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Alex Godfrey

Alex Godfrey

Articles (13)

A etnia de Henry Golding em “Last Christmas” é irrelevante – e isso é bom

A etnia de Henry Golding em “Last Christmas” é irrelevante – e isso é bom

A presença luminosa de Henry Golding em Asiáticos Doidos e Ricos, comédia romântica de sucesso planetário, partiu muitos corações. Em Last Christmas – filme de Paul Feig com Emilia Clarke (a “mãe de dragões” de A Guerra dos Tronos) e banda sonora de George Michael – volta a seduzir a audiência. O mundo é dele. Raramente o vemos neste filme sem que esteja a dançar. Estava no guião?Não. Surgiu numa conversa com o Paul Feig e a [argumentista] Emma Thompson. A personagem do Tom é cheia de vida, não tem medo de fazer figura de parvo, e gosta de dançar. Queria que isso fosse óbvio. De que maneira?Queria dar-lhe um pouco de Gene Kelly. E aquele toque de Frank Sinatra. Isso é interessante porque tanto aqui como em Asiáticos Doidos e Ricos há algo de tradicional nas interpretações – algo da era de ouro de Hollywood.Completamente. Na era de ouro de Hollywood, as acções do protagonista falavam por si. Não era preciso sublinhar a sua masculinidade. Os actores corporizavam as suas próprias personas, e acho que era por isso que íamos vê-los ao cinema. Quero isso para os meus filmes. Daqui a alguns anos, Last Christmas vai dar na TV todos os Natais, o que faz sentido porque no filme é uma espécie de ídolo de matiné.Penso que é por isso que fazemos filmes, para criar clássicos intemporais. Asiáticos Doidos e Ricos foi elogiado pelo elenco asiático. Aqui, é o co-protagonista mas a sua origem étnica é irrelevante, o que é igualmente importante.Imensamente. É normalizador. A minha personagem e

We chat with Henry Golding on Last Christmas, terrible karaoke and those Bond rumours

We chat with Henry Golding on Last Christmas, terrible karaoke and those Bond rumours

For his starring role in the world-conquering rom-com Crazy Rich Asians, former presenter of The Travel Show Henry Golding seemed to come out of nowhere, lighting up the screen and breaking hearts. In Last Christmas, a winning slushfest co-starring Emilia Clarke and soundtracked by George Michael’s back catalogue, he’s about to do it all over again – this time as Clarke’s mysterious new crush. RECOMMENDED: The best upcoming movies in Singapore Were you already a George Michael fan before this movie?Massive. The majority of my childhood was in Surrey – I arrived [from Malaysia] in 1996 – and George was the king of pop stars. My go-to karaoke song is Faith. I grew up singing it whenever possible. Are you good at it?I'm terrible at it, of course! As good karaoke [singers] should be. You're rarely seen in this film without rocking a dance twirl. Was that in the script?It wasn't. It came from a discussion with [director] Paul Feig, [screenwriter] Emma Thompson and myself. Tom as a character is high on life. He lives in his own little world and isn't afraid to make a fool of himself. I wanted to integrate that more into his character, so I asked Paul for a movement coach. What were you going for?I wanted to infuse [Tom’s] character with a little bit of Gene Kelly. That Frank Sinatra feel. That’s interesting because in this and Crazy Rich Asians, there's something traditional about your performances – like that from the golden age of Hollywood.The golden age of Hollywood was where t

Henry Golding: ‘Do people assume every white person in a film is related?’

Henry Golding: ‘Do people assume every white person in a film is related?’

For his starring role in the world-conquering romcom ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, former presenter of ‘The Travel Show’ Henry Golding seemed to come out of nowhere, lighting up the screen and breaking hearts. In ‘Last Christmas’, a winning slushfest co-starring Emilia Clarke and soundtracked by George Michael’s back catalogue, he’s about to do it all over again – this time as Clarke’s mysterious new crush. Were you a George Michael fan before this movie? ‘Massive. The majority of my childhood was in Surrey – I arrived [from Malaysia] in 1996 – and George was the king of pop stars. My go-to karaoke song is “Faith”. I grew up singing it.’ Are you good at it? ‘I’m terrible, of course! As all good karaoke [singers] should be.’ How do you feel about ‘Last Christmas’ becoming a future Boxing Day telly staple in years to come? ‘Every year I’ll be like, “What else is on?! Let’s watch ‘Love Actually’ instead.” But, you know, I think that’s what we’re in the movies for – to create timeless classics.’ Henry Golding and Emilia Clarke in ‘Last Christmas’. It’s a very pretty portrait of London. You lived here for years, didn’t you? ‘I lived 500 metres down the road from Tom’s house on Brick Lane. It’s so crazy. We filmed on Cheshire Street in E2.’ Do you think it’s a good representation of the city? ‘I think so. We filmed in Covent Garden, Embankment, along the Strand, Regent Street. It shows how multicultural the city is, and it tackles homelessness too. Perhaps it’ll make people think twice abo

Simon Amstell Interview: ‘In my twenties I was single and lonely’

Simon Amstell Interview: ‘In my twenties I was single and lonely’

From his BBC sitcom ‘Grandma’s House’ to his book ‘Help’, Simon Amstell’s work is often filled with therapeutic self-examination. He’s now written and directed his similarly themed second film (after the brilliant ‘Carnage’), the charming new comedy ‘Benjamin’, which stars Colin Morgan (‘Merlin’) as a young man navigating a romantic battlefield. The film is drenched in social awkwardness. Was that the starting point? ‘Yeah, I think I was just trying to figure out who I was. Specifically, in my twenties [I was] single and lonely. [When I was writing the screenplay] it was difficult to try and figure out what I was up to back then. By the time we got to the shoot I understood the character’s journey, but when I started typing on the first day, all I knew was that I was interested in figuring out what’s wrong with me.’ [Laughs] Did you find out what was wrong with you in those younger years?‘I found out that what had been wrong with me, before I got a bit better, was that I was somebody who was terribly lonely [but] who was terrified of intimacy. I desperately wanted to be in a relationship, but was too scared to be vulnerable enough to love or be loved. And that’s the film.’ ‘I feel slightly embarrassed at my own past ineptitude’ Do those revelations offer some closure?‘I’m now not the struggling person in his late twenties that you see in the film. But new stuff happens and you need to figure it out. Personally, I need to write it out of me and then get actors to perform it. T

Paul Dano: ‘There are different expectations for men and women on screen’

Paul Dano: ‘There are different expectations for men and women on screen’

Actor Paul Dano knocks it out of the park with ‘Wildlife’, his directorial debut. Adapted from a 1990 novel by Richard Ford with his screenwriter partner Zoe Kazan, it studies an unhappy Montana family, particularly Carey Mulligan’s Jeanette, who’s had quite enough of being a model mother for her teen son Joe. We met Dano to find out why he was burning to make the movie.What was it about Richard Ford’s novel that affected you emotionally?‘The mystery of who our parents are really struck me. They have a past life; they struggle. They’re human, [so it’s] the warts-and-all version, not the idealised version. And this idea of just being thrust into adulthood suddenly. I think it was [about] seeing your parents change, seeing their marriage change.’ You’ve mentioned that you saw yourself in the story. In who?‘Joe. One of the reasons we made Joe 14, instead of 16 as he is in the book, was that I moved to a new town when I was 14. And I saw my parents in this film. That post-war promise of a good life, the American Dream that something’s out there that’s meant to be better. And what happens when suddenly you’re like: “Oh, wait. Maybe it’s not.”’ Zoe Kazan gave you lots of notes on your first script draft. Is it better or worse getting notes from someone you love and trust?‘Well, the first time wasn’t pleasant. But yeah, it’s much better to get it from her than somebody else. It was hard to hear, and that’s part of why she ended up writing on it. It [turned out to be] easier for her

Paul Schrader: "Uma depressão nunca se esquece"

Paul Schrader: "Uma depressão nunca se esquece"

Paul Schrader é uma das vozes mais influentes do cinema contemporâneo. Escreveu Taxi Driver e Touro Enraivecido para Martin Scorsese, antes de dirigir os seus próprios clássicos de culto. O mais recente, No Coração da Escuridão, é um filme cru e duro sobre um pastor (Ethan Hawke) que se debate com questões espirituais e ambientais.   Quando estavas a escrever No Coração da Escuridão percebeste que era puro Paul Schrader? Foi um prazer fazer este filme. Assim que decidi escrever algo sobre a vida espiritual tudo aconteceu de uma forma muito rápida e natural. Recusei escrever este filme durante muito tempo, em parte porque nunca pensei que alguém o financiasse. Mas entretanto a economia do cinema mudou. O filme tem um humor negro – de certa forma, o reverendo Toller (Ethan Hawke) é muito engraçado. Concordas? Quando as pessoas falam dos filmes a primeira coisa que comentam é o argumento, mas a última de que se esquecem é das personagens. É isso que fica com as pessoas. Posso dizer que esculpir uma personagem feita de contradições é um grande privilégio. O estado de espírito do Toller reflecte o teu? Quando uma pessoa tem uma experiência de depressão clínica ou desespero existencial nunca o esquece. Tal como uma mulher grávida se lembra do que é a gravidez, mesmo que não volte a engravidar. Não tens de estar clinicamente deprimido para escreveres sobre isso, se já o sentiste. O filme parece versar sobre um certo mal-estar espiritual. As pessoas não conseguem aguentar a vida se n

‘I wrote Taxi Driver because I was afraid of becoming that character’ – Paul Schrader gets deep

‘I wrote Taxi Driver because I was afraid of becoming that character’ – Paul Schrader gets deep

One of the most influential voices in contemporary cinema, Paul Schrader wrote ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Raging Bull’ for Martin Scorsese before directing cult classics of his own. His latest, ‘First Reformed’, is a gut-punch of a film about a pastor (Ethan Hawke) grappling with spiritual and environmental concerns. We put Schrader on the couch. The film is blackly funny – Toller’s extremity is entertaining. Do you feel that humour when you’re exploring such people?When people talk about movies the first thing they talk about is plot, but the last thing they remember is character. That’s what really sticks in the mind. To have the ability to sculpt a character of contradictions, and who moves in and out of the shadows, is a great privilege.’ Did Toller’s state of mind tie in to anything that was going on with you, psychologically?Once a person has an experience of clinical depression or existential despair, that memory remains. You know, if a woman has been pregnant, she remembers what it was like to be pregnant. She doesn’t have to become pregnant again. Also, the connection of the spiritual darkness with this new ecological darkness makes the film come alive.’ Ethan Hawke as Reverend Ernst Toller in 'First Reformed’ For me, the film is a comment on existential malaise, that people can’t really get by without finding some sort of purpose. Is that you were thinking?‘Yes. We all find a way to get through the day. But the particular pathology here is when you start connecting your own

Joaquin Phoenix: “Os clichés dos filmes de acção deixam-me nervoso”

Joaquin Phoenix: “Os clichés dos filmes de acção deixam-me nervoso”

Joaquin Phoenix ainda mal acordou quando abre a janela e começa a fumar. É sábado de manhã em Londres, muito cedo, mais ainda mais para ele, meio abananado pelo jet lag – um homem no seu próprio fuso horário. Na verdade, ele parece estar assim desde que o vimos em Lar, Doce Lar... às Vezes (1989), de Ron Howard, quando tinha apenas 14 anos. É uma anti-estrela de cinema que faz as coisas à sua maneira, sempre um pouco desalinhado e com o mundo a girar à sua volta. Gladiador (2000), de Ridley Scott, fez dele uma estrela, e Walk The Line (2005), de James Mangold, uma super-estrela. Mas desde então tem passado ao lado das grandes produções e do mainstream. No seu lugar, encontrou realizadores – Spike Jonze, Paul Thomas Anderson, James Gray – que encorajaram alguns dos seus papéis mais livres e angulosos. Lynne Ramsay (Temos de Falar sobre o Kevin), que o dirige em Nunca Estiveste Aqui, é o mais recente nome a juntar-se a esta lista de realizadores. O filme gira em torno de Joe, um ex-fuzileiro, traumatizado, que trabalha como assassino a soldo e gosta de despachar as vítimas com um martelo. Com uma grande barriga, Phoenix é uma presença poderosa que parece estar prestes a perder a sua alma. Em pessoa, é tão reflexivo e intrigante como sempre: “Às vezes leio as entrevistas de outros actores e realizadores e parece que toda a gente sabe sempre o que deve e tem de fazer”, diz. “Nunca foi o meu caso.”

Joaquin Phoenix: 'I was not gonna be the limping actor for most of a movie, I fucking hate that'

Joaquin Phoenix: 'I was not gonna be the limping actor for most of a movie, I fucking hate that'

Joaquin Phoenix, barely awake, shoves open a window and gets smoking. It’s early on a Saturday morning in London and he’s groggy with jetlag – a man in his own time zone. In truth, he’s seemed like that from as far back as 1989’s ‘Parenthood’, which he made when he was only 14. An anti-movie star who marches to his own beat, he seems forever askew with the world swirling around him. ‘Gladiator’ made him a star, and ‘Walk the Line’ made him a superstar, but since then he’s skipped mainstream movies. Instead, he’s found directors – Spike Jonze, Paul Thomas Anderson, James Gray – who have enabled his most freewheeling, jagged performances. Joining that list is Glaswegian Lynne Ramsay (‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’) for ‘You Were Never Really Here’. It’s about Joe, a traumatised ex-Marine who now works as a killer for hire and likes to dispatch his targets with a hammer. It’s a dark, dreamlike affair that leaves quite the stench. Packing a big old gut, Phoenix is a tower of power whose soul is almost lost. In person, he’s as reflective and intriguing as ever. ‘I read other filmmakers’ interviews sometimes and it seems like everybody’s had it all figured out,’ he tells us. ‘That’s never really been my experience.’What were your thoughts on developing this character after signing up?‘One thing we changed early on was [that] I was supposed to have been shot in the leg. To be honest, I just was like, “I’m not gonna be that limping actor for three-quarters of a movie, I fucking hate t

Joe Wright: "Churchill teve de cometer muitos erros"

Joe Wright: "Churchill teve de cometer muitos erros"

Joe Wright é conhecido sobretudo por filmes retintamente britânicos, como Orgulho e Preconceito, de 2005, ou Expiação, de 2007. Depois do fracasso de Pan – Viagem à Terra do Nunca, de 2015, regressou agora à sua terra de origem com A Hora Mais Negra, uma exploração intimista da decisão de Winston Churchill enfrentar Hitler, com um Gary Oldman em plena forma, que desaparece no papel do primeiro-ministro britânico. Qual era a tua relação com Churchill antes deste filme? Não posso dizer que fosse um dos meus heróis. Sabia o que maior parte das pessoas aprende sobre ele na escola no Reino Unido. Até que recebi este argumento, e fiquei chocado por me identificar com ele. Em que sentido? É um homem que teve de cometer muitos erros, e deu por si numa posição de extrema responsabilidade. Teve uma grande crise de confiança e foi capaz de transformar essas dúvidas em algo positivo e seguir em frente. Leste o argumento na sequência do fracasso de Pan – Viagem à Terra do Nunca? Sim. Em parte, foi isso. Mas também teve a ver com responsabilidade de ser pai e de ser homem. Churchill neste filme é quase um arquétipo de uma parte de mim que lida com essa responsabilidade. Investi muito de mim no argumento. Como é que lidas com as restrições impostas por uma história baseada em acontecimentos reais? Muitas vezes essas limitações são libertadoras. Depois é só uma questão de encontrar pequenos detalhes que vão ao encontro da minha interpretação dos eventos. Às vezes ouvia uma história qualquer

Joe Wright talks Gary Oldman and Darkest Hour

Joe Wright talks Gary Oldman and Darkest Hour

Despite making some journeys into the fantastical, such as action thriller ‘Hanna’ and the ill-fated ‘Pan’, Londoner Joe Wright is best known for films steeped in the history of his native land: 2005’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and 2007’s ‘Atonement’. Now he returns home with ‘Darkest Hour’, an intimate exploration of Winston Churchill’s decision to fight Hitler, featuring a fierce and barely recognisable Gary Oldman. We met Wright, sartorially bohemian and puffing on roll-ups, to discuss how unpacking an icon required soul-searching of its own.Had you been interested in Churchill as a subject for a long time?‘It’s not like Churchill’s been a hero of mine, but I was sent this screenplay and was shocked to find myself identifying with him. He was a man who had made a lot of mistakes, and then found himself in this position of extraordinary responsibility. He suffered an immense crisis of confidence, and then was able to turn that around and overcome.’ In what sense?'He’s a man who had made a lot of mistakes in his life and then found himself in this position of extraordinary responsibility. He suffered an immense crisis of confidence and self-doubt. And then was able to turn that doubt around and overcome it and move forward.' So did the script land with you in the wake of ‘Pan’?‘Yeah, it was partly that. But also the responsibility of parenthood and marriage, and being a man. In this movie, Churchill [represents] an aspect of me. And then I put more of myself into the screenplay,

‘She personifies our dark urges’: Aubrey Plaza talks ‘Ingrid Goes West’

‘She personifies our dark urges’: Aubrey Plaza talks ‘Ingrid Goes West’

She was droll as the icon that is April Ludgate in ‘Parks and Recreation’ and devastatingly deadpan in ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World’. Now Aubrey Plaza is a social media stalker in ‘Ingrid Goes West’ and it’s her finest moment yet. Bow downYou’re a producer as well as the lead. What did you bring to the role?‘Ingrid is doing horrible things and behaving in an insane way, but I wasn’t interested in just playing a “crazy girl”. I was more interested in understanding why someone would behave this way.’ She’s as sympathetic as she is psychotic. Do you like her?‘She’s a personification of these dark urges that we all have. She acts on her most unhealthy toxic impulses, whereas most of us can stop ourselves – when we’re on Instagram going down a cyber-stalking hole, we don’t act out on those things. I have so much compassion for her.’ Had social media psychosis been playing on your mind before the film?‘Definitely: social media makes me feel like shit. The scariest moments are just those mindless in-between moments of my day where I just end up scrolling through Instagram or Twitter. I’m always looking at other people’s lives and comparing myself, thinking: Wow, those people really know how to vacation! But it’s not real. Nothing is real. Nothing matters. And we’re all gonna die.’ The writers said they wrote the script about two women because this type of Instagram culture is very female-skewed. ‘Yeah, I agree with that. It’s just a really easy platform for people to consume fashion

Listings and reviews (28)

Greed

Greed

3 out of 5 stars

Despite what you may have heard, ‘Greed’ isn’t about controversial Topshop owner Philip Green. Well, not in the strictest sense. According to the man who plays him, Steve Coogan, its lead character, London high-street mogul Sir Richard ‘Greedy’ McCreadie, is based on several people. Although, adds Coogan, he’s ‘mostly Philip Green’. Coogan and writer-director Michael Winterbottom have been infusing reality with fantasy, not-quite true life with comedy, for two decades, tackling Tony Wilson in ‘24 Hour Party People’, Paul Raymond in ‘The Look of Love’, and most meta of all, Coogan himself in ‘The Trip’. With ‘Greed’, though, they’re on the attack. And behind the artifice, Green looms large. ‘Greed’ dives into the broader implications of such characters, delving into business blow-ups, tax navigations and sweatshop practices, unravelling the cause and effect. McCreadie’s biographer (David Mitchell) provides an entry point into the billionaire’s backstory, but the film mostly focuses on his decadent sixtieth birthday party on Mykonos. This hedonistic shindig is an Ancient Rome-themed toga party put on as a show of power after a hauling over the coals at a government select committee. As McCreadie barks orders at the saps building his faux amphitheatre, he is irked by news of A-list guest no-shows, ‘Leo’ among them, and irritated by a group of Syrian refugees sullying the view. It is effective in fits and starts, with broad comedy from the likes of Tim Key (always welcome) jostl

Plus One

Plus One

3 out of 5 stars

Weddings! What joyous things they are. Or not, depending on the circumstances and your tolerance for soul-withering small talk, enforced communal fun and ‘YMCA’ by the Village People. This American indie glides around two unattached friends, Ben (Jack Quaid from ‘The Boys’) and Alice (Maya Erskine), who accompany each other to a neverending succession of nuptials, to get drunk together, to get through the hell of it all, to feel less like singleton saps. She’s just fallen out of a relationship; he keeps failing to fall into one. Until, of course, they fall for each other. Let’s get ready to romcom! Going for low-key laughs rather than a conveyor belt of massive lols, ‘Plus One’ leans on the likeability of its leads, who have convincing enough chemistry and make for a breezy enough 90 minutes. Directors Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer aim for naturalism, sometimes successfully. It’s not easy to pull off a ‘Before Sunrise’, to make this stuff feel effortless, and their stab at the genre is more formulaic and more transparently contrived than it might believe it is. It’s all a bit slight, a bit Netflix landfill. Yet, while ‘Plus One’ is hardly emotionally demanding and it gets a little self-conscious at times, it is sweet and sincere. It ticks the expected boxes at the expected times: dishing out the ups and downs just where you’d want them. On the one hand, that means there are no surprises; on the other, well, why not? It’s a formula, but it’s a formula that still works.

Weathering with You

Weathering with You

3 out of 5 stars

You know the old saying: if you’re going to make a romcom, you might as well make it about a girl who has the supernatural ability to change the weather. Makoto Shinkai’s anime follow-up to 2016’s body-swapping ‘Your Name’ doesn’t scrimp on whimsy. Penniless 16-year-old runaway Hodaka flees to Tokyo, where he gets involved with a cat, a tabloid journalist and aforementioned weather-botherer Hina. This is an enchanting little story, to a point – it’s thin stuff, but while it never fully gets the emotions jangling, there’s charm to spare and the action is dynamic and occasionally thrilling. The sense of space, of place, is extraordinary. You wish the world looked like this. It’s a film to bathe in.

Depeche Mode: Spirits in the Forest

Depeche Mode: Spirits in the Forest

3 out of 5 stars

Did Depeche Mode make a pact with the devil? With every tour, Basildon’s finest continue to pack stadiums, their rabid global fanbase somehow growing (or recycling, at least). The band has always inspired spiritual devotion, and with ‘Spirits in the Forest’, their music video director and past documentarian Anton Corbijn (‘Devotional’) shines his beautifully atmospheric spotlight on six of their most devout disciples, all on their way to see their heroes play in Berlin. Among them is Indra, who lives with her grandmother in a spartan apartment in Mongolia and has never left her country before; Dicken from Bogotá, Colombia, who has formed a Depeche Mode tribute band with his kids, who live with their mother in Miami; and Carin from Perpignan, France who, aged 25, lost her entire memory after a car crash, remembering nobody and nothing except for her love for Depeche Mode. They are emotional stories, sensitively told and immediately compelling. This is all, inevitably, interspersed with the obligatory concert footage, and the film flits perfunctorily between the worshippers and the gods. As concert films go, the performance itself – with lead singer Dave Gahan having now fully transitioned into a goth Mick Jagger – is nothing new. It would be nice to dive deeper into the genuinely interesting lives of these fans, but after strong set-ups, all that’s kind of jettisoned for the inevitable guff about the healing power of Depeche Mode. Still, they are memorable little slices of lif

Black And Blue

Black And Blue

2 out of 5 stars

The credits at the end of ‘Black and Blue’ list not only ‘Stairwell Bad Guys’ but ‘Apartment Bad Guys,’ which is about as deep as characters get in this slice of cop piffle. It is a film where someone asks ‘You all right?’ while their friend, having just been shot, leaks blood. A film that would be over very quickly were anyone to say or do anything remotely sensible. It is absurd that this is the hugely talented Naomie Harris’s first leading role – and it’s a shame. She is great as a principled rookie who joins the force in New Orleans only to be immediately faced with institutionalised racism and endemic corruption. Thanks to preposterous plot machinations, she witnesses her cop colleagues murdering a couple of local hoods and, with the footage captured on her body cam, she’s in hot, murky water. A right old pickle. The potentially interesting material is suffocated by a B-movie story and a C-grade script. Plot spills out of these people’s mouths. With less substance than a ‘Grand Theft Auto’ mission, there is no weight, no meat, but, certainly, where the dialogue’s concerned, a lot of cheese. It is the quattro formaggi of naughty cop films. Nevertheless, there is dumb fun to be had – it is propulsive enough, and you root for Harris and her sidekick, Tyrese Gibson, who do what they can to survive their trip to Trope City. There is even one funny line. The film could maybe have done with more than one. 

The Peanut Butter Falcon

The Peanut Butter Falcon

4 out of 5 stars

There’s a magical blend of real life and fiction in this soul-stirring US indie, as Zack Gottsagen, who has Down’s syndrome and has always wanted to be an actor, plays Zak, who has Down’s syndrome and has always wanted to be a wrestler. The writer-directors – Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz – met him years ago, and when Nilson lamented the lack of mainstream acting gigs for people with Down’s, Gottsagen asked them to write one for him themselves. And here we are, with this injection of pure joy. Frustrated by the restrictions of the nursing home he’s been stuck in, Zak, hell-bent on going to Florida to meet his wrestling hero, the Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church), does a runner. He bumps into a fisherman fugitive Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), demands to tag along and, with his carer Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) hot on their heels, Mark Twain-inspired riverboat shenanigans ensue. LaBeouf, as ever, sells it all like his life depends on it, while Johnson brings a wonderful lightness and Thomas Haden Church’s washed-up wrestler is a hoot. But, no doubt about it, this is Gottsagen’s film – he showcases real subversion, with attitude to spare. The story is a pretty standard mismatched buddy road trip, and there’s not much unpredictability, but there doesn’t need to be – it’s charming as hell, and very funny. It’s a film about love, made with love, and you can feel it emanating from all involved. What a pick-me-up. 

Rolling Thunder Revue

Rolling Thunder Revue

4 out of 5 stars

Bob Dylan certainly gives good Bob Dylan in Martin Scorsese’s new concert film/documentary. Back in 1975, a cameraman asks the singer at the end of a blistering gig during his Rolling Thunder Revue tour how it was. ‘How was what?’ responds the famously oblique musician. When asked to comment on the same tour now, he says it was ‘about nothing – it’s just something that happened 40 years ago. It happened so long ago I wasn’t even born.’ So begins, from one of music’s most revered figures, the utter irreverence.The Rolling Thunder Revue was a wilfully eccentric tour. Itching to play smaller venues, an exceptionally freewheelin’ Dylan went on the road with a revolving door of folk all-stars, followed by access-all-areas cameras for a film that never happened. Today, Scorsese intercuts it with new interviews, contextualising it all with the times that were a’changin’. ‘People seemed to have lost their conviction for just about anything,’ says Dylan, whose own politics come to the fore during a scorching 1975 performance of ‘Hurricane’ at Trenton State Prison, where boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter was being incarcerated on a false murder charge.The film is full of stolen moments – Dylan and Allen Ginsberg visiting Jack Kerouac’s grave, impromptu jams at house parties, a young Sharon Stone in thrall of Dylan. It rarely strays from the man himself, but if you’re here for him, it’s more than enough. His retrospective musings are lyrical treasures. For instance, on musician Ronnie Hawk

Beats

Beats

4 out of 5 stars

It feels superficial to compare ‘Beats’ to ‘Trainspotting’: it’s Scottish, it’s the mid-’90s, it’s young tearaways, it’s drugs. But it’s the sensory impact too – ‘Beats’ bottles a very similar brand of lightning to Danny Boyle’s film, consistently exploding with energy and emotion. ‘Beats’ is about brotherhood between two best friends but also among an entire culture. Directed by Brian Welsh, and co-written by him and Kieran Hurley (adapted from the latter’s play), it introduces 15-year-old Johnno (Cristian Ortega) and his downtrodden, unhinged pal Spanner (Lorn Macdonald ). With Spanner’s life about to crush him, their plan to have the night of their life at an illegal warehouse rave is a literal as well as mental escape. On a more macro level, the fun-hating Criminal Justice Act is about to crush the whole scene. While never deviating from its brilliant young stars, ‘Beats’ is a tribute to the rave revolution, communicating via its emotion, sounds and a hefty whack of psychedelic visuals exactly what it felt like. It’s miraculously authentic – the pill-popping centrepiece is the heavenly answer to the LSD hell of Gaspar Noé’s ‘Climax’. But it’s all about the people. Bar a needless eleventh-hour plot contrivance, ‘Beats’ hits all the right notes: an ode not just to human gatherings but to youth itself. It’s absolutely a period piece (heightened by being in black and white), but its humanity is ageless, serving up an irresistible amount of thrills, spills and jaw-aches. 

Atentado en el estadio

Atentado en el estadio

2 out of 5 stars

Al principio, estás confundido: ¿cómo la estrella de Guardianes de la Galxia, Dave Bautista llegó hasta Londres para comprar hot dogs en el estadio Upton Park? ¿Es eso lo que pasa después de que Thanos te hace polvo? Presentada como una película tipo Duro de matar (1988) en un estadio de futbol, Atentado en el estadio te prepara para una imitación barata. Sin embargo, esta cinta sobre un hombre musculoso que se enfrenta a terroristas rusos con la intención de explotar el antiguo terreno de West Ham (fue filmado en 2016, antes de que el estadio fuera demolido) es un comodín: intenso y divertido, con destellos ocasionales de brillantez real.  El director Scott Mann te empuja y te mete en el caos, brutales golpes, persecuciones, perdida de miembros. Bautista es enormemente simpático, mientras que sus compañeros, Lara Peake —como su sobrina obstinada— y Amit Shah —como un administrador de tierras aterrorizado—, son una explosión. Y luego está Pierce Brosnan, inexplicablemente actuando como un ruso, absolutamente ridículo con una gran barba vieja, soltando metáforas sin sentido sobre pollos. Esta película es lo que es: se embarran de queso y maíz, pero es más ingeniosa, cálida e impredecible de lo que tiene derecho a ser. Puede ser descaradamente como una copia de Duro de matar (1988) en un estadio de fútbol, ​​pero es mucho mejor que las recientes películas de acción.

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story

4 out of 5 stars

Frank Sidebottom was an oddity from every angle, an entertainer with a papier mâché head and a voice like a kazoo, an outsider artist who achieved mainstream success singing about Manchester village Timperley. Constructed from a treasure trove of archive material rescued from a damp cellar, Steve Sullivan’s peppy and affectionate documentary tells the story of the man behind the massive mask: Chris Sievey, an uncompromising character who found himself accidentally consumed by his own creation. Along the way there are adoring recollections from the likes of Jon Ronson, John Cooper Clarke and Johnny Vegas. Frank’s success peaked in the early ’90s with rapturously received turns at Reading Festival and his own properly chaotic TV show – for a moment, his creator had Britain at his feet but, as this film illustrates, self-destruction was there from the start. Sievey, who lived on cheese on toast and alcohol, was disinterested in anything resembling a traditional existence. His obsessive work ethic is described as somewhere close to Balzac’s and as ‘a mission of rank insanity’. He was compulsive to the last, whatever the cost – and there was great cost, to him and his family. Sievey was hugely dysfunctional, but his mania produced utterly unique, anarchic work – one couldn’t have existed without the other. This is a meticulously crafted tribute about a frustrated, frustrating man who made a huge mess of things – much of it intentionally. One of a kind, to say the least.

Wildlife

Wildlife

4 out of 5 stars

As an actor, Paul Dano is always up for the odd, the disconcerting, the complicated. Reassuringly, his first film as writer-director follows suit. ‘Wildlife’ is a finely detailed, darkly humorous, powder keg of a character study. With co-writer Zoe Kazan, Dano has adapted the story from Richard Ford’s novel. The book was published in 1990 but is set in 1960, where, in Montana, a picture-perfect young family begins to crack. Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal), constantly moving his family as he goes from job to job, flees to fight fires in the mountains out of some misplaced masculinity, instead of dealing with the ones at home. While he’s gone, his wife Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) snaps, leaving her young teenage son, Joe (Ed Oxenbould), through whose eyes much of this unfolds, to process the painful fallout. Mulligan’s characters have often been buttoned-up types, but the shackles are off here. For better or worse (let’s go with both), Jeanette reclaims her younger, elemental self, regardless of what the neighbours – and even Joe – might think. She’s a woman out of time, and Ford’s story, written in 1990, still feels resonant. If ‘Wildlife’ can feel like a play at times, its stifling confines and claustrophobic mood are deliberate. It definitely doesn’t look like one – Diego Garcia’s lush, nostalgic cinematography exudes romance, albeit of the doomed kind – and Dano avoids melodrama, drenching it in atmosphere. It’s uncomfortable in all the right ways. You sweat it out with them all. 

Outlaw King

Outlaw King

2 out of 5 stars

Scotland’s David Mackenzie directs what is, in historical terms, a follow-up to Mel Gibson’s ‘Braveheart’. In 1304, with an uprising thwarted, Robert the Bruce (a mullet-sporting Chris Pine, scuffed up but still smouldering) vows to serve under England’s Edward I (Stephen Dillane), along with the rest of Scotland. Of course, that harmony doesn’t last long, as the English are all riddled with lunacy and bloodlust – it’s like Brexit, but smellier. And so the battles begin. This is the third consecutive Mackenzie film to focus on misguided masculinity. In 2013’s ‘Starred Up’ it was young offender Eric (Jack O’Connell); ‘Hell or High Water’ (2016) had twitchy bank robber Tanner (Ben Foster); and ‘Outlaw King’ has problem child Edward, Prince of Wales (Billy Howle), determined to prove his worth by being the world’s biggest bastard. He presides over some hanging-and-disembowelling double bills that will haunt your nightmares. The battles are brutal, the bludgeoning horrid, yet ‘Outlaw King’ is frustratingly muted. It’s authentic but rarely dynamic; bombast is dialled down, presumably to present itself as less puffed-up than Gibson’s blockbuster. The conventions – a romance, a little speech on the battlefield, a final showdown – are there but low-key, the film cutting off its nose (and various limbs) to spite its very bloody face. Its refusal to dress itself up is admirable. But it’s a slow trudge through the sludge. 

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License to thrill? Our verdict on Secret Cinema’s ‘Casino Royale’

License to thrill? Our verdict on Secret Cinema’s ‘Casino Royale’

Secret Cinema is back with a new 007 extravaganza, ‘Casino Royale’. We sent ‘Juniper Blackthorn’ – AKA Alex Godfrey – to give his verdict.‘Ooh, it’s a shootout,’ says a young woman in front of me, 50 percent curious, zero percent fearful of witnessing any actual murder. We’re somewhere masquerading as somewhere exotic, and sure enough, right by the bar two men are suddenly trying to kill each other. Hordes of us glammed-up punters are screamed at to take cover, while fake blood is shed. Shootout over, the young woman saunters over the bar to size up the cocktails. At Secret Cinema’s take on ‘Casino Royale’, we can all afford James Bond’s nonchalance. Is there anything else quite like this? 007 fits Secret Cinema like an evil henchman’s glove. As ever, it takes place in a secret London location (the SC spoiler police are cat-stroking psychopaths, so that’s all you’re getting here), but this year’s extravaganza is a fun night out on its own terms thanks to the Bond locales (again, if I tell you, I’ll be tortured where it hurts the most). It is a sprawling sandbox in which you’re taken to glitzy corners of the world to partake in glamorous espionage activities, but if you’re less inclined to interact, the design and decoration is impressive enough for you to just hang out in the shadows and drink it in. If you do want to get your hands dirty, arriving early pays off. If you do want to get your hands dirty, arriving early pays off. Having assumed an undercover alias online – I