MonthAugust 2017

Stratton review – Dominic Cooper is stubbly special-forces tough guy

Cooper plays a member of the elite Special Boat Service in this medium-budget, moderately silly action movie This medium-budget, moderately silly action-thriller, starring a stubbly Dominic Cooper as a special forces tough guy, is partly redeemed by its cheerfully outrageous finale involving a chase-slash-shootout with a car and a double-decker London bus somewhere in the countryside. That’s good value. Related: Dominic Cooper: ‘My best kiss? James Corden’ Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Educating Greater Manchester review – new terrifying, inspiring tales from the chalkface

At a Salford school, once the worst in the country, heartwarming friendships are formed and the pupils must come to terms with a terror attack Ding-a-ling-ding-ding-ding! Is that the school bell you can hear? It is: break’s over, holiday’s over, it’s a new term, new school. New terrifying, inspiring tales from the chalkface. This time we are in Salford, at Harrop Fold school, for Educating Greater Manchester (Channel 4). Who is going to emerge as an absolute legend this time? In Educating Essex, it was Mr Drew. Deputy head, disciplinarian, but brilliant with it, he was a great teacher and he really cared. In Yorkshire, first it was headteacher Mr Mitchell, also tough, also caring. Then lovely English teacher Mr Burton; you will have cried at the episode when he helped Musharaf overcome his stammer. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

London Symphony review – a silent paean to the city

The industrial scenes of the ‘city symphony’ heyday are eschewed in Alex Barrett’s distinctly 21st-century revival of the form It’s a sign of the times that the industrial pistons and grimy stevedores you might have seen in the 1920s heyday of the “city symphony” film are hardly anywhere to be seen in Alex Barrett’s sprightly revival of the form. Instead, for a 21st-century Great Wen rhapsodised in silvery monochrome and set without dialogue to James McWilliam’s score, we have bustling culture vultures, a multicultural clutch of temples and acres of steel and glass. Appropriately crowdfunded, London Symphony harnesses the city’s human element – more so than other globalised-London portraits such as Finisterre or Julien Temple’s documentary London: The Modern Babylon – in service of a cheeky formalism. Organising his shots into thematic blocks – nostalgic byways, religion, bins – Barrett has the knack of drawing out visual details that cause nice eddies in the film’s melancholy flow. But despite occasional partisan flushes – the Monopoly scenes during the segment on the current construction boom, for example – this symphony prefers even-handedness and an even pace to reaching higher for the exultant pitch and politicisation of the likes of Koyaanisqatsi. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

‘It was wonderfully scary’: Tim Curry, Rob Reiner and Kathy Bates on the joy of adapting Stephen King

Four decades after Carrie, the master horror writer’s It is the latest of his tales to be turned into a film. Actors and directors explain what’s kept the industry hooked Hollywood pounced on Stephen King as soon as his first novel, Carrie, was published in 1974. Over four decades, filmmakers have continued to take his words off the page and on to screens, scaring and delighting audiences in equal measure. From the terror of Misery to the bittersweet charm of Stand By Me, King is one of cinema’s biggest forces, his work lending itself to endless interpretations. So what is it that keeps the industry coming back for more? What exactly is that Stephen King magic that makes for such chilling entertainment, and what is it that makes him tick? We asked some of those who have brought his greatest creations to life. Continue reading… [hmp_player]