A drama set around a cultural movement in 1970s Britain, this film captures the period beautifully, but its story is so underdeveloped that it leaves the fresh young cast without proper characters or relationships to play. The depiction of teens in need of their own sense of belonging is strong, but without a story to connect with, the film leaves its audience struggling to maintain interest.
It's 1974 in Lancashire, and teenager John (Elliot James Langridge) is an outcast at school in search of some friends. Then the lively Matt (Josh Whitehouse) introduces him to Northern Soul, underground American R&B that's circulated on bootleg records. So he drops out of school, disappointing his favourite teacher (Steve Coogan) and his parents (Christian McKay and Lisa Stansfield). As he digs deeper into the movement, John makes some new friends (including Antonia Thomas and Jack Gordon) and takes on the star DJ Ray (James Lance) by scrounging for never-heard recordings. But along with learning a new way to dance, John is also introduced to the drug scene, which basically scuppers his and Matt's plan to save cash for a trip to America. And it's Ray who understands that John's only hope of success as a DJ is to ditch Matt.
The best part of this film is this friendship between John and Matt, which was sparked by a shared interest in soul music and then was strained by the scene itself. Writer-director Elaine Constantine vividly captures this world, including the teen sense of hopefulness and independence. But she seems far more interested in depicting the period and the music than in keeping a focus on the characters and their friendships. People drift in and out of the story, relationships refuse to develop into anything meaningful, subplots come and go at random, the romance is barely hinted at and the drug-addiction strand starts to get preachy.
Continue reading: Northern Soul Review
John (Elliot James Langridge) doesn't fit in. He is victimised by his teacher (Steve Coogan), his mother (Lisa Stansfield) is ashamed of him, and he is often bullied. He fights back in whatever small way he can, but there is nothing he can fully channel his energy into. That is, until he discovers northern soul. Not only can he express his heart and soul on the dance floor, but he steadily begins to gain more and more confidence from day to day. He and a friend decide to start up their own northern soul dance club in order to raise funds to travel to America. As events steadily escalate out of control, the one thing that remains constant in the boy's lives is the soul music.
Continue: Northern Soul Trailer
Michael Winterbottom vividly recreates swinging 1960s London in this biopic about one of Soho's most notorious figures. It's a lively and attention-grabbing film, but the cast and filmmakers never create a character we can identify with or care about, which leaves the film feeling a bit meaningless. And even if we're interested in the history, we are never able to feel the emotions.
As he did for Winterbottom in 24 Hour Party People, Steve Coogan plays a colourful real-life figure, this time Paul Raymond, also known as the King of Soho. Raymond made his fortune through strip clubs and lap-dancing venues, then expanded into publishing men's magazines before purchasing large swathes of property in London's artiest district. But his marriage to Jean (Friel) was strained by his rampant womanising, including a long-term relationship with actress-model Fiona Richmond (Egerton). And the main woman in Paul's life was his daughter Debbie (Poots), who was in line to inherit his fortune when she died of a heroin overdose in 1992.
The film is framed with Debbie's funeral, showing Raymond at his lowest point. But then, even when he was living the high life, his self-obsession casts a heavy shadow. Everyone in this story is just as lost in their own addictions. And it's sad to see Raymond himself never able to move on from his own early years, amassing a £1 billion fortune, which he left to Debbie's children when he died in 2008. Coogan bravely never tries to get us to sympathise with Raymond, delivering a focussed performance that's darkly bittersweet. Poots adeptly captures Debbie's inability to see her own talents as she falls into a whirlwind of drug abuse. And Friel and Egerton get the most engaging roles as woman thrown aside along the way.
Continue reading: The Look Of Love Review
Paul Raymond biopic 'The Look of Love' premieres at London's Curzon Soho in style.
Upcoming biopic 'The Look of Love' based on the life of glamour entrepreneur Paul Raymond hit London yesterday (April 15th 2013) in its premiere with all the pizazz that Soho could offer.
'Alan Partridge' star Steve Coogan still seemed a little in character, shunning a tie and opting for an eye-catching shirt with several top buttons undone when he hit the red carpet at the Curzon Soho in London alongside his glamorous co-stars Anna Friel and Tamsin Egerton who play his onscreen wife and daughter respectively. While Anna was positively glowing in her ankle length yellow and gold dress that certainly matched up to the glorious English Springtime, Tamsin opted for a white, long-sleeved, floor-length number that flattered her elegant frame. Former 'Mock The Week' host Chris Addison and current host Dara O'Briain also made appearances on the red carpet having both featured in the biographical comedy, as well as 'Boy Meets Girl' star James Lance who played Raymond's business associate Carl Snitcher in the movie.
Paul Raymond became the wealthiest man in the UK when he opened the country's first strip club, the Raymond Revue bar, after starting out his nightlife career as a mind-reader cabaret performer. When the bar became highly successful among gentlemen everywhere, his risqué empire only grew into various men's magazines including 'Men's Only', 'Razzle' and 'Mayfair' not to mention spawning various new clubs across the entertainment district of London, Soho, earning him the nickname 'King of Soho'. Though, while loved and admired by thousands, he was also scorned in other circles and even his family began to suffer from the effects of his billion pound industry. His marriage to one of his strippers, Jean, did not meet an amicable end as he embarked on a whirlwind affair with a younger star, and his previously close bond with his daughter Debbie whom he loved more than anything in the world, was broken after her sudden death at the tender age of 36. This is the story of the triumphs and turmoil of Britain's richest man.
Continue: Look Of Love Trailer
In 1890 Paris, penniless charmer Georges (Pattinson) has a chance encounter with former comrade Charles (Glenister), who offers him a job as a journalist.
Unable to string a sentence together, Charles' wife Madeleine (Thurman) offers to help, but refuses his relentless flirting. Instead he starts a torrid affair with married family friend Clotilde (Ricci). But a taste of the high life goes to his head, and when Charles dies, he makes a move for Madeleine. Or maybe he can get more out of Virginie (Scott Thomas), wife of the newspaper boss (Meaney).
Continue reading: Bel Ami Review
Georges Duroy is a French non-commissioned officer (NCO) who has just spent three months serving in Algeria, in North Africa. He arrives back in Paris and begins working as a clerk for the next six months, soon becoming penniless. One night, Georges goes to a pub after work and runs into former comrade, Charles Forestier, who is now working as a journalist. After catching up, Forestier offers Georges a job at the publication where he works, which he accepts.
Continue: Bel Ami Trailer
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