To some, Morrissey is a figure who inspires devotion – the musician-poet of outsiders and of those wish the world were a different place. To others though, he’s a man who’s spent the past 35 years whining and becoming increasingly out of touch with life as lived by everyone else (not helped by the messianic adoration he still attracts from those who love him). He’d also probably be the last person to collaborate on a film biopic, so England Is Mine is very much unofficial, picking up Steven Patrick Morrissey’s life in the 70s, before anyone knew who he was. By concentrating on the time before he started collaborating with Johnny Marr, also helps the movie get around the fact that it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for them to get the rights to use any of The Smiths’ music. [Read more…]
Apparently, the BBC enquired about the rights to Robert Galbraith’s novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, before it was revealed that Galbraith was actually a pseudonym of JK Rowling. However, it’s likely their plans for a TV version changed once they realised the interest that would be generated by the connection to the Harry Potter author.
This year we got five episodes of ‘Strike’, the first three of which adapted The Cuckoo’s Calling, and the other two The Silkworm. This DVD just contains the former, introducing us to private eye Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke) – an injured war veteran (he lost part of his leg in Afghanistan), who’s swimming in debt and sleeping in his office. [Read more…]
Despite the presence of executive producer Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) and plenty of ecstatic reviews, The Big Sick wasn’t the breakout international hit many had crossed their fingers it would be. That said, the fact a movie about a Pakistani-born man raised as a Muslim got a mainstream release seems like progress.
Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) was born in Pakistan but was brought to the US by his parents when he was still a kid. Now he’s living between two worlds, with his family still keen for him to be a good Muslim and have an arranged marriage with a nice Pakistani girl, while he’s not sure what he thinks about God and wants to be a stand-up comic. [Read more…]
It’s 2007 and two American soldiers – Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Matthews (John Cena) – have been sent in after a group of people working on a pipeline in Iraq are gunned down. Convinced the gunmen have left, they head down to the bodies, only to come under fire from a sniper. Mathews is hit in the gut and collapses in the open. Isaac meanwhile is shot in the knee but manages to take shelter behind a ramshackle stone wall.
Losing blood and with no long-range radio, Isaac is trapped – unable to move away from the small wall without getting shot. Things get even more complicated when the sniper comes onto the short-range radio, demanding Isaac talk to him and threatening to shoot Mathews in the face if he doesn’t. [Read more…]
The Icelandic movie Heartstone arrives in the UK fresh from a very successful festival run, where it impressed audiences and picked up over 30 awards. That’s not bad for a movie from a country with a population of just 332,000 people. That’s about the same as the city of Coventry. Despite its size, it has a surprisingly thriving film industry, to the point where a large chunk of the population must spend at least part of their time making movies – and surprisingly good ones.
The film follows a group of teenagers in a remote fishing community. It’s a place where they’re left to their own devices a lot of the time, as parents are either absent or ill-equipped for their role in shaping young minds. The focus is Thor (Þór – Baldur Einarsson), who’s on the point where he’s frustrated his body is developing as fast as some of his friends, but he’s certainly becoming more interested in girls. His best friend is Christian (Kristján – Blær Hinriksson), with the two of them pretty much inseparable. [Read more…]
The subheading about Kevin Spacey above may be a bit unfair, but I do wonder whether director Edgar Wright is wishing right now he’d picked someone else to play a powerful man coercing a much younger guy to do his bidding. There are also moments in the special features on the Blu-ray where they’re talking about how wonderful Spacey is and how good he is at ‘playing’ a manipulative asshole, where you know the distributors wish they’d had time to cut it out before the disc his shelves, but which certainly give things an unexpected subtext now.
Thankfully though, the presence of the disgraced actor doesn’t completely overshadow the movie, which got great reviews and word of mouth on its cinema release for reasons that had nothing to do with Spacey. [Read more…]
After garnering huge amounts of praise on its Sundance debut in January, many suggested Call Me By Your Name had the potential to be a Brokeback style mainstream crossover success. Although it’s unlikely to become the sort of box office hit Ang Lee’s 2005 Oscar-winner was, it is likely to appeal to a wider audience than most gay-themed movies, partly just due to its reputation.
The film, based on Andre Aciman’s acclaimed novel, is set in northern Italy in 1983, at the 17th Century villa of an American professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his family. Each summer the professor brings one of his students over, which results in 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer) arriving at the house. He immediately catches the attention of the professor’s 17-year-old son, Elio (Timothee Chalamet). [Read more…]
Gay couple Marc (Tom Bateman) and Fred (Sean Teale) have won a case against a Christian bed and breakfast owner who wouldn’t allow them to share a bed. In order to gloat/revel in their victory, they have returned to the B&B, where the owner, Josh (Paul McGann), has decided everyone will now have to have single beds, whether they’re gay, straight, married or single.
They also meet Josh’s teenage son, Paul (Callum Woodhouse), who appears to be hiding his sexuality from his homophobic father. There’s also one other guest, a hulking Russian called Alexie. Marc is convinced that Alexie might also be gay, while Fred thinks he may be there for more sinister reasons, especially when he realises the Russian’s tattoos could mean he’s a killer. [Read more…]
While Hollywood has become increasingly obsessed with interconnected universes, Universal Pictures has felt a little left out due to the lack of comic book characters they own the rights to. To make up for it, they decided to go back to the classic movie monsters that the studio had such success with in the 1930s (indeed, they created an interconnected world of them back then). They’ve been busy attempting to build a linked series of movies around them, called Dark Universe.
The Mummy was the film designed to kick off the Dark Universe, with a big budget, an a-list star and a property everyone knows thanks to its 1990s/2000s resurrection with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. The response from critics and US audiences was muted however, with American box office stalling (although it did manage $400 million globally) and an abysmal RottenTomatoes rating (currently 16%). That’s caused a bit of a rethink about how the Dark Universe is going to pan out, with Bride Of Frankenstein pushed back, and the likes of The Invisible Man (with Johnny Depp) and The Wolfman currently without a release date. [Read more…]
It may be 2017 and gay marriage is legal in the UK, but it’s still incredibly rare for a mainstream British TV show to focus on gay characters and stories, especially a Sunday night BBC period mini-series. However, we got one with Man In An Orange Shirt, one of the centrepieces of the Gay Britannia season, marking 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of gay sex in England and Wales.
It’s also a somewhat unusual two-parter, as the first episode is set almost exclusively in the 1940s and 1950s, while the second episode leaps forward into the modern day. [Read more…]