Look, academically I can absolutely appreciate it’s the worst one. It’s awful. The plot is a re-tread of that film with Dustin Hoffman and a monkey and, all things considered, it’s the monkey who makes it out with the most artistic integrity. It’s a shiny, soulless, cynical morass. It’s a mess of explody, car-flipping, gun toting clichés, and Tom Cruise’s ridiculously flippy hairstyle was rejected from a Pantene advert for being unconvincingly shiny. It makes MI:1 look like a cross between Shakespeare and a 1970’s BBC Play for Today in its restraint. If #1 was the dignified uncle, #3 was the serious dad and #4 was the cool older brother, then #2 is the adolescent everyone would really rather forget.
But I don’t care. It’s my favourite. Ladies and gentleman, I present my case as follows: Continue reading →
There is absolutely no reason why I should enjoy this film, let alone own a copy. I am scared, properly unenjoyably terrified, by horror films. I dislike movies which glorify the armed forces. I hate gore, and suspense, and being made to guess in which order the whole cast are going to die and in which inventive way the next person is going to snuff it. I especially hate films which have an all-male cast running round casually toting enormous guns with a token female in a vest top thrown in as an afterthought.
So as you can imagine it’s quite a relief to find I must not be quite the Grinch-y, bitter, humourless scaredy-cat I affect to be most of the time, because I adore Dog Soldiers. At last count it’s one of only two horror films in my collection (hold out for 28 Days Later at some point), and on a rewatch I believe the reason why can be attributed to one thing alone: It’s all down to the Geordies.
Ballet dancing – exactly as much fun as their expressions suggest
I do love a good dance movie. If we’re talking about sequels that are better than their predecessors, then I tend to bypass the obvious Godfather example and go straight to Step Up 2: The Streets, which despite the lack of Channing Tatum, (or Tatum Channing? I can never remember) has significantly better choreography and a central couple you can really get behind, you know? But in fact Center Stage seems to be the only dance film I actually own, which even disregarding the US spelling that my heart rebels with every beat against, doesn’t make a lot of sense. OK, Footloose is mainly tractor drag racing, Magic Mike is technically stripping, Billy Elliot makes me cry too much and if I wanted to watch someone de-skin their own finger I would be a different person entirely, Natalie Portman. But there’s Strictly Ballroom for the romance, Save the Last Dance for classic-era Julia Styles, Silver Linings Playbook for Oscar class, Singing in the Rain and Top Hat for the dancing and Dirty Dancing, ironically, for almost everything except the dancing. The fact is, Center Stage is not a good film – the script is clunky, the storyline is entirely predictable, it’s loaded with stock characters, the romance is so obvious it might as well be telegraphed with those mountain-top pyres they use in Lord of the Rings, and the majority of the cast are professional ballet dancers, and as actors… they make very good professional ballet dancers. Continue reading →
In a Los Angeles hospital in 1916, a night-shirted man lies in bed and beckons over a small girl with a broken arm and missing milk teeth. ‘I’ll tell you a story. Close your eyes. There were five of them: The Indian. The Ex-Slave. The Explosives Expert. Charles Darwin. And the Masked Bandit. They had one common enemy…’ Then the images begin: a rearing horse, a strange bare tree ablaze, a monstrous juggernaut powered by children, a blue city, a swimming elephant.
God, it’s a good trailer. I only saw it because the remote was too far away to bother leaning over and skipping straight to the menu of whatever DVD I was trying to watch. Why had I never heard of this movie? Where had it come from?
It came from Pepsi Max, as it turned out. And Nike Trainers and Levi Jeans and Honda Civics, and eventually Michael Stipe. Continue reading →