The critical hammering this 70’s cop-show reboot received on release in 2013 kept me away from it; catching up with it now, I was probably right. Abandoning the ramshackle charm of TV’s lovable rogues Regan and Carter, director Nick Love (of various terrible Danny Dire movies not worth naming) goes sweary and loud in an attempt to make this the British Heat, right down to a running street battle across Trafalgar Square. Ambitious but foolhardy, this Sweeney misses the mark, like the automatic fire in all its set pieces.
Worth seeing only for the monumental performance of Ray Winstone (Snow White, Hugo) as out-of-control dinosaur cop Jack Regan, the rest of this under-budget crime ‘thriller’ is by turns cliched, ludicrous, laughable and cheap. Does anyone really think this is how the modern Met Police operates? Continue Reading
Avengers director Joss Wheedon follows the Buffy formula for the comic-book, non-super-hero, whizz-bang action spy series. TV Marvel methodone for superhero film fans.
It really does feel like a return to Buffy after the disappeared-up-its-own-tailpipe, conspiracy labyrinth of Dollhouse. Jumping in where Avengers Assemble left off, the miraculously resurrected Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) puts together his Mission Improbable team of assassin, two science geeks, retired superspy and ingenue hacker, jumps on a stealth cargo jet packed with gadgets to fly round the world doing the derring-do.
It’s expensive, action-packed, smart, witty comics-inspired moodling. Only thing is, it’s not the Avengers. Continue Reading
BBC Wordlwide’s Tom Brook looks back at some of the highlights of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, hearing from the big name stars and major industry players congregating on the French Riviera.
Ex-pat British reporter Tom Brook has covered the film industry for the BBC for the past 30 years, sending back measured, intelligent coverage. Brook has been the face of Talking Movies on BBC World News from the programme’s first broadcast in 1999, presenting every episode of the show since it first began.
I recall seeing him first in 1985 as the US correspondent for the BBC’s top cinema programme in the UK presented by Barry Norman on BBC One.
In this review of Cannes 2013, a truly international event, Brook covers The Great Gatsby, Iranian and Indian cinema (celebrating 100 years of Bollywood), and gritty Chinese cinema defying censorship to portray violence and corruption. Continue Reading
“In a Culture Show special, Oscar winning director Danny Boyle talks to Mark Kermode about his new film Trance, London 2012’s afterglow and the highs and lows of an extraordinary film-making career.”
Danny Boyle began his career in subversive agit-prop theatre at the Royal Court and went on to be equally subversive in TV.
Breaking into feature films, his back catalogue includes the violent, kinetic, anarchic as well as touching, satirical, philosophical and romantic. From iconic counter-culture Trainspotting, frenetic horror 28 Days Later, to eight-Oscar triumph, the brutal romance Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle is at his best when he refuses to compromise. It was something he acknowledged in less successful projects – Hollywood excesses A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach. Continue Reading
BBC World Service – World Update, 02/01/2012
Robert McKee is the author of Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting. McKee has in his list of students 35 Oscar winners, acknowledgements from other screen-writing greats such as Goldman and Goldsmith. Engaged for lectures by bodies such as the New Zealand film Council where attendees included Peter Jackson and Jane Campion, McKee is regarded as an authority on screenwriting.
Appearing on the BBC World Service programme World Update (Jan 2, 2012), McKee presented a bleak outlook for film-making in 2012. Citing the expense of making a major Hollywood picture and the risk-averse character of the ‘expert’ executives in charge, we can expect more blockbusters in the mould of Pirates of the Caribbean 3, which McKee cited with undisguised contempt. Continue Reading