Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
And I still love movies.
An absolute masterclass in how it should be done. Eric Clapton's light hasn't diminished since those heady days of the Cream back in the late 1960s, and here he is at 70 years of age to demonstrate that for some people getting older is just getting better.
Clapton's acoustic rendition of "Layla" is a complete joy and there's also standards like "Hoochie-Koochie Man" and "Crossroads" to keep the older fans happy.
With an excellent line-up of backing musicians like long-term Clapton collaborator Chris Stainton (the dad of my wife's childhood friend) and Paul Carrack, the concert features a varied and eclectic playlist with superb vocal backing from the gorgeous Michelle John and Sharon White.
It doesn't really come any better than this ...
Attack the Block (2011)
Attack the movie if you must, just not what you imagine the movie to be
I always like to check out the other reviews before I submit my opinion of a movie on IMDb. And what I found while checking through the other reviews of ATTACK THE BLOCK here is that if the reviewer likes the film, everyone else tags the review as not helpful, and if the reviewer hates the film, usually taking the film's plot points out of context or just plain misrepresenting what happens in the film, then everyone finds the review helpful.
Here's the thing - the question is, "Was the above review useful to you?" Is is NOT "Do you AGREE with the above review?" Right, now I've set the scene for everyone here to find my review not helpful, I'll press on ...
I like ATTACK THE BLOCK ... a lot. I liked it when I first saw it on Channel 4 in 2012 and I've watched it again a couple of times since, the most recent being last night. It never fails to entertain me.
I will however take issue with a couple of the other reviews here ... for example:
"The girl they tried to rob and rape comes asking for seconds". Nonsense. No one tried to rape Sam, at least, not in this movie. The reviewer might not like the characters - I don't like them much either - but no need to try to prevent others from watching the film by misrepresenting what happens on screen.
Another reviewer says that having the protagonists not apologise for mugging her "drives a huge wedge between them and the audience". But to do that would have been lazy writing on Cornish's part, turning essentially irredeemable characters in to "tame" cuddly nice guys. This kind of inner city feral teenagers are not nice people. They are what they are, not what you'd like them to be.
The same reviewer says that "The police are especially hard done by, they are portrayed as totally corrupt and not to be trusted under any circumstances". This is simply not true. The only two police officers who have anything to do here are the two who arrest Moses for mugging Sam. Which he did. We saw him do it. If he claims he's an innocent victim of a brutal police force ... WE know he's lying. So how are the police hard done by? I'm mystified.
Same reviewer finds "disturbingly strong misogynist atmosphere" because "The only criticism they (the boys) face is from weak female characters who are unable to defend themselves, and who rely on the various male gang members for protection from violent outsiders." Gee, I dunno, looked they were doing okay, when Tia and Dimple take down an alien with a standard lamp and an ice skate. Didn't need much help from the boys ...
A reviewer from the US says, "we're supposed to not like these street punks at first, and then admire them as they redeem themselves". Nope, that's only in Hollywood movies. I don't think Cornish expects you to like these characters any better by the end of the movie. But what we do see here is a glimmer, the slightest chance, that these characters might be able to turn their lives around. What we don't know is whether they will take the opportunity.
A reviewer from South Africa says, "The dialogue was apparently authentic, but it sounded made up, like the droogs' language in A Clockwork Orange." Yes, the dialogue IS authentic. I live in Tower Hamlets (on the north side of the river from Oval) and that's exactly what the feral teenagers talk like. So I'd say the issue isn't with the dialogue, it's with the reviewer. It only sounded made up to that reviewer. So they're essentially criticising Joe Cornish for being accurate.
But enough ...
ATTACK THE BLOCK is just exactly what it looks like. A low-budget, cleverly-written alien attack movie set in the inner-city, deprived area of South London. The lead characters are products of that environment. Marginalised teenagers who have somehow become convinced that education has nothing to offer and that the only way out of their situation is low-level crime and, very likely, an early death. They're not heroes. They're not redeemed by the events of the film. You CAN not like them, and it's doesn't make any difference. But they are characters I recognise ... raw and authentic. I wouldn't say they're Real, because they're aping the mannerisms of US rappers, but that IS how the kids down my endz act.
Don't take it so seriously. ATTACK THE BLOCK is not a searing social document. It's not a hard-hitting indictment of our times. It's just a bloody great sci-fi action movie. Stop criticising it for what it's not ...
The Hunger Games (2012)
Not the most original film I've seen ...
If you want to know what happens in THE HUNGER GAMES, watch any of the following movies:
Most Dangerous Game (1932, based on Hounds of Zaroff), A Game of Death (1945, based on Hounds of Zaroff), Run for the Sun (1956, based on Hounds of Zaroff), Bloodlust (1961), Lord of the Flies (1963), Naked Prey (1965), The Tenth Victim (1965), Deliverance (1972), The Woman Hunt (1973), Turkey Shoot (1982), The Running Man (1987), Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987), Deadly Prey (1988), Death Ring 1992), Hard Target (1993, based on Hounds of Zaroff), Surviving the Game (1994, based on Hounds of Zaroff), The Pest (1997), Battle Royale (2000), The Condemned (2007), The Tournament (2009).
In Time (2011)
Robin Hood meets Logan's Run
Like most of the other reviewers here, I have to concur that IN TIME is a great idea in search of a decent story. Despite a compelling High Concept behind this project, the writers just don't seem to know what to do with it.
The main issue is that nothing really happens, other than JT runs around robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, just like his late father.
Then there's the heavy-handed allegory, comparing a world which runs on time to our world which runs on money ... as Leona Helmsley once famously said, "Only the little people pay taxes."
But allegory alone doesn't make for compelling storytelling ...
Sadly, IN TIME is a bit of a Waste of Time, really ... I think I'll just watch Bonnie and Clyde again.
Girls Girls Girls! (1961)
Full supporting programme
Several decades ago, when I was but a youngster, cinema-goers in the United Kingdom expected a full supporting programme when they went to the pictures. So they'd show up around 7pm and then would sit through a B-movie, then a newsreel, probably made by Pathe, perhaps a couple of cartoons - Tom and Jerry or Bugs Bunny, then a short documentary ("Visit exciting Cleethorpes"), the infamous Pearl & Dean advertisements and finally, around 9pm, the main feature.
This kind of thing was still going on in the 1960s when I first began going to the local ABC or Odeon.
And this documentary, GIRL, GIRLS, GIRLS, was exactly the kind of documentary they'd serve up between the B-movie and the main feature. It was pretty much a programme-filler. Nobody came to the movies to see the documentary.
Of course, this was shot in colour. Back then, television was all monochrome, so the novelty of seeing a documentary in colour gave it some curiosity value. And this one was about models and dancers, and back then, we thought it was okay to ogle young girls frolicking around the screen, however innocently they did it.
Briefly, the "plot" follows three young girls from the Home Counties who come to London in search of glamorous careers. One begins as a photographer's assistant, trains at Lucy Clayton's modelling school and becomes a showroom model. Another trains as a dancer and lands a job in a London nightclub. It's all kind or twee and a little bit precious. But riveting as a snapshot of what London looked like in 1961.
So the other purpose these documentary fillers were serving was as a training and proving ground for the movie directors of the future. The big studios (this one was produced by United Artists) would churn this stuff out to fill programme slots and assign their young, promising directors to see how they would handle schedules and film crews.
But the most interesting thing is that this was directed by Michael Winner, who would go on to make many terrible feature films, the most famous of which were the DEATH WISH movies with Charlie Bronson.
There's hardly any chance of seeing this kind of cinematic curiosity these days. This one turned up in a late night slot on SKY ARTS channel shortly after Michael Winner died. But don't worry, it's really only of interest to the idly curious.
Dhobi Ghat (mumbai diaries) (2010)
This is not a "Bollywood" film
I do enjoy love blockbusters. The last Indian movie I enjoyed was GUZAARISH. Yes it was sentimental, but I appreciated it for what it was, just the same.
DHOBI GHAT is a different animal altogether. This is much more like the sort of movie that might win an award at the Sundance Film Festival. I still haven't finished watching it (it's running as I'm typing this) but I wanted to organise my thoughts about the film right away.
I think DHOBI GHAT is brilliant. It's powerful, but subtle. It's cleverly constructed and it forces you to think. And like Life, it's sad, but with hope ...
It's not escapism. And I respect the heck out of Aamir Khan and his talented wife Kiran Rao for constantly trying to break out of the Bollywood straitjacket and do something different and worthwhile.
But brilliant as Khan is, he can't do it all by himself. So, come on Bollywood. Give the guy a hand. Make a few more movies like this and show that you can make lots of different kinds of movie, and not just escapism all the time. Widen and grow your audience. It has to be good for the industry.
I just realised something important about this TV show!
*** CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS *** CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS *** CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS
I've just seen the final episode of Season 2 of BRAQUO and something just dawned on me ... but first:
Other reviewers have said a lot about the outstanding quality of this French TV show. None of them are wrong. This is about one of the best cop shows I've ever seen (and I'm including THE WIRE in that comparison). BRAQUO is unrelentingly tough, brutally bleak, and edge-of-your- seat thrilling. I've lost count of the number of times I've said, "Well, I did not see that coming." And the essence of a superlative thriller is that it should be full of surprises. BRAQUO does not disappoint.
Within the first few minutes, you'll completely forget you're reading sub-titles so gripping is the story in front of you. I'm hoping and praying that Hollywood won't attempt a remake and make a complete balls of it.
LAST WARNING -- BIG SPOILERS!
Anyway, here's what I just figured out:
Eddy and his team are The Fantastic Four! I'm convinced of it. And Olivier Marchal has got to be the biggest Marvel fan. It's clever and it's subtle but it's there. Eddy is Mr Fantastic, no question. Rox is Invisible Girl, obviously, Walter is The Thing and Theo is The Human Torch - literally, given the ending of S2, Ep 8.
You can extend it further and say that Roland is Dr Doom. And maybe Colonel Dantin and his guys are the Frightful Four - the darker flipside of Eddy's group - but I don't want to stretch the metaphor.
So - under no circumstances pass this by - it'll be the best 12 hours you ever spent watching TV.
The twilight world of de-mobilisation
Edward Dmytryk was one of the most reliable of workman-like directors working in Hollywood from the 1940s to the 1960s. He was responsible for classics like FAREWELL MY LOVELY, THE DEVIL COMMANDS and THE CAINE MUTINY. CROSSFIRE isn't the best film on the Dmytryk CV, but even a so-so Dmytryk movie is better than most other directors' on their good days.
The plot revolves around a group of men recently released from war-service in the US Army, so recently that some of them still wear their uniforms. After an afternoon's hard drinking, a man the soldiers meet in a bar is murdered. It looks like one of the soldiers, Mitch Mitchell (George Cooper), did it, but the police flounder when it comes to finding a motive. The soldier's sergeant, Keeley (Robert Mitchum) is convinced the suspect didn't do the crime and sets out to uncover the true killer himself.
The always-terrific Gloria Grahame plays an embittered bar hostess who might be able to give Mitch the nearest thing to an alibi he's going to get. Not sure I like Gloria as a bleached blonde, but the look suits her character exactly.
Mitchum's performance is even more laid-back than usual and you get the feeling he thinks he's slumming it in this low-budget picture. But his presence still contributes some gravitas and focus to the story.
The fact is that it's not much of a mystery. You'll probably figure out who the killer is first time you lay eyes on him, but even so, I enjoyed watching the plot unfold and seeing how men who fought together show such loyalty to one another despite having little else in common. I'd quite happily sit through this again ...
When a bad cop goes good
BODYGUARD is a taut little thriller directed by Richard Fleischer in the early years of his career. At a trim 60 minutes, it packs in more plot than modern movies do in their two-hour running times. I especially enjoyed Lawrence Tierney in an infrequent good guy role - here he's Mike Carter, a cop with a nasty temper who gets himself fired for slugging his commanding officer. He's then approached to act as a bodyguard for an ageing widow who runs her late husband's meat-packing plant. Though he's grim-jawed throughout, and doesn't display much sense of humour at all, never mind sardonic wit, the film's noir trappings have lead many to label this a noir picture.
However, lacking a deadly female leading the hero into all kinds of trouble and with no typically gloomy noir ending, I can't put this movie in that pigeonhole.
The heroine is the sunny and all-American Priscilla Lane in her last film. She'd earlier made quite a splash as the fiancé of Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) in the madcap comedy ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, and here plays the faithful and supportive girlfriend of Tierney.
There's not a lot to dislike about this film. Carter doesn't have much personality, but he doesn't need it to solve the case. The other cops are a bit one dimensional and the family at the centre of the mystery don't have a lot to do. But it clocks in at 4 seconds under an hour, and its very brevity is more of a plus point than a liability. Try to catch it if it turns up on TCM. It's a fine object lesson in economic storytelling.
Captain America (1944)
No Jack Kirby going on here
Captain America was far and away my favourite hero when I was growing up in the 1960s. A lot of this was do do with artist Jack Kirby's dynamic drawings of Cap in the Marvel Comic Tales of Suspense. I especially enjoyed the war-time setting of the comics and the hero's battles with his arch-nemesis The Red Skull. When CA joined the Avengers, I bought every one of those comics, too. All this is by way of saying I was (and am) a major fan of the character.
It wasn't until years later, as I was getting more into movies and hunting down classic Hollywood serials, that I got to see CAPTAIN America.
Now, this serial has taken a lot of stick on this site for not following the comics ... but I have less of a problem with this than some people here.
Yes, the plot is a bit repetitive - but folks, it's a serial. You're supposed to watch it one episode a week. It's going to look a bit cheap, because the budget was tiny. It's going to have second-grade actors, because A-listers would never agree to appear in serials. This was where the studio tested out new talent and put old actors (and stunt men) out to pasture.
As serials go, it's one of the better ones. I was astonished at just how much the stunt men in this throw themselves into the fight scenes. How these guys weren't hurt, I'll never know. The direction from John English (who, incidentally WAS English and was responsible for all the best serials of the period) it very slick and Lionel Atwill (one of the great b-movie actors) is excellent as the villain - though he does seem to forget his lines from time to time.
All in all, one of the better serials of the 1940s - great fun if you fast-forward past the lengthy episode recaps. And I don't mind a bit if it doesn't follow the comics exactly. What comic book adaptation does? This serial is quite enjoyable enough to stand on its own terms.