Monthly Archives July 2013

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

Alan Partridge Alpha Papa - quad posterDirector: Declan Lowney

Cast: Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Felicity Montague, Tim Key, Phil Cornwell, Nigel Lindsay, Monica Dolan

Cert: 15

Running time: 105 mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: The big screen is finally graced with the presence of Norfolk’s most infamous son. And good news, it’s a back of the net success. Coogan and co. make nods to big screen action with a Die-Hard-in-a-radio-station plot, but what makes AP: AP fizz is the decision to play it parochial. Norfolk locations, hilarious phone-ins topics (e.g “Norfolk’s most sun-tanned child”) and gags that come as thick n’ fast as Airplane! or Naked Gun make this textbook.

The Alan Partridge MovieThe Alan Partridge Movie

The full verdict: If “who’s the worst monger: fish, iron, rumour or war” or “we’re taking dedications from people who’ve had planning permission denie...

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Lee-mendous! The Top 10 Greatest Bruce Lee Moments

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Click here to read our Enter the Dragon at 40 feature.

Rob Daniel

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The Wolverine

Untitled-1Director: James Mangold

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Hal Yamanouchi, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Famke Janssen, Will Yun Lee

Cert: 12A

Running time: 126mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: The Wolverine is back and this time he’s clawsome! Cinema’s favourite X-Man gets a second stab at his own movie and all involved are determined to make amends for the spectacularly dull, clumsily titled X-Men: Origins – Wolverine. Drawing inspiration from a classic 1980s Japan-set comic series has re-energised the character, and director James Mangold shoots the adventure as a gritty yakuza thriller. Jackman may be on his sixth outing as hirsute grumpy-boots Logan, but attacks the part with claws fully extended. Best superhero film of the summer, and who would have thought that?

The Wolverine - Jackman, holeThe Wolverine - Jackman, funeral

The full...

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Enter the Dragon Hits 40… Hard!


“When the opponent expands, I contract.  When he contracts, I expand.  And when there is opportunity, I do not hit.  (Raising his fist) It hits all by itself.” – Bruce Lee, Enter the Dragon

Enter the Dragon feature - posterEnter the Dragon was released 40 years ago on July 26th 1973.  Tragically, Bruce Lee had died six days previously, so never saw the phenomenon his martial arts classic would become over the next four decades.

Originally intended as a cash-in on both James Bond and the imported Chinese action films that were doing big business at the time, what makes the movie so special?

The answer is Bruce Lee.  Enter the Dragon was intended to be a global showcase for the Chinese-American actor, proving he could move from Eastern to Western action star.

In this respect it was a smash hit, making $25m at th...

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The World’s End

The World's End quad poster - Pegg, Frost, WrightDirector: Edgar Wright

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, Michael Smiley

Cert: 15

Running time: 109mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: The final bite of the Cornetto trilogy zings with the taste of 90s Britpop nostalgia and memories of 80s sci-fi horror movies.  Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are joined by Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Paddy Considine for a trip down amnesia lane.  Five one-time friends, their aim is to complete the Golden Mile 12 pub crawl in their hometown, a challenge that bested them years earlier.  But, with the locals acting distinctly odd, the “five musketeers” have more than a big head on their pints to worry about...

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Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim - quad posterDirector: Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Ron Perlman, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Max Martini, Robert Kazinsky

Cert: 12

Running time: 132mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: Guillermo del Toro, the man behind the best film of the noughties Pan’s Labyrinth, takes his love of monsters 30 storeys high in this awesome cage fight of a movie. Riffing on Japanese movies and anime such as Godzilla, Gundam and Evangelion, he delivers giant robot vs. titans monster action quite unlike anything seen before. Unfortunately, his strong storytelling gets lost amidst the sound and fury making this a three star blast of fun rather than the five star classic the trailer suggested it might be.

PACIFIC RIMPacific Rim - Gipsy Danger

The full verdict: Pacific Rim promised to be the monster movie we’d been waiting for...

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From Up On Poppy Hill

From Up On Poppy Hill - quad posterDirector: Goro Miyazaki

Stars: Masami Nasagawa, Jun’ichi Okada

Cert: U

Running time: 91mins

Year: 2011


The lowdown: After the misfire of 2006’s Tales from Earthsea, Goro Miyazaki has more success with his sophomoric directorial outing.  Adapted from a popular girl’s comic, it’s a gentle tale of high school romance and youthful exuberance set against the upcoming 1964 Olympics.  A second tier Studio Ghibli offering, but with its pleasantly relaxed tempo and gorgeous pastel animation it sits comfortably alongside the animation house’s finer movies.

From Up On Poppy Hill - Shun and Umi after jumpFrom Up On Poppy Hill - Shun and Umi umbrella

The full verdict: Much like Disney in the late 60s, Studio Ghibli execs must be pondering their future when genius co-founder Hayao Miyazaki is no longer there to pick up the pencil.

The Ghibli heir apparent, Yoshifumi Kondo, die...

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The Lone Ranger (2013)

Lone Ranger - Depp, Hammer, Quad posterDirector: Gore Verbinski

Cast: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham-Carter

Cert: 12A

Running time: 149mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: Following its critical and commercial scalping at the US box office, hopes do not ride high for this reboot of the radio, TV and silver screen hero.  But, we’ve not been drinking too much firewater when we say The Lone Ranger is solid, enjoyable blockbuster entertainment.  The Social Network’s twins Armie Hammer grabs the reins as the likable lead and Johnny Depp manages to exorcise the ghost of Jack Sparrow for a surprisingly heartfelt turn as Tonto...

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A Field In England

A Field In England quad posterDirector: Ben Wheatley

Cast: Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley, Peter Ferdinando, Ryan Pope, Richard Glover

Cert: 15

Running time: 90mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: Ben Wheatley follows the psycho-holiday fun of Sightseers with a cloudier brew in this 17th century based mushroom-induced nightmare. The League of Gentleman’s Reece Shearsmith gives perhaps the year’s bravest performance as a scholar caught in a never-ending nightmare along with three deserters and Michael Smiley’s distinctly sulfurous bad guy. Surreal, blackly funny, infused with madness and barmy as it is experimental, it doesn’t have the focused brilliance of Kill List but is another bold step in Wheatley’s journey to becoming Britain’s most exciting director.

A Field In England - ShearsmithA Field in England - Smiley

The full verdict: Those who found the third act of...

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The Perfume of the Lady in Black

The Perfume of the Lady in Black - posterDirector: Francesco Barilli

Cast: Mimsy Farmer, Maurizio Bonuglia, Mario Scaccia

Cert: 18

Running time: 101 mins

Year: 1974

The lowdown: Memorable and mad “hysterical female” movie with a suitably verbose giallo like title, but owing a good deal more to Polanski’s Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby and Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now.  Italian horror cinema icon Mimsy Farmer delivers her best performance as a woman being driven mad by… what exactly?  Director Francesco Barilli co-wrote the tightly structured giallo Who Saw Her Die two years earlier.  Here he allows the atmosphere to tell the story more than conventional plotting, creating a striking, lyrical and erotically charged neglected gem.

The Perfume of the Lady in Black - Mimsy Farmer seanceThe Perfume of the Lady in Black - Mimsy Farmer seance 2

The full verdict: Although not a traditional giallo, The Perfume of the Lady in...

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