Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Monday, 29 August 2011

The Opinionated but Brilliant Dr Kermode


Radio 5's controversial film critic is exemplary of all that a critic should be 

I am a Kermode fanatic. Some of you will not be. I think him to be witty, incisive and entertaining. Some of you will think him to be smug, opinionated and irritating. Both valid opinions, but, to quote the great man himself, the difference is that I am right and you are wrong.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Film Review: The Guard

The Gleeson Effect Strikes Again


Director and Screenwriter: John Michael McDonagh
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong and Fionnula Flanagan
Plot: Sergeant Gerry Boyle is an unconventional police officer. Sweary, durg-abusing and hooker-using, he can build up quite a rap-sheet of his own, but he is also an honest cop in a quiet rural Irish setting. A murder is discovered just as a major FBI drug-smuggling investigation moves into the area, but in an area of bent coppers, Boyle is the only one who sets about investigating.
Rating: 15

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Monday, 22 August 2011

Notebook: By the graves of giants


This week, the OUDS/Thelma Holt Tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is at The Actors’ Church in Covent Garden, and the names on the walls are more than a little intimidating

At first sight it looks lovely, and, indeed it is. St Paul’s, Covent Garden. Originally designed by Inigo Jones in the 1630s, this central London Church retains a great deal of charm, as well as an unoppressive sense of solemnity – enough to inspire reverence, but not so much as to require near silence.

The Hour Cometh to its End


It has been a soap-opera for the youthful literati, but I want a spin-off…

What at first glance looked like a stylish drama, turned out to be a well-shot frolic. Yes there was a smattering of gender politics and an interesting hum of history sounding dimly in the background, but sod them. Give me illicit affairs in beautiful country houses and absurd cold war spy plots.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Notebook: Dreamin' in the Rain


The triumph of  a garden play over the elements highlighted one of the great truths about theatre

Backstage just before a play begins would seem curious to the uninitiated. Strangely dressed and made-up people wander about muttering to themselves, putting forth only half of an out of context conversation.

For those of us in the OUDS/Thelma Holt production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, such things are just part of day-to-day life. Last night, however, was different.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Sex, the Pope & HBO

As The Borgias gets going, Reel 6 looks at the appeal of the Renaissance

It is no surprise that the age of syphilis was a bit of a romp. It is certainly proving very fertile ground for TV networks, as we start getting our teeth into The Borgias on Sky Atlantic. Over the past few years, many have enjoyed The Tudors, though I found that my interest level in that was directly proportional to my hormone level: the more balanced I became, the more and more I became aware of the fact that Jonathan Rhys-Meyers believes that the sum-total of acting is making your eyes bulge.


Why is it then that the Reformation era is so often a source for big blockbuster TV series? The answers are many and simple.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

New Spectator Arts Blog Post

I have a Spectator Arts Blog post up on the Edinburgh Fringe. Read it here.

Whatever happened to Jack Black?


The comic-actor's career promised much in 2005. How has it got to low level it's at today?

With apes ruling at the cinema at present, my mind turned to one of my favourite films of the last decade: the Peter Jackson remake of King Kong. Now, many will say that it’s far too long, far too self-indulgent and far too sentimental. I will accept all bar the last of those, but it is an absolute blast, made with care and love, and delivering some really beautiful moments of cinema, as well as stunning visual effects.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Films on TV: Let the Right One In


I’ve just seen that Let the Right One In is on Film 4 tonight. The Swedish vampire film was hugely popular amongst dedicated fans upon its release and remains well thought of.

About as far from Twilight as you’d wish a vampire flick to be, the film focuses on a child who is bullied and pretty miserable who gets a new neighbour: a strange, pale girl who gives him new confidence. 

The Serkis Phenomenon


Andy Serkis performing as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The time has come to honour Andy Serkis
 
In a small room somewhere, about 12 years ago, an unknown British actor did something which changed cinema forever. He was auditioning to be the voice of a very big role - one of the most famous literary characters ever – but he didn’t just do the voice but gave an entire performance, changing himself physically and working through the scene as any actor playing a normal part would.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

He came. He saw. He made a damn fine blockbuster.

Director: Rupert Wyatt
Screenwriters: Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
Cast: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo & Andy Serkis
Plot: Will Rodman is a scientist who is seeking the cure for Alzheimer’s. After one of his experiments on apes goes wrong, he smuggles a baby ape out of the lab only to discover that it has been affected by the trial and is incredibly intelligent. He keeps it and calls it Caesar but, when Caesar grows up, a moment of anger brings him to an animal pound where exposure to other simians and mistreatment by his keepers bring about a change in Caesar that poses a great threat to the world outside.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Film Review: Super 8

Michael Bay take note: this is how to make a proper spectacular

Director & Screenwriter: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee and Ron Eldard
Plot: A bunch of kids in a small American town are making a zombie movie with a Super 8 camera. Whilst filming at a train station one night, a passing Air Force train crashes. As the army move in to clean up, a number of curious and increasingly terrifying events start to take place in the town.