Director: Eran Creevy
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Daniel Mays, Jason Flemyng, Jay Simpson .UK. 1h 26m
You could argue that the British Urban genre is still in its infancy, or at least it’s fixated on youth and troubled adolescence that it’s hard to see it in a mature sense. However debut director Eran Creevy raises the bar with this uber smart, darkly funny and engaging drama all stuck together on a meager budget. Usually the scene is something daryl troubled like Kidulthood, Cherry Tree Lane, and they all have their visceral points to make but Shifty is more chilled and less aggressive but it does highlight street violence and the grimey underbelly of our streets but it’s achievement of highlighting the friendship of two amazing friends and the characters they meet along the way will make an audience smile before smacking them with a gory ending.
Director: Mike Leigh Starring: Katrin Cartlidge, Lunda Steadman, Mark Nenton, Andy Serkis. UK. 1h 23m
I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to spend time with Mike Leigh, sometime in the late 80’s early 90’s, is he this hyper thinking character he often portrays in his films, in this case the energetic Hannah (Cartlidge) who, in this femine tour de force is a lady version of Johnny Fletcher (David Thewlis) from Naked, at least with her quick wit and attitude, she’s no much of an awkward asshole.. thankfully!
4 years after Naked (1993) Leigh returns with a less traumatic but equally charming insight into the friendship between Hannah and Annie (Steadman), once best friends at university, the two awkward characters shared their adventures and possibly even a boyfriend at one time.. Annie’s psoriasis held her back. But after a rough start Hannah begins to see the real charm and quality of the girl and their union is one of strength and genuine caring for eachother. The third wheel, Clare (Byers), the original roommate to Hannah is shoon shafted from the apartment for her abrasive nature and the girls move in Ricky (Benton) a husky austic guy who has the hots for Annie, Mark Benton’s portrayal of autism for the time was really outstanding, there’s a lot more understanding of the condition and yet the character, while not entirely accurate as being autism really highlights a person with a mix of mental conditions that we recognize without putting a finger on it.
Director: Olivier Assayas Starring: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigird Bouaziz, Nora Von Waldstratten. USA/UK/France. 1h 45m
At times it’s easy to forget that Personal Shopper is a horror movie. If you’re into something which burns slow but delivers a whack at the end then this might feel like it’s let you down, but there is a huge revelation at the end but it might not be what you were expecting. At times it’s mundane and even dull, but Assatas’ genius technique is to force the viewer to not to see what’s coming so when something does stand out it has a larger impact. It’s not hard to connect Kirsten Stewart to keywords such as “Blank” and at times it’s a perfect emotion for the film that deals all too honestly with grief, alienation and death.
Director: Horaces Ove Starring: Norman Beaton, Nicholas Farrell, Brian Bovell, Ross Kemp, Gary Beadle, Trevor Thomas, Ram John Holder,Bruce Purchase, Joseph Marcell, Patrick Holt, Neil Morrissey. UK. 1h 40m
The beautiful game of cricket is the focus of a witty tale that highlights the ridiculous nature of racism and plesantary of just getting along and being a good person or at least a sports person. Somewhere in Ove’s little hidden gem of a movie, there’s a nod to the empowerment of being a team player, noting how the games give the population a sense of becoming a better person.
Director: Pedro C Alonso Starring: Eddie Marsan, Paul Anderson, Ivana Baquero, Richard Brake, Oliver Coppersmith, Alexis Rodney, Anthony Head. UK. 1h 37m
After a duo of short movies Pedro C Alonso was given free range for his first feature film. Seemingly going balls to the wall with his daring psychological thriller, it turns a night of work into a night of hell for one highly secretive and very questionable DJ. Alonso seems to enjoy throwing his characters into a vivid world maximised by raging colours sound and violence, chuck in a pair of leather gloves and more eyeliner and we’d have a semi decent Giallo.
Director: Liam O’Donnell Starring: Lindsey Morgan, Jonathan Howard, Daniel Bernhardt, Rhona Mitra, James Cosmo, Alexander Siddig .USA. 1h 50m
Long after the failure of Skyline and the mediocre success of the sequel, it’s plain to see that the new format is the new template for all future movies, now that Liam O’Donnell is in the driving seat. While O’Donnell’s fine tuning has made a drastic improvement in the Skyline trilogy it’s taken the film down a strange rabbit hole but is this third installment a breath of fresh air or just the final nail in the Skyline coffin? Continue reading Skylines (2020)→
Director: Christian Rivers. Starring.Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, Stephen Lang. USA. 2h 8m.
This majestic story of the fight for freedom in a world where cities hunt each other, has no shortage of outstanding special effects and dazzling action scenes but it lacks in having a matching narrative, something as compelling and hard worked to really make this apocalyptic fantasy enough power to be a fulfilling and compelling movie, however I’m sure that I am not the target audience as I no longer have homework.
Christian Rivers has worked so closely with the writer, Peter Jackson on many of his epic blockbusters but it seems that being in the driving seat took Rivers out of his comfort zone as he struggled to keep this meaty beast under control. So much attention was directed in this film looking so specific but in reflection it’s hard not to see it as a Frankenstein of so many other projects but in reality it just feels like a live action Ghibli story but without much feeling applied to it. Rivers does achieve a consistent theme but that’s about it in terms of accomplishments.
Director: Simon Rumley. Starring.Terry Stone, Leo Gregory, Jamie Foreman, Roland Manookian. UK. 1h 51m.
I have to admit that I was spellbound by the cover of this lovely movie, but within seconds of the opening scene I was soon knocked off my feet that this is basically a retro version of Rise of the Footsoldier! In all fairness I really enjoyed the footsoldier movies, they started out with a purpose and were watered down but they had their own unique, balls in your face charm and a recurring cast, although a few characters are a little bit different in this war time london escapade, the most notable is Roland Manookian usually he plays the role of a drugged up loser who basically a bit of a plonker but he’s resurrected as a psychotic killer who’s not afraid to bleed. It’s pretty interesting to see him take on such a grisly role, maybe the boy will go far.
The film is based on real people and events, mostly surrounding Billy Hill and Jack Corner, again much like Rise of the Footsoldier (2007), and possibly with as much dreamy fantasties. The film looks authentic but doesn’t feel genuine in any way, it certainly feels like a modern movie but with just a cosmetic change and some different clothes, which is a shame as it could have been a real opportunity to branch out and try something an off key. The film seems to be poorly researched but the delivery is bold, a bit too forceful at times, it seems the use of shouting and violence takes the place of intense drama. Continue reading Once Upon A Time In London (2019)→
Director: Sidney J Furie Starring: Michael Caine, Aubrey Richards, Guy Doleman, Nigel Green. UK 1h
After getting into trouble while serving in the army, Harry Palmer (Caine) has a choice, two years in prison or a few months in the secret service, reluctantly he chooses the service and remain the typical bad boy. While being totally loyal his cunning and total disregard for authority and procedure does earn him a reputation and he’s soon passed from one frustrated leader to another, his most recent doesn’t have a sense of humor, which is something Harry duly notes.
The cool swinging sixties world that is revolving around Harry is quite dangerous, especially if your a brilliant scientist of some sort, they seem to be quitting jobs and vanishing like it’s going out of fashion and Harry is forced onto the case, a replacement for a agent brutally killed while trying to protect a wonderfully British scientist.Continue reading The Ipcress File (1965)→
Director: Juan Carlos Medina. Original Book : Peter Ackroyd Starring: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Eddie Marsan, Douglas Booth, Daniel Mays. UK. 1h 49m
Lessons can be learnt from this gloomy victorian epic, it has all of right elements but it just lacks that little je ne c’est quoi. Characters fall flat and the mystery becomes boring and repetitive. Within the elaborate stages and cliche back streets of London, before the time of Jack the Ripper there was the Limehouse Golem, a mysterious killer who slaughtered at will for his audience.
John Kildare (Nighy) is thrown at the case as the powers that be believe the killer can’t be found, so he’s the fall guy, so without any backup and being dangled in front of the media and disapproving public he is forced into action, sparing their prized detective for other simpler cases, but Kildare jumps into the case, almost becoming obsessed; using his brilliant meticulous mind and working with his close friend Officer Flood (Mays) the two are an alternative Holmes and Watson. Continue reading Limehouse Golem (2017)→