Review – Mr Holmes

24 Jul

Poster for 2015 drama Mr Holmes

Genre: Drama
Certificate: PG
UK Release Date: 19th June 2015
Runtime: 104 minutes
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Jeffrey Hatcher
Starring: Ian McKellen, Milo Parker, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada, Roger Allam, Hattie Morahan, Patrick Kennedy
Synopsis: The ageing detective attempts to piece together the circumstances around his final case in order to correct the misconceptions about his life.

 

 

The character of Sherlock Holmes is perhaps the most-portrayed one in the history of cinema. From Basil Rathbone’s 1940s take on the detective to Benedict Cumberbatch’s fast-talking, modern version of Conan Doyle’s most iconic creation, just about everyone has had a go at being Holmes. The latest star to step up to the character is Ian McKellen, with an interesting, older slant on the character in Mr Holmes.

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Bond Reloaded – A look back at Live and Let Die (1973)

23 Jul

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, a new Bond arrives with voodoo-inflected thriller Live and Let Die.

Roger Moore and Jane Seymour battled drug lord Mr Big in Live and Let Die

In the era of blaxploitation cinema, Bond screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz decided that the notion of a black villain in the series would be an interesting one. With that in mind and director Guy Hamilton back on board, Fleming’s second novel – Live and Let Die – was chosen to mark the debut of a new man in the leading suit, in the shape of Roger Moore.

Live and Let Die is a wildly entertaining film, which thrills despite its slightly dodgy racial politics and even dodgier gender politics. In the world of 1970s Bond, in which everything is delivered with tongue firmly in cheek, it pays not to take stuff too seriously.

Aided by terrific villains and some of Bond’s most memorable stunts, Live and Let Die is a great introduction to arguably the most purely entertaining of the James Bond actors.

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Review – Entourage

18 Jul

Poster for 2015 dramedy Entourage

Genre: Dramedy
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 19th June 2015
Runtime: 104 minutes
Director: Doug Ellin
Writer: Doug Ellin
Starring: Jeremy Piven, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Haley Joel Osment, Billy Bob Thornton
Synopsis: A pretty boy actor faces a crisis of confidence when his career looks set to rest on the quality of his directorial debut.

 

 

Between 2004 and 2011, the antics of a particular bunch of fictional movie industry types enthralled TV audiences. The show was called Entourage and its characters have now made it to the big screen, taking their Hollywood adventures to Hollywood itself. Unfortunately, their Hollywood adventures seem to consist solely of being awful to women and taking cracks at each other’s sexual prowess.

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DVD Review – Accidental Love (2015)

18 Jul

Cover art for the 2015 Arrow Films DVD release of Accidental Love

Genre: Comedy
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 20th July 2015
Runtime: 100 minutes
Director: Stephen Greene
Writer: Kristin Gore, Matthew Silverstein, Dave Jeser
Starring: Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener, James Marsden, Kurt Fuller, Tracy Morgan, Malinda Williams
Synopsis: A waitress must fight for her health rights in Washington when a nail becomes embedded in her brain.

 

 

Film reviewers, myself very much included, are often too keen to describe films as “defying criticism” or refusing to adhere to expectation. However, in the case of Accidental Love – a film that original director David O Russell has disowned, hence the pseudonymous credit – it’s entirely without hyperbole. This might just be the weirdest film of the year.

Shot in 2008, a litany of production and legal woes kept it in development hell for years. However, Accidental Love now finally finds its way onto DVD in the UK, via Arrow Films.

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Review – London Road

18 Jul

Poster for 2015 musical drama London Road

Genre: Musical
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 12th June 2015
Runtime: 92 minutes
Director: Rufus Norris
Writer: Alecky Blythe
Starring: Olivia Colman, Paul Thornley, Anita Dobson, Kate Fleetwood, Tom Hardy
Synopsis: The baffled residents of a quiet Ipswich street find themselves the centre of the entire nation’s attention when a ruthless serial killer begins to prey on prostitutes in the area.

 

 

The concept of “verbatim theatre” – in which a script is constructed from the precise words of real-life interviewees – is not a new one. However, the 2011 stage show London Road gave the genre a slightly different spin by turning those words into song to construct a slightly unsettling, unorthodox musical. The story now makes its way to the big screen, with a screenplay from the show’s original writer Alecky Blythe.

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Review – Jurassic World

15 Jul

Poster for 2015 action-adventure film Jurassic World

Genre: Adventure
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 12th June 2015
Runtime: 124 minutes
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Judy Greer
Synopsis: When a genetically engineered dinosaur escapes, the whole of Isla Nubar is under threat.

 

 

This summer at the cinema is a blockbuster collection of remakes, reboots and re-imaginings of classic films. Amongst those is Jurassic World, which takes the world Spielberg brought to life in 1993 and puts a whole new spin on it. This time, the dinosaurs are out in force and the park is active.

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Bond Reloaded – A look back at Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

14 Jul

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, Sean Connery returns for Diamonds Are Forever.

Sean Connery makes a triumphant return to the James Bond franchise with Diamonds Are Forever

After George Lazenby declined to return to play James Bond following On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the search began for a new lead. TV’s Batman – Adam West – was considered, along with Michael Gambon, but United Artists were insistent upon enticing Sean Connery back to the role that made him famous.

A hefty sum and a hell of a deal brought Connery back into the fold for Diamonds Are Forever, which is a fun ride that brings the campy humour that would become the trademark of the franchise under Roger Moore.

It might not be as polished as Goldfinger and it lacks the emotional heft of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but Diamonds Are Forever is certainly a really good time.

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