The World’s End: five middle-aged friends re-unite to tackle the 12-stop pub-crawl that they never finished as teenagers. If you watched the trailer and thought that this looked a bit empty and silly then you’re completely right. No matter how good the director is (which he is), or how on-form the cast are (which they are) this is a great example that if you have a silly idea, you’ll probably end up with a silly film. It also has a few long stretches where there’s not many laughs – namely backstory. The cast are truly the best of contemporary British comedians, and a few bigger players thrown in: Paddy Considine and Pierce Brosnan, to name but a few – a well-picked bunch. The World’s End boils down to being a silly bodysnatchers movie that’s overflowing with 90s nostalgia, whilst pulling from some modern sources like Attack The Block, Hitchhiker’s Guide etc. Given the quality of Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect more from The World’s End, still, it’s a decent Brit-Com, and a good enough way to close out the ‘Cornetto trilogy’.
Dead Man’s Shoes: an on-edge soldier returns home to find that local thugs have been taking advantage of his disabled brother; revenge is definitely on the cards. The story’s powerful, harrowing, chilling and hard to watch in parts (mostly the flashbacks). First time round I thought Paddy stole the show but on re-watching, his brother (Kebbell) is equally fantastic; most of the antagonists are on top form too. The soundtrack fits perfectly, making the overall ambiance more effective, disturbing you as much as the brief bursts of violence. There are some beautiful moments of black comedy in the spraypaint and comedy car – but they’re only momentary distractions. The only downside is that it feels padded out in parts, with a very long opening and plenty of scenic shots – although it could be argued that it adds to the film’s character. As a thriller, Dead Man’s Shoe is top-notch, and punches way above its low-budget social micro-thriller status.
Blitz: a crazed killer is knocking cops over like skittles in London, but focusing only on one police station… Story-wise, this follows the tried and tested formula featuring an alcoholic on-edge loner cop, a really bad man and some cat-and-mouse games. It looks quite good, but because of the story and realistic feel you’d associate it more with TV shows like The Bill or Luther. Action scenes are the only parts that remind you it’s a movie, although there’s a cracking chase sequence and several brutal / graphic incidents executed really well. Considine is great (as always) in an understated hero cop role, Gillen does a solid bad guy and Statham nails another Statham-type role, although he’s a bit grittier than usual. There’s absolutely no new ground covered, but for a solid cops vs cop killer story this is a cracker.
Submarine: Oliver Tate just got his first girlfriend, right as his parents marriage begins to crumble – so he tries to give them a hand… For being a one-boy show, the central character’s great; despite being a little clichéd he’s good fun to watch, and his monologues / voiceovers are a solid way of pushing the story forward. The scriptwriting scores in two ways: the dialogue is offbeat yet manages to stay below the annoying radar; and the humour is so dry, deadpan and dark that the two elements really complement each other. For being his first time behind a camera, it’s strongly directed, and has some surprisingly cinematic moments – given that it is intentionally an indie-feeling film. The casting’s spot on and despite each character having a hint of the absurd, you can still buy in to them as they’re all very human. What’s best about this coming-of-age tale is that it captures the awkwardness of youth like you rarely see; even though these exact events didn’t happen, it’s all too easy to relate to the story, and Oliver. Despite bring painfully indie Submarine remains very watchable and entertaining for the duration.
My Wrongs #8245-8249 & 117: Chris Morris’ BAFTA winning short (12 mins) about a mentally ill man’s failed attempt to look after his friend’s Doberman: adapted from a Blue Jam radio sketch. Totally surreal with a talking dog, duck rats and babies – not for everyone. There’s a lot of extras on the DVD disc and on the actual case itself. Must see for Morris fans, although don’t pay over the odds for it.