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…
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…
I struggled with how to categorise Paperhouse. Initially, I considered writing this review as an Underrated, because Paperhouse is a hideously underexposed little film, however on reflection, I think this is the natural home for it. Yes, it is obviously underrated, but I try to save those reviews for films that I’d consider giving a maximum to, yet for some reason have dropped off the radar. Paperhouse was music director Bernard Rose’s début feature (he was previously responsible for the Relax video that got banned), and was completely missold as the UK’s answer to Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s nothing of the sort, instead, Paperhouse is an almost-outstanding slice of dark children’s fantasy, a creepy film full of strong images, and with enough chills to traumatise most kids for a long time.
May be a fever dream but has spoilers below Read More…
St. Trinian’s is a bit of a British institution. Based on the illustrations of Ronald Searle, the first film, The Belles of St. Trinian’s, launched a reasonably successful franchise that plays to a lot of our traditional end of pier seaside humour (which is invariably as funny as cancer) and borders on the frankly fetishistic on more than one occasion, particularly with regards to the Sixth Form (the 18 year olds). In the original films, they were effectively being run as a brothel by Flash Harry (the incomparable George Cole), but very much weren’t the focus of the films. The actual meat, so to speak was that the headmistress Millicent Fritton (Alastair Sim) had an educational philosophy that allowed the girls to run wild, and the fourth form in particular would get up to all sorts of hijinks, outwit the dimwitted local constabulary, and they would usually end in some sort of wild mêlée. They were all, though, essentially harmless and basically good natured “family” films. In 2007, some genius had the idea that it would be a good idea to bring this obvious anachronism back for the 21st Century, cast it full (in classic Hollywood style) of “hot” women too old for the parts, focus on the 6th form and place Rupert Everett in the Sim role. Sadly, the damned misbegotten idea made money, which meant that in 2009 we were treated to the sequel: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold.
Buckle up, this one’s going to be rocky. Oh, and spoilers below.
In the wake of another mortifyingly bad effort by England’s national side, The Rise and Fall of A White Collar Hooligan landed on my doorstep. Good timing, eh, particularly when you consider our latest supine penalty performance. It’s our fucking national game, and we’re utter cobblers. Still, at least we usually win on the terraces.
I’m genuinely convinced we’re in the middle of a kind of mini-golden period in British Cinema. 2011 in particular had some genuinely outstanding efforts released (and Brighton Rock, but we won’t talk about that). 2012 has got off to a relatively good start, with the new Hammer effort The Woman in Black playing to one of our traditional cinematic strengths. With films from the likes of Ben Wheatley still to come, it could again turn out to be another good year for our much benighted film industry. Mid way through comes director Paul Tanter’s The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan- released in the UK on Monday 2nd July, a film that promises to play to another of our traditional strengths: The London gangster movie.
Back in the late 90’s Channel 4 used to run a late night comedy satire show. Unsurprisingly, and unimaginatively, entitled The 11 O’Clock Show, this series did prove to be a touch hit or miss, but when on song, it was absolute dynamite. Some of the most amusing interviews I saw at the time were on this, and I will honestly never forget Daisy Donovan asking Glenda Jackson (UK MP and double Oscar winner) what it was like to be fingered by Tony Blair. I mention this, because the 11 O’Clock show was the starting point for a lot of UK talent, being the series that launched (amongst others)Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G and Borat, Ricky Gervais (his bit on feminism was genius), Daisy Donovan, and, finally, Ricky Grover. Grover appeared as psychotic time-serving nutter Bulla, and his little segments on current affairs tended towards the hilarious. Back in 2011, though, he sat down with his wife, and decided that Bulla, like Ali G, deserved a full length film. I’m not so sure I agree.
Contains thieving gypsy bastards and spoilers below.
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…