A couple of years ago, if you’d put a bet on Dustin Hoffman’s first movie as a director being about a bunch of musicians in a British old folks home, you would have been very rich when Quartet opened. It’s a surprising choice for the veteran actor, especially as it’s such a quintessentially British movie, but he has a steady hand behind the camera, and also ensured he had some pretty powerful acting talent in front of the camera. [Read more…]
We’ve rather missed out on Tyler Perry here in the UK. While his self-written and directed movies have proved big hits amongst African-American audiences in the US and turned him into a multi-millionaire, many of his films never got cinemas releases in Britain. Some did get belated DVD releases, but a few have never come out here at all. Alex Cross is Perry’s attempt to segue over into the worldwide mainstream cinema success, as well as being the first film to have him in the lead that he didn’t also write and helm himself (he did pop up in a small role in Star Trek though). [Read more…]
The fact 1963’s Billy Liar is classed as one of British cinemas ‘kitchen sink dramas’ makes it sound as if it’s going to be a dull, slice of ‘it’s grim up north’ verité, but it’s actually far more charming and funny than that. Indeed, while the way it’s shot and its working class roots are rather British New Wave, it as much hints towards the groovy cinema of the late 60s as it fits with the ‘angry young men’ cinema it’s often grouped with. Either way, it’s a great movie that’s been given a remarkably sharp brush-up for its 50th anniversary. [Read more…]
A group of people head for a secluded clinic to take part in a medical trial, with the promise that if they stay for two weeks, they’ll get £2,000. After being introduced they’re taken off at hourly intervals to be given the drug, Pro9, and are then left to get to know one another.
That night the side-effects turn out to be far more dramatic than expected. The first of the guinea pigs to be given the drug is found doubled-over in pain and is taken off by the medics. Some time later, a second participant starts screaming. It soon becomes clear that the drug has extreme side-effects, which essentially turn people into unconscious psycho-killers, who are more than willing to inflict violence on those who get in the way. As the other patients realise escape is going to be difficult, they also know that everyone who’s been given the drug is potentially going to go off their rocker too, and the only reason more haven’t already turned is due to the hour-long gaps between the administrations of the first dose. [Read more…]