30 Days Of Night

October 31, 2007

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RELEASED: 2nd November 

Comic book and graphic novel adaptations are now so popular, and so bankable, that barely a month goes by without a new one tearing up the screen. In 2007 so far we’ve had a couple of sequels: the second Fantastic Four and the third Spider-Man, which started the summer blockbuster season and broke records left, right and centre. But the most exciting was 300, the magnificently stylised adap of Frank Miller’s groundbreaking graphic novel. 300 redefined conceptualised visuals, just as Frank Miller’s equally stylised, equally ultra-violent neo-noir Sin City did two years earlier. The operative word in graphic novels is graphic – the best, most faithful adaptations are those that don’t hold back. 300, Sin City and A History Of Violence are all cinematic triumphs that, in terms of story, dialogue and visuals either transcribe directly from page-to-screen, or compliment its style by changing only what is necessary in the transfer from one medium to another. The latest such film is 30 Days Of NightRead the rest of this entry »

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Eastern Promises

October 30, 2007

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A sharp tale of crime and violence, Eastern Promises again has David Cronenberg pulling no punches. For over thirty years now he has been making films that really test his audience, most often their stomachs, and this one is no exception.  Read the rest of this entry »

Rendition

October 23, 2007

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“This is my first torture,” Jake Gyllenhaal’s rookie CIA agent Douglas Freeman tells hard-nosed Corrine Whitman (Meryl Streep) over the phone. That ultra-provocative line alone is reason enough to see this interesting, very watchable political thriller.   Read the rest of this entry »

The Lookout

October 21, 2007

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RELEASED: 26th October

About once a year, America produces a low-budget indie, or perhaps a low-budget studio film with an indie feel, that becomes a modern classic. Three years ago, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Sideways shared the honour. The year after it was the massively overlooked Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Last year, it was Brick, the stunning, hyper-cool teen noir. And this year, it’s The Lookout.  

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Ratatouille

October 14, 2007

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That’s six animation classics- hell, six motion picture classics that Pixar have now made in twelve years. Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles and now Ratatouille. It’s the tale of Remy (voiced by US comic Patton Oswald), a rat with a passion for good food, rather than the garbage the rest of his colony collect. He yearns to cook, and regularly intrudes into the strictly off-limits kitchen of the rural house they live between the floors of. But one day after the owner wields a shotgun (and blows apart most of her house) Remy is separated from his family and washed through the sewers. Alone apart from the book “Anyone Can Cook” by revolutionary, departed chef Auguste Gusteau (Brad Garrett), he finds his way up to the rooftops – and in Paris. This revealing shot, as the twinkling lights of the city appear, is the most beautiful, swooning, romantic moment of the year. Accompanied by Michael Giacchino’s magical score, it encapsulates perfectly just how breathtaking, clever and utterly delightful Ratatouille is. Read the rest of this entry »

Control

October 11, 2007

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Pete Doherty: piss off. Or watch this film. It’s really no surprise that interest in the turbulent and painfully short life of Ian Curtis, lead singer of revolutionary post-punk group Joy Division has eclipsed the sound and success of the band itself. At the age of 23, on the eve of the band’s first American tour, Curtis hanged himself in his own kitchen. Control is the devastatingly low-key account of this small but remarkably significant era of British music. Read the rest of this entry »

The Heartbreak Kid

October 10, 2007

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The output of the prolific Farrelly brothers is a catalogue of hit and miss. Yes, Dumb & Dumber and There’s Something About Mary are classics of contemporary comedy, but are the best days of the ‘gross-out’ genre behind us? It’s really a moot point, because it’s clear from The Heartbreak Kid that these days the gruesome twosome are less about sperm-based hair gel and more about catching up with the sophisticated brand of Stateside funny stuff tickling our sides in recent months. That’s not to say crudity is now at the back of the bus, but rather in the passenger seat trying desperately to grab the wheel… Read the rest of this entry »

The Kingdom

October 4, 2007

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As far as action crime thrillers go, few have even paralleled Michael Mann’s cinematic triumphs. Heat, Collateral and last year’s Miami Vice are three pieces of work by a director at the top of his game – you simply won’t find any better films in this genre from Hollywood. But he has also made the best political drama of the past twenty years in The Insider, the devastating story of a former tobacco company employee who blew the whistle on his ex-company, and a journalists’ struggle to get his story heard. Read the rest of this entry »