29th April 2006
Down In The Valley
12:00 AM — Edward Norton is generally regarded as one of the finest actors of his generation, an heir to the likes of De Niro and Brando, with two Oscar nominations to his name by the age of 30, and someone who can turn in performances of great subtlety even with rather sub-par material.Sadly, the past couple of years have seen him working with far more bad material than good, from the dire remake of The Italian Job to Ridley Scott's disappointing Kingdom of Heaven.
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.
12:00 AM — Generally speaking, films set around the world of US high schools are to be given a very wide berth, especially when they are using a high school setting for an alternate backdrop to an established genre.There have been hundreds of tediously clichéd standoffs between the jocks and the nerds or the chess club and the cheerleaders over the years, and any number of unimaginative reworkings of Shakespeare, westerns and the rest in the corridors and classrooms of some generic school in a standard suburb.
12:00 AM — Although at first glance this might seem to be a fairly typical romantic comedy, the utter lack of fame of the male lead compared with that of the two female stars on the poster should be an indication that this is a movie that's not so easy to pigeonhole.Yes, it's set in New York. Yes, there's some typical use of well-worn themes of New York Jewishness and sessions with therapists.
28th April 2006
Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room
12:00 AM — In 1987, Oliver Stone defined a decade with his superb exploration of American business that was Wall Street, yet even the devious business mastermind that was Gordon Gekko could not have dreamed up some of the things the energy giant Enron managed to get up to -and that eventually led to its downfall.The story of Enron's collapse was well covered at the time yet for many it remained a story for the business pages.
12:00 AM — Ignore the terrible 'trendy' title, because it is all part of the surprisingly intelligent yet still highly amusing and often wonderfully silly satire of this movie. Combining two of the most popular obsessions of the last few years, reality television and terrorism, may not seem like the most obvious cinematic draw, as by now we're all becoming thoroughly sick of both.
12:00 AM — Bruce Willis seems to have been playing the washed up, aging wannabe hero now for even longer than he was playing the real thing. After breaking out of television with 1988's Die Hard and becoming one of the big names of the action movie world, his best roles since playing the washed-up boxer in Quentin Tarantino's superb Pulp Fiction back in 1994 have all been very similar.
5th April 2006
12:00 AM — Happy Endings, the film that opened the 20th London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, is the latest offering from Don Roos.It is a twisting and sometimes complicated tale of relationships between nine Californians. Incorporating blackmail, sperm donation, questionable paternity and long-lost parents from the director of 'The Opposite of Sex', the film explores the complexity of modern life.
4th April 2006
Keep Not Silent
12:00 AM — This film explores the difficult subject of orthodox Jewish women living in Israel who try to reconcile their deep religious belief with (the forbidden) homosexual practice. The genre was more fly on the wall documentary than feature film and focused mainly on the real life stories of two lesbian women living in the ultra orthodox religious communities in Jerusalem.The first, a single woman, seeking understanding tolerance and acceptance from her family and permission from her rabbi to live as a lesbian women and practice her religion
24th March 2006
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
12:00 AM — Since the success of the likes of Toy Story and Shrek, computer-animated movies have become a regular fixture of the school holiday cinema listings.From the apparent decline of Hollywood animation in the 1980s and early 1990s, new technologies have revitalised the art of feature-length cartoons, and the constant desire of parents world-wide to find something to keep their kids occupied has ensured that there is big money in the genre.
12:00 AM — You surely cannot get much more topical and controversial than a Palestinian film about suicide bombers. Anyone who watches the news regularly will have seen and heard about little else for much of the last five years.So the obvious question many would ask is, "Why would I want to go to the cinema for this when I can just turn on the TV?"
12:00 AM — A play revolving around the depressing subject-matter of impoverished young people living in the shadow of AIDS would, to a lot of people, hardly sound like the most entertaining night out. Chuck in song and dance numbers, and it's hardly surprising that Rent has become the subject of numerous parodies - not least the memorable song "Everyone has AIDS" from 2004's irreverent Team America: World Police.
Cockles and Muscles (Crustaces et Coquillages)
12:00 AM — Cockles and Muscles is a delightful, light-hearted tale of the intricacies of modern French family life.Set in the sea side resort of Côte d'azur where mechanic father, Marc (Gilbert Melki) and his half Dutch wife Beatrix (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) take their son Charly (Romain Torres) to enjoy an idyllic summer in the house that Marc spent his youth.
11th March 2006
Tristan + Isolde
12:00 AM — The medieval romance of Tristan and Isolde (or Yseult, depending on how archaic you want to be) is these days best known thanks to the grand opera by Richard Wagner, often claimed to be one of the finest ever written.After its initial appearance during the Dark Ages, by the 13th Century Tristan had been elevated to the level of one of the knights of King Arthur's Round Table, before the tale of their tragic romance eventually evolved into that of Lancelot and Arthur's queen, Guinevere.
Imagine Me And You
12:00 AM — As soon as one film finds success with a subject previously thought not to hold any commercial appeal, movie-makers tend to run around in a desperate attempt to imitate the same previously unconsidered route to success.Gladiator shows that the historical epic can still find an audience, and within a couple of years we have the likes of Kingdom of Heaven and the upcoming Hannibal trying to cash in. X-Men does stupidly well at the box office, and the next few years sees cinemas packed out with umpteen other movies based on comic books and superheroes.
The White Countess
12:00 AM — The death of producer Ismail Merchant in May last year marked the end of an era for British film-making. As one half of the Merchant Ivory team, the "Ivory" being director James Ivory, his name has become synonymous with the kind of lavish costume drama which typified British films for much of the latter half of the 20th Century, teaming up on more than 40 film projects, including the much-loved adaptations A Room With A View (1985), Howards End (1992) and The Remains of the Day (1993). The White Countess is the last product of this partnership, which has brought more intelligent and lavish versions of literary classics to the big screen than any other.
12:00 AM — One of the major dilemmas for any fan of Hollywood blockbusters over the last decade has been how to explain what has happened to Harrison Ford. This is the man who played the two coolest cinematic characters to have merged in the final quarter of the 20th Century.This is Han Solo. This is Indiana Jones. This is also Deckard from Blade Runner, another all-time iconic film character, and a man Oscar-nominated for his starring turn in the serious and restrained Witness.
12:00 AM — Truman Capote ranks as one of America's greatest ever writers, yet today is probably best known - at least to film lovers - as the author of that classic Audrey Hepburn flick Breakfast at Tiffany's.He is also prime material for the typical Hollywood biopic - a man who rose from poverty in the deep south to the New York cocktail set, mixing with A-list celebrities and royalty while engaging in a string of doomed homosexual relationships with married men and battling drug and alcohol addictions, before dying of a drug overdose aged 59.