Tag Archives: London

Exclusive – Jason Statham’s #Hummingbird Trailer drops

25 Mar

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Our favourite British hardman is back again, in a new film called Hummingbird. The first trailer dropped today and here’s what its got in-store for all you lot. Clearly Statham is donning his trademark not quite “bond” attire and kick ass moves, but its nice to see him back on home soil…

Here’s a little bit more about the film:

Starring Jason Statham (Parker, Safe, Killer Elite, The Expendables, Crank, Bank Job, Transporter), with BAFTA award winner Vicky McClure, Agata Buzek and Benedict Wong (Prometheus), Hummingbird marks the directorial debut of Oscar® nominated screenwriter Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things), from his own original screenplay.

Living homeless after going on the run from a military court-martial, Joey Jones (Statham) is a damaged ex-special forces soldier trapped in London’s criminal underworld. But when opportunity enables him to assume another man’s identity, he is transformed into an avenging angel.

A brutal, and yet surprisingly tender, thriller, Hummingbird is released in cinemas on 17th May 2013 from Lionsgate UK.

Welcome to the Punch – Film Review @welcome2punch

14 Mar

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Eran Creevy ups his game tenfold following his impressive micro budget debut with Shifty. Now backed by executive producer Ridley Scott, and with a considerable amount more money behind him, Creevy demonstrates what he can do when he’s playing with the big boys, in an impressive but not quite perfect classic cop chase style film.

Welcome to the Punch stars James McAvoy as Detective Max Lewinsky a man on a three-year hunt for ex criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong). After hiding in Iceland, as you do, Sternwood is forced back to London when his son gets involved in a heist gone wrong. The East End battle begins.

The opening of Welcome to the Punch shows London in an impressive light, a drawn out motorbike chase through the back drop of Canary Wharf atScreen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.08.51night, makes London look like its had the $10 million Hollywood effect sprayed across it, and I have to say, it looks stunningly beautiful and certainly sets the tone for this fast paced, well acted and glossy film.

McAvoy is strong as the lead character, and once again shows off his versatility as a disgruntled, scarred and determined officer, focused on nothing other than to get his man. Mark Strong is a fantastic counterpart to McAvoy’s good guy, he’s understated and calm, so you can’t ever quite read him correctly, and this plays out for the audience who spend the majority of the film trying to work out if he’s a “bad guy gone good”, or if its just one big double bluff?! On the filp side, rising Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.10.19star Andrea Riseborough is sadly one of the more forgettable characters in this film, as one can’t help but feel that she is under-utilized throughout. She’s a supporting character, but sadly with not a huge amount to do or for us to care about, which does not bode well three quarters of the way through, and is perhaps one of the biggest shames about this film.

On the upside, however, There’s a fantastic array of dark humour throughout and the use of well known cameos such a Jason Flemyng and Jason Maza who have no more than a few minutes on screen, still throw is back to Creevy’s Shifty days and provide a warm and nostalgic reminder that this is a great British film.

Another great point about this film is that although the setting and style of delivery is very much London in feel, you can’t avoid seeing Creevy’s influences from much further afield. His love of Hong Kong cinema and John Woo can be picked up easily in the fight sequences, particularly the Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.10.58hotel gun shooting scene, and this is a refreshing move forward for this film, it widens the field and its homages remind us of some great films that have come before it, and that Welcome to the Punch is paying a considerable tribute to them all.

Overall, this is a strong offering from Eran Creevy. Having major acting players like Mark Strong and James McAvoy involved does take this film up a notch, but Welcome to the Punch has managed to break a number of barriers in terms of British police based film making and visually looks as stunning as a multi-million dollar Hollywood film, but maintains the level of dark British undertones and humour which helps it to stand out from the crowd. It may not be perfect, but its enjoyable and very much worth a watch.

The Look of Love – Trailer and New Stills

8 Mar

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I remember when Steve Coogan and Anna Friel took over the back streets of Soho last year to film The Look of Love… and now you all can get a sneak peek to find out what all the commotion was about. With a fantastic all star British cast, this looks like a film to get excited about.

Here’s a little more about the film…

From Steve Coogan and director Michael Winterbottom, the team behind 24 Hour Party People, Cock and Bull Story and The Trip, comes the fast, funny and outrageously true story of Paul Raymond, the controversial entrepreneur and property baron who established the Raymond Revue Bar andlove_1 went on to become Britain’s richest man. With a screenplay by Matt Greenhalgh (Control), The Look of Love co-stars Anna Friel, Imogen Poots and Tamsin Egerton as the women in Raymond’s life, alongside a great roster of British comic talent including Chris Addison, David Walliams, Simon Bird and Matt Lucas.

After starting his show business career as a mind-reader in a cabaret act, Paul Raymond went on love_4to become Britain’s richest man and a modern King Midas. With an entrepreneurial eye and a realisation that sex sells, he began building his empire of gentleman’s clubs, porn magazines and nude theatre – provoking outrage and titillation in equal measure.

Raymond’s personal life was as colourful as his revue shows. His marriage to Jean, a nude dancer and choreographer, ended in a difficult divorce when he met Fiona – a glamour model who became the famous pin-up star of his magazines and shows. His daughter Debbie was thelove_6 true love of his life, his business partner and heir to his empire – until her tragic and untimely death aged 36. Three weeks later Raymond was named Britain’s richest man and his fortune put at 1.5billion.

The Look of Love hits cinemas on the 26th April, so look out for it!

I GIVE IT A YEAR – Brand new clip….

22 Jan

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Looking for a good fun British comedy to brighten up the gloomy January days? Well, why not check out one of the new clips from I Give It A Year…

Its out in cinemas on the 8th February, and stars Rafe Spall, Rose Byrne and Anna Faris….

A Bit more about the film….

I Give It A Year is the hilarious new comedy from Working Title Films, the producers of Love Actually and Bridget Jones’s Diary, and the writer of Borat.

Starting where other romantic comedies finish, I GIVE IT A YEAR lifts the veil on the realities of the first year of marriage, and stars Rose Byrne Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 15.04.31(Bridesmaids), Rafe Spall (One Day), Anna Faris (The Dictator) and Simon Baker (The Mentalist).

Since they met at a party, ambitious high-flyer Nat (Byrne) and struggling novelist Josh (Spall) have been deliriously happy despite their differences. Josh is a thinker, Nat’s a doer..but the spark between them is undeniable.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 15.05.51Their wedding is a dream come true, but family, friends and even the minister who marries them aren’t convinced that they can last. Josh’s ex-girlfriend, Chloe (Faris), and Nat’s handsome American client Guy (Baker), could offer attractive alternatives.

With their first anniversary approaching, neither wants to be the first to give up, but will they make it?

A Night at the Museum – Well, the London Film Museum

21 Dec

 

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Ever wondered what makes British film so magical? Well, London as a Capital City has a huge part to play in making it what it is today, and to celebrate, The London Film Museum launches its Lights Camera Action! Exhibition in Covent Garden just in time for Christmas.

Being lucky enough to take a sneak peek around last night, I discovered that audiences visiting this exhibition will be able to follow a number of different themes, such as “Working London, Royal London, Musical London”, which help make British Film, set in London something that isn’t just magical, but iconic for many years, past, present and future.

 

Me blending in slightly with the wonderful Union Jack Mini on display

Me blending in slightly with the wonderful Union Jack Mini on display

As you enter the exhibition you’ll be able to learn about the history of film, from Kodak to Lumiere, and get your hands on a couple of exhibits of early projectors and early animation techniques. Further into the exhibition the themes become more apparent and you will find yourself wandering into various sectioned off areas dedicated to a particular time in London-based film.

Just one of the many "themed" areas at this exhibition.

Just one of the many “themed” areas at this exhibition.

As interesting as this exhibition was, one of the things I love about a behind the scenes, educational experience of film, is the ability to see props, manuscripts, costumes and never before seen photographs/stills. At this exhibition, you see some of this, but in my mind, unfortunately not nearly enough. There are some great props like the throne from Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth, or the original script from Lionel Bart’s Oliver. There are also a lot of film posters on display, but essentially, for the majority of the exhibition, you are reading text off a board with a few still shots beside it and some projections of famous London films in the background.

Some of the props on display - these were taken from Love Actually

Some of the props on display – these were taken from Love Actually

 

With all this being said, it’s still a very enjoyable exhibition, and for a small venue round the corner from Covent Garden, if you fancy something filmy and new this Christmas period, then its most definitely worth a look. Plus, it’s free!

The London Film Museum’s Lights, Camera Action exhibition opens 21st December.

Hot Tub Cinema… an experience like no other… but be warned!

13 Dec

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Never afraid of trying new ways to watch my favourite films, I spent last Monday night way out East in a warehouse tucked away from the centre of Shoreditch with the promise of a unique cinematic experience, and unique it was!

It was early December and the standard attire would most certainly be hats, scarves and maybe a pair of gloves, one would most certainly not consider a bikini, but on this Monday night, that was the only required item of clothing for this film experience, because it was Hot Tub Cinema night!

The premise of this idea is that film lovers come together to watch a surprise film in the sanctuary of a steaming hot, hot tub, and about a hundred other film fans. For a mere £28, or £225 for the entire hot tub, you can sit back, relax, enjoy table (tub) service as you watch the Christmas comedy that is Elf. A few months back, over Halloween, the film was Beetlejuice and in that instance you were on the rooftop terrace overlooking Victoria Park at the same time.

A novel idea it certainly is. Born seven years ago as a private venture, and the brain child of Asher Charman, Hot Tub Cinema is increasingly growing in popularity, its now populated each night by around 70-100 hot tub cinema goers. The experience isn’t just based within the hot tubs Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 17.38.38themselves, as you walk in, the “lobby” area in this pop up venue is littered with foam snow, twinkling lights and a few Christmas trees to make you really feel part of the festive season. Once you have collected your wristband on entry, you have the option of a well stocked bar, and stall offering a selection of cinema delights including hot dogs, popcorn and sweets.

A compere runs the night and welcomes seasoned hot tubbers, newbies, and singletons alike to this unforgettable experience. Once you’re in your tub you meet who you will be joined by for the evening. In my tub were a couple of eager two time hot tubbers who judging by previous experiences were here for anything but film watching! It was at this point that the Hot Tub Cinema experience takes its true form. Unfortunately, keen film fans may be less enthusiastic about this experience once they are there. Riding on the premise of a cinema experience, this Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 17.38.25event seems to be more of a singletons dating/cavorting Ibiza esq experience where any form of film watching comes secondary to drinking, flirting and well…we’ll leave it there.

The group of friends I was with, were excited to watch Elf, Will Ferrell in his prime as an oversized Elf in the quest to help santa and find his real family. But as the film started we were faced with poor sound quality and a number of other groups who preferred to chat, drink and do anything other than watch the film itself. Compared to other experiential film events such as Secret Cinema etc, you wont get anywhere near the same quality, and im sure that the experience is different on different nights varying from tame to wild Saturday night showings, but be sure of one thing, it will be unique and its up to you if you see it as a good or bad thing.

The Bodyguard – The Musical…my must see!

8 Dec

 

 

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Often it is the conversion from stage to screen, which is the success (Warhorse, Evita and hopefully Les Mis), and sometimes converting something from screen to stage can go wrong…very wrong (Dirty Dancing). So you can understand my skepticism when going to one of the preview nights of The Bodyguard – The Musical. In the back of my mind I feared a cheesy homage to Whitney and a poor stage version lifted from one of my much-loved films, but I’m pleased to report no such thing.

 

Directed by one of London theatre’s brightest stars Thea Sharrock (The Misanthrope) the stage version of The Bodyguard stays true to the films roots but brings an innovative and exciting new twist to the tale and how it is set. The setting, was one of the most impressive elements. It Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 11.30.14crosses the boundary between theatre and film, combining previously filmed montages and live action which allow for the expert scene changes to keep the story’s momentum throughout – I found myself trying to work out how Heather Hadley’s Rachel Marron appears in one door and a minute later manages to make a costume change and appear at the top of the set, with breath to spare. I realize the trickery of this, is the engagement the audience has with the characters filling in the time between these stage/costume changes, that time just flies by through what is probably a fair few verses of one of The Bodyguard’s unforgettable soundtrack.

 

One particularly impressive piece of set is Frank Farmers fathers house – you remember from the film, his retreat in the snow, far far away from LA LA Land. As if out of nowhere, an (almost) full sized log cabin appears and dominates the stage, rotates and provides a fitting setting for the start of the third act of this story. A spectacle that really must be applauded.

 

But it’s not just the set that keeps the audience wanting more, the performances of all the cast members are top notch. The Bodyguard has one of the most iconic soundtracks of the last fifty years and with everyone in the audience knowing the majority of the songs back to back, the pressure is well and truly on. So for Heather Hadley taking on the iconic role of Rachel Marron, daunting is probably one of the words that would describe this prospect. But Hadley, manages to embody this character with such ease and effortlessness that she deserves all the praise Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 11.31.03she gets for being one of theatre-lands “next big things”. Barely opening her mouth she manages to hit some of the highest and most powerful notes, and the finale of I Will Always Love You is a fitting crescendo which demands a standing ovation at every performance.  But its not all about her singing, Hadley manages to act the part as if in front of the camera, a cool, understated and relaxed performance, which makes this musical something far removed from some of the hammed up “hen do” musicals which scatter London’s West End.

 

As her bodyguard, RADA trained Lloyd Owen is equally as cool if not as relaxed in the role as Hadley. With no singing required (well, apart from one little gem), his stern portrayal draws comparisons with Kevin Costner’s original Frank Farmer, but the familiarity is forgivable given the characters lack of ability to be anything other than what is required. Never the less, the chemistry between Owen and Hadley is clear and in the encore, where the actors truly let loose, you can definitely see that the two leads have had a blast bringing these characters to life.

 

Additional mention must go to Debbie Kurrup as Nicki Marron, Rachel’s sibling in the shadows, if anyone was to have a talent rivaling Rachel Marron, its her sister. The duet of Run to You quite easily brings a tear to your eye as it is sung on a rollercoaster of amazing harmonies and fully believable passion from both the characters for Frank Farmer – one of the highlights of the entire set list.  You feel the pain of unrequited love for Nicki and I’m sure anyone who has been in the background of an over achieving sister or brother will easily relate to this character.

 

There are still elements of this show that can be tightened up, the dancing for example is not always as ‘on point’ as it could be, and the larger Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 11.30.38ensemble cast feels at times that they are still finding their feet, but if this run continues for a considerable amount of time, this show has the ability to become a very well oiled machine, but is still quite obviously in its embryonic stages. Additionally, there is a lack of magic in the costume department. I was excited to see Queen of the Night performed complete with metal head-dress and matching outfit – something I was hoping to be replicated from the film, however I was faced with tacky looking corsets and jeans – slightly disappointing. However to the show’s defense I was quickly reminded that Heather Hadley does have around thirty costume changes throughout the show itself, so a few dodgy but easily wearable items can be forgiven…ah the magic of the theatre.

 

Overall The Bodyguard The Musical provides strong musical theatre performances as they should be, staging so bafflingly clever you could be still trying to work it out days later and a show which is the perfect go to on a night out with the girls (and boys) and a brilliant date night! Whitney really would be proud.