th June 2007
Le Vie En Rose
5:32 PM — The role of Edith Piaf must count as one of the most challenging real-life potrayals that any French actress could hope for.One of those classic legends in her own lifetime, her rise from obscure poverty to international stardom came on the brink of the Second World War - a war in which she was to play an active part, not just as the best-known voice of France, but also as an active participant in the French Resistance.
Shrek the Third
5:32 PM — Since the first appearance of the big green ogre with the odd Scottish accent back in 2001, Shrek has achieved an enviable place as one of the best loved and most successful animated characters in recent Hollywood history.Both films to date have achieved that rare feat of appealing as much to adults as to the kids, creating that scarcest of all cinematic phenomena - a truly pan-generational movie.
5:32 PM — After the dire second outing in the Steven Soderbergh/George Clooney caper series, it looked rather as if the magic had gone. Not only that, but some began to question the very concept of movies with massive ensemble casts, made up largely of A-list actors. After all, how many massive egos can any screenwriter realistically accommodate while maintaining a coherent and entertaining script?Of course, the first Ocean's Eleven film - at least, the first in the Soderbergh series, as it was a remake of a 1960s classic - was a real treat.
5:32 PM — If you're a fan of psycho killer thrillers, this should be right up your street. It's classic, almost clichéd slasher movie material.Young couple getting lost in a remote part of the countryside? Check. Car breaks down? Check.They find a remote motel in which to spend the night? Check. It all turns out to be a bit creepy and they end up having to run for their lives? Check.
5:32 PM — The fact that this much-delayed gambling-based love story was originally supposed to be released nine months ago says much.Movies that have their release dates put back, the general rule goes, are never much cop - but when the film in question was intended to be a comeback vehicle for not just one, but three erstwhile next big things, you know that somewhere in Hollywood, the gods of faltering careers are having a field day.
26th May 2007
9:34 AM — When former music video director David Fincher made the shift from making promos for the likes of Madonna, Sting and George Michael - most famously Vogue and Englishman in New York - he seemed determined to get away from the kind of 80s pop music camp with which he'd previously been associated.His first big Hollywood flick was the decidedly unpleasant Alien 3 - the one where Sigourney Weaver finds that humans can be just as bad as the Aliens she'd been battling in the previous two films, if not worse.
The Tiger’s Tail
9:34 AM — Just a week before Buena Vista does its big budget blockbuster thing again with the third Pirates of the Caribbean film, the studio better known as Disney's distribution wing is out to show that the Mouse can do serious, indie-flavoured movies as well. Of course, no film put out by a company as vast as Disney can ever truly be considered indie, but with near-legendary director John Boorman at the helm, and with the actual production handled by two tiny British and Irish companies, it's fair to give The Tiger's Tale the benefit of the doubt.
Black Snake Moan
9:34 AM — It's a well known rule of the movies that it's damned tough being a former child star. Hollywood is littered with tales of one-time cute kiddie actors and actresses who have ended up fading into obscurity, going off the rails or both.There's the famous likes of Drew Barrymore, who somehow managed to resuscitate her career after a heavy drugs problem, having shot to fame aged three in ET.
9:34 AM — It may not have won Martin Scorsese an Oscar, but his epic period biopic The Aviator does, at least, seem to have had a bit of an impact on Hollywood.The spectacular flying sequences during the recreations of the filming of director Howard Hughes' classic First World War film Hell's Angels were amongst the best in Scorsese's impressive film, and they appear to have revived the film industry's interest in the heroic dogfights of the age of biplanes.
25th October 2006
The Devil Wears Prada
12:00 AM — Few people who work on the editorial side of the magazine business have to worry about much more than the irritation of dealing with PR people, outdated computer systems, and the ever-approaching deadlines. There is one small but prestigious section, however, in which every working moment threatens to be a nightmare, where appearance is even more important than ability, and contacts more vital than talent. They may be a tiny minority of journalists, but for those who work on glossy women's magazines, this film promises to be every bit as cringe-making and difficult to watch through painful recognition as The Office was for the rest of us.
12:00 AM — After a string of successes of remakes of recent Japanese cult hits like The Ring and The Grudge, Hollywood seems finally to be turning its eye to Hong Kong for material.As the Mecca for extravagant and imaginative action flicks for more than three decades, much has been pilfered from Hong Kong cinema in the past - including the director John Woo and actors like Bruce Lee, Maggie Chung and Jackie Chan. Rarely, however, has Hollywood attempted an outright remake of a Hong Kong hit.
12:00 AM — Despite the fact that she's both richer and more successful than any of us can imagine, it's hard not to feel sorry for Sofia Coppola.If it wasn't bad enough to have one of the late 20th Century's greatest film directors as a father, ensuring that any initial forays she made into cinema would be dismissed as merely "Francis Ford Coppola's daughter imitating daddy", she first came into the public eye as a late replacement in one of her father's own films.
12:00 AM — Since opening in London in May 2004, Alan Bennett's first play in 12 years, of which this film is an adaptation, has sold out at almost every venue over hundreds of performances, winning countless awards - from Oliviers to Tonys - along the way.Bennett may well be one of Britain's best-loved playwrights, but rarely has even he met with such success.
26th July 2006
Pirates Of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest
12:00 AM — Though the commercial success of a film which saw the mighty Disney team up with mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer and an array of well-known actors was pretty much guaranteed, the critical success of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was anything but. Though the commercial success of a film which saw the mighty Disney team up with mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer and an array of well-known actors was pretty much guaranteed, the critical success of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was anything but.
The Break Up
12:00 AM — Considering the title and the stars, this could hardly be more perfect gossip magazine material. Following her very public divorce from Brad Pitt, this is one of ex-Friends star Jennifer Aniston's first big screen outings - her break up followed by The Break Up.To add to the delight of those who thrive on celebrity tittle-tattle and rumour, it was while making this movie that Aniston started dating her co-star, Vince Vaughn - who just happens to be one of her ex-husband's friends.
29th April 2006
Mission: Impossible III
12:00 AM — With the man behind the insanely popular and quirky TV series Lost, JJ Abrams, in the director's chair for this third installment of Tom Cruise's 60s TV show-inspired action series, it is likely that many cinemagoers will be expecting something a bit different.But, lest you forget, the last two Mission: Impossible films were also helmed by big names famed for their idiosyncratic styles, Scarface's Brian de Palma and Hong Kong legend John Woo. Neither was quite able to break the standard action movie mould. Yet it is doubtful if that was ever the intention.
12:00 AM — The pitch is not a hard one to imagine - This Is Spinal Tap meets Four Weddings and a Funeral with just a touch of Pop Idol chucked in for good measure. Nonetheless, it is a strange experience to find a film where the biggest names in it are Martin Freeman, aka Tim from The Office, and Jimmy Carr, the ubiquitous host of innumerable nostalgic compilation TV shows.But put into the Spinal Tap-style mockumentary comedic tradition the fact that the cast is largely unrecognisable to most British, let alone American, audiences is all part of its charm.
The Da Vinci Code
12:00 AM — Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is one of those novels that occasionally appears and inexplicably becomes a phenomenon. On the surface, there was nothing overly special or original about the standard airport thriller plot; the characters are all archetypes at best, stereotypes at worst, and the writing varied between bland and outright bad.Compare it with any other similar pulp thriller and there is little, if anything, to set it apart from the crowd, let alone to explain its almost unprecedented 40 million worldwide sales.