10 May 2010
Artist Sam Taylor Wood’s debut is a moving and well-crafted biopic focusing on Lennon’s early life and strained relationships with his old-fashioned aunt (Kristin Scott- Thomas) and unconventional, self-destructive mum (Anne-Marie Duff). Taylor-Wood’s real life beau Johnson captures Lennon’s belligerent, rebel with a soul persona beautifully but it is the performance of the two women who loom large in his life that steal the show. Cinematically one might expect more flair, but for Lennon fans this is a solid and sympathetic study of a turbulent period of the star’s life.
Well decent it ain’t. Whereas the first Descent movie benefitted from Neil Marshall’s imagination and eye for detail this brain dead sequel limps from uninspired jump to uninspired jump. Picking up after the first film’s ambiguous ending this part asks the audience to seriously believe that survivor Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) would go back into the cave to search for her lost pals. Yeah, right. There is no character development to speak of, some truly awful acting and worst of all, no scares. The subterranean ‘gribblies’ carry none of the menace of the first film mainly because we know they’re there. And that they’re blind and stupid. Avoid!
04 May 2010
Of all the developments to come out of British society's recent fixation on celebrity culture the rise of the ‘wag’ is surely one if the most profoundly depressing. Young, usually glamorous wives and girlfriends solely defined by the wealth and fame of their sporting partners. Girl power it certainly isn’t, but apparently hopping into bed with a bloke with good ball skills has become to a lot of 21st girls a viable career path.
This grim reality of modern life is tackled sympathetically and without judgement by writer Leigh Campbell and directed confidently with no small amount of wit and charm by Lindy Heyman.
Focusing on two Liverpool girls’ (Kerrie Hayes, Nichola Burley - both very good) shared obsession for a Premiership footballer, Kicks attempts to uncover the desperation and stifled dreams behind the champagne cocktails and VIP parties of the local football aristocracy.
It is only partly successful. While the first half of the film - propelled ably by Ladytron’s melancholic electro - is an engaging tale of two lost souls sneaking in and out of clubs and wondering what to do with themselves; the second half- when they actually meet and take their hero hostage- is sadly disappointing.
The defining act of kidnapping the star player seems unlikely and even unnecessary to the story as a whole and even threatens to devalue the strength of what went on before. The two girls are at first seen as normal girls tainted somewhat by the regrettable disease of celeb worship, but never the less normal. In the second half they are borderline psychos; playing mind games with the captive winger and taking weird pics of him on their mobiles. An added element of horror yes, but one that detracts from the well balanced social commentary of before and not something that rings true of two ‘normal’ 15 year girls.
That aside, Kicks is an interesting and enormously relevant film and one that it is encouraging to see being made in this country.