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Film Reviews

  • 29th April 2006

    Brick 1

    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.

  • Prime

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • American Dreamz

    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.

  • 16 Blocks

    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

    Happy Endings

    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.

  • Paradise Now

    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?"

  • Rent

    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

    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.

  • Firewall

    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.

  • Capote

    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.

  • The Weather Man

    12:00 AM — The basic premise of Nicholas Cage as a man wrestling with the age-old dilemma of whether his family or career is more important may sound rather familiar to fans of this often brilliant, frequently erratic actor.Back in 2000, his disappointing feel-good flick The Family Man - even the title was similar - gave him a Sliding Doors-style second chance at life, where he opted for love over money.

  • Syriana

    12:00 AM — After the ridicule heaped upon actors who meddle in politics in 2004's entertaining puppet satire Team America: World Police, it is a brave Hollywood star indeed who dares to tackle the contentious world of contemporary politics.Yet as the war in Iraq reaches its third anniversary, mainstream Hollywood seems finally to be catching up with the political debates that have been raging ever since the "War on Terror" was launched in the wake of the September 11th attacks. The figurehead for this new movement is emerging in the unlikely shape of a fat, bearded George Clooney.

  • The Pink Panther 1

    12:00 AM — You would have thought that he would have learned his lesson after reviving the classic comic character of Sgt Bilko for the screen, but it seems that Steve Martin pays little attention to critics.Having failed to do justice to American comedian Phil Silvers' most famous creation, Martin has now decided to attempt to pick up the mantle of the best-loved character of that most versatile of British actors, Peter Sellers, by donning the trademark moustache and trenchcoat of bumbling French detective Inspector Clouseau.

  • 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.

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