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Made in Britain: Elfie Hopkins (2012)

Elfie-Hopkins-poster

Where to begin with this one. For a start, it was renamed in the US, probably in a vague attempt to cash in on the mash-up, as Elfie Hopkins: Cannibal Hunter, which is frankly an outrageous spoiler and completely blows the second half of the film. I can kind of see why it was thought to be a good idea to rename it, because “Elfie Hopkins” by itself isn’t exactly a title to get the giblets tingling, suggesting as it does a kind of dreary tween twilight-meets-Mike-Hammer farrago. What is more likely to cause a brief spike in interest is that this little film has a cast that’s far too good for it, and the strapline “who are the neighbours having for dinner” has a kind of playfulness that implies black comedy. I saw the poster on the tube when it was released and put it down in my “watch at some point, probably when it comes on Lovefilm” list. Well, it’s now on Lovefilm, so I’ve watched it.

Contains a creepy, rapey-looking, refugee from Twilight and Spoilers below. Although none of the spoilers are remotely in the same class as the spoil from renaming the damned film. 

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Made in Britain Special: A Field in England (preview)

Tonight sees a new development in the way films are distributed. Ben Wheatley’s new effort, A Field in England is the first film to be simultaneously released on DVD/ Blu, in the Cinema and shown on Television. Albeit on Film4.

I’m actually really excited by this one. There’s a Matthew Hopkins vibe to the poster and Wheatley is so far on a 100% hit rate with me (even if that is a bit wobbly).  Read More…

Made in Britain: Sightseers (2012)

Sightseers-cover

This was one of my most anticipated films of last year, that slipped by me through a variety of shameful cock ups and laziness. Nevertheless, I’d been waiting for Ben Wheatley’s third film since I saw Kill List and he’s currently batting 100% with me as I also really enjoyed Down Terrace, albeit for different reasons than the more visceral follow up. So, the news that he was taking a script written by Darkplace’s Alice Lowe and Steve Oram about a psychotic pair of ramblers had me curious. What would a director such as Wheatley do with a concept that is best described as black as midnight comedy? The answer was last year’s Sightseers.

Contains knitted crotchless panties and spoilers below. Read More…

Made in Britain: Hush (2009)

Hush-poster

Hush. What a terrible title. Not only is it utterly unevocative, but furthermore it’s just totally imaginative. If I say “Hush” it instantly conjures up images of parents struggling to keep control of errant and annoying children, or if you’re nerdy enough, a Batman villain. At a stretch it reminds me of a terrible Kula Shaker song from the 90’s. What it does not help me visualise is a taut thriller about a couple on a motorway near Sheffield (God’s Chosen City) being menaced by a nutter.

Contains human trafficking and spoilers below. Read More…

Made in Britain: Kill Keith

Kill-Keith-poster

I am sure I’ve ranted about this before, but if there’s one genre that we really are atrocious at in the 21st Century, then that’s  comedy. We’re turning out classy horror after classy horror, have a nice line in gritty action and are all over misery porn, but since Shaun of the Dead, I can’t honestly think of a worthwhile comedy. Not one. This is astonishing, because we have a strong legacy with comedy (if you ignore most of the Carry on Films) dating all the way back to Ealing in the 30’s. Yet, something in the 21st Century seems to have gone pear shaped, and every comedy I’ve seen is about as funny as an Aussie DJ’s prank phone call. So, when Kill Keith landed on my doorstep, despite me knowing next to nothing about it, I wasn’t particularly hopeful, in fact, all I wanted was that someone was actually going to kill Keith Chegwin. Preferably messily.

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Made in Britain: The Reeds

Doctors in the NHS have been busted in the past for snide acronyms in patients medical notes. One of the most notorious is “NFN” which stands for “Normal for Norfolk”. Basically, a slight on the massively inbred yokels that inhabit this godforsaken bit of the British Isles. Think damper version of West Virginia. Anyway, aside from inbreeding, Norfolk is home to an area called the Norfolk Broads, which is a desolate swampland of interconnected lagoon/ rivers separated from civilisation by miles and miles of knee high reeds. I’ve been here as a kid on a boating holiday, and can confirm that the Norfolk Broads, with their isolation, fog, and utter sense of desolation is an astonishingly creepy location. So, when I found a film had been made that was primarily set on the Broads, I swore they were on to a winner. Surely, a film called “The Reeds” set out there couldn’t fail?

Contains thematic confusion and a huge spoiler below.  Read More…

Jarv Judges Dredd: The Crimes are multiple, and the sentence is…

I’m claiming Dredd for Made in Britain. Yes, technically it was multi-nation produced, and shot mostly in South Africa, but the writer, director and one of the leads are British, and while Mega City One may span the entire East coast of the United States, the original comic, 2000AD was British. So its ours, and that is my final word on the matter.

Obviously, were it rubbish, then I’d be passing the buck furiously to anyone other than us, so the fact that I’m claiming it at all should give an indication as to how this review is going to go. Oh, and I’ve gone insanely picture happy here.

May contain Judgement and extremely mild spoilers below

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Made In Britain: The Inbetweeners Movie

It occurred to me the other day that I haven’t actually reviewed that much British Comedy in this series. There’s a reason for that: it’s usually shit. Furthermore, we don’t seem to actually make as much comedy as we do Horror or kitchen sink Misery Porn. Anyhoo, I’ve got a few in the works, and this is the first: The Inbetweeners Movie.

Contains social ineptness and spoilers below
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Made in Britain: Stalker (2011)

Stalker is another film that our very own Col. Tigh Fighter found the location for, so as such I almost feel duty bound to review it, especially when I also interviewed producer Jonathan Sothcott for Pop Culture Ninja on White Collar Hooligan. So, here we go, another of the seemingly endless chain of UK Horror movies that have sprung up like toadstools after rain since 2010. This time around, the pedigree isn’t too bad with former Spandau Ballet and Eastenders escapee Martin Kemp helming, Sothcott producing and Jane March, Billy Murray and Colin Salmon in prominent parts. It’s also “inspired by” the only British film to ever make the video nasty list, the repugnant (or so I am informed, I haven’t seen it) Exposé, also known as The House on Straw Hill.

Contains a very strange floater and spoilers below Read More…

Made in Britain: Powder (2011)

A few years ago I read a novel by Kevin Sampson called Powder. Sampson, also author of  Awaydays, was, back in the day, the manager of one of the forerunners of Britpop. His band, The Farm, are principally noted nowadays for “All Together Now” which to be fair is an anthem, but as a rule they’ve sunk into well-deserved obscurity. Anyway, as the manager he was uniquely positioned to write a scabrous satire on the music industry in the 90’s. That novel, Powder, charted the rise and fall of Liverpool angst merchants The Grams as they rocket to fame and then implode dramatically in a supernova of ego on an American tour. A genuinely funny novel, with more than a grain of truth to it, Powder was the literary and Britpop equivalent of Spinal Tap. My biggest complaint? The Grams sounded like the bastard lovechild of The Verve and Radiohead, and therefore would surely suck balls something fierce. So, when I discovered that this had been filmed, I have to say I was excited- this could be a raw and ragged coke-fuelled stormer of a movie, the darkest of black comedies and could well rank as an undiscovered gem. When I heard that Sampson was adapting it himself, and that Mark Elliot (a solid TV director) was hired to direct, I thought this was going to be gold. Honestly, the source material is that strong that how could they possibly fuck it up?

Contains miserable Scouse gits with delusions of talent and spoilers below. Read More…

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