On paper, The Rum Diary sounds like a sure-fire winner, but in practice it’s slightly more problematic than that. The film sees Johnny Depp returning to the work of Hunter S. Thompson and again playing the kind of Thompson alter-ego that he did so well in Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas. Depp has been intimately involved with the movie, to the point where he was the one who told Thompson to publish it, as the writer had stuffed it in a drawer since the early 60s and never let anyone see it. Depp and Thompson were casting around for something else they could film after Fear & Loathing, and came across The Rum Diary, which was duly published and is Hunter’s only proper novel. [Read more…]
Now nearly 10 years old (it was initially made for French TV in 2002), Close To Leo makes a welcome return to DVD. It’s one of the best movies ever made about HIV/AIDS, largely because it treats it as just one aspect of the characters’ lives, and is actually more interested in the issues the disease raises as people attempt to carry after the diagnosis, rather than being overly angsty about the infection itself – although with enough angst that it doesn’t feel flippant.
Told through the eyes of Marcel, who’s on the cusp or puberty, the film follows a family in Brittany after they discover the eldest son, Leo, is HIV+. Marcel isn’t supposed to know this, but he picks up enough to realise what’s going on, even if he can’t accept that he’s being left out of important family development. While Marcel initially reacts by rebelling, he eventually goes off on a trip to Paris with Leo, where the two attempt to bond. [Read more…]
It’s difficult not to read a synopsis of Kill Keith and feel that the whole thing is a very bad idea – a cheesy joke that shouldn’t have been stretched into an entire movie. However this movie about a serial killer targeting British light entertainment veterans isn’t half as bad as you’d think it’d be. That’s not to say we’re going to see Keith Chegwin walking the red carpet at the Oscars next year (I really don’t know what America would make of him if he did), but Kill Keith managed to keep a smile on my face far more than I ever expected it to.
The movie follows Danny (Marc Pickering, who some may remember as R Wayne in Peter Kaye’s ‘Britain’s Got the Pop Factor’), who’s working as a runner on a popular breakfast TV show. The male host of the programme is about to leave, and in a basement somewhere, a serial killer is torturing a TV executive to find out the shortlist for his replacement. [Read more…]
I think it’s safe to say that writers/directors Mark Harriott and Mike Matthews must like The Wicker Man. Unhappy Birthday comes across as a bit of a homage to the 1973 Edward Woodward movie, except with a more modern take on sexuality.
Rick is taking his girlfriend Sadie for a birthday weekend away, with their friend Johnny coming along as well. What Rick hasn’t told Sadie is that on the windswept island they’re heading to is a women he believes to be her long-lost sister, and that he’s going to surprise her by bringing them together. However the trio have more issues than just family reunions to worry about, as Rick is partial to sleeping with Johnny when Sadie isn’t around, and she is up the duff, even though Rick might be infertile. [Read more…]
Dale works as a male escort in Greenwich, London, specialising in fulfilling people’s sexual fantasies, whether it’s to have him role play as a schoolboy or to look after a client like they’re a baby. However, away from his work he’s starting to weigh up his life. He’s approaching 30 and while he enjoys the freedom his lack of commitments allow, his real desires begin to leak out when his straight best friend, Raj – who Dale has been in love with for years – announces he’s going to get married. In amongst all this is Dale’s friend Sean, a flamboyant drag artiste, while up on the local heath there’s been a string of brutal gay hate crimes. [Read more…]
If you ever told someone about West Side Story who didn’t know anything about it, their response is likely to be, ‘That sounds awful!’ It is a concept you really wouldn’t think would work on the screen, except for a niche audience. After all, it is essentially a film that asks you to accept a bunch of street toughs who sort everything out with ballet, and which features plot twists (admittedly borrowed from Romeo & Juliet) that are far-fetched to say the least.
However thanks to an incredible conjunction of talent, it doesn’t just work but is one of the greatest musicals ever created. As you probably know, the film is essentially Romeo & Juliet but transferred to the streets of New York, with the Capulets and Montagues replaced by the white street gang The Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. [Read more…]
Set in Mississippi in the early 60s, The Help deals with the world of segregation, when black women raised the children of white women, but weren’t allowed to use the same drinking fountains, sit in the same part of the bus and, as the movie says, often couldn’t even use the same toilet.
Young, rather liberal, Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns home after getting a college education to find that the black maid she’s known and loved since childhood, Constantine (Cicely Tyson), no longer works for them, but nobody will tell her exactly why not. While all Skeeter’s friends are busy becoming wives and mothers – and never questioning the idea that the black women who work in their houses should be treated as second class citizens – Skeeter embarks on a project to write a book about these maid’s experience of lif. However she needs to recruit some of ‘the help’ to tell her about their lives. [Read more…]