Month: January 2015

Life and Lyrics

Ashley Walters in Life and Lyrics

  Ashley Walters first became well known as Asher D in the London garage/grime outfit So Solid Crew. Since it was a gigantic collective of competing egos two things were on the cards – the band was unlikely to produce enough revenue to support all 19+ members, or it was going to fall apart spectacularly. …

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To Write Love on Her Arms

Kat Dennings in To Write Love on Her Arms

    Is there anything more life-sapping than listening to a druggie talking about drugs? Yes, a film about one, and it’s not less boring but more if it also offers a redemptive ta-daa. To Write Love on Her Arms is a film about one such, a young woman, played twixt K-Stewart sulk and ScarJo pout …

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26 January 2015-01-26

Hayley Atwell and André Benjamin in Jimi: All Is by My Side

    Out in the UK This Week     Jimi: All Is by My Side (Curzon, cert 15) Imagine a Jimi Hendrix record without any of his guitar pyrotechnics. That’s the feeling you get from this efficient, workaday biopic about the godlike genius who came and went so quickly, leaving behind enough music for …

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Kids in America

The cast of Kids in America strike a pose

    How many America high school comedies have you seen? How many more do you want to see? Exactly my thoughts as I slid the DVD of Kids in America into the slot. But I was wrong and happy about it, because this is a smart and funny film, about smart and funny and intensely …

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19 January 2015-01-19

Ellar Coltrane as Mason, from five to 18

  Out in the UK This Week     Boyhood (Universal, cert 15) As I write Richard Linklater’s ambitious drama is picking up Golden Globes like it was made of Velcro and looks like it’s heading for Oscar glory too. So what’s the deal? At first glance it looks like a gimmick, following the same …

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The Spectacular Now

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now

    Feeling, looking, sounding like a very dark John Hughes film (Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller period), The Spectacular Now also has in Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley exactly the sort of actors Hughes might have cast – not the prettiest, but the most personable, the most “relatable” as we now say.   It’s Teller’s first …

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Two Night Stand

Analeigh Tipton and Miles Teller in Two Night Stand

      Two Night Stand takes the boy wins girl/boy loses girl formula, gives it a millennial spin and then lets its stars, Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton charm the pants off us as they rip the pants off each other.   Genuinely fresh and cute, refreshingly forthright and even sexy – most sex …

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Marie Antoinette

Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette

    It’s tempting to look at writer/director Sofia Coppola’s biopic about Marie Antoinette as a coded self-portrait – young woman born into immense privilege, continuing in the family business, expected to have an understanding of the hoi polloi though with no experience thereof, allowed to indulge her whims, and so on.   Perhaps it’s …

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The Host

Bae Doo-na, Byun Hee-bong and Song Kang-ho in The Host

  In Memories of Murder, the South Korean director Bong Joon-ho made an interesting point about the police procedural – that no matter how “tortured” the cop/protagonist, no matter how broken his background, how fractured his family life, how severe his problem with drink, he always remains a hero. Not in Memories of Murder he …

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