Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult to understand why. Loosely based on a true story, it's a lively romp set on the edge of Europe during World War II. But after nearly 70 years the material called for a much fresher approach than this rather dull farce. At least the cast is likeable, even if they can't inject much spark into the story.
It's set on the island of Todday, off the west coast of Scotland, where the locals are horrified that their rationed quantity of whisky has run dry. Annoyed that they now have only tea to drink, they get on with their lives. Postmaster Macroon (Gregor Fisher) is preoccupied with the romances his two daughters are carrying on: Catriona (Elle Kendrick) is in love with skittish schoolteacher George (Kevin Guthrie), while Peggy (Naomi Battrick) has just reunited with her returned soldier boyfriend Odd (Sean Biggerstaff). Then a ship runs aground off the shore, and word has it that its cargo hold contains a massive whisky shipment. So the villagers devise a plan to sneak around local military officer Wagget (Eddie Izzard) to salvage the hooch.
All of this plays out as a rather tepid adventure, never cranking up any suspense at all as Wagget is easily outwitted by everyone else on the island. The dual romances play out without even a whiff of lusty zing or dramatic tension. And there's also a political thriller thread involving a stash of important documents, which the script sidelines completely. Instead we get more of the whisky-chugging local minister (James Cosmo) who participates in the hijinks but forbids heist activities on the sabbath. Director MacKinnon stages everything in slapstick style, accompanied by a ludicrously insistent comedy score by Patrick Doyle. But it's never very funny.
Continue reading: Whisky Galore! Review
It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral through a series of adventures that left their friendship in tatters. And now the entire cast is back, as are director Danny Boyle, writer John Hodge and novelist Irvine Welsh. Since the characters have aged into middle-aged men now, the film has a very different kind of energy to it, mixing the visceral imagery with a knowing sense of nostalgia. And once again, it has a lot to say about the state of the world.
It's been two decades since Renton (Ewan McGregor) betrayed his mates. He's living in Amsterdam when a health scare forces him to think about heading back to Scotland to face the music. Spud (Ewen Bremner) hasn't held a grudge for one very good reason, but he's still a junkie and has been alienated from his wife (Shirley Henderson) and son. Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), aka Sick Boy, is furious but soon gets over it as he realises that maybe Renton can help him and his hooker cohort Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova) finally open a brothel. On the other hand, the hotheaded Begbie (Robert Carlyle) won't be quite so forgiving. He has just escaped from prison, and his first thought is how to get even with Renton.
Hodge's script digs into the idea that these men have seen their hopes and dreams fade away, even though there's still a glimmer of desire left. And Boyle directs the film with the same spark of energy, spiralling through colourful cutaways, hilarious sight gags, wacky antics and pulsing music. It's an intriguingly grown-up variation on the first movie, and it still engulfs the audience with its sights, sounds and emotions. These are men who believe that their wasted youth has led them into an equally wasted adulthood. And there isn't much time left to make something of themselves.
Continue reading: T2 Trainspotting Review
Set 20 years after the original movie, we see our favourite once drug-addled Scotsman reunited. After Renton pledged to make his life better and stop taking heroin, he ran off with the takings of the groups drug-deal and had not been seen by any of the group since. Troublemaker Begbie is still on the wrong side of the law and finds his temper taking control and constantly getting him into trouble, once he's released from jail, causing mayhem comes as standard for the moustachioed brute.
Spud has changed the least but he's still the most genuine member of the group. Sickboy finds himself running a pub a failing pub which he tries to modernise. In a bid to make money, Sickboy finds himself becoming entwined with various shady characters looking to make money by legal and illegal means.
While most of the group have found themselves cutting their intake of heroin, that doesn't mean that they're on the straight and narrow. Each one is still battling various demons from their past and make a living example of the old adage 'old habits die hard'.
Continue: T2 Trainspotting Trailer
Ben-Hur may be adopted but he's been loved by his parents - just as much as they love their biological son. Both boys live a privileged life in Jerusalem but as the boys grow up, Messala develops a secret rivalry to his brother which eventually leads to Messala betraying his family in the most brutal way.
Continue: Ben-Hur Trailer
Like Game of Thrones crossed with Braveheart but stripped of most of the budget, this scrappy film tells an intriguing story without the usual Hollywood bombast. And while the low-fi production makes it sometimes feel rather corny, this ancient yarn holds our interest due to a strong focus on the characters and a gritty use of spectacular locations.
It's set in AD 871 Britain, after the Viking King Bagsecg (Cosmo) is fatally injured just as he's preparing to take on the Saxon horde. As he lays dying, he gives his third son Steinar (Bewley) the important task of locating eldest son Hakan (Cowan), who has gone native and is living with the Picts. Second son Harald (Robertson) prefers to leave Hakan as lost, but agrees to hold the fort while Steiner sets off with younger half-brother Vali (Barklen-Biggs) and his loyal soldier pals (Standen, Flanagan and Jibson). But after crossing the countryside and fighting off Saxon warriors, they make a startling discovery that changes the way Steinar sees his past and his destiny.
Steinar's odyssey unfolds in a series of encounters and battles along the road, as they meet colourful people and take on various handfuls of black-clad Saxons. Clearly the filmmakers didn't have the funds for more than a few extras, so the skirmishes are all fairly small-scale, but they're pretty fierce and they reveal some fascinating details in the clash between the Viking gods and the Britons' Christianity. Steinar, meanwhile, has rejected religion and superstition, which puts him at odds with everyone and makes his soul-searching much more involving. Bewley plays this very nicely, even if Steinar's arc isn't hugely surprising.
Continue reading: Hammer Of The Gods Review
Justin is an average boy with big dreams living in a Kingdom where the Queen has enlisted lawyers instead of knights. However, Justin wants more than anything in the world to become one the latter, just like his deceased grandfather Sir Roland. He must embark on a quest to train to become the best knight he can and on the way meets his three mentors, Blucher, Legantir and Braulio, a wacky wizard named Melquiades and the very beautiful Talia. Sooner than he'd hoped, he finds his first challenge; Sir Heraclio and his sidekick Sota are attempting to raise an army to defeat the Kingdom, leaving Heraclio crowned king. Justin must protect the Kingdom he was brought up in and, in doing so, purloin his grandfather's old sword from Heraclio's clutches.
Continue: Justin and the Knights of Valour Trailer
Tommy is a new father suffering from severe agoraphobia after his wife Joanne was beaten to death by a savage gang of hooded youths. The children are crazed and blind, feeding on fear that which Tommy provides an all-you-can-eat buffet. Marie is a nurse who helps Tommy overcome his trauma, though is sceptical about the madness of the situation even when Tommy's apartment gets raided again by the same gang. But a tough-taking priest forces him to face his fear as he enlists him to help him destroy the apartment complex with the help of a young boy called Danny who, like the assailants, is blind and able to sense fear though uses it to help Tommy stay alive. Things get complicated when Tommy's baby daughter Elsa is targeted however, and he begins to worry whether he has any hope rebuilding the future that is gradually being snatched from him.
Continue: Citadel Trailer
Chicago's Comic & Entertainment Expo saw Q&As and signings from the stars of some of the biggest TV shows and movies of recent years, plus some of their rather enthusiastic fans!
Fans dressed as Stormtroopers at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo 2013
Chicago's Comic & Entertainment Expo has always brought together a diversity of stars and artists from a range of films, TV shows and comic books every year and 2013 has been no different!
Among the Spotlight Guests from this year's Entertainment category were Natalie Dormer and James Cosmo of the Emmy award winning fantasy series 'Game of Thrones' who sat in for a Q&A session on the Sunday (April 28th). Vampire drama 'True Blood' star Janina Gavankar was spotted at the Photo Op Booth where fans could get their picture taken and bag the actress' autograph. Fans of the zombie series 'The Walking Dead' got a lucky deal too with a 3 hour signing session following a Q&A from stars Chad Coleman and Laurie Holden while the Golden Globe winning Ron Perlman was available on the Saturday (April 27th) for those bursting with questions about his roles in 'Hellboy' and 'Sons of Anarchy'. Creator and star of the sitcom web series 'The Guild' Felicia Day appeared at the Expo on the Friday (April 26th) for any loyal fans willing to pay $25 for an autograph from this avid gamer.
Mary (Dickie) has fled Ireland with her 15-year-old son Fergal (Bruton) and settled in a squalid Edinburgh housing estate, where she immediately starts scrawling protection spells on the walls in her own blood. And there's good reason, as the shady Cathal (Nesbitt) is hot on her trail, travelling with his brother Liam (McMenamin) under orders to "kill the boy". Despite this, Fergal tries to be a normal teen and spark a romance with his new neighbour Petronella (Stanbridge). But there's a beast on the loose and, quite literally, hell to pay.
Continue reading: Outcast Review
Husky men in drag may be good for a sketch-comedy guffaw, but as the basis for an entire movie the idea always gets stretched way too thin.
It's the difference between "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," a good movie with authentic transvestites who happen to be fun and funny, and "To Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar," an inane movie built on nothing more than the incongruity of seeing Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo in flamboyant frocks. (OK, Leguizamo looked pretty damn good.)
But far worse than even "To Wong Fu" is "All the Queen's Men," in which decking out burly boys as "broads" is little more than a fatuous gimmick -- the kind of 25-words-or-less concept that is the basis of most bad movies: Wouldn't it be funny if a bunch of Allied soldiers went undercover as assembly-line women in a German factory during World War II?
Continue reading: All The Queen's Men Review
Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...
It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...
Set 20 years after the original movie, we see our favourite once drug-addled Scotsman reunited....
Like Game of Thrones crossed with Braveheart but stripped of most of the budget, this...
Justin is an average boy with big dreams living in a Kingdom where the Queen...
Tommy is a new father suffering from severe agoraphobia after his wife Joanne was beaten...
Creepy and atmospheric, this low-budget thriller works primarily because it never over-explains its twisty, grisly...