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Johnny Marr recommended track Jeepster by T Rex in Electric Boogie 1971 by T Rex in Music (curated)

Electric Boogie 1971 by T Rex
Electric Boogie 1971 by T Rex
2007 | Rock
(0 Ratings)
Album Favorite

Jeepster by T Rex

(0 Ratings)


"This song was a really pivotal moment in my life, it was the first record I ever bought and it was by a complete fluke. ‘Jeepster’ was in a bargain box for 10p and it happened to have a photograph of Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn on the label, that was unusual, it was rare to have a photograph on the label and Marc Bolan looked androgynous, very beautiful, mysterious and quite weird. “So at the age of ten I took a punt on this thing. With that money I could have bought a few comics and an ice lolly, I’d have taken the stick and put it in the wheel of my bike, which was very important! But I bought ‘Jeepster’ instead and I did that thing of walking home and looking and looking at it. Fifteen minutes later I put in on and it snagged my attention straightaway, I had to pay attention to it, but it was pop music. “I listen to it now and it’s quite lo-fi, but even then I had an awareness it sounded like people in a room and that it was pretty rough, which was a bit of an ask for a little kid, it certainly wasn’t music for 10 year olds, 15 year olds maybe. I heard the sound of his guitar and why the hell I was hearing bongos in there as well was really intriguing to me. Before it was three quarters of the way through I was planning on playing it again and trying to find out how this thing worked. “The riff is funky without being James Brown and his limitations as a guitar player were really useful on all of his records up until ‘20th Century Boy’, which was very brutal. ‘Jeepster’ is very funky but he’s almost playing with the same limitations of John Lee Hooker, if he was any better - a Ritchie Blackmore or an Eric Clapton - it wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting because it would have sounded too bland, accomplished and slick. He’s hanging in there a bit, particularly on the outro, the riff is so dumb a more accomplished guitar player wouldn’t have been heard dead playing it. It’s so gauche, but it’s probably the best bit of music on the record. “Then there’s the way the band go in and out of time. I picked that up the third time I listened to it and that was really amazing, because on the radio at the time it was The Osmond’s ‘Love Me for a Reason’, The Carpenters, Andy Williams and all this slick, easy listening stuff, but this was a real pre-Glam record. “It identified me, I was ‘I know what it is to be a fan of this thing of my own now.’ I’d seen my parents be fans and to this day they’re fans of bands, but because I became a fan of this guy I was getting all these signals - particularly from girls’ magazines - about what it was to be a fan and having posters on my walls. The Smiths were very aware of that dynamic. “I grew up very close to my sister, who was eleven months younger than me and I’m glad that was something that happened for me, because I had a real sense of what she liked. I’d almost been like a twin, what they call an Irish twin with my sister, and it gave me a genuine appreciation of how great it was to be a girl. “It’s a fantastic function of pop culture, that shifting to take in different gender roles both ways, with people like Lady Gaga and Richey Manic. Marc Bolan was beautiful and he sounded really beautiful, the sound of a soft voice singing in a Rock and Roll way over a rock band has never really left me and that’s probably evident on my solo stuff. “Because of the photograph of Marc Bolan on the sleeve, his androgyny and the way he was singing, it was my first independent connection of seeing a different image of masculinity. I was very, very aware of that, because he was obviously wearing make-up and he was very pretty. I was hearing this guy singing in quite an effeminate voice and I owned the record, so I’d better love it. It wasn’t that I was just loving the music, I’d invested in this thing where this guy was like a woman and that was really exciting."

Detective Comics Volume 3: League of Shadows
Detective Comics Volume 3: League of Shadows
James Iv Tynion | 2017 | Fiction & Poetry
8.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
<i>A little bit of "backstory": I am a sucker for well-executed Ra's al Ghul story! To me, he is one of Batman's best adversaries and one of my personal faves! Add in more human, less off-the-scale like he is under Tom King's run Batman, and you've got a great treat for me! Now, that said, on to my review.</i>

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I am still enjoying my return to reading DC's books rather than the current slop Marvel is serving up. My latest undertaking has been James Tynion IV's run on DETECTIVE COMICS. Last night, I devoured the 3rd volume, "League of Shadows", largely for the reasons in my backstory above.

I know some folks on interwebs have issues with Tynion's writing for the Dark Knight. I've read things like "bland" and "his stories go NOWHERE". I don't know which of his Batman entries they are reading, but thus far, not a one has disappointed.

This one was particularly interesting as it dealt with Cassandra Cain, a former Batgirl/now calling herself "Orphan" as that is what her parents have chosen to do, leaving her <i>orphaned</i>. Her mother is Sandra Wu-San, or as she is better known, Lady Shiva. There is no love lost between Cassandra and her mother; essentially, Shiva treats the poor girl as if she was dead, not even a product of her womb. Sad, really. But, it is good to see Cassandra and Shiva's relationship dealt with following the whole "Rebirth".

I may be in a serious minority here, but I really liked the ending (not <i>really</i> much of Spoiler), where Batman holds her in a embrace, letting her known she is not alone..ever. Sure, Bats is all about the whole "Dark Knight" and "Oooh, feel my scary presence, criminals!", but it was nice to see his human, father-esque side to his character. Much better than the way he is being handled in his main book!

Equally meaty and worthwhile was Ra's inclusion as part of the story. I found him to be well-written, feeling much like "The Demon's Head" that is his being. I was totally able to hear, in my head, his dialogue as read by David Warner, who did his voice in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. That definitely seems like Tynion is truly writing at the top of his game!

I was also quite pleased with the subplot of more background to Batwoman's character. I was not really that familiar with her character, other than in the animated DC film. That aside, I found her to be real and decidedly interesting, especially her relationship with her father. Again, some excellent writing from Tynion!

And speaking of Batwoman, how cool was it to see Batman assembling Bat-Family 2.0? This plot element harkened back to the Silver Age, where DETECTIVE COMICS would often do double-sized issues that focused on the then-Bat-Fam: Batman, Robin (Dick Grayson, not yet Nightwing), Batgirl, and sometimes, Elongated Man would get a story in it as well.

The new Bat-Fam consists of Batman (of course!), Batwing (Lucius Fox's son), Batwoman, Orphan (Cassandra Cain), Azrael (who I consider to be not-so-interest, leaving me to skip the last issue of this volume as it was 100% Azrael-centric), Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), Red Robin, and the-now-trying-his-hand-at-being-a-rehabilitated-good-guy Clayface. Quite a mixed bag, almost like a Skittles version of the Bat-Fam, but interesting choices for a collaborative team.

The team functions well enough, but there is some static and tension, as would be true of any team assembled such as this lot. All in all, I really dug the gang, and they really worked well together. Super-smooth idea of introducing a Bat-Fam 2.0! Bravo, James Tynion IV,you are AWESOME for doing this!

It is also worth mentioning the artists for this volume: Marcio Takara and Christian Duce. I was already familiar with Takara's delicious style from his work on Marvel's ALL-NEW WOLVERINE. Christian Duce was previously unknown to me, but after seeing his super-legit art skills, he is going to be one for me to keep an eye for going forward!

Blah, blah, blah, am I right? I could go on and on, but if you weren't reading my blathering, you could be reading this excellent Bat-book. I was going to give it 5-Stars, but I see that I was just giving them out for a while not unlike Oprah giving away new cars! So, that's it! Go already! You need to get a'readin'!
Enola Holmes (2020)
Enola Holmes (2020)
2020 | Adventure, Crime, Drama
There were several things that didn't make me leap at this one, but I was excited to have a "new release" to watch so...

The Holmes family name is a recognisable one, Sherlock and Mycroft are taking London by storm... but did you know about their younger sister, Enola? Raised by her mother, an eccentric and strong woman with a very alternative view on education, Enola is a strong will young woman in her image. When her mother goes missing Enola sets off to find her against the wishes of her brothers, taking herself to London and crossing paths with friends and foes along the way.

When I was looking for something between Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew I was hoping they'd throw the stone a little further. In my notes I scribbled that there are plenty of books about teen detectives that would have adapted well... and then I discovered that this was a book, and a series no less. I understand that the association with Sherlock Holmes is a strong one to market, but I feel like we're a little Sherlocked out these days. I miss vaguely original content... sorry, that sounds bitchier than it was meant to be.

Millie Bobby Brown did a good job of bringing Enola to life, there's a strong precocious nature to the role and she adapted to every twist convincingly. At times I noticed the odd slip that felt a little pantomime-y but by the time I'd pursed my lips and frowned it had already passed.

The Holmes brothers, brought to us by Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin, where to start... Claflin as Mycroft did a pretty good job, possibly too good, every time he was on screen I wanted him to leave. However, am I the only one that thought that these actors should have been playing each other's roles? As much as I love Cavill, he is not Sherlock. Sherlock is not suave and naturally charming, and he's certainly not built like a Chippendale, well, maybe a bit of furniture. It felt like a very unnatural fit, but I could just about visualise it with the roles reversed.

Supporting actors were great, I particularly enjoyed Susan Wokoma's, Edith. But, I was pleasantly surprised to see Fiona Shaw pop up in what appeared to be a reprisal of her role from Three Men and a Little Lady, but I digress.

To a layman like myself the period setting looked amazing and I thought the costumes were excellent. In fact, everything about the film looked stunning, but here is where I part with compliments.

Enola Holmes clocks in at just over the 2 hour mark, 2 hours and 3 minutes if we're being precise. If you say "family film" I think 1 hour 30, 45 maybe, if you say "thriller" I think 2 hours+... I know there are no hard and fast rules about it, but here's the thing, there wasn't enough content to fill that time. Yes, they managed to fill the runtime, but so much of it was unnecessary. Her mother's storyline seemed entirely there to get her to London, which could easily have been done in several ways, there's one scene in particular that seemed to go nowhere. I hate to say it, but Fiona Shaw and her finishing school were completely surplus to requirements too, nothing happened there that was very relevant at all. Some of the additions to what is quite a simple story made it a little complicated, though complicated isn't quite the right word because everything was easy to grasp (when it was relevant), perhaps "fussy" would be a better choice.

When the film ended I knew we were being set up for round 2, though this one came with less of a sickening groan than Artemis Fowl's did. I don't know how the books run as a series so I'd be interested to see how they compare, but I'm not a fan of continued storyline and that will definitely be on the cards for a sequel.

While I'm fully aware I've just moaned about a lot of points, the film is definitely watchable, but for me it was too cluttered and drawn out to hold my attention. With some snipping here and there it could have been vastly improved.

(My god, I didn't even mention the 4th wall breaking or the very end... but I guess no one really wants a full essay on the subject.)

Originally posted on:
Downton Abbey (2019)
Downton Abbey (2019)
2019 | Drama, History
Very little happens…. and it’s totally glorious!
The “Downton Abbey” TV show is comfortingly bland. The tales of the well-heeled Grantham family and the below-stairs antics of their servants. But for those who have followed Julian Fellowes‘ pot-boiler drama through all six seasons, and a number of Christmas specials, it’s like a favourite jumper… or rediscovering your comfy slippers just as the nights start getting colder.

But in a world where TV spin-off movies are notoriously dire, would this movie by the nail in Downton’s coffin?

Thankfully not.
It’s a glorious production! The opening of this film will, I’m sure, fill all Downton fans with utter glee. John Lunn‘s music builds progressively as a royal letter wends its way through the 1927 postal system, eventually ending up (as the famous theme finally emerges spectacularly) at the doors of Downton Abbey. (Downton is of course the gorgeous Highclere Castle near Newbury, acting as a star of the film in its own right. Somewhere I was lucky enough to visit just a couple of weeks before filming began).

The plot(s).
In a year of Thanos-crushing drama, there really is nothing very substantial going on here!

The King (George V, an almost unrecognizable Simon “Hitchhikers Guide” Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) are staying over in Downton for one night on their Yorkshire tour. This naturally sets the below-stairs staff into a bit of a tizz, as indeed it does the whole village. But their glee at involvement and recognition is a bit premature, since the royal entourage – headed by an officious Mr Wilson (David Haig) – parachute the complete gamut of staff into the location to serve the royal party, so bypassing the locals completely.

The ‘Downton massive’ are of course having none of this, and a battle-royale ensues.

Scattered as sub-plots like confetti at a wedding are a military man putting a strong arm around the potentially-risky Irish Tom Branson (Allen Leech); a family rift that erupts between Aunt Violet (Maggie Smith) and cousin (and royal lady-in-waiting) Maud Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton); a sobbing princess (Kate Phillips); an over-enthusiastic shopkeeper (Mark Addy), who is difficult to let-down gently; a plumbing emergency with romantic jealousy and sabotage involved; the sexual preferences of Barrow (Robert James-Collier) getting him into trouble; and a potential love-interest for the widowed Tom with Maud’s maid Lucy (Tuppence Middleton). (There are probably half a dozen others that I’ve forgotten!)

A huge ensemble cast.
As befits a show that has gone over six seasons, there is a huge ensemble cast involved. Inevitably, some get more air time than others. Bates (Brendan Coyle) seems to be particularly short-changed, and above stairs I thought the same was true – strangely enough – of the Crawleys (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern).

As for Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode), he’s hardly in it at all! Apart from some impressive camera gymnastics for his running-up-the-stairs arrival, he doesn’t make much of an impression at all. (I can only guess he had other filming commitments).

These are players that have worked together as a team for many years, and it shows.

But the acting kudos has to go to Maggie Smith who steals absolutely every scene she’s in, with genuinely witty lines – “I’ll lick the stamps myself” (LoL). Close behind though is Imelda Staunton who also turns in a very impressive performance.

Glorious photography.
The photography is fantastic throughout, with deep rich colours, pin-sharp focus and some seriously dramatic pans. A big hats off to cinematographer Ben Smithard, but also to his drone team (“The helicopter ladies”) for delivering some jaw-droppingly gorgeous shots of Highclere castle.

(By the way, I thought the picture at my local Picturehouse cinema – Harbour Lights in Southampton – was particularly stunning: I queried it with them, and they said they had changed the (very expensive) projector bulb just that day! These things clearly matter!)

Will is appeal?
If you are a Downton fan, yes, Yes, YES! I have been a moderate fan of the TV series, but went with superfans – the illustrious Mrs Movie-Man and (as a guest visitor) Miss Movie-Man. I loved it, but the two ladies were ecstatic with the movie.

Even if you have never seen an episode, it is easy to pick up and the quality of the production is so impressive I don’t think you will be disappointed.

As such, I think I need to post a blend of ratings for this one.
King of Thieves (2018)
King of Thieves (2018)
2018 | Action, Crime, Drama
No f-ing honour among f-ing thieves.
What a cast! Micheal Caine; Jim Broadbent; Tom Courtenay; Michael Gambon; Ray Winstone; Paul Whitehouse…. Just one look at the poster and you think yes, Yes, YES! But would this be a case where my expectations would be dashed?

Having seen the film at a preview showing last night, I’m pleased to say no, it’s not. I was very much entertained.

The film tells the ridiculous true story of the “over the hill gang” – the bunch of largely pensioner-age criminals who successfully extracted what was definitely £14 million – and could have been up to £200 million – of goodies from a vault in London’s Hatton Gardens jewellery district over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend in 2015. The gang is led by the “king of thieves” – Brian (Michael Caine) – highly regarded as an ‘elder statesman’ among the London criminal scene.

Did you see Mark Kermode‘s excellent “Secrets of Cinema” series on the BBC? (If not, seek it out on a catch-up service!) The first of the series deconstructs the “Heist” movie, showing how such movies track the preparation, the execution and the progressive unravelling of the wicked scheme, typically through internal strife among the gang itself. (Pretty much as you would assume happens most of the time in real life!) Kermode points out that such movies play with our emotion in secretly wishing the bad ‘uns to succeed in doing something we would never have the bottle to ‘step out of line’ to do. “King of Thieves” nicely follows this well trodden story-arc, but – for me – does it with significantly greater style than the norm.

Yes, it’s very much a “Brit-flick”, and I’m not sure how it will play outside of the UK. But the film’s script, penned by Joe Penhall (“The Road”, “Enduring Love”), plays beautifully to the extreme age of its cast – the average age of the actors playing the gang is over 67… and that includes the 35-year old Charlie “Stardust” Cox (who is actually very good as the young foil for the older blades)! There is lots of laugh-out-loud dialogue relating to bodily deficiencies and ailments and the tendencies of old-folk to nod off at inconvenient times! However, its not very deep stuff, giving little background to the characters. And if you are of a sensitive disposition, the language used in the film is pretty extreme: F-bombs and C-bombs are dropped in every other sentence.

The film is delivered with visual style by “The Theory of Everything” director James Marsh. He cleverly reflects that all of the older leads have past records: the film nicely interweaving tiny snippets of past British crime movies to illustrate the career exploits of the now-creaky old folks. (If in the epilepsy-inducing opening titles you thought you caught a subliminal shot of the gold from “The Italian Job” – the superior 1969 version – then you were right!) As well as “The Italian Job”, the snippets also includes “The Lavender Hill Mob” and (if I’m not mistaken) the late George Sewell in “Robbery”.

It’s all delivered to a deafeningly intrusive – but in a good way – jazz-style soundtrack by the continually up-and-coming Benjamin Wallfisch.

As in the recent “The Children Act”, it is the acting of the senior leads that makes the film fly for me. Caine is just MAGNIFICENT, at the age of 85 with the same screen presence he had (as featured) stepping out of that prison in “The Italian Job”; Winstone is as good as ever in playing a menacing thug, and even gets to do a Michael Caine impression!; Gambon is hilarious as the weak-bladdered “Billy the Fish”. But it is Broadbent that really impresses: he generally appears in films as a genial but slightly ditzy old gent in films like the “Potter” series; “Paddington” and “Bridget Jones“. While he has played borderline darker roles (“The Lady in the Van” for example), he rarely goes full “Sexy Beast” evil…. but here he is borderline psycho and displays blistering form. A head-to-head unblinking confrontation between Broadbent and Caine is a high-point in the whole film… just electrifying. I’d love to see BAFTA nominations for them both in Acting/Supporting Acting categories.

In summary, it’s a sweary but stylishly-executed heist movie that has enough humour to thoroughly entertain this cinema-goer. The film is on general release in the UK from September 14th and comes with my recommendation.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
2018 | Drama, History, Romance
7.0 (11 Ratings)
Movie Rating
“Contented with little, wishing for more”.
Here’s a curious little British film that has some merit, both as an entertainment vehicle and as a history lesson.

Set in a split-timeline between 1941 and 1946, the film tells the story of Juliet Ashton (Lily James, “Darkest Hour“, “Baby Driver“), a young British writer who seems all at sea emotion-wise following the war. She is struggling to fit in with her high-society London life, and can’t seem to put her heart into either her publishing commitments, much to the frustration of her publisher Sidney (Matthew Goode, “The Imitation Game“, “Stoker“), or her boyfriend Mark (Glen Powell, “Hidden Figures“), the dashing and well-off American army officer.

Into this mix drops a letter out of the blue from Guernsey from a pig-farmer called Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman, “The Age of Adeline“, “Game of Thrones”), which leads her on a trail of discovery into the mysterious back-story of the strangely named book club. The secrets of the tightly-knit St Peter Port community, and what really happened during the Nazi occupation, come progressively to light as Juliet digs deeper.

Much as “Their Finest” shone a light on the rather invisible war efforts of the British propaganda film industry, so here we get an interesting and (I believe) relatively untapped view of the historical background of the German occupation of the Channel Islands. How many viewers I wonder, especially those outside of the UK, knew that the Nazis occupied “British” territory* during the war?

(* Well, strictly speaking, the Channel Islands are a “crown dependency” rather than being part of the UK per se).
Story-wise the screenplay splits the drama between:

the love triangle (which I almost took to be a love square at the start of the film… and to be honest I’m still not 100% sure!) between the main protagonists and;
the mystery surrounding Guernsey’s Elizabeth McKenna (Jessica Brown Findlay, “The Riot Club”, Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey).
In the first instance, you would need to be pretty dim I think, particularly if you’ve seen the trailer already, not to work out where the story is going to head! (Although, to be fair, I thought that about “Their Finest” and was woefully wrong!). I found this all rather paint-by-numbers stuff, but livened up immensely by a scene between James and Powell and a bottle of champagne which is wonderfully and refreshingly pulled off.

The second strand of the story is slightly more intriguing and provides the opportunity to see the wonderful Jessica Brown Findlay in action: it is just disappointing that she actually features so little in the film, and also disappointing that, at a crucial dramatic moment, the action moves “off-stage”. I wanted to see more of that story.

In terms of casting, Susie Figgis must have had a TERRIBLE job in casting Juliet: “Gemma Arterton not available…. hmmm… who else would fit…. think… think… think… think dammit….! Ah, yes!!” Lily James might be in danger of becoming typecast as a 40’s-style love interest. But she just fits the bill in terms of looks and mannerisms SO perfectly.

Elsewhere in the cast, Penelope Wilton (“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel“, “The BFG“) is superb as the deeply damaged Amelia; Tom Courtenay is 300% better than in his last movie outing as the cranky old postmaster; and TV’s Katherine Parkinson impresses greatly as the kooky gin-swilling Isola Pribby. All in all this is a fine ensemble cast. (With James, Goode, Wilton and Brown Findlay there, it must have also felt like a “Downton Abbey” reunion party!)

I’d also like to say that the Guernsey scenery was gloriously filmed, but as this article suggests, most of it was actually filmed in glorious Devon instead! Given the Guernsey Tourist Board have been going overboard (at least in the Southampton area) on film tie-in advertising, this feels rather like false representation! But I’m sure its equally lovely!

So in summary, it’s a thoughtful period piece, with some great acting performances and well-directed by Mike Newell (still most famous for “Four Weddings and a Funeral”). I enjoyed it but I felt it moved at a GLACIAL pace, taking over two hours to unfold, and I thought a few editing nips and tucks on the long lingering looks and leisurely strolls could have given it most impetus. But to be fair, my wife and cinema buddy for this film thought it was PERFECTLY paced, giving the story the space it needed for the drama and Juliet’s state of mind to unfold. In fact she gave it “5 Mads” as her rating… top marks! For me though a very creditable…
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
2017 | Action, Comedy
Vaughn and Golding cross the pond to deliver more of the same.
You would probably need to be living under a rock not to know that “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is the follow-up film to Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman’s highly successful 2015 offering “Kingsman: The Secret Service”: a raucous, violent and rude entry into the spy-caper genre. And the sequel is more of the same: why mess with a crowd-pleasing formula?

The fledgling agent Eggsy (Taron Egerton (“Eddie the Eagle“), curiously called “Eggy” at various points in the film for reasons I didn’t understand) is now the new “Galahad” following the demise in the first film of the original, played by Colin Firth (“Magic in the Moonlight“, “Bridget Jones’ Baby“). But just as he’s getting into his stride the whole Kingsman organisation, now headed by Michael Gambon (“Harry Potter”) as Arthur , is ripped apart by an evil drugs cartel called “The Golden Circle” headed by smiling but deadly Poppy (Juliane Moore, “Still Alice”).

Eggsy and Lancelot (Mark Strong, “Miss Sloane“) in desperation turn to Statesman – the US equivalent organisation – and together with some surprising allies set out to defeat the evil plot to poison all casual drug users.
Subtle this film certainly is not, featuring brash and absurdly unrealistic action scenes that are 90% CGI but – for me at least – enormous fun to watch. As with the first film (and I’m thinking of the grotesquely violent church scene here) the action moves however from ‘edgy’ to “over-the-top/offensive” at times. The ‘burger scene’ and (particularly) the ‘Glastonbury incident’ are the standout moments for all the wrong reasons. I have a theory about how these *might* have come about…
One Mann’s Movies Showcase Theatre
The scene: Matthew Vaughn and Jane Golding are working “The Golden Circle” script at Goldman’s English home.
Vaughn: “OK, so Eggsy is in the tent with Clara and needs to plant the tracking device on her.”
Goldman’s husband Jonathan Ross sticks his head round the door.
Ross: “Hey Guys, I’ve an idea about that. I was on the phone to Wussell Bwand and we came up with a GWEAT idea.”
Vaughn: (rolling his eyes, mutters to himself): “Oh God, not again…”
Ross: “We thought that Eggsy could use his finger to stick the tracker right up her – ahem – ‘lady canal’ and… and… here’s the really great bit… the camera’s gonna be his finger. A camera up the muff! It’ll be weally weally funny!”
Vaughn: “But Jonathan…”.
Goldman nudges him hard.
Goldman (whispering): “Just let it go Matthew… you know what he’s like if he doesn’t get at least a couple of his ideas into the film”.

You can only hope a stunt vagina was used for this scene, else Poppy Delavigne (older sister of Cara) is going to find it very hard to find credible future work. One can only guess what tasteful interlude is being planned for Kingsman 3 – – a prostate-based tracker perhaps?

The film works best when the core team of Taron Egerton, Mark Strong and Colin Firth (yes, Colin Firth!) are together. Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water“), Channing Tatum (“Foxcatcher“) and Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball”) all turn up as key members of ‘Statesman’ – adding star power but not a lot else – together with Pedro Pascal (“The Great Wall“) as ‘Whiskey’…. who I expected to be someone equally famous behind the moustache but wasn’t!
There’s also a very entertaining cameo from a star (no spoilers from me) whose foul-mouthed tirades I found very funny, and who also has the funniest line in the film (playing off one of the most controversial elements of the first film). It’s fair to say though that others I’ve spoken to didn’t think this appearance fitted the film at all.

Julianne Moore makes for an entertaining – if less than credible – villain, as does Bruce Greenwood (“Star Trek: Into Darkness”) as a barely disguised Trump. None of the motivations of the bad ‘uns however support any scrutiny whatsoever: this is very much a “park your brain at the door” film.

I really shouldn’t enjoy this crass, brash, brainless movie fast-food… and I know many have hated it! But my guilty secret is that I really did like it – one of the best nights of unadulterated escapist fun I’ve had since “Baby Driver”. Classy it’s certainly NOT, but I enjoyed this just as much as the original.
The Girl With All the Gifts (2017)
The Girl With All the Gifts (2017)
2017 | Drama
An Adam’s Apple for Teacher.
I remember once having a ridiculous drunken dispute at a works Christmas party many year’s ago that went along the lines of “if you had the chance to save the world, but had to kill your child to do it, what would you do”. There’s a variant of this conundrum at the heart of this brilliant new film from Colm McCarthy, best know for his TV work on shows like “Peaky Blinders”, “Sherlock” and “Dr Who”.
As most people already realise, this is a ‘Zombie film’ (cue, a number of other single blokes in the cinema) and illustrates the dangers of not treating that Athlete’s Foot as soon as it appears! I would normally provide a quick synopsis here, but I really think this is a case in point where it is best to go into the film as blind as possible to the story and let it envelop you. (This includes not watching the whole trailer if possible.) To merely set the scene, we open with a morning school ritual like none you’ve seen before: children strapped to wheelchairs by heavily armed military in their cells; wheeled to an underground classroom; then made to sit in serried rows being taught by their teacher Helen Justineau (a deliciously un-made-up and natural Gemma Arterton). What IS going on? Who ARE these children? WHY are the soldiers so scared and dismissive of them?

The ever-great Paddy Considine (“Pride”) plays army Sergeant Parks (who also has a bit of a crush on Helen) and Glenn Close plays Dr Caroline Caldwell, who is studying the children in more ways than one.

This trio of stars, supported notably later in the film by Fisayo Akinade as the trooper Kieran, turn in what is a superb ensemble performance. As for Glenn Close, I have never quite been able to shake her awful “silk blouse” performance in “Air Force One” from my mind, but here she is quite memerising in the role of the Doctor on a mission: I would suggest a career best. Her final scene reflects such a complex range of emotions, and is brilliantly executed. And Gemma Arterton pulls out all the emotional stops in what is also one of the performances of the year.

But good as these performances are, they would be nothing without the central performance of young Sennia Nanua as the titular “Girl”. I have made the point before that there should be an Oscar category for “Young Actors” rather than pitch them into the adult categories like Quvenzhane Wallis and Anna Paquin were (successfully). Here in her debut feature performance Sennia is just mesmerising and (provided this film gets the recognition it justly deserves) she should be a shoe-in for the BAFTA Rising Star award next year, if not an Actress nomination. A young lady most definitely to watch.

Also assuming a starring role is Chilean-born composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer’s astonishingly effective music which drives up the tension superbly. This is his feature film debut and another name to watch.
The screenplay by Mike Carey from his original novel is beautifully crafted, with some great one liners dropped in to ease the tension a notch. And the story adds a level of emotional depth and angst that surpasses other films of this genre, at least as far back as the “28 Days” films.

Astonishingly, the film was made on a budget of 4 (FOUR!) Million Pounds, giving it a BvS quotient of 2.1%!! Every penny of that budget is up on the screen, and whilst you might like to pick at a few of the matte paintings and effects, it is a remarkably achievement in special effects (Nick Rideout is the SF supervisor) and production value.
So, its great! Go see it… but with a few caveats: it is a zombie film, and it ranks about an 8.9 on the splattometer scale, which might not be to some tastes; definitely don’t go to see it if you are pregnant (though I am constantly reminded how I took my heavily pregnant wife in 1985 to see “A really great film called ‘Alien'”); and you might want to avoid it if you are a great cat or dog lover, or indeed a pigeon-fancier. Other than that, get yourself down to a multiplex and see this great British film: surely a classic to be recognised for years to come.
The Accountant (2016)
The Accountant (2016)
2016 | Drama
7.5 (37 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Rain Man with a Kalashnikov.
(Another Bob the Movie Man Showcase Theatre).
The scene: studio execs in a board room in Warner Brothers. Greg Silverman, head of Creative Development walks into the room full of his most creative guys and slams a script by Bill Dubuque onto the table.
Silverman: “Affleck needs a real zinger of a film to follow his Batman work and this is it… but we we need a really riveting title… something to grab everyone’s attention and get them begging to pay their ticket money to see. Hit me!”
Creative 1: “The Autist?”
Silverman: “Like your thinking…. good Oscar associations… but perhaps a tad non-PC.”
Creative 2: “Under the Skin?”
Silverman: “Been done. Besides, don’t want everyone thinking they’re going to see THAT much of Johansson again”
A grey looking financial director, sitting in the corner: “Er… sir… I’ve got an idea….”


So… it’s not the most PR-friendly title in the world, but it is a whole lot more interesting than it sounds. Ben Affleck plays the titular accountant (who may or may not be called Christian Wolff) – a sort of evil Jack Reacher of the financial world: off-the-grid behind multiple aliases and with financial fingers in more murky pies around the world than seems tasteful.
Not only is he a mathematical genius with the numbers, but is also extremely handy with his fists and an arsenal of high powered weaponry he keeps in his executive trailer home… ready to up-roots and disappear at any time.

Supported over the phone by a mysterious ‘Pepper-Potts-style’ personal assistant, who appears more machine than person, Affleck is guided from job to job, dropping in the occasional “normal” job to keep the authorities off his tail. One of these is for a bio-technology company headed up by Lamar Black (John Lithgow) who brings him in – against the wishes of his FD and long term friend Ed Chilton (Andy Umberger) – since all appears not quite right in the books. Junior accountant Dana Cummings (Anna “Pitch Perfect” Kendrick) is the young lady who has seen the discrepancy but can’t track it down in the labyrinthine accounts.

This so called ‘safe’ job lands both him and Dana in extreme danger as person or persons unknown, fronted by a hired ‘heavy’ played by Jon Bernthal, try to prevent some dodgy activities coming to the surface.
As a parallel thread, the head of the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, Ray King (J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”) strong-arms (for no readily apparent reason) analyst Marybeth Medina (an impressive Cynthia Addai-Robinson) into pursuing Wolff. With a keen intellect and a strong incentive she begins to close in.

Directed by Gavin O’ Connor, this – for me – is a frustratingly inconsistent film. When it flies, it really flies well, both at an action level and at a dramatic level. The flashback scenes to Wolff’s childhood are well done, showing how the autistic and needy youngster who needed compassion, quiet and understanding got the exact opposite from his militaristic father (Robert C Treveiler) to ‘jolt him out of’ his condition. It is easy to understand how he turned out the way he did.
On the flip side, the plot progression almost deliberately shines a spotlight on some questions (no spoilers) that if you ask them you immediately see the answers, resulting in most of the rest of the plot falling into place without shock or surprise. There was only one genuine twist for me, right at the end of the film, that I didn’t see coming.

The script by Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”) delivers some really nice scenes between Affleck and Kendrick, some smart (and genuinely funny) one-liners and one of the best abruptly ended speeches since Samuel L. Jackson’s in “Deep Blue Sea”. However, the whole Treasury Investigation story-line (however good it is to see J.K. Simmons act) is somewhat superfluous to the whole thing and just doesn’t work.

Kendrick and Affleck have good chemistry, with Affleck trying desperately to breathe some likeability into what is a pretty cold and calculating character. It’s hard though to empathise with someone who – albeit indirectly – is the source of such misery around the world through drugs, terrorism, dictatorships and God-knows what else. Kendrick plays kooky and naive really well, but she really ought to get some protocols sorted out around letting people into her apartment: she really doesn’t seem to learn!
It’s a nice idea and entertaining to watch, but the delivery is flawed.