Dead Man’s Shoes, Shane Meadows’ 2004 revenge film is consistently rated as one of the greatest British Films of all time. Admittedly, it’s usually Empire, film magazine for the hard of thinking, dishing out the plaudits, but nevertheless, it comes up every single time. Inexplicably, I somehow missed watching this, but my recent brush with Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur reminded me that I always meant to dig up this earlier effort. So, is it one of the greatest British films of all time?
Contains bullied special needs people and spoilers.
As a rule of thumb, this one is hard to beat. If The Guardian, and Peter Bradshaw in particular, are showing undue amounts of love to a British film, then there’s a very high chance that the film is one (or even several) of the following things: independent, miserable, dealing with class issues, boring, pretentious, or directed by or starring someone they approve of. So, Tyrannosaur, Paddy Considine’s debut feature, receive a quite unprecedented cuddle from them, and using the above formula, it was pretty simple to work out that what we have here is not the British version of Avatar. Yes, that’s right, I’m back in working class miseryland, and I’m all strapped in for a fun evening of urban unhappiness, domestic violence and probable alcohol abuse.
Contains domestic violence and spoilers below.
To take a small break from the relentless stream of low rent films that I’ve been sitting through, I’ve decided to review a British Horror film, of sorts, that came highly recommended by a variety of people. Unfortunately, I did bother doing a bit of research into it beforehand, although I really should not have done, because if I had not then I would not have noticed that Severance is directed by Christopher Smith, who made one of my most hated horror movies of the last decade in Creep, and that it stars Danny bloody Dyer again. Seriously, it feels like he’s in basically every single British movie of the last 5 years and I’m at a complete loss as to why.
I had a well thought out schedule for this week’s reviews, but I’m throwing it out of the window for Malice in Wonderland. Not because Simon Fellows’ effort is any good, on the contrary, it’s rubbish, but because if I don’t write this up now, then I’ll forget about it forever. I’ve already blanked most of it out of my mind, but I really do feel an overwhelming need to be rude about it, and I don’t want to miss my chance. Read More…
We are now, apparently, “multicultural”. London is a veritable melting pot of different cultures, religions, races and whatnot drawing from a wide range of people on the planet who all contribute to the rich life that we live now. Or at least that would be what the spin would have you believe. In reality, Britain does have an immigration problem, and the asylum system is, to say the least, broken beyond all recognition with peoples from any war torn shithole in the world moving here with the promise of a better life and refusing to learn the language or integrate in to the community. Not all, I hasten to add, but when Mrs. Jarv worked in Camden Council it was interesting that for a wide section of the immigrant population the only English they knew was “Section 6″ which refers to the exact piece of government legislation that gets them money. Yet, given how developed and tolerant and whatnot that we are, it’s surprising that we haven’t produced more films looking at life for these immigrants. Dirty Pretty Things is one of, if not the only, film I can think of that stares into the abyss populated by this underclass, a bleak and depressing look at the lives of people who have to exist below the radar.
Contains kidney heists and spoilers below Read More…
British Cinema has a long and noble tradition of Kitchen Sink drama. Running back to the very start of the form, and arguably before it with the Angry Young Man playwrights, this genre has been a mainstay of our output. Some of the finest movies produced in these isles have fallen into this category, with Lindsay Anderson in particular championing the urban misery with films such as This Sporting Life. As the industry fell into terminal malaise, this almost seemed to be the only type of film we produced and the majority of modern British Cinema feels like it’s all set in a run down council flat with a miserable family in dramas directed by Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Shane Meadows. Down Terrace fits right into this tradition, being a no-budget film directed by Ben Wheatley, written by Wheatley and Robin Hill and starring Hill himself and members of his immediate family.
CONTAINS URBAN MISERY AND SPOILERS BELOW.
I’m starting to develop a real soft spot for Jake West. I’ve only seen two of his three full length films so far, this and Evil Aliens, and he strikes me as a potentially fantastic schlock director. Evil Aliens was unashamedly crass, frequently hilarious and contained moments that could best be described as genius. Doghouse, his third film, has much more of a budget to play with and attracted a fine cast but still manages to contain the anarchic humour and flat-out carnage of his earlier effort. Read More…
Kids, eh? Who’d have them?
Children are a fairly common feature of horror movies. There’s a long and fairly mixed tradition of creepy and homicidal kid films out there. From the 1970′s overlooked gem Who Could Kill a Child, through to modern day efforts such as, er, Orphan (midget homicidal Russian hooker FOR THE FAIL), the spooky child has long been a mainstay of the genre. That’s before I even get on to mentioning supernatural kids in films such as The Exorcist and The Omen. Anyhow, the horror film with child as antagonist hasn’t really been exploited too heavily in this country, as the hit rate is strikingly low. Eventually, the problem of killer child films will always arise: adults and teenagers are physically vastly superior to kids. Therefore, at some point, it’s going to become fairly easy to bitch slap the little bastards rather than getting stabbed with whatever implement they may be wielding. Some films try to come up with a pseudo supernatural way round this (such as Children of the Damned), but the only viable alternative is to couch an ethical dilemma in the film, and the one that formed the title of the Spanish movie mentioned above- could you kill a child even to protect yourself?
Contains murderous brats and spoilers
If there’s one thing I hate, then it’s the Welsh. However, if there are a few other things that I really detest then they are Elton John and Garden Gnomes. Both represent individually the naffest and most embarrassing output of the United Kingdom and I do wish both of them would fuck off back to the 70′s where they belong. Seriously, is there anything more crap in the known universe than a little ceramic cunt spoiling an otherwise lovely lawn? Or the sound of Elton John murdering some nauseating power ballad to a woman that he didn’t know, or even worse, rewriting it for the People’s Princess (excuse me while I go and vomit somewhere)? Actually, in fairness, and I suppose I should be fair, there is a practical use to the humble garden gnome: it’s that the presence of one in a garden is a cast-iron signifier that a complete and utter cunt lives in the house. Or alternatively a pensioner. One of the two, anyway. So, this does beg the question, what in the name of Lucifer’s bunghole was I doing watching a film produced by Elton John and his husband retelling Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with garden gnomes? Read More…
I’ve been looking at my recent Made in Britain films, and I’ve not been swimming around in misery porn anywhere near as much as I expected to be. This is partially down to the fact that what passes for the UK film industry is surprisingly diverse and partially because I’ve intentionally avoided those directors that I know ladle out the misery porn by the bucket load. I have also conspicuously avoided the British Gangster movie, as they are almost all horribly bad and the genre is almost completely overplayed. However, at some point I was going to have to take one of these on, and when 2006′s award-winning London to Brighton landed on the doormat courtesy of Lovefilm, it’s clearly time to man up and grasp the very unhappy bull by his even more unhappy horns.
Child prostitution and spoilers below. Read More…