Bond Reloaded – A look back at GoldenEye (1995)

9 Oct

Ahead of the release of SPECTRE this autumn, the Bond Reloaded series takes a weekly look back at each film in the iconic James Bond franchise. This week, Pierce Brosnan steps into the Bond mould to clash with an old friend.

Pierce Brosnan clashed with Sean Bean in GoldenEye

Legal wranglings between studios kept Bond off screens for years following Licence to Kill, during which time Timothy Dalton quietly vacated the iconic tuxedo. This left the door wide open for Pierce Brosnan, who was now free of the Remington Steele commitments that had kept him away from the part in 1987. Brosnan had always been within a whisker of Bond, but now he was finally getting his chance in the spotlight.

The six year production hiatus also forced the Broccoli family to recast several of the key MI6 roles, with Judi Dench becoming M and Samantha Bond taking over as Moneypenny. There was also a change in the director’s chair for the first time since 1979, with Martin Campbell replacing John Glen.

The major changes across the board positioned GoldenEye as something of a reboot for the Bond franchise. With the Cold War in the past and a new roster in front of the cameras and behind them, this was a Bond for the 1990s and it arrived with a hell of a bang.

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Review – American Ultra

8 Oct

Poster for 2015 comedy actioner American Ultra

Genre: Action/Comedy
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 4th September 2015
Runtime: 96 minutes
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Writer: Max Landis
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Connie Britton, Topher Grace, John Leguizamo, Walton Goggins
Synopsis: A stoner finds himself being pursued by the security services when he is activated as a sleeper agent and discovers a murderous set of skills.



It’s rare that a film is predominantly sold on the prowess of its writer. However, in the case of American Ultra, it was the name of Chronicle scribe Max Landis (who also has a new Frankenstein adaptation on the way) that was promoted far more heavily than that of director Nima Nourizadeh, whose only previous credit is the dire party comedy Project X. Unfortunately, American Ultra has more in common with the director’s previous disaster than the writer’s prior successes.

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Review – Dope

7 Oct

Poster for 2015 crime dramedy Dope

Genre: Dramedy
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 4th September 2015
Runtime: 103 minutes
Director: Rick Famuyiwa
Writer: Rick Famuyiwa
Starring: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Zoë Kravitz, A$AP Rocky, Roger Guenveur Smith
Synopsis: A geeky high schooler living in a rough area finds himself in possession of an enormous quantity of MDMA and must find a way to get rid of it.



A dramedy set on the streets of one of California’s worst neighbourhoods, Dope arrived in UK cinemas with festival buzz shooting a rocket up its rear end. The story, which places a huge quantity of drugs in the hands of a trio of self-confessed geeks, has Sundance written all over it much like release date bedfellow Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Unlike that film, however, Dope never manages to escape that pigeonhole.

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Review – Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story

7 Oct

Poster for 2015 documentary Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story

Genre: Documentary
Certificate: TBC
UK Release Date: 9th October 2015
Runtime: 87 minutes
Director: Ross Whitaker
Writer: Ross Whitaker
Starring: Mark Pollock, Simone George, Johnny Pollock, Barbara Carson, Emma Pollock
Synopsis: After suffering a horrific freak accident, a blind Irish adventurer battles adversity to overcome paralysis below the waist and get back on his feet.



The story of Northern Irish adventurer Mark Pollock is a well-known one in his native country, where his inspiring story has been regularly covered in the media. In the rest of the UK, though, Pollock isn’t nearly as recognisable. Ross Whitaker’s documentary Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story brings the story to the big screen in engaging and deeply emotional style.

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Top 10 – Films not to miss in October 2015

5 Oct

Tom Hiddleston stars in Guillermo del Toro horror Crimson Peak

It’s October, which means the cinema is about to get scary. Except it isn’t. Despite the looming spectre of Halloween at the end of the month, the packed slate for October is largely free of major horror releases – with the notable exception of Guillermo del Toro’s new film.

Elsewhere, there’s the small matter of a new James Bond film on the horizon, a reinvention of a classic fantasy tale and a couple of major awards contenders sneaking in too. Whether it delivers on the Halloween front or not, this month is certainly stacked.

Here are ten films you should head out and see this month in UK cinemas.

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Review – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

1 Oct

Poster for 2015 teen drama Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Genre: Drama
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 4th September 2015
Runtime: 105 minutes
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Writer: Jesse Andrews
Starring: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal
Synopsis: Coerced by his mother into visiting the girl across the road when she is diagnosed with cancer, an introverted teen finds himself a new friend.



Almost everything about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl screams pretentious Sundance-friendly tosh. Whether it’s the wordy title, the sun-baked trailer or the self-consciously quirky tone, everything in the world suggests that the film is going to be almost intolerable. And yet, despite all of that counting against it, this turns out to be one of the funniest, sweetest and most sophisticated teen movies of the last few years.

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Bond Reloaded – A look back at Licence to Kill (1989)

28 Sep

Ahead of the release of SPECTRE this autumn, the Bond Reloaded series takes a weekly look back at each film in the iconic James Bond franchise. This week, Timothy Dalton continues his tenure as Bond takes on the war on drugs in the shockingly violent Licence to Kill.

Timothy Dalton and Carey Lowell co-star in Licence to Kill

In his first film as James Bond, Timothy Dalton took the character that had become campy under Roger Moore and gave him the darker edge that creator Ian Fleming initially wrote. For his second outing, Licence to Kill, Dalton and director John Glen went one step forward and had Bond go rogue in the dark, murky world of the drug trade, fuelled by fiery personal issues.

Cost issues led the Bond crew to move away from London and Pinewood in order to shoot Licence to Kill on location in Mexico. Capitalising on Dalton’s gritty turn as the British super spy, writing duo Richard Maibaum and Michael G Wilson, began working on a darker entry in the series. The finished film would become the first in the franchise to earn a 15 certificate from the BBFC, having been cut from a version that would have scored a restrictive 18 rating.

Originally titled Licence Revoked in line with the central storyline before undergoing a change with the US market in mind, Licence to Kill marked a major shift towards darkness in Bond’s tone almost two decades before Daniel Craig made it cool with Casino Royale.

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