14 items from 2011
Us online distributors look to copy success of BBC iPlayer as 'boxset' culture grows among viewers
As more television viewers choose to watch their favourite shows on "catch-up services" or by recording whole series in bulk, American online distributors are planning a revolution in the way we are presented with high-quality drama.
Internationally acclaimed series such as The West Wing, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Lost, The Wire, Mad Men and The Killing have been setting the cultural agenda for some time. But now the industry has woken up to the fact that these shows are affecting the way much of the public watches television.
American online programme services such as Netflix – along with rival providers Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, YouTube and Hulu – are moving to capitalise on the fact that the most popular shows being streamed on their sites are drama series. "Maybe we will start to premiere multiple »
- Vanessa Thorpe
Action cinema appears to have lost its way a bit. Here are our suggestions for setting it back on the right course...
Heading into UK cinemas right now are a pair of action films that have managed to misfire in very different ways. Killer Elite (review here) should have been a shoo-in, but it relegates the action to the sidelines for long periods, replacing explosive spectacle with ponderous, dull conversations.
Abduction, meanwhile (review here), seems to believe that Taylor Lautner is the future of action cinema, when he very clearly isn’t. Both films, though, are the tip of a proverbial iceberg. Because action cinema has a bit of an identity crisis. What trend should it follow? What kind of action movies should be made? What kind of action do people want to see?
Here are some of our answers to those questions...
A massive, massive bugbear, although hopefully, »
With the stunt-filled Fast Five out on Blu-ray and DVD this week, here’s our list of some outlandish movie action sequences that appear to defy all known physical laws…
Action heroes are always performing remarkable feats in movies, and surviving accidents that would kill ordinary mortals in an instant – it’s something we practically expect from our Hollywood blockbusters. Sometimes, though, filmmakers just go that little bit too far, resulting in scenes that look so unexpectedly outlandish that we can only sit in our cinema seats and think, “Now, hang on a minute…”
This list, then, is devoted to those action sequences that appear to defy all the known laws of nature. This isn’t to say they aren’t fun or memorable – it’s often the case that such scenes are fun and memorable precisely because they’re over the top – but their presence, in many cases, sticks out like a sore thumb. »
Comedy has been a mainstay of the fringe for years. But now serious plays are attracting a broader range of stars
Film stars have developed a habit of venturing on to the West End stage to hone their acting skills in front of a live crowd. But now an unprecedented number of big names in showbusiness are to take the challenge one step further by facing Edinburgh fringe audiences in a series of intimate, temporary venues. The city's pavements may still be lined with student hopefuls during the annual festival, but suddenly there are familiar A-list faces vying for attention too.
This summer the world's largest fringe arts event, which opened in earnest in the Scottish capital this weekend, will boast performances from the Los Angeles-based British film star Julian Sands in a solo show directed by John Malkovich, and from the television and film actor Art Malik, who will »
- Vanessa Thorpe
DVD Playhouse—July 2011
By Allen Gardner
The Music Room (Criterion) Satyajit Ray’s 1958 masterpiece looks at the life of a fallen aristocrat as a metaphor for an India that is not only becoming Westernized, but modernized technologically and culturally beyond recognition. When the beloved music room, where he has hosted lavish concerts in the past, starts falling into disrepair as attendance drops steadily, the man realizes his way of life is vanishing. Stunningly shot in black & white, one of Ray’s finest works. Bonuses: Documentary on Ray from 1984 by Shyam Benegal; Interviews with Ray biographer Andrew Robinson and filmmaker Mira Nair; Excerpt from 1981 roundtable discussion between Ray, critic Michael Ciment, director Claude Sautet. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Full screen. Dolby 1.0 mono.
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Directed by Craig Viveiros.
A model prisoner risk his own life and sanity to help a newcomer who has fallen under the spell of a psychotic convict.
Do you think you could hack it behind bars? If you’re a Daily Mail columnist you probably dispute the fact that prisons even have bars anymore. They’ve all been replaced you see, with tasty sticks of rock more in keeping with the dangerously liberal, comfortable satellite TV approach to treating filthy criminals. Being locked up is preferable to a five star hotel. Prisons are merely lavishly furnished warehouses for feral beasts that will be released back into the wilds of society unchanged. The fear factor has gone.
Bring back that shit yourself punishment and all of Britain’s ills will be cured. All this claptrap about human »
Jack (Lynch), a model prisoner, has kept his head down and done his time. After his wife leaves him on the anniversary of their son’s death, the only thing that keeps him from going under is the presence of a new prisoner, Paul (Compston). But when Paul falls under the influence of psychotic ”Baron” Clay (Parkinson), Jack soon finds he must risk his own life and sanity to help the newcomer.
Ghosted will be released in cinemas on June 24. It will then hit DVD on June 27.
Watch the trailer below:
Source: Empire »
- Jamie Neish
Kidulthood director Menhaj Huda returns to UK cinemas this week with Everywhere and Nowhere, another coming-of-age tale focusing on a British Asian teenager (James Floyd, pictured below) wrestling with how to lead his own life, while having to contend with what’s expected of him from his family and culture.
We had the chance to chat with Huda about the film (which he co-wrote) and how he related to the characters in the film when he was growing up.
How much does the film reflect your own upbringing?
The side which wasn’t a struggle for me was my decision to take a creative path in my career (in the film, lead character Ash wants to be a DJ, much to the disapproval of his father).
The double life thing was definitely something I encountered, and trying to keep my love for clubbing/raving separate from my family.
This is another rites of passage tale. »
- Adam Lowes
Menhaj Huda states that "this film was born of a need to fill a gap, in film terms, to bring Asian youth in a realistic film with a dramatic story to the big screen in the UK". However, his movie has a plot identical to Ken Loach's excellent Ae Fond Kiss: Asian boy wants to give up his accountancy studies and work in a disco and comes into conflict with his narrow-minded middle-class family who object to him going out with a British girl. In fact almost everything in the film is pretty familiar, the chief differences here being the setting (London, rather than Glasgow) and the girl (Swedish). It does, however, have, a likable hero in James Floyd, though the two best-known actors, Art Malik and Saeed Jaffrey, could both have done with firmer direction.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content »
- Philip French
Chicago – The original “Upstairs, Downstairs” series became such an international phenomenon that the title has become a well-known phrase. How many programs have become so culturally relevant that their name can be used apart from them in order to describe a social or cultural situation? Very few. “Upstairs, Downstairs” returned for Christmas 2010 in the U.K.(and aired here on PBS recently as a part of “Masterpiece Theatre”) and now the three hour-long episodes are available in a two-disc set from BBC and Warner Bros.
DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0
“Upstairs, Downstairs” originally aired on ITV in five series from 1971 to 1975. The title refers to the divide between the haves and the have nots in that the program chronicled lives of the servants who lived downstairs along with those they served who lived upstairs. Taking place over decades from just after the turn of the last century to 1930, the program was wildly successful and beloved. »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
From the director of Kidulthood, Everywhere & Nowhere comes to cinemas on 6 May. The film is a raw, powerful and funny coming-of-age drama focusing on the identity struggles of Ash a young British Asian who is torn between the traditions of suburban family life and his passion for DJ’ing. To mark the release, we have 3 posters signed by cast members James Floyd, Shivani Ghai, Simon Webbe, and director Menhaj Huda to give away!
Exciting new talent James Floyd (The Infidel, Tormented) leads the cast which also includes Adam Deacon (Kidulthood, Adulthood, 184.108.40.206., Shank, Anuvahood), top Bollywood star Alyy Khan, and singer-songwriter Simon Webbe. The film also features acting legends Art Malik and Saeed Jaffrey and Inbetweeners star James Buckley.
Young, good-looking and educated, Ash has a privileged life but he’s trapped between a clash of cultures: hedonistic, multi-cultural London with his friends and a traditional Asian family upbringing in the middle class suburbs. »
Firth, feted for his role as the stammering George VI in The King's Speech, said: "The referendum is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change our clapped-out politics for good. I'll be voting yes."
Bonham Carter, a cousin of the Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury and a friend of Samantha Cameron, also came out in support of the campaign. She won a Bafta on Sunday night as best supporting actress for her role as Queen Elizabeth alongside Firth in The King's Speech.
Firth recently withdrew his support for the Liberal Democrats, admitting he had been disappointed by their role in the coalition government. »
- Patrick Wintour
The Wolfman, 2010.
Directed by Joe Johnston.
Returning to his family estate following the mysterious death of his brother, an American nobleman becomes infected with lycanthropy after he is attacked by a werewolf.
“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
It’s a perfect introduction to Lycanthropy, and particularly to The Wolfman. It is, of course, whispered over images of the full moon, ghostly white and shining. What follows is a film of fantastic circumstances, full of blood and claws and shadows, all at once mystic and severe; a joy to watch with the lights off.
Since this is gothic horror, the year is 1891. The end of the Victorian era is exactly »
The dressing was vintage 1936, but the moral platitudes served up in the BBC's yuletide return to Eaton Place were strictly 2010
Upstairs Downstairs (BBC1) | iPlayer
When Harvey Met Bob (BBC2) | iPlayer
Michael Jackson's Secret Hollywood (More 4) | 4oD
Toast (BBC1) | iPlayer
Like it or not, we are living through a Wallis Simpson moment, a kind of cultural revival or, more accurately, reburial. One instant, she is a paranoid psycho-snob, brilliantly portrayed by Gillian Anderson in the recent Any Human Heart. The next, she is a scheming witch in the soon-to-be-released film The King's Speech. And, if neither of those efforts finished off the late Duchess of Windsor's already tattered reputation, she is also due to be the subject of a film directed by – gulp – Madonna. Such is her malevolent ubiquity it can't be long before Wallis turns up as Homer's homicidal great-aunt in an episode of The Simpsons.
It was predictable, »
- Andrew Anthony
14 items from 2011
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