Film: The Call

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2013, Directed by Brad Anderson, written by Richard D’Ovidio, starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin

Third Act Syndrome. I’m starting to wonder wonder whether there’s been some kind of contagious outbreak in old Tinseltown that’s in desperate need of medical attention, such is the number of current Hollywood screenwriters managing to undo all the good work of the first hour with a dodgy final thirty. The Call suffers from one of the most viscous cases of Third Act Syndrome documented thus far, introducing a twist that trivialises the film and beggars belief. Continue reading

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Film: The Breakfast Club

1985, Written/directed by John Hughes, starring Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall & Judd Nealson

The Breakfast Club is one of the best-loved films of all-time. For one reason or another, the 1985 ‘brat pack’ feature has seeped into the public memory. While other ’80s school dramas have died and gone to bargin bin heaven, The Breakfast Club continues to be pushed in luxury Blu-Ray packages. It makes favourite list after favourite list, constantly peddled as a ‘classic’, or a ‘film to see before you die’. While it would probably be worth sliding it in somewhere if you’ve got another 60-odd years to go, if you’re planning on jumping into a river this evening, I wouldn’t go wasting your final few hours on what, in the modern light of day, is little more than a fairly solid teen drama. Continue reading

Film: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Stephen Chbosky, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson & Ezra Miller

The ten-word synopsis: Sad, lonely teenager makes friends. Angst by the bucketload ensures.

You can tell a lot about a film by it’s choice of Smiths song on the soundtrack. Shaun of the Dead goes for Panic- a jaunty but heartfelt piece, a bit of a rush, with contrasts rife throughout, with elements that logic dictates shouldn’t slot together instead melding wonderfully. (500) Days of Summer picks There is a Light That Never Goes Out. Passionate, tragic and yet oddly upbeat and charming. The Perks of Being a Wallflower plumps for Asleep- perhaps the musical embodiment of the depressing reputation that Morrissey, Marr & co have garnered over the years. Continue reading

TV Movie: Hawking

The cast/crew bit: written by Peter Moffatt, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Brandon and Lisa Dillon

The ten-word synopsis: Dramatisation of Professor Stephen Hawkings’ early days, aged just 21.

Stephen William Hawking is one of the most remarkable people alive. Universally regarded as one of the worlds’ great thinkers and bound to go down in history alongside the likes of Einstein and Newton, Hawking has done it all whilst suffering from motor neurone disease. First diagnosed when he was 21 and just headed for Cambridge, it’s here that this film lays its scene. Benedict Cumberbatch, of Sherlock fame, is Stephen Hawking, and it all plays out from there. Continue reading

Game: New Super Mario Bros 2

The system/publisher/developer bit: Nintendo 3DS, developed & published by Nintendo

The ten-word synopsis: More 2D Mario platforming action, now with lots more coins.

It’s testament to just what a miraculous job Shigeru Miyamoto did in 1985 that Nintendo can release essentially the same game these days and it’s still one of the best titles put out all year. While there continues to be a Mario revolution with games such as Super Mario Galaxy, it’s the gentle evolution of the New Super titles that seems almost more remarkable than Miyamoto simply redefining the genre again, as the gaming dreamworker seems to do at least once every 5 or 6 years. Continue reading

TV: The Inbetweeners – Series One

The cast/crew bit: Written & directed by Iain Morris & Damon Beesley, starring Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrisson

The ten-word synopsis:¬†Misadventures of four Sixth Form boys who don’t fit in.

The Americans have spent the past 50 years doing variants on the high school theme. For too long, they’ve been pigeonholing and overexadurating characters that just don’t feel real. So it’s alarming that in what is virtually Britains’ first high-profile shot at an equivalent series, they seem to have fixed the problems that so often linger in similar programs over the pond. Continue reading