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Nothing to go ape about but…
Star – Andy Sirkis
Genre – Comic Book > Sci Fi
Run Time – 130 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Oscars – 1 nomination (Visual Effects)
Awards – 15 Wins & 45 Nominations
Amazon – £4.36 DVD (£9.99Blue Ray)
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As a kid, one of the most horrifying scenes in a movie I can vividly recall was from seeing the original Planet of the Apes film (1968) when Charlton Heston realizes the foreboding planet he has landed on run by talking primates is actually Earth in the future, the astronaut staring at the Statue of Liberty half buried by the ocean still an incredible moment in cinema today. Sadly the films thereafter in the Planet of the Universe got progressively worse, as they did for many comic book movies back in the 1980s and 90s, and we had to wait until 2011 and powerful digital special effects to make the Planet of the Apes really work and so give the apes credibility. I’m told Helena Bonham Carter needed no prosthetics at all for her appearance as the ape Ari in Tim Burton’s 2001 early CGI mess.
Andy Serkis plays the lead ape Caesar, here, as he did in the first film, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this a sequel and his 7th grueling motion capture film. From 2001 to 2014, in just thirteen years, he has played 3 hunching characters in seven films (Gollum, Kong, and Caesar) and helped them to gross 5.5 billion dollars. He is not the best looking actor so you take the work when you can get it in the movie business.
Andy Serkis as Caesar………a common chimpanzee and the leader of the evolved ape tribe.
Toby Kebbell as Koba,……..a scarred bonobo and Caesar's treacherous lieutenant.
Nick Thurston as Blue Eyes………a common chimpanzee and Caesar and Cornelia's first son.
Karin Konoval as Maurice……..a Bornean orangutan and Caesar's friend and advisor.
Terry Notary as Rocket……… a common chimpanzee and Caesar's friend.
Doc Shaw as Ash…..a common chimpanzee, son of Rocket, also Blue Eyes' best friend.
Judy Greer as Cornelia…… a common chimpanzee and Caesar's wife.
Lee Ross as Grey……. a common chimpanzee and a follower of Koba.
Jason Clarke as Malcolm, the leader of the small group of good apes.
Jason Clarke as Malcolm, the leader of the small group that forms a strong bond with Caesar.
Gary Oldman as Dreyfus…….the leader of the remaining human survivors.
Keri Russell as Ellie…. a former nurse at the CDC, and Malcolm's wife.
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Alexander……Malcolm's son from a previous marriage.
Kirk Acevedo as Carver…..a former San Francisco water worker and a member of Malcolm's group.
Jon Eyez as Foster……. a member of Malcolm's group.
Enrique Murciano as Kem… a member of Malcolm's group.
Jocko Sims as Werner…….. the colony's radio operator.
Keir O'Donnell as Finney…….. an ally of Dreyfus.
===Plot Catch up from Film One===
A brilliant scientist (James Franco) is desperate to find a cure for his fathers Dementia and his bio company experiments on apes to try and achieve that. After a false dawn his father relapses from a cure but the upside being an ape, Caesar (Andy Sirkis), shows remarkable intelligence gains from the same drug, eventually busting out of his cage with some fellow apes and fleeing to the Northern Californian woods and freedom. In the process the scientist has unleashed a deadly simian flu…
10-years on from the outbreak and pretty much all of the humans appear to be dead. The Apes, headed by Caesar, have set up a community in the woods with a hierarchy and basic structure. Caesar intelligence is still raging on and can now speak basic human but as they haven’t seen any humans for two years they think there are none left. Not so.
In the ruins or San Francisco a human community rages, 700 strong, headed by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman). He has dispatched a team, headed by Malcolm (Jason Clark), drive high into the woods to try and kick start the old hydro electric plant to supply power to the city. But the team runs into Caesar’s ‘armed’ apes and a confrontation inevitable, the humans outnumbered and sent packing back to the city with a flea in their ear. If they are to restart the dam they will need to cut a deal with the apes, who have promised war if they return with another show of force.
Malcolm takes it upon himself to go back and confront the apes, building up enough of rapport with leading ape Caesar to return with small team of technicians to work on the dam. If they let them get the dam working they will leave each other alone from then on in. But there is a dissent in the ape community, ugly and angry ape Koba (Toby Kebbell) challenging Caesar’s authority and demanding they attack the humans before the humans can attack them. Malcolm has a long diplomatic battle of building trust ahead of him if he is to re-open the dam, communicate with the apes and also stop Dreyfus from a preempted attack on the apes.
So, it’s a bit of a leap from ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ so best to see film one first if you haven’t. You can’t just pick this up to enjoy it. This is not Dawn of the Dead to Day of the Dead. It’s an intelligent trilogy (film 3 due in 2018) and involves your imagination and investing in the idea. The Apes were extremely hard to get right, CGI wise, and clearly the whole franchise hangs on that mix of special effects and animatronics, as did Spiderman being able to look good swinging through the skyscrapers of Manhatten in the brilliant Toby Maguire re-launch. Well it worked in Rise and it works here in Dawn, the apes believable enough and Serkis doing great physical and surprisingly emotional work in front of the green screen. The fact the apes are meant to be part human in behavior in this film enables those creases to remain.
Dawn is not interested in staging conflict for the sake of it and the misunderstandings and tensions that drive the plot don't always feel like contrivances. This is a genesis movie that’s making sure it sets up the future films and audiences. This one cost $170 million to make but did an impressive $710 million back so they definitely got it right. A lot of these fantasy Sci-Fi comic book movies overdo the CGI on screen but this nailed it by limiting prominent apes, humans and locations.
It’s a tad long at 2 hours 10 minutes but it flew by with some thoughtful story but salted with some decent action and authentic and grand special effects. Gary Oldman is a huge ham as per usual and the little known cast around him allow for the apes to own the movie as they soon will the Earth, of course. Jason Clarke understands that crucial dynamic as Malcolm and puts in the appropriate cowering turn. It does adhere to some stock comic book blockbuster rules of the big showdown ending and the expected traitors and heroes but still enjoyable stuff. I was always reticent to watch anymore Planet of the Apes movies after Tim Burton’s disaster but this has restored my interest. It’s not suitable for young kids although I’m sure they are buying the toys.
Imdb.com – /10.0 (votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 90% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin –
=Andy Serkis: Rediscovering Caesar=
It’s a tough role for Andy and the apes actors to play as they are crouching in front of a green screen for the most of the movie. Here he talks about how the film was put together.
Times U.K –‘[Dawn of the Planet of the Apes] is a text book example of how to stay true to the basic genetic code of a movie while also letting it evolve into a different, altogether more sophisticated beast’.
Independent UK –‘Given the constraints under which he must have been working, being filmed with motion capture technology and under layers of heavy make-up, Serkis' performance is extraordinarily expressive’.
The Film Stage –‘More smartly nuanced and visually bombastic than any entry in the series, Dawn boasts a surprisingly textured script and great performances from both the men and the apes’.
Matt Reeves, the director of another end of the world type scenario in found footage film Cloverfield, takes the reins of this smart and attractive franchise and runs confidently with visceral wanton destruction and a blunt message about gun control’.
Salt Lake City Weekly –‘Reeves conjures a spectacle that has you questioning every moment where movies have conditioned you to cheer instinctively, because the heroism of a moment is so often defined by your allegiances.
Flavorwire –‘They manage to accomplish what few reboots have: to tell an origin story that honors the original work and pleases the superfans, while working as involving, compelling cinema, on their own terms and free of all other associations’.
Star – Taron Egerton & Hugh Jackman
Genre – Biopic > Comedy
Run Time – 115 minutes
Certificate – PG 13
Country – United Kingdom
Awards – 1 Win & 3 Nominations
Amazon – £5.00 DVD £9.99Blue Ray
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“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well”.
(Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin (1863-1937)
So, after the really enjoyable British film called ‘Pride’, about the miners struggle and a group of gay activist that dare to help them, I was up for more of the same with this one, ‘Eddie the Eagle’, earning similar glowing write ups in that ‘based on a true story plucky Brits make good’ comedy genre. Most of you know the story of Edwards and most of you would agree it’s amazing that it’s taken this long to produce a comedy about this countries greatest loser. If you don’t know what happened then Eddie, real name Michael ‘Eddie’ Edwards, went from £6 grand a year jobbing chippy in 1988 to £10 grand an hour failed Olympic hero a week later after his inglorious flop in the 1988 Calgary Olympics 70m Hill , jumping just half the distance of the gold medal winner. It was a big story at the time.
The British Olympic Committee had not sent an Olympic jumper to the Games since 1928 and not about to send Eddie, seeing him as a chancer trying to belittle the sport with his rubbish jumps. It’s a little known fact he narrowly missed competing for the Great Britain team for the 1984 Sarajevo Games as a speed skater, believe it or not. Now that would be chaos! To improve his chances to qualify for Calgary in 1988, he moved to Lake Placid, New York in the U.S. to train and enter competitions of a higher standard. But he struggled for funding and so returned home to work with his dad, plastering. To realize his Olympic dream, he decided to switch to ski jumping for reasons of cost and easier qualification as there were no other British ski jumpers with whom to compete for a place in the team. He was actually at a Finnish mental hospital (not as an inmate but as a plasterer) when he heard he had been selected for Calgary.
After his infamous exploits in 88 to keep earning money and hold on to his unlikely fame he took up exhibition speed skiing and stunt jumping and held the world record for jumping over 6 buses on skis. In 1992, after declaring bankruptcy, Eddie would take a degree in law at De Monfort University in Leicester and became a sports agent. He is not as gormless as he looks and a true British hero. No one reading this would dare to ski jump on a 70m hill. No on you know would.
The movie is directed by the rather excellent Dexter Fletcher (Lock Stock & Smoking Barrels), who bought us the rather excellent Wild Bill (2011) gangster film (you must check that one out). Edwards, who had optioned a script 14 years ago, was told the movie would be 90% made up and only around 10 to 15% of it is based on his life, in return he would get a cut of the DVD and cinema sales. Edwards has said: "I was sleeping in the car, in cow sheds, in a mental hospital. I was scraping food out of bins. And the whole time I'm thinking the next jump could very well by my last. I could kill myself. In some ways this movie doesn't show how bad it really was”.(Wikipedia quote)
Taron Egerton ... Eddie Edwards
Iris Berben ... Petra
Rune Temte ... Bjørn the Norwegian Coach
Hugh Jackman ... Bronson Peary
Tom Costello ... Eddie (10 years old)
Jo Hartley ... Janette Edwards
Keith Allen ... Terry Edwards
Jack Costello ... Eddie (15 years old)
Mark Benton ... Richmond the BOA Official
Tim McInnerny ... Dustin Target
Edvin Endre ... Matti Nykänen
Mads Sjøgård Pettersen ... Erik Moberg
Marc Benjamin ... Lars Holbin
10-year-old Gloucestershire schoolboy Michael ‘Eddie’ Edwards (Tom Costello) dreams of being in the summer Olympics. He doesn’t know what event yet but something will come up. But after putting his wooden javelin through dad’s greenhouse and handicapped by all manner of child impediments he is not even athletic enough to get in his schools tiddlywinks team, let alone run the 100 meters. But little Eddie is determined and after learning on dads new color telly they actually have a winter Olympics he sets his sights on that.
At 16, Eddie (Jack Costello) is a competent skier at the local snow dome and his dream is coming nearer as he is selected for the British skiing team by his 18th birthday. But with his thick lens glasses resting on his nose and a disastrous photocall in team kit, the disapproving British Olympic Committee decides not to pick him for the 1984 Olympics, wrong school the attitude.
Mum (Jo Hartley) is supportive of her son’s dreams but dad (Keith Allen) not so and just wants him to get a trade, preferably plastering like his old man. But Eddie (Taron Egerton) is determined and sets out to the Bavarian ski resort of Garmisch in Germany to follow his dream. He has discovered that a loophole will allow him to represent Team GB at ski jumping, simply by registering a jump at a certified event. But first he has to learn to jump. Pretty 40something bar owner Petra (Iris Berben) has sympathy to the oddball Englishman’s dream and lets him work his keep, if he pops into her bedroom now and then ( yes, right!).
After a few bumps and bangs on the kiddies 15m jump he is ready for the 40m jump, where his antics catch the eye of ex jumper Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) , now a washed up drunk snow plough driver who maintains the jumps. He too, after awhile, takes Eddie under his wing (before Eddie kills himself) and after yet another painful landing in hospital to try and master the 40m he promises to help Eddie to stay up right on the 70m hill, on condition that once he has qualified they go their separate ways and he stops wrecking his jump landings.
He enters Eddie into a Veterans competition where a recorded jump of any distance will be enough to go back to London and register for the Olympics, or so he thinks. On arrival at the BOC with his 31m jump in the bag they break the news that they have no intention of letting him embarrass the country in Calgary in 88 and announce the qualification for the jumping team is now 60 meters.
BOC: You name me one, just one British ski-jumper!
Eddie Edwards: Me. Eddie Edwards. I'm gonna be the squad’.
Disheartened he returns home broke and dad ready to enroll him for plastering course. But mum has been putting money aside for him to keep his dream alive and Eddie ‘borrows’ his dads van and races back out to Germany determined to learn to jump properly for the 88 Games, Peary unable to shake the plucky Brit as the two friends prepare for the 70m hill and Calgary.
Eddie Edwards: Any tips then?
Bronson Peary: Don't die?
In response to the Edwards’s phenomenon and Eric the Eel in swimming, in 1990, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) instituted what became known as the Eddie the Eagle Rule, which requires Olympic hopefuls to compete in international events and be placed in the top 30 percent or the top 50 competitors, whichever is fewer. This would inadvertently see a big increase in banned drug use as Olympic sport became more professional and financially rewarded. The Olympic Spirit was well and truly dead, 75% of the Russian winter team doping.
Eddie the Eagle works really well and great fun in that familiar genre. But how could it not? The handsome square jawed Taron Egerton (The Kingsman) is brilliant and uncanny as Eddie and although Hugh Jackman looks out of place and awkward as his ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ jacket and tight Levis he wears in every scene he is still warm and charming as ever on screen. And that’s the point here to get us all behind our lovable loser. I was that 10-year-old dreamer once and I also believed I would be in the Olympics, another reason for me to love this. If it was a film with an edge to put the guy down for his forts it simply haven’t worked. We had to celebrate him. For me he is a genuine legend. Ski jumping is far more dangerous if you impact halfway down the landing strip as that’s higher off the ground. He genuinely could have been killed or paralyzed every jump.
With a soundtrack as cool as the crisp mountain air and giggles coming thick and fast at the expense of the fumbling and gormless Eddie Eagle, you can’t help but not get behind this. Yes, there is a lot of artistic license to make his story into a movie that can move forward with some sort of positive narrative that engages us around our loveable loser but there is no film without that. The real story is genuinely grim and mundane. His dad was not best pleased how he was represented in the film and you can understand why but Eddie loved it and amazed how a hunk like Egerton could be him. In the extras he said that after Calgary women would queue at his hotel door for sex with the Eagle. That is why you have to take these celebrities historic sexual abuse accusations with a pinch of salt as some women will do anything to get with famous people, however strange or good looking they are. The nurses would queue even to be with Jimmy Savile. Fame is a powerful thing.
It is the film you think it is and one of the best British comedies of the year. It s great for family viewing and mum and dad will chuckle away. There is nothing too naughty in it and noticeably no swear words. Dexter Fletcher knows his audience and how to produce an enjoying and entertaining film. He can be forgiven for the massive fiction in the story here. Let’s face it, there is a bit of Eddie in all of us Brits and that’s what we want to se here.
Times UK –‘How to make a hero out of a loser? This is the question that drives, inspires, defines and ultimately bedevils the rousing new biopic Eddie the Eagle’.
The Guardian –‘The film's heart is in the right place, but Jackman and Walken are all wrong’.
Little White Lies –‘An oddly conventional biopic that uses a strained father-son relationship to frame its rabble-rousing, crowd-pleasing reflection on futility’.
Daily Telegraph –‘Fletcher has a brilliantly attuned sixth sense for what his audience wants to see at any given millisecond, and Eddie's final flight, from the 90-foot ramp at Calgary, is a mini-masterpiece of intuitive cutting’.
The List –‘"Eddie the Eagle" doesn't soar as high as it could have, but at least it doesn't crash’.
Movie Talk –‘With his milk-bottle glasses, jutting chin and fuzzy moustache, plucky British ski jumper Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards... remains an endearing figure of fun in this feel-good sporting romp’.
Imdb.com – 7.4/10.0 (43,276votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 80% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 54% critic’s approval
-Let the Games Begin: Soaring with Eddie the Eagle-
Behind the scenes stuff but enjoyable all the same. The real Eddie appears and in good form. Talk about someone who will always dine out on his life story.
Quite a few
Star – Australia!
Genre – Horror> Comedy
Run Time – 91 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – Australia
Awards – 1 Win & 6 Nominations
Amazon – £5.99 DVD (£8.14 Blue Ray)
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The mighty Mammoths became extinct not because of the Ice Age or stray comets but because they were the biggest walking meal on the prairie by a country mile to every predator going. It’s called evolution. The same could be said about humans in the Australian Outback, the setting for this enjoyable Aussie comedy horror. Just about everything is poisonous out there and can take down a fully grown man in the flick of a tongue, that’s if the locals, the sun and grog don’t get your first.
There has been some grim and unsettling Aussie movies about the great wilderness, like Wolf Creek and Walkabout, but also some joyous ones like Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Kangaroo Jack and Crocodile Dundee. Even today just 5% of the Outback has been officially charted. There really could be anything out there guys. 70% of the worlds most dangerous snakes are in Australia.
100 Bloody Acres is more the cheap'n'cheerful comedy-horror, made with gusto by Colin and Cameron Cairnes. It was a labor of love for the Cairns boys and took three years to make and three more years for this negligible Aussie splatterfest to get its one-weekend-only release, making just $8,543 across Australia. It’s way better than that folks. Aussie films just have that certain innocent and playful feel to them and can’t be ignored like that. I always watch out for them on TV or DVD and give them a chance.
Damon Herriman ... Reg Morgan
Angus Sampson ... Lindsay Morgan
Anna McGahan ... Sophie
Oliver Ackland ... James
Jamie Kristian ... Wes
John Jarratt ... Sgt Burke
Chrissie Page ... Nancy
Paul Blackwell ... Charlie Wick
Ward Everaardt ... Bernard St John
Iain Herridge ... Roadie
Brothers Reg (Damon Herriman) and Lindsay Morgan (Angus Sampson) run a small rustic organic fertilizer business out in the Queensland sticks on the family farm. Its going to be a long day for Lindsay when he happens upon a car smash on route with a dead body slumped on the steering wheel. Normally you would call the cops and they would do the rest. Not the Morgan boys, the body stashed in the back of his van and press on to the farm. On the way he is flagged down by some backpackers, James (Oliver Ackland), Wes (Jamie Kristian) and Sophie (Anna McGahan), heading to a rock festival but their Combi broken down and so need a lift to the nearest town.
Lindsay is reluctant to take them at first due to the body hidden in the truck but takes a shine to the flirtatious Sophie and off they go. But this is the Outback and they are not going to be going to any rock festival as Lindsay drives them to the farm against their will. It appears the mystery ingredient in their fertilizer that makes it sell so well is the human constituent as Reg fires up the meat grinder and an increasingly reticent Lindsay sets up the hooks. How will Sophie flirt her way out of this one…
With echoes of Tucker Dale Vs Evil and many other meat hook in the sticks inbred horror this one entertains from the off. It’s not the visceral edge of Wolf Creek (that is a hard film to watch) and played for laughs from the opening frames and so not one to hide behind the sofa. Yes a body or two does into a grinder but not that squeamish and all good fun. Not for kids though although kids watch far worse on YouTube when mom is having another glass of Pinot downstairs.
It’s perfunctory in construction for the genre and you have seen it all before but being an Australian movie that cliché has its own touch to make it more entertaining and engaging. All the characters are antiheroes in their own way and predictable villains and heroes rise from the pile like steam on manure. The no familiar Aussie Outback panoramas and foreboding add to the films mood and the narrative suitably pitched that you don’t care who goes in the grinder.
On the whole it’s an above average fun horror flick that avoids, when it can, those cheesy American horror clichés and flips them like burgers to cook the film on both sides to give it more of a comic tang. You always want something new when you watch horror as it can quickly become a stale genre and there is enough here to say it’s worth a look. It’s obviously got no chance of being noticed in your digital and online movie listings box but if you do see it then read up on it and give it ago. I enjoyed it and I am someone who doesn’t really bother much with the genre, hated the Scream movies and ye to be frightened by any horror movie at any age in the history of cinema. The only reason I like The Omen is because it’s inadvertently funny.
Imdb.com –6.0/10.0 (2.781votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 83% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 63% critic’s approval
-The Making of-
As this is a labor of love project the director and cast really exploit the extras to talk happily about their movie.
Cast& Crew chat away some more.
The Sydney Moring Herald –‘The Cairnes take the blood, bone and shit from other films, cut in some rustic romance and stoner comedy, and grind it all together into an agreeably homegrown blend’.
The Australian –‘100 Bloody Acres is as mercurial as its central character, breezily offbeat one moment, spattered in gonzo gore the next. It's as if the filmmakers ground the bits of other movies fine enough that it made a rich foundation for their own’.
Chicago Tribune –‘It sounds appalling, but "100 Bloody Acres" has a spring in its step’.
The Sun Herald –‘A wickedly funny romp that heralds the arrival of some seriously fiendish talent’.
The Mail –‘Though entertaining enough as a genre exercise, the film is too simplistic to transcend its base concept’.
ABC Radio –‘ Crossing Sweeny Todd with Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, the Cairns boys deliver a lot of laughs, nice and realistic dollops of sticky gore, and quite a lot of heart to boot’.
I think it’s fair to say that the mouse is the cutest animal humans kill on mass. For some reason it doesn’t have the status of cats, pandas, tigers and dolphins and has to be trapped and killed for being annoying around the house. As a rule of thumb humans tend to have no problem killing ugly animals like rats, pigs, fish and cows but somehow the mouse has fallen in with the wrong crowd. The rabbit’s foot maybe good luck for humans but it wasn’t lucky for the rabbit. Beauty has greater sanctuary than all around humans. But if the little bastard is chewing through your cables under the floorboard and could burn the house down they have got to pack their little suitcases and go.
When the house is silent we all become aware of any unusual noises, the gnawing sound of sturdy little choppers on wood a familiar one. The mice are building their winter retreat and babies will follow in the spring. They don’t want to be out in the cold and so centrally heated floor space is rather appealing. Problem is you can’t negotiate and get at them under the boards and so you have to trap them. There is a high chance they will nibble on everything down there. 240 volts will probably solve the problem but create a whole lot more.
Now I hate the idea of poisoning mice as they are cute and just trying to get on in life but the old fashioned cartoon traps never really worked and laying toxic poison in a tray intoxicates everything that goes near it, including family pets. For me it’s the plastic trap every time. The last time I used trays of poison I actually saw the little mouse come out of the airing cupboard and keel over in front of me as if in an animated movie and stone dead. It was all rather sad. If it had been an ugly big rat I wouldn’t have cared. As I said, cute is everything in the animal world and dictates your survival chances around humans.
Rentokil, of course, is the big name in killing animals and put down even more than the RSPCA, which takes some doing, The set up with the Rentokil people is the word kill and they don’t do many inhumane traps and so I went with STV instead, that have the snap down door ones where the mouse wanders in and cant get out. You then hear the little one rustling around in there and release him or her somewhere else wit that little suitcase. Obviously if they have had little mices in your house that’s not ideal but generally if you hear them they are nest building and so not mums and dads yet and so can go live somewhere else.
The idea is the mice get curious, pokes their nose around and sniff something that smells like grub in the trap and the spring pops the gate down. Cheese doesn’t work. I have tried it. The mechanism looks brutal but designed for speed to trap a mouse facing the wrong way, rather than to decapitate it and at worse they will get a sore tail. As I say it is all very Tom & Jerry with the current designs on the market. This one is not a tube version but an actual computer mouse shaped trap, the idea the mouse doesn’t have time to figure out it’s a trap and turn around as the plastic door flips down. It’s easy to reset and at £9.99 in Wilko’s decently priced. It’s not that heavy so you may need to anchor it. Like I said, the mouse will take the piss if he or she knows what it’s about.
Did it work? It did, although it took two weeks, enough for the mouse to build three condos down there. In fact he was quite a cheeky mouse and a couple of times I caught him sitting on top of the trap eating the contents. It’s up to you what grub you put in there and you can, of course, put poison in. Peanut better was the most recommended online and as I hate peanut butter I was fine for them to eat it. The trick is to give them a small piece so they don’t spend all day in there sleeping and getting fat and waddling out and so not tripping the trap. Five-years ago a mouse I was trying to trap was using the plastic mouse trap tube as a storage locker and dragging all sorts in there for the winter. So if you don’t like killing cute animals then this is for you. You can get a bigger one to kill the ugly rats though.
I’m quite lucky to have a big bedroom and so that means I can fit in the dartboard. Its big enough to have one of those 6ft snooker tables in to and get your cue in all the way around. Not that I have one of those (although I would love one). The board is a classic Winmau from the 1980s and has worn well. Hardly any of the cork has fuzzed up or pulled out and worth every penny. I would recommend a Winmau board to any decent darts player.
Now I’m an OK darts player but have never nailed a 180 in competition in my local darts league. I can hit the odd 140 on the night and three of four 100s but it does take five or six darts to hit the doubles. My highest 301 is ten darts and 17 for 501. I can do some decent checkouts but still pull my third dart as it’s the dart I am most likely to think about and so put me off.
I don’t like to play with light darts, end of. I know the thinner ones give you more space in the doubles and trebles to hit but if the dart doesn’t feel right it in the hand and so won’t hit those areas anyway. I like the heavier and thicker shaft arrow because I want to feel some weight when I throw to get my rhythm and I like the clunk as the metal hits metal when clustering in doubles. I don’t like the really thick barrel ones though as there really isn’t any room for error on the trebles. I do have some light and thin darts but they always get away from me when I throw. I suppose it’s like throwing a light bowling ball playing crown green. It’s all about weight and feel. A thicker shaft enables better grip. All the girls will tell you that.
The Maestro Premier James Wade 90% Tungsten Dart is a mid size barrel and length tip. Tungsten (Swedish for ‘heavy stone’) is a high melt point malleable alloy and used for darts due to its weight to volume ratio. A dart the same size made from other metals would be too heavy or too light and more likely to not grip the cork. It’s 90% Tungsten because 100% Tungsten would be too hard to shape and so an alloy mix is preferred. Tungsten replaced brass darts in the 1970s as cheaper to make. The tip is steel on these darts so it can be sharpened easier.
They weigh around 27 grams. Now, the maximum permitted dart weight by the laws of the game are 50g (grams). That doesn't sound a lot, but when you consider most people throw darts at a weight of around 22/23 grams, it sounds like a javelin! They cost around £30 when I bought them but you can pick them up online for a tenner. They are not a top brand but just the weight I like. I’m not into brands or marketing and buy what I like. They feel right in the hand and leave that lovely warm metal smell on your fingers. Its funny how off things like tar, petrol and darts smell so wonderful. Not that I am a darts sniffer or anything.
I’m happy with the darts and no problems. The plastic barrels are the weakness but cheap to replace and universal screw and length. I do find that if your dart hits the flight area of your thrown darts they can snap the plastic forks so the flight is only held by the two prongs. Best to have some spare bits around the house. Flights are 3 for a quid online and I have the Brexit specials. Good medium set of darts for mucking about with and matches at your local boozer.
‘This guy must have been a pilot before Ponches!’
Star – Ethan Hawke
Genre – War > Drama
Run Time – 100 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 1 Nomination
Amazon – £3.00 DVD £3.99 Blue Ray
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Whatever you think about 911 ‘The War on Terror’ has been just as disgusting. The obliteration of a near defenseless Iraq because Saddam had outlived his value to the West by not selling enough oil (and so not buying Western weapons with the proceeds) has been cynically ignored by the media, and the war was probably the hate that triggered Brexit and President Trump, no doubt. The war opened the door to mass immigration to Europe and we just don’t want it and that xenophobia will bring down the EU, Italy close to their referendum now. Bush & Blair have a lot to answer for. Now we fight our wars like cowards, drones at 10,000 feet, firing in Hellfire missiles at wedding parties and traffic jams that may or may not have terrorist’s combatants present, the trigger pressed in sunny Florida and Nevada. Women and children are often present and blown to smithereens in these hits. Good Kill and Ethan Hawke attempts to address that moral question, the third time Hawke and director Andrew Niccol have worked together, the first time being in the intriguing Gattaca (1997).
Ethan Hawke ... Major Thomas Egan
Bruce Greenwood ... Lt. Colonel Jack Johns
Jake Abel ... M.I.C. Joseph Zimmer
Ryan Montano ... Airman Roy Carlos
Dylan Kenin ... Capt. Ed Christie
Fatima El Bahraquy ... The Woman
El Khttabi Abdelouahab ... The Boy
Stafford Douglas ... Billy
Zion Rain Leyba ... Travis Egan
January Jones ... Molly Egan
Sachie Capitani ... Jesse Egan
Michael Sheets ... Danny
Zoë Kravitz ... Airman Vera Suarez
Ross Shaw Ross Shaw ...
Chakir Faiz Chakir Faiz
Major Thomas Egan, a grounded F16 pilot and six tour veteran, has been posted to a USAF drone base just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. His with two young children and hot wife (January Jones) live off-base in manicured new build suburbia and they seem to have a decent life. His current assignment involves flying armed MQ-9 Reaper drones in foreign air space in support of the U.S. War on Terror, his work place a big metal box on the base, 8 of them innocuously lined up on the base. This is his airspace now.
He is respected by his commanding officer and support staff for his calm demeanor, precise flying, and adaptability to any situation. Although not risking his life in those fast jets he does get to kill people, pinging in Hellfire missiles on his designated targets, the order given to pull the trigger by his superior officer, Lt. Colonel Jack Johns (Bruce Greenwood), an old school type just doing his job.
Privately, Egan is stressed about the job, which he took after being informed the air force were cutting pilots and moving towards drone missions instead. His previous CO informed him that a tour flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) would look great on his record and would increase his chances of being posted back to a flying assignment.
On the job and Egan confines to his fellow drone specialist, Airman Vera Suarez (Zoë Kravitz), that he feels a coward using fire and forget missiles from the safety of the Nevada desert. He simply misses the fear of combat, ‘no skin in the game’, as he calls it, and no amount of booze, his beautiful trophy wife and driving his classic muscle car in the open desert can never really replace that buzz.
The pressure ramps up when they are ordered to take occasional jobs from the CIA, which also have targets to be hit around the world, not only Afghanistan and Iraq but the Yemen and Somalia on their list. At first, the new assignment seems stressful but relatively benign. He is assigned to attack more clear-cut terrorist cells, vehicles, and facilities in Afghanistan, but now without clear intelligence the ne targets are still deemed ‘potential terrorists’ and showing a ‘pattern of behavior’’, cognitive strikes ,and on a need to know basis and way off the record. The team is soon questioning themselves and actions and just how legal this all is. Firing in a second missile as the locals try to rescue people is not what they signed up for.
Well, Good Kill is OK. It just not cutting enough for me and not the more critical film on the T.W.A.T (The War Against Terrorism) I had hoped for. Director Niccol leaves it up to the viewer to decide who is right and who is wrong in this very modern warfare with his film. To be fair it is at least scripted with both arguments present. The deal in American war movies is Hollywood get free use of real US Military bases and kit, if they portray the US Military in a ‘positive light’. This one feels restricted that way as the various drone operators argue the morals of what they are doing in a mostly bias pro American foreign policy angle, justifying the sneaky drone attacks as no worse than IEDs. In away they are right but it was only soldiers blown up with IEDs in Afghanistan I recall. These drones fire missiles into people bedroom windows that may or may not be terrorists.
The film is potent enough but the acting is a tad clunky as the film becomes all about Ethan Hawke’s emancipated hero in the 30ft long bomb proof cabin than the actual Deed. The special effects on the operators screens as the Hellfire’s ping into grainy dwellings and four-wheel-drives are impressive and tension packed as you cut back to the operators saying ‘job done’ and go for a T-Break as the wreckage and bodies smolder, the distance between them and the target mentally as large as the physical miles. There is something very perverse about the ability to fire a missile from a drone 10,000 feet above a warzone whilst you are 5 kilometers from the Las Vegas Strip.
Niccol is one of the best film screenplay writers and for a man who penned The Trueman Show, Gattaca and Lord of War, a pretty tasty hatrick, and so you would have expected a little more here in originality and impact. It doesn’t hit your conscious hard enough like those Hellfire’s do a packed Kabul market. It needed to. The Truman Show is just a breathtakingly clever and bold movie whereas Good Kill blunts the sharp ends. The clunky Charlie’s Angels style chat with the CIA over the intercom and Bruce Greenwood’s Lt. Colonel Jack Johns constant barrage of cheesy top Gun lines
Is a very good example of the detail and reality fluffed over here? But Hawke is as excellent as ever, of course, and keeps you interested for the 100 minute run time.
Critics didn’t really go big on Good Kill and nor did the film festivals, only Vienna taking notice with one nomination. The Imdb ratings are also weak and I think that’s because everyone understands the director copped out here and so in the process held the cast back in delivering much stronger performances and so movie. It’s also a rather slow movie and more drama than war film and so don’t expect lots of explosions and warplanes. In fact the film is very sober in its tone and some may even get bored of it.
Its not terrible and always keeps you interested on the detail of how the drone operation works but it refuses to hold anyone too account, and that’s what the film needed for me. Although I haven’t seen Eye in the Sky with Helen Mirren I’m guessing that’s the film this should have been. Goof Kill is worth a look if you want to have an opinion on drone attacks and it contains lots of things to think about. But its no Lord of War.
Imdb.com – 6.4/10.0 (votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 75% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 63% critic’s approval
Ethan Hawke talking head interview about the film and its morals. Hawke is quite intense and took the movie because of the issues. Andrew Niccol is also interviewed.
===Behind the Scenes===
Reasonably interesting stuff as we meet the real drone guys and Hawke openly questions Americas War on Terror.
Washington Post –‘For the most part, "Good Kill" asks pertinent, enduring questions, not by way of polemic, but through the study of a character whose professionalism and competence are given full respect, even when they're challenged by the mission at hand’.
The Mail -‘You know when you see a movie, and you don't hate it, but you don't love it, either?
The Independent –‘This isn't science fiction-it claims to be "based on actual events"-but it feels like it, with its sealed, space capsule-like remote cockpits and disconnection from the field of battle;.
The NY Post –‘A heart-rending drama about drone warfare that proves there never has been, and there never will, be "a good kill."
Chicago Sun Times –‘But the visuals pack a visceral punch. Every time Tom zeroes in on a target, every time he pushes that button, what we see on those monitors is brutally authentic’
Movie Talk –‘The anguish etched on Hawke's face reveals the psychological toll of blowing up flesh and blood, not pixels’.
The Times –‘This thoughtful drama presents real and legitimate questions about drone strikes and smartly lets the audience make their own decisions on these issues’.
Star – Jessie Eisenberg
Genre – Drama> Thriller
Run Time – 113 minutes
Certificate – 15
Country – USA
Awards – 2 Wins & 2 Nominations
Amazon – £5.99 DVD Blue Ray £8.99
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I think most of us agree that protestors are rather annoying, especially when they claim to protest on our behalf. One mans clubbed seal is another mans food for two months. The Black Lives Matter group that blocked the runway were anything but, all white, well educated - and at the posh universities where black people are not that welcome. These people were professional protesters, involved in all manner of causes, anything to avoid work and responsibility. Next year it will be stop fracking or something else for that lot. Eco warriors tend to be the most pompous and middle-class of all, blocking roads and airports for pollution reasons yet flying all around the world backpacking the year before, and after, OK for them to chill in Bali and India for the winter but not for us to fly to Majorca. The word hypocrites come to mind, the topic for this rather well received but overrated eco warrior drama that wasted the acting talent of Jessie Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning.
It’s from interesting indie director Kelly Reichardt that bought us the intense Meeks Cut Off, the quirky Old Joy and Wendy & Lucy, a female director that rewards female characters and actress in her films and tackles the unseen anxieties they suffer around men and machismo.
Jesse Eisenberg ... Josh
Dakota Fanning ... Dena
Peter Sarsgaard ... Harmon
Alia Shawkat ... Surprise
Logan Miller ... Dylan
Kai Lennox ... Sean
Katherine Waterston ... Anne
James Le Gros ... Feed Factory Clerk
Traber Charles Burns ... Felix
Autumn Nidalmia ... Mable
Barry Del Sherman ... Corser
Eco Activists Josh (Eissnberg), who lives in a farm commune, and Dena (Dakota Fanning), a new age masseur in the nearby town, buy a boat and tow it long-distance to meet a man called Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard), an ex-Marine. He has explosive training from Iraq and the trio plan to blow up a dam which they believe is harming the environment and fish stocks. They will do it at night so not to harm innocent people.
Josh hands Dena $400 to buy 500lbs of ammonia nitrate fertilizer from an out of town garden center, the excuse that its needed at the commune to not raise concerns with the manager, finally agreeing to give it to her as she is white and not a Muslim.
The plan is for the trio to assemble a big bomb and load it onto the boat. At night, they take the boat to the dam, arm the bomb, and escape. The plan goes surprisingly well and after the explosion, they split up and go their separate ways and agree not to contact each other until the heat dies down.
Josh returns to the collective where he lives and works. The other people living on the farm discuss the explosion but not suspicious of Josh, yet. But there has been a fatal complication, a man camping near the lake found dead from drowning. Harmon breaks radio silence and calls Josh and tells him that Dena is getting worried and losing her nerve. Concerned that she will go to the cops, paranoid Josh agrees to talk to her and put her at ease. It’s not working. Dena admits her feelings of guilt and when pressed by Josh she does not rule out going to the police or even the camper's family. Josh and Harmon agree something will have to be done to make things right.
Night Moves is one of those films the critics like and the public don’t. It’s a white middle-class issues movie and that is the demographic that tend to be film critics. They like films they think we ‘should’ like and care about, not what we actually like. I don’t think much of this. Its rather slow and although some thriller element as they bomb is placed it just trundles on their after and you are certainly not bothered whether they are caught or not.
As I said, Eco warriors are irritating people and so if you don’t back the characters and their issues in the film they turn you off the film. It’s always the privileged that protest against the things they have and around them and so the things we want. Save the Tiger crowd forget Tigers kill 200 Indian farmers a year. We save the fox but forget about the chickens they eat. We love pretty animals and we despise ugly ones. That separation between the critic’s approval and film fans approval shows in the Rottentomatoes.com rating of 86% by the critics but half that of the public rating on site of 44%. Imdb.com gives it a weak 60%. The issues and the unwillingness of the viewer to back selfish activist blowing up a dam kills the movie as a film experience.
It’s well acted by Eisenberg and Fanning and they do bring something to the party, Eisenberg’s gauche acting style appropriate here alongside the moody backwoods soundtrack. It succeeds when it comes to creating tension but struggles a little more with making its plot run together smoothly. There are one or two potholes when it comes to the crunch but it’s the wrong type of film to get the audience onside. It was OK but rather dull at times and lacked an intelligent argument to justify all this eco concern. Unless someone tells the world to stop having babies there is little we can do to save the environment from human consumption and greed.
Imdb.com – 6.9/10.0 (10,543votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 86% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 75% critic’s approval
-Behind the scenes-
As dull as the film
The Independent –‘Reichardt probes away at her characters' motivations and contradictory feelings. She doesn't judge them, but makes it very clear how quickly their idealism becomes muddied once they dirty their hands with direct action’.
Site & Sound –‘Here's how good a filmmaker Kelly Reichardt is. She can pack an entire movie's worth of meaning into a sliver of onscreen space, and do it so subtly that even attentive viewers might miss the trick’.
The Mail-‘Night Moves calls us (inadvertently or not) to reconsider our definition of what's "natural." Certainly, some of the ways we've failed to care for the planet as we were charged back at the beginning have had dire consequences. Let's not ignore that’.
Milwaukee Times –‘The actors in the story give very good performances. The story is fairly solid. It is a bit subdued and there are some logical holes in it, but on the whole it is a fairly realistic scenario’
Memphis Times-‘.I'm a great admirer of Reichardt's work, but having watched 'Night Movies' twice, I have to concede that it's something of a dud’.
Urban Cinifile.-‘After a riveting first half filled with tension and one in which we are left to draw our own conclusions about details and relationships, the remainder of the film fizzles to some extent, diminishing the payoff’
Star –Liam Neeson
Genre – Action Thriller
Run Time – 114 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Amazon – £ DVD Blue Ray
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So Run All Night, Spanish director Jamie Collet-Serra’s third collaboration with Liam Neeson, joining previous films Unknown and Non Stop, both enjoyable taught action packed mystery thrillers. Post Taken we know what to expect of Neeson and this is more of the same as he continues to churn out these enjoyable action romps where his character starts off weak and exposed and ends up fully tuned and kicking some major butt, laden with special skills and always some sort of family jeopardy at stake to motivate his fight back, this time his son. He is so likeable and appealing on screen as the lumbering father going through his midlife crisis every movie we cant help but watch him do it over again and again, Run all Night right up there, dare I say a three dimensional thriller this time from Neeson.
• Liam Neeson as Jimmy Conlon
• Joel Kinnaman as Mike Conlon
• Ed Harris as Shawn Maguire
• Common as Mr. Price
• Vincent D'Onofrio as Detective Harding
• Boyd Holbrook as Danny Maguire
• Bruce McGill as Pat Mullen
• Génesis Rodríguez as Gabriela Conlon
• Holt McCallany as Frank
• Malcolm Goodwin as Colston
• Beau Knapp as Kenan Boyle
• Lois Smith (no dialogue) as Margaret Conlon, Jimmy's mother
• Nick Nolte (uncredited) as Eddie Conlon
Tell everyone to get ready. Jimmy's coming...
Haunted by his past as an Irish mob enforcer, Jimmy "The Gravedigger" Conlon (Liam Neeson) is bitter and drunk most of the time, his son Mike (Joel Kinnaman), a retired professional boxer, not remotely interested in being around him and not letting him see his granddaughters Catelyn and Lily. Jimmy has done some bad things in his past and no use to anyone right now.
When his central heating breaks down he may be finally of some use to someone, loan shark and drug dealer Danny Maguire (Boyd Holbrook), the son of Jimmy’s old mobster boss Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), lending him $800, if he plays Santa at the Maguire kid’s party. Danny is in no state to argue.
Later, across town, Danny tries to cut a heroine deal with some Albanian mobsters, but his father not approving, which upsets the Alabamians. Danny now has to pay back the big bucks to the Albanian’s they gave him to secure the deal, which he doesn’t have. Chauffeuring those Albanians around town is Jimmy’s son Mike, oblivious to whom the guys are. When Danny decides to whack them to avoid paying out, Mike is caught up in the shootout and witnesses an execution, dropping his wallet at the scene and so the thugs coming around to his family home to finis off the remaining witness.
Jimmy sobers up and dispatched to the house to make sure no harm comes to his boy, the family sent to a safe house and Jimmy the night guard. Mike wants to call the cops but Jimmy warns his son they are just as bad, many on Danny’s payroll. When Danny’s goons do hit the house Jimmy has to shoot Danny dead and so go on the run with Mike, as he has called the cops and they want him dead. But Jimmy has more than the cops to worry about as his old boss Shawn wants revenge on Jimmy for killing his boy. He knows it was self defense it’s not the way it works in the Irish mob. And if that’s not enough, Shawn also employs a hitman to kill father and son Conlan and the rest of his family. It’s going to be along night, decent cop Detective Harding (Vincent D'Onofrio) their only alley.
Run All Night starts out as a seemingly predictable, formulaic affair, but in the end it's a heart-pounding thriller. Its great fun. Neeson is quite simply the best at this action genre now and his hound dog expressions and lumbering vulnerability mixed with absolute menace irresistible on screen.
Taken is one of those cult films that joins the likes of Under Seige and Die Hard that you will watch over and over again and that has left a good taste in Neeson’s future projects. The older tough but decent guy still beating up on young and fitter guy’s just appeals to likewise middle aged guys and women of a certain age. He can keep regurgitating this stuff with a tweak here and there for ever more.
The plot is fairly generic but a lot more depth for a Neeson movie this time around. It tricks you early on that maybe it won’t be what you expect it to be but as the movie accelerates so does Liam’s skills and movie appeal. The familiar black leather jacket and the twinkle of those brown eyes and that fantastic Irish brogue is the signal to open a serious can of whipass.
For its $50million it did $ 71 million back and so a decent profit. He can carry a movie and if you keep the cost down with an unknown cast he can trouser a lot of that money although Ed Harris excellent here. Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman, with that Justin Timberlake thing going on, also impressed and one to watch out for, the guy in the Robocop reboot, I recall. Nick Nolte’s appearance is fleeting to say the least so forget about him.
Imdb.com – 6.6/10.0 (78,435votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 60% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 50% critic’s approval
It’s a Blue Ray but that doesn’t really add to the experience as the film is mostly shot at night as the boy’s race around the city. Sound is a little crackly but I think that was my TV this time. There are no extras on the normal DVD so that’s what you’re paying the extra for.
Cast & Crew talks about the movie.
The director talks about his film and relationship with Liam Neeson.
Sight & Sound –‘The talking point today will be about how Run All Night is one of many Neeson action movies, but what will be remembered years later is that it's one of the best’.
Daily Telegraph –‘While this particular bandwagon is fast running out of road, Run All Night shows there's mileage in it yet’.
Chicago Sum Times –‘Even though it feels as if we’ve seen this movie before, Run All Night is a stylish and kinetic thriller, with Neeson at his gritty, world-weary best, some of the coolest camera moves in recent memory and a Hall of Fame villain in the great Ed Harris’.
The Mail –‘Run All Night isn't dull. The pace is breakneck, and necks get broken. But the violence is relentless, ugly, unredeemed by any real humanity’.
The Sun –‘It's definitely a remake of 'Road to perdition(2002)' with modern-era-recipient. But, 4 stars (2 fathers, 2 sons) act brilliant, touching and emotional’.
The NY Post –‘"Liam Neeson is in typically fine form, but Run All Night suffers from a convoluted plot and workmanlike execution’.
Time Out –‘In the main, Jaume Collet-Serra is making a character-driven drama about betrayed honor, and the result is a film closer in spirit to the baggage-rich crime novels of Dennis Lehane than dumb multiplex fare’.
Star – James McAvoy
Genre – Sci-Fi> Action
Run Time – 144 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Awards – 3 Nominations
Amazon – £10.00 DVD (£14.99Blue Ray)
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There is no doubt DC are losing the battle with Marvell for comic book supremacy on the big screen but the Marvel X-Men movies are beginning to tire. The Christen Bale Batman movies put DC way out in front and then X Men pulling it back for Marvel, who has now raced away with The Avengers, Spiderman, Captain America, Ironman etc…Batman v Superman really stinking the place up for DC. The X-Men franchise has peaked as far as enjoyment goes though, but the gross keeps creeping up and up as these digital special effects get cheaper and cheaper so yet more films made, although leveling out around the $300 million net profit mark.
The producers felt your boredom and cutely rebooted the X-men series by going back in time so Patrick Stewarts bald Professor Xavier becoming the youthful James McAvoy version. This allowed for new mutants to be introduced into the franchise and the origins of others to be filled out to trigger the spin offs like Wolverine and Dead Pool. They now have two time lines to fully exploit and way Star Trek did with the two Spoc’s. But, yet again, Marvel are way ahead in that game. What we do know about DC and the Marvel Universe is without them there would be no Hollywood as they singlehandedly generate the profit to keep it all going.
X-Men – Budget $75 million – gross $296 ($221 Million profit)
X-Men 2 – Budget $110 million – gross $407 ($297 million profit)
X-Men: The Last Stand– Budget $210 million – gross $459 million ($249 million profit)
X-Men: First Class –Budget $150 million – gross $353 million ($303 million profit)
X-Men: Days of Future Past – $200million budget – gross $479 million ($279 million profit)
X-Men: Apocalypse – Budget $178 – gross $544 million ($366 million profit)
The real kapow of these megabucks summer blockbusters is their appeal to world audiences. You don’t need that many subtitles to get the plots going and enjoy the special effects. African American Halle Berry’s Storm is played by an African actress now and the Nightcrawler morphing into an Indian superhero upgraded to draw that audience in. There was talk of the next Spiderman being black; they are that keen on hitting those demographics. Chinese Superman anyone?
Rolling Stone Magazine –‘Enough already. Singer throws so much mutant at us that nothing sticks. I was almost rooting for Donald Trump to impose a quota’.
James McAvoy ... Professor Charles Xavier
Michael Fassbender ... Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Jennifer Lawrence ... Raven / Mystique
Nicholas Hoult ... Hank McCoy / Beast
Oscar Isaac ... En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse
Rose Byrne ... Moira Mactaggert
Evan Peters ... Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver
Josh Helman ... Col. William Stryker
Sophie Turner ... Jean Grey
Tye Sheridan ... Scott Summers / Cyclops
Lucas Till ... Alex Summers / Havok
Kodi Smit-McPhee ... Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler
Ben Hardy ... Angel
Alexandra Shipp ... Ororo Munroe / Storm
Lana Condor ... Jubilee
Olivia Munn Olivia Munn ... Psylocke
Although not in the movie, Charles Xavier actor Patrick Stewart jokingly informed Bryan Singer that === he would be willing to play Mystique should Jennifer Lawrence "start playing up". He said: "I am so ready to be naked, painted blue, and the world is ready for it too===
The film begins in ancient Egypt at the time of the pyramids and Pharos as we learn there were also fearsome mutants back then and, after an expensive CGI sequence, we establish who the films villain is going to be, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isacc), soon to be known as Apocalypse, entombed in the ground for now. When we flash forward to the current timeline of Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), intrepid CIA agent Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne) is investigating a secret group in Cairo who protect ancient relics. When she uncovers one such tomb it just so happens to reanimate Apocalypse, a dormant mutant brooding for three millennium year sin his dreams intending to cleanse the Earth on his return..
Back at the X Men School its new recruits time, as per usual, as we welcome younger versions of familiar mutants from the first four films of older Professor Xavier timeline, Scott Summers / Cyclops
(Tye Sheridan) the newest to show off his skills (the dude with the laser beam eyes) at mutant school. We also meet the Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who can teleport a lot and also enrolled, recruited by Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who is still not fully invited back into the fold just yet after the last movie.
En Sabah Nur begins to gather servants of doom in Cairo’s shadows, including disgruntled mutants, awarded massive boosts to their powers if they sign up to his world domination plans. Meanwhile over in Eastern Europe, Magneto (Michael Fassbender), laying low after his failed world domination attempt of his own, has been discovered and extremely angry once again, teaming up with Apocalypse to get the job done. But the final piece of the puzzle is the professor, his mind meld skills the ideal way to spread Nur’s evil message around the world on who the new daddy is. Its time for the X-Men kids to earn their place in the world and start saving the world once again…
Putting it simply, the X-Men franchise is being stretched like Kay Burleigh’s face and Christopher Biggins career, rally no need for another film or, indeed, Christopher Biggins. The Marvel Universe films are just so much more fun and let’s hope Singer and co put the X-Men to bed now. The Star Trek films are guilty of the same thing although they are also better.
The problem is the X-Men/ Singer combo takes it all too seriously and there is no sense of humor or playful writing going on here and so you end up with tired storylines and the CGI special effects overload. The CGI is easy to do now and no longer spellbinding enough on the big screen to hold the audience as we expect it to be good and so the films needs to be more subtle and blend more with stronger story and rounded characters, the way The Avengers does. I find that the Marvel Universe do all this stuff so much better.
The opening CGI sequence in Egypt is the first sign on how average this film turns out. There is too much going on the way George Lucas messed up the Star Wars re-launch in the 1990s with his box of tricks and it looks cheesy, the plot not that different from any other comic book movie. It just doesn’t have a standout character or wow moment to it, only Quicksilver’s arrival perking things up. It has the feeling of a studio director making studio films straight from the spreadsheet. Although the actors put in perfectly fine performances you can see the older ones feel the typewriter keys smacking them in the face every line and scene and so time to jump ship/ I know comic book fans like authenticity in their comic book movies and this probably has that but they need to be more original and exciting. Ironman managed to do that and so has Captain America and The Avengers and they will no when to stop, as The Thor movies have. X-Men fans, I’m sure, will enjoy this but not in my top 10.
As I say it did the biggest gross yet of the six films and I’m sure more to come but the critics agreed with me and didn’t really like it. But the public liked it and Imdb.com gave it a healthy 7.2 and the Rottentomatoes public vote gave it 68% to the sites tomato splat of 48%, the lowest rotten rating the franchise has had. I quite enjoyed the Last Stand and the reboot ‘Days of Future Past’ but I think that it for me with the X-Men.
Imdb.com – 7.2/10.0 (218,234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 48% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 52% critic’s approval
-Audio Commentary -
Bryan Singer and Simon Kinsberg rattle on about green-screen.
Guffaw guffaw on the set.
Rolling Stone Magazine –‘Enough already. Singer throws so much mutant at us that nothing sticks. I was almost rooting for Donald Trump to impose a quota’.
NY Times –‘For every lively moment, there's a reminder that the franchise is tiring. The genre's emphasis on potential mass death is obsessive and unimaginative’.
Wall Street Journal –‘Enormous goings on keep going on, and on, in "X-Men: Apocalypse," a collection of explosions, eruptions and conflagrations that suggests the implosion of a franchise’.
The Mail –‘Slow, then bloated, and explodes with boredom, and will probably lull you to sleep before you even get to the end. I don't know where it went wrong since the director is the one who made the X-Men franchise super popular, but we all have our bad days’.
NY Post –‘It's overloaded, to say the least, but if it gets a little clumsy at times... it's still kind of impressive how much information screenwriter Simon Kinberg crams in with the spectacle of the 143-minute film’.
The Star –‘If you go in not expecting much, Apocalypse is actually pretty entertaining’.
The Independent –‘With a cast that includes three Oscar-nominees, it seems like they may have gotten bored with their roles. All do good work here, but there almost seems to be a look of relief in their eyes that they're done with the spandex for good’.
Star – Jonah Hill
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 121 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – USA
Awards – 2 Nominations
Amazon – £2.86DVD (Blue Ray £5.36)
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So what is comedy? Well it’s not what it used to be. We can’t be offensive and risky anymore in the entertainment industry and so we are not allowed to laugh at that stuff anymore; some would say the only funny stuff. Taboo and blue is always funny because of that no no. As Bernard Manning once said – ‘you can’t stop us laughing!’ Because of that the movie critics get a bit uppity and sneery when they review films they deem to be edging offensiveness and stereotyping, whether they secretly snigger away at the film or not in their own time, the case with The Sitter. They apparently hated this because of that and so panned it, earning just 18% on Rottentomatoes. Anyone looking to watch this would certainly be put off because of that rating. But you quickly realize this is one of those films that’s not that bad but simply caned for being naughty. Bear in mind the majority of people who watch Hollywood films are from overseas now, and often the people sent up in those stereotypes, you can see why the movie press has got so timid. I don’t think there is anything that bad about this movie and simply over-reaction because of its puerile cross genre approach.
The Sitter is a remake of the 1987 Film Adventure in Babysitting and stars Jonah Hill, who teams up with director David Gordon Green that did Pineapple Express with Hill. The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2009 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year, again another reason why the rating is confusing. The imdb rating of 6.0/10.0 is more realistic. A promotional poster includes the personal phone number of Jonah Hill. It is listed as (917) 409-7838. Hill set an automatic message at the time and spoke to the caller either in character or as himself. It was the last film to feature Jonah Hill's rotund clown physique before his dramatic weight loss to do more serious roles between those perfunctory ‘stoner Hill comedies. Personally I think most of his comedy comes from being fat and vulnerable and you can’t imagine Oliver Hardy or John Candy losing weight to get serious.
• Jonah Hill… as Noah Griffith
• Ari Graynor…. as Marisa Lewis.
• Sam Rockwell…… as Karl,
• J. B. Smoove…. as Julio, Karl's right-hand man.
• Max Records…. as Slater Pedulla, the neurotic oldest son.
• Landry Bender ….as Blithe Pedulla, the vain, celebrity-obsessed daughter.
• Kevin Hernandez…. as Rodrigo Pedulla, the unpredictable adopted son.
• Kylie Bunbury as Roxanne….
• Samira Wiley…… as Tina, a girl Noah had wronged in the past.
• Method Man…. as Jacolby
• Erin Daniels……. as Mrs. Pedulla
• D. W. Moffett…. as Doctor Pedulla
• Jessica Hecht….. as Sandy Griffith
• Bruce Altman…. as Bruce Griffith
• Gracie Lawrence as Wendy Sapperstein
Noah (Jonah Hill), a suspended college student and general slacker, lives with his divorced mother (Jessica Hecht) and his beloved TV. One evening 27-year-old Noah is talked into being a babysitter for mom’s friend so she can go out on a hot date. The kids are spoilt, oldest son Slater (Max Records) suffering a severe anxiety disorder, the second oldest, Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez), a pyromaniac who was adopted from El Salvador. The youngest child, Blithe (Landry Bender), is obsessed with fame and loves to wear mom’s makeup, not suitable for her age.
As soon as the parents leave, the kids start to act all obnoxious though (smashing vases, making fart noises, and attempting to grab the TV remote from Noah) and the general mayhem begins. While in the middle of the babysitting, Noah’s lady friend Marisa (Ari Graynor calls) calls and asks him to bring coke to a party that she's at, saying that she'll repay him with nookie afterwards. Noah immediately accepts, as you would, and he and the kids are soon packed into the car to go get the goods from Marisa's drug dealing friend Karl (Sam Rockwell) across town. But Rodrigo steals some product in the drug den bathroom and distributes it all over the car and Noah now owes Karl 10 grand. Karl wants his money back or else as Noah and the naughty kid’s race around Los Angeles getting into all sorts of scrapes trying to hustle up that cash as the kid’s bedtime nears and the parents returning.
Hill has a natural talent for making any situation funny with his deadpan humor and does here, but in The Sitter it only goes so far. He carries this movies lazy script as the cast try to upgrade the 1980s movie and stereotyping and risky joke that was a little more acceptable and tolerated back then. I did laugh a few times and smiled at what he got away with but always felt it was tongue-in-cheek and not offensive. Being a fat lump some of the sex comedy missed the mark and having kids in an 18 adult comedy is always questionable. But, like I said, it is funny in places.
It cost $25 million and did $34 million back so the Jonah Hill fans enjoyed it. It’s not his best film but it’s not his worse film although now he is skinny it may be his last comedy film. Sending up black drug and gang members and gay stereotypes is normal in film and not offensive to me. The gay community will tell you that they claim any insult thrown their way and make it their own, why so many gay comics camp it up and use self depreciating humor. There are some ‘icky’ moments here that are out of place somewhat and none more so that attractive women would be drawn to such a disgusting character on screen.
On the whole it’s funny in places and a little crass but it makes a change from the rather formulaic gross-out US comedy on offer that dominates our multiplex screens. In away it’s saying Hollywood is fed up with that and come and watch this. The kids are great and clearly get the joke and you can imagine Donald Trumps kids are something like this. Who doesn’t want an immigrant foster child that enjoys blowing up public toilets?
Imdb.com – 5.7 /10.0 (60,123votes)
Rottentomatos.com – % critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin – 2/4
Radio Times –2/4
Screen Test Magazine –‘Anyone expecting The Sitter to be an especially memorable trip to the theater may just want to give their own babysitter the night off and stay home with the kids’.
Daily Telegraph –‘David Gordon Green's latest beer-soakage comedy contains one, just one, reminder of what made him a hugely promising independent filmmaker a decade ago’.
Time Out –‘A noisy, unfocused, frequently annoying and intermittently offensive slapstick misfire’.
We Got This Covered –‘The Sitter is a mess because of a lot of things, but most of the blame should be focused on a lazy script that could have been written in a single afternoon;.
The Movie Show –‘The Sitter is a pretty funny, absurdist 'worst babysitter ever' story that gives glimpses of serious commentary disguised by dick jokes and the David Gordon Green Pineapple Express & Your Highness ethos - without ever surpassing it's predecessors.’.
The most startling thing about the Trump victory was that 53% of white women voted for him, and 30% of Latinos, the two groups he insulted the most. In fact 44% of all women voted for him. Yes, I’m sure most of the 22 women who have made complaints of sexual abuse against Trump are opportunist chasing a tabloid TV buck but the billionaire clearly exploited his wealth to get close to those young starlets and a dirty old man to boot, at 70-years-old, Americas oddest 1st term President. Sadly pretty girls will throw themselves at older rich men to afford them a certain lifestyle and I think some of those 53% of women understand that economic reality and gave Trump a pass on that. He is clearly a misogynist though and if those older white women hate womanizer Hillary for letting Bill off the hook in pursuit of power then they need to look at themselves after voting for Trump. Women are conflicted and contradictory creatures, dare I say voting down Hilary because they know how she got so high on the greasy pole and so suspicious of. Hopeful the intelligent, sexy and charismatic Michelle Obama will run in 2020 and we will get the first female President and back to relative normal. After all, the handsome, charming and relatively inexperienced Barak Obama got in with the mobilized black vote and admiring females so as guilty as flirting with the voters as Trump. But Barak is way cooler and likable than Trump!
===”You campaign in poetry, you govern in prowse”===
For all those idiots who voted Trump believing his absurd rants are going to be enacted are the ones Trump will hit hardest with his eventual policies. You could say that Obama hasn’t really delivered for Black Americans in the pursuit of balance, black employment rates still twice as high as whites. The police shootings are hard to take though. But the rednecks have been used big time by Trump and are in for a shock and the suckers deserve it. Politics is only about lying and false promises, and because Trump funded his own campaign he could say what the hell he wanted to on his buck to get those idiot votes during the primaries. I am still stunned he won though. That demographic will also be his downfall for a second term when those losers get nothing and so vote him out. But you can say the other and more intelligent CEO Trump switched on the moment he shook hands with Obama as it all became real and so some relief. Some of his cabinet appointments suggest he is going to be slightly right of Hitler though and a real worry for world peace.
There will be no Mexican wall… ending of NATO….trade deals being torn up or nuking of ISIS or Hilary Clinton, of course. He is already backing down over Obamacare and the wall will be partly wire fence. I’m sure he will deport a few more illegal’s but most Americans back that and they are not too keen on climate change either. The cost of his policies would ever get through congress though. If 50,000 unaccompanied kids cross the border every year then you have to do something, right? Obama’s ‘Dreamers’ amnesty for illegal but settled workers in America to become US citizens only encouraged more illegal immigration and so this has to be tempered. Great Briton dodged a massive bullet when the Syrians didn’t turn left at Budapest. All those liberal whingers that appose center right policy on stuff like that simply need to shut up, unless they have alternatives. Lilly Allen and Gary Linekar have yet to take in those 25-year old ‘15-year old boys’ from the Jungle. Brexit and Trump is about people fed up with concessionary left wing ideas that solve few problems. As art critic Robert Hughes said:”I could forgive Damien Hurst for the Shark if he had killed it himself”.
When the Turks were paid two billion Euros by the EU to stop immigration to Kos it stopped over night, not so much because of the threat of a rifle butt to the face and a Stanley knife to the inflatable but because there was no longer a bespoke asylum package waiting in their European country of choice for those predominantly economic migrants. Why else would 200,000 Muslims a year head to icy cold Sweden? Europe’s hard left don’t want to talk about Sweden having the best welfare package and if you ignore that you get Farage and Le Penn, why America have Trump. 52% of college graduates voted for Trump. A lot of people are behind him across the spectrum, as they were Brexit. The power of the American right through religion and churches through free speech laws allow all Americans to hold their prejudices and air them without comeback.
Trump did look intimidated and nervous in The Whitehouse, though, when he met Obama. Some say he only wanted to prove he could win the race for his enormous ego rather than be the President, simply delegate when he got the top job. Who is going to run the Trump group now we ask? I honestly think that Trump is embarrassed that he has got this far and ashamed at the idiots who voted for his exaggerated and insane racist rhetoric. Why would he want to do anything for those people? He is a business a man after all and not about to bring in policies that will deport half his staff in Trump Enterprises.
‘Snakes eat other snakes because they are shaped like snakes’.
Like Brexit, it’s the slacker voters that cost America. Those who didn’t vote or indifferent allowed Trump and Brexit to happen. Half of all those eligible to vote in America didn’t. A lot of them were ethnic minority voters, as I said those who unanimously voted Obama in by skin color alone. A lot of those black people feel that a lot of white blue collar Americans voted Trump to cure America of having to have that black President in for unity reasons, and also Obamacare, that saw rich white Americans having to subsidize poor and broke black Americans healthcare. Obama polled 10 million more votes than John Kerry did in 2004. In fact Hilary lost 7 million of those new voters, no doubt black and older white women having no time for the establishment candidate.
===US Popular Vote (in millions) ===
2016 – Clinton 62, 842,333 – President Trump 61,500,322
2012 – President Obama 65,915,795 – Romney 60,933,504
2008 – President Obama 69,498,516 – McCain 59,948,323
2004 – Kerry, 59,028,444 – President Bush 62, 040,610
2000 – Gore 50,999,987 – President Bush 50, 456,002
The future looks grim and I’m sure Trump is a deal maker but it looks like he will abandon Syria to Russia. To be fair the West were quite happy with that arrangement before the war and done little to stop it. Putting and general and hawk in charge of the military and foreign policy will simply return us to the Bush Whitehouse.
There is hope it will never happen and let’s face it we all have that odd feeling as we just can’t believe it has. The Electoral College meets on December 13th and has the power, through an ancient law, to revote on behalf of their states to put Hilary back in front so the Republican led House of Representatives have to vote on a new president between the top three candidates and simply annul the Trump presidency. I’m guessing the lawyers would love that to happen although most experts think it can’t happen as the November election is not a vote for the president but for the members of the electoral congress to confirm a president. Therefore, the electors cannot change the results of the election since they’re the ones being elected.
Genre – World Cinema > Thriller
Run Time – 81 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – France
Amazon – £ 1.89
Awards – 1 Wins & 4 Nominations
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So Point Blank, not the rather excellent Lee Marvin movie from 1967 but an equally entertaining and violent thriller from France in the year of 2011. With a touch of Bourne on Paris bustling ethnic streets this fast paced action thriller doesn’t let up and leaves no time to breathe, and so few worries about having to think about the distracting subtitles that put so many people off good foreign movies. Proper film fans know full well the best movies are not American these days. French films are cigarette smoking, wine drinking, arrogant nostril snorting relationship bores or cracking cop thrillers like this. I know which I prefer. Hold on to your seats!
Gilles Lellouche ... Samuel Pierret
Roschdy Zem ... Hugo Sartet
Gérard Lanvin ... Commandant Patrick Werner
Elena Anaya ... Nadia Pierret
Mireille Perrier ... Commandant Fabre
Claire Pérot ... Capitaine Anaïs Susini
Moussa Maaskri ... Capitaine Vogel
Pierre Benoist ... Capitaine Mercier
Valérie Dashwood ...Capitaine Moreau
Virgile Bramly ... Capitaine Mansart
Nicky Naudé ... Capitaine Richert
Adel Bencherif ... Luc Sartet
Vincent Colombe ... Interne de garde
Chems Dahmani ... Aide-soignant
Grégoire Bonnet ... Jaffart, chef DPJ
Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche) is a nurse's aide at Paris General. He has a pregnant beautiful wife, Nadia (Elena Anaya), and life is good. At the maternity clinic she is told that she must stay on her back for six weeks to avoid life-threatening complications to her baby to be.
Meanwhile, across Paris, Hugo Sartet (Roschdy Zem), a safecracker and hired thief, is running from two trim looking hitmen. During the chase, he is wiped-out by a motorcycle at the point he was going to be executed and rushed to the hospital where Samuel works.
Shortly after, Samuel notices a man leave Hugo's bedside and arrives just in time to reinsert Hugo's respirator which had been unplugged. He calls the cops and this earns Hugo 24/7 protection detail under the command of career cop Captain Catherine Fabre (Mireille Perrier) .While discussing the attempted murder, another captain, Patrick Werner (Pierre Benoist), is rather too keen to have jurisdiction of the case. He thinks Hugo Sartre is somehow connected with the assassination of a very important Parisian politician and wants him in custody.
When Samuel returns home that day, he and Nadia are attacked and she is abducted. The phone rings to bring him around, a menacing call saying that he must help Hugo escape from the hospital if he wants to see his wife again. Samuel pulls together a plan to slip the cops and brings Hugo around with some adrenaline, explaining the situation, which may or may not be bad for both of them. But outside and Hugo still bleeding they end up at a safe house where Samuel stitches up the wound, Samuel seizing the chance to call Detective Fabre for help after he fails to get his wife back. But that proves to be the wrong move as the cops arrive and soon both he and Hugo are Frances most wanted as the plot thickens and the tempo lifts.
A leaner and meaner 80 minute thriller you are not likely to catch this year. Its great fun and a thousand mile an hour for most of the movie, quickly going through the gears. Mo Farah has more fat on him. To keep the tension going the twists do get a bit over the top towards the end to tie up all the plotlines but you don’t really care as you are hooked in early. Sometimes you just want slick, quality action movie and don’t care about twisting your ankle in the plot holes as you race along with them.
Roschdy Zem as antihero Hugo Sartet is menacing in the lead as Gilles Lellouche as Samuel Pierret is meek, and that contrast powers the movie as both try to stay alive. It’s one of those thrillers where you allow the unlikely and forced twists to keep it all going. It’s no Bourne Identity or anything but great fun although not really for a family audience as there is some violent death in it, the 80 minute run time for foreign markets suggestion a lot of grim stuff cut.
The soundtrack is as energetic as the tempo and although not action packed full of car chases and fist fights the constant suggestion of violence and the growing conspiracy makes what is a formulaic plot of good cop, bad cop work that little better. The tweak of having two anti heroes in the lead works really well. As I say it does get incredulous towards the end and that could have been more sophisticated but you don’t care as you know you have been entertained.
Imdb.com – 6.8 /10.0 (11,599votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 91% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – %critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin –
Film Comment –‘Point Blank is saddled with the same title as John Boorman's 1967 masterpiece, but the only thing the two films really have in common is coolness’.
San Francisco Times –‘All right, this is how to make a thriller: Start with a situation of astonishing difficulty and emotional weight. Then multiply. And keep piling on’.
Chicago Tribune –‘Frantic, violent and unrelenting, it is all of a piece, its tightly packed storytelling making cassoulet of its own implausibilities and familiar terrain covering a web of political and institutional conspiracy’.
Washington Post –‘Point Blank" keeps the adrenaline flowing well past the point at which viewers stop hoping for twists they can't predict’.
The Age –‘This French crime action film doesn't take long to get going and once it gets going it goes supersonic’.
The Mail –‘It moves so fast and furiously that you will forget you are reading subtitles altogether. This is one fantastic mainstream action movie that is so manic it may leave you gasping for air’.
Genre – Comedy
Run Time –85 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – UK
Amazon – £10.99 DVD
Awards – 1 Win & 1 Nomination
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In order not to be too typecast, Downtown hunks Dan Stevens and Tom Cullen went off and did some movies, one in Hollywood, The Guest (Stevens), and one in the chilly Welsh mountains (Cullen), The Black Mountain Poets, comfortably the silliest and low budget of the two but both good efforts all the same and both worth looking out for on Film 4 or your movie channels.
The Black Mountain Poets, sometimes called projectivist poets, were a group of mid 20th century American avant-garde poets centered on Black Mountain College in North Carolina. As anyone who hates poetry as much as me, the poets are great targets to send up, invariably pretentious and often middle-aged ,middle-class bearded bores and so plenty to send up, Jamie Adams lo-fi comedy debut doing exactly that.
Alice Lowe ... Lisa
Dolly Wells ... Claire
Tom Cullen ... Richard
Rosa Robson ... Louise Cabaye
Richard Elis ... Gareth
Laura Patch ... Stacey
Roger Evans ... David Griffiths
Ben McGregor ... Cliff
Hannah Daniel ... Alys Wilding
Claire Cage ... Terri Wilding
Clare Potter ... Andi (as Claire Potter)
Naomi Everson ... Bethan
‘30something’ Sisters Lisa (Alice Lowe) and Claire (Dolly Wells) are professional con artists (suspend your disbelief for this movie) and, after trying to steal a JCB (like I said), they flee from the cops into the hills. There they ditch the car and steal another one, that of the Wilding Sisters, Alys (Hannah Daniel) and Rerri (Claire Cage), internationally acclaimed beat poets heading to the poets' retreat in the Black Mountains of Wales.
Seeing the accreditations in the car Lisa and Claire are up for a bit of poetry and rock up at the retreat to try and blag it as the Wildings. Armed with acerbic wit and a room full of hipsters, the booze flows and they deliver their brand of the Wilding Sisters acclaimed work as they seek their inner muse. But when the smoldering charms of Richard arrive at the cottage (Tom Cullen from 'Downton Abbey') the weekend begins to unravel as they both fall for him and upset the poets in the process, one or two beginning to doubt their talent, and when the real Wilding sister’s show up they will have lot of explaining to do.
Well, its pretty good fun folks and delightfully acerbic, my kind of humor. It’s one of those low budget films you would not go to a cinema to see or, indeed, rent it on DVD or line it up on your movie package, but simply stumble upon it and felt lucky you did. It’s smart, occasionally bonkers, and brilliantly cast with talented comic actors, the key to its appeal. It reminds me of those classic BBC2 comic dramas of the 1970s and early 1980s when middle-class families go on camping holidays in shorts with nobly knees as the snobbery amongst the odd ball characters break out.
One American critic realty didn’t get the point, observing the film ‘was as vacuous and irritatingly pretentious as its assembled luminaries’. But that’s the point of the joke, sending up those very self righteous people, the types you find camping and rural retreats. This film and director simply don’t want to take anything seriously, the absurd premise that two lower middle-class sisters would be industrial machinery thieves as an example, no great hangups about plot believability going on here.
I chuckled away for most of it and enjoyed the scripting. It's so good-natured, with dialogue that often sounds improvised, but not in that embarrassing actors-not-sure-what-to-do way and it contains some good performances. Writer/director Jamie Adams has done a couple of other small films and some TV but nothing of note until this and a real talent for me. He could deliver the next With Nail and I. The humor is sharper than you expect and, perhaps, more accurate on female behavior than we boys know. Often female comedy can be too self-deprecating and cruel but these girls are on a whole different vibe. Guys this is definitely one to look out for on TV or your film package, especially for Downtown fans as Tom Cullen is quite good to.
Imdb.com – 6.4/10.0 (170votes)
Rottentomatos.com –62 % critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 57%critic’s approval
Times UK –‘It is, in its own way, quietly brilliant’.
London Evening Standard –‘I can't see many people trekking to the cinema to see this but if you stumbled across it on TV you'd feel really chuffed’.
Guardian –‘Very silly and likable’.
Daily Telegraph –‘Wells has a face you never get tired of looking at, and makes self-pity sincere and rather sweet. Cullen's just so relaxed, never pushing a forced idea of "doing" comedy - he's content mainly to react’
Little White Lies –‘In its blind search for profundity, it's a film which loses sight of what makes it interesting in the first place’.
Cinevue –‘As vacuous and irritatingly pretentious as its assembled luminaries’.
Daily Express –‘Awkward encounters, social embarrassment and shameless flirtations ensue in an uneven mixture of satire and farce’. Flickers –‘A tasty treat of gentle but wise humor, full of as much sympathy but also tough love for its messed-up sisters as they are for each other’.
The Sun –‘Daft, implausible and occasionally meandering but all good fun’.
Time Out –‘An unpolished gem’.
“Dai? Your gays have arrived”
Star – Staunton, Nighy and Considine and Dominic West…
Run Time –120 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – U.K
Golden Globes – 1 Nomination
Awards – 8 Wins & 16 Nominations
Amazon – £3.00 DVD - £8.99 Blue Ray
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So, after the rather expensive and bias Hillsborough Inquiry in the purpose built £40 million pound courthouse in Warrington set up to find the Liverpool fans had absolutely nothing to do with the disaster, the miners, who took a beating from the same West Yorkshire police during the strike, are looking for a similar vindication and apology from the state, which is code for massive compensation through civil court, of course. We are also seeing this victim status with the historic sexual abuse cases that are clearly getting out of hand. Expect more TV dramas and films on the injustices soon. If you think road accidents have fallen 40% in the same time whiplash claims have risen 90% you can see what we are dealing with. Whether the minors have a case is down to yet more greedy lawyers.
The coal miner's strike of 1984, the theme of this entertaining and heartwarming comedy by Mathew Warchus and Stephen Beresford, was regarded as illegal in England and Wales by Margaret Thatcher, as no national ballot was taken, Scargills NUM leading that industrial action. In truth Thatcher had already decided to close the coal mines long before the 1984 strike, as the industry was no longer considered profitable and heavily subsided by the taxpayer. It was simply cheaper to import coal and coke from places like Germany and Poland, which we still do today. Almost twice as many coal mines had closed under Harold Wilson (1964-70, 1974-76) than under Margaret Thatcher. Alas, the job losses were far higher under the Thatcher government as she accelerated the closures through malice to kill the union movement in the process that had paralyzed the country in the 1970s. Today it is no longer acceptable to burn coal due to the 2008 Climate Change Act. The UK's last deep coal mine at Kellingley in Yorkshire closed in December 2015.
The wonderful thing about ‘Pride’ is it based on a true story about a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised a lot of money to help the minor’s families affected by the strike, what would become the ‘Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners’ campaign. It’s an unlikely partnership and why it works so well on screen and presumably why it got made. Few people know the story and even fewer people know that the LGSM group were the ones that actually raised the most money for the Welsh minors during the strike. At first Scargill’s National Union of Mineworkers was not keen to take the LGMS support and cash as the stuck in their ways union thought they would get bad PR for being associated with a gay group. I need not draw you a picture. The gay community being the same as any other ego driven community actually saw the support group split as the Lesbians wanted their own group by the end of 1984. There are prejudices in every walk of life folks. It’s thought that the LGMS actually accelerated the whole gay rights movement to the equal rights they have today.
Rather controversially, the film, which is a gentle adult comedy at worse, was awarded an 18R certificate for scenes in a bondage club and the comic reveal of a sex aid. Some would say it was effectively censored for having gay adult themes a family shouldn’t see. The Americans were even more prudish, the US DVD release making no mention of the gay content, the DVD blurb reduced from a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists" to "a group of London-based activists". A lesbian and gay banner was removed from a photograph on the back cover as well. The American film press reviews of the film are as equally conservative. With the election of Donald Trump you can see why the liberals are cowering. Gay doesn’t sell well in America away from the East and West coast, which is ashame as this is tremendous fun and really uplifting film, so much so that I almost want to go out and hug the only gay in the village. It did get a Golden Globe nomination in America for ‘Best Musical comedy’, yet more code for no thanks.
• Ben Schnetzer as Mark Ashton, founder of LGSM
• Joe Gilgun as Michael (Mike) Jackson
• Faye Marsay as Stephanie (Steph) Chambers
• Dominic West as Jonathan Blake
• George MacKay as Joe "Bromley" Cooper, a fictional LGSM member
• Andrew Scott as Gethin Roberts
• Freddie Fox as Jeff Cole
• Bill Nighy as Cliff Barry, a leader of the working mans club men's union.
• Chris Overton as Reggie Blennerhassett
• Joshua Hill as Ray Aller
Women's Support Group Members
• Imelda Staunton as Hefina Headon, an activist
• Jessica Gunning as Siân James, wife of Martin
• Liz White as Margaret Donovan, wife of Dai
• Nia Gwynne as Gail Pritchard, wife of Alan
• Menna Trussler as Gwen, an elderly member
• Lisa Palfrey as Maureen Barry, a widow who is against LGSM.
-The straight men-
• Paddy Considine as David (Dai) Donovan, a leader of the men's union
• Rhodri Meilir as Martin James, a leader of the men's union
• Sophie Evans as Debbie Thomas
• Karina Fernandez as Stella, an LGSM member
• Jessie Cave as Zoe, Stella's girlfriend
• Monica Dolan as Marion Cooper, Bromley's mother
• Matthew Flynn as Tony Cooper, Bromley's father
• Olwen Medi as Gethin's mother, who disowned him for being gay
• Jams Thomas as the Miners Union Leader
20-year-old Joe Cooper (George MacKay) from Bromely is off to London with his camera and his open mind to glimpse cosmopolitan life away from Bromley’s dull suburbia. He stumbles into a gay pride rally and ends up holding a banner, quickly making new friends and suddenly part of their Pride protest group in Soho. London’s gays have been taking regular gay bashings from the cops but since the minors strike most of the police have been working as the pits and so backed off them a bit to find some sport elsewhere.
Young leader of the group, the handsome and confident Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer), proposes they return the favor and start raising cash for the minors and their families. Its not 100% agreed on at first and pointed out by Pride members that minors are just as likely to dish out gay bashing as the cops. But enough of them are up for it and they are renamed the ‘Lesbian & Gay Minors Support Group’ and out go the collection buckets and up go the banners. But the tricky bit is still in front of them as they try to get the minors unions to actually officially recognize them and their collections.
Mark: And we've got a name: LGSM. Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners.
Steph: It's not very catchy.
Mark: It's a support group, Steph, not a skiffle band
The NUM are embarrassed by the offer of the tie in and thinks it will bring bad publicity, and so support, and repeatedly putting the phone down on them. Number two Michael (Mike) Jackson (Joe Gilgun) decides he has had enough of this prejudice and goes straight to the source and starts to ring up local minors support groups until the likeable and rather liberal David (Dai) Donovan (Paddy Considine), a leader of the Onllwyn men's minors union, a small village in Wales, picks up the phone. When Dai accepts their money and support a visit is arranged. But Dai hasn’t worked out what LGSM stands for and although shocked by who the guys and girls are he is a liberal guy at heart and the support accepted. Now to sell it to his union in the local working men’s club! That will not be easy. But the minibus is packed fall and off they go to meet the minors in the valleys, hoping there will be a welcome in the hillside in the tough and macho working-class community.
Journalist 2: And why should gay people like me support the miners?
Mark: Because miners dig for coal, which produces power, which allows gay people like you to dance to Bananarama till 3 o'clock in the morning.
Its just ‘fabulous’ folks and the best British film by far I have seen this year. It’s funny and smart, thoughtful and uplifting as the riotous two hours flyplast. It’s in the style of Billy Elliot, The Full Monty and Made in Dagenham and, like those three, they have made a musical out of this one to. Yes it does overdo the gay and Welsh clichés and in so presenting the Welsh as yokel knuckle draggers and the gays as flamboyant and camp but that is where the laughs are and they cone thick and fast. But it also pulls on your emotions as the two put upon groups slowly come together as the strike rages on. I will admit to a tear or two when the unity comes. You are born gay and so nothing you can do about it but also sad to see Thatcher destroy working men’s pride by talking their jobs and then berating them for being unempoyed.
It’s Mathew Warchus second film in only 15 years and clearly directing not his comfort zone to pay the bills. But he has done a brilliant job here by playing it for laughs and I can’t imagine anyone was offended. The film was criticized on British soil for not using Welsh actors, and for its almost complete lack of ethnic minority characters. There were thousands of black minors but that was coal dust so unfair on the latter. The lead actor, ‘Ben Schnetzer’, is actually an American.
It’s a cracking script from writing partner Beresford with moments of light and dark about being gay and being a minor. It cost $12 million to make and did $16.7 million back and so not as big a box-office success than it should have been. That’s mainly because the American studios own our multiplexes and so stuff it with their movies. Oh and excuse the long cast list as everyone in it is well worth a mention, locals and minors playing parts in the film. Bill Nighy is Bill Nighy and Brenda Blethyn unexpectedly very funny in the way Dame Judy Dench was in Philomena with Steve Cogan. Dominic West as a gay man is the bets fun and just fabulous! There are some cracking emotional scenes that will have you reaching for the hankies. If you bear in mind having gay sex was illegal to quite recently and classed as a mental illness as late as 1991 then its no wonder this community needed friends. Minds and prejudice can be softened if we stick together against the Tories.
Imdb.com – 7.8 /10.0 (36.645votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 92% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 79%critic’s approval
-The Making of Pride-
Behind the scenes with cast & crew.
Mat and Beresford provide a decent layered chat.
-True Story Featurette-
We meet the surviving real versions of the cast who lived this for real. Sadly AIDS claimed a few, as did coal dust…
San Francisco Times –‘This portrayal of the unlikely 1980s alliance between London gay-rights activists and striking Welsh miners is, quite simply, one of the best movies of the year so far’.
Financial Times –‘[Pride] is bright, perky and ostentatiously warm-hearted. I hated almost every minute’..
Toronto Sun –‘The important twist is that Pride seems to capture the essence of reality, giving it the recognition it deserves. Truth really is stranger than fiction, and Pride tells that truth with flair’.
Adelaide Review –‘Pride has its audience-pleasing contrivances and the vaguest hint of cheese, and yet, nonetheless, it is fine and fabulous entertainment’.
Concrete Playground –‘With heart and hope, the film becomes a feel-good triumph of statement and sentiment, equally entertaining, affecting and important’.
Radio Times –‘Tapping the formula that worked so well for The Full Monty and Billy Elliot, Pride adds some feel-good moments of its own in a broad, light and characterful romp that smuggles in some powerful, serious points about unity and togetherness.
The Mail –‘It's to the particular credit of Beresford's canny script that darkness hovers on the periphery, however moving a celebratory finish that should soften the most resistant heart.
My mum likes the family to get-together a lot more for family birthdays as she pushes on into her 70s and so we end up at these basic English menu chains like the Hungry Horse that’s she is familiar with two of three times a year. Attendance is mandatory for family politics and dynamic reasons, the Chicken New Yorker night you areal familiar with. Northampton has los of these chains and three Hungry horses, that have recently bought out two of the Fayre & Square chain pubs in Northampton and winning that battle of the 2/1 family eateries in the Midlands. They are exactly the same menus and service but Hungry Horse have somehow won around here.
This particular restaurant is on the southern ring road of Northampton at the Queen Eleanor pub and next door to an interlinked Premier Inn hotel. It’s not a huge restaurant space and so generates a bustling welcoming atmosphere of conversational hum and some pub talk and fruit machine mood music from the bar across the aisle. General seating is around 25 tables that seat 4 or so and a booth area with tall back leather chairs and TVs for those willing to reserve and pay a little more.
We went on a Sunday night at 7pm this month at the start of the Christmas season and around five tables free. It was busy and a nice feel to the place with lots of staff and movement. After ordering drinks at the bar you quickly learn the staff don’t come to your table to take your order and you have to go to the bar to make that food order, not exactly The Ivy.
The starters came pretty quickly with a 15 minute wait and then the main course 15 minutes after we had finished the combos etc, fair enough. It gives you and they time to get you at the bar to buy the all important booze to fill the gaps. You’re not here for top cuisine but just family and friends cheap grub and a chat and the lighting hardly romantic, the set up designed for kids and groups.
Standard starters and combos were around a fiver and the main dish £6-10 each. It was a Sunday night and so no 2-1 deals on offer. I tried for an online discount voucher but no luck for Sundays. In the week they do good deals and even Saturday cheaper than Sunday. There was a surprising amount of young people there and not just an old biddy place. A small pub size carpark was an issue as the pub is not in a housing area so you have to drive around to the hotel carpark if no spaces.
The food was nice and decent portions. I had an evening mixed grill which included two nice sized pieces of chicken breast and two thick Irish sausages like Elton Johns fingers. The gammon slice had skin like an aboriginal and the fries over baked but eatable. The chicken wing combo was not so clever with fat dripping out of the battered everything. I’m guessing its service station style set up in the kitchen to keep costs down and everything cooked in the deep fat dryer and ready to go. That’s the same in a lot of places and so you expect it. It’s the sort of place you go when mum doesn’t want to cook the family Sunday lunch.
Service was pretty brisk but you had to flag them down like a taxi in Mayfair to get your sweet, the staff clearly working the bar, kitchen and the tables at the same time. It was not personal service in any way and functional at best. I’m not a big fan of service anyway and hate all the groveling for tips from people who only took the job to pay for college or, in this places case, buy more weapons on the World of Warcraft, the night’s ongoing conversation between the staff.
You had to go to the bar to pay and an easy pub to do a runner in, if you are that way inclined. The bill for four adults (minus the booze) was £50 so not bad and about par for this type of basic English chain. It was a pleasant enough place and plenty of food to fill you up, over to the packed bar straight after and just enough room for the perfunctory chocolate and fudge cake and ice cream you get in these places, which was rather nice I may add.