Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Kingdom - DVD review

Following his outlandish outbursts at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and the prevailing awards for Kirsten Dunst, it seems almost fitting that Lars Von Trier cannot escape our conscious.  His most original television work The Kingdom (Riget) is released on Monday 4th July by Second Sight Films for the first time in DVD format, in a four disc set in their original broadcast version.

Based in the labyrinthe hospital and primarily the neurosurgical ward of Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet; the televison drama follows the buzz word chief of staff; a Swedish surgeon who bemoans the fact that in Denmark doctors and patients must share the same lift.  As the show progresses, staff and patients encounter more and more weird phenomena both physically and supernaturally, whilst two dishwashers with Down's syndrome discuss the proceedings like a modern day Greek chorus.

A few years back, Von Trier, probably the most overtly criticised director of this age, was labelled anti-American for his depiction of small town America in Dogville; after viewing The Kingdom it can be seen that Von Trier is indebted to strands of both American film and television from the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Influences ranging from Hill Street Blues, Homocide, St.Elsewhere, ER, Twin Peaks and most of the David Lynch oeuvre are all apparent in this production.

The oft-kilter angled camerawork is deliberate in disrupting the viewers equilibrium and hence makes it easier to catch the viewer off balance with the shock tactics.  Images are displayed in sepia tones, giving you a feel of a bygone age or a feel of a documentary programme.

The show was initially done in a four part series in 1994, with a later sequel in 1997, with the hope of a third part to complete the trilogy but unfortunately deaths to several key cast members especially Ernst-Hugo Järegård (who played Stig Helmer) in 1998 and the subsequent deaths of Kirsten Rolffes (Mrs Drusse) and Morten Rotne Leffers (one of the dishwashers) put those ideas on ice.  In America, the show was released as a 4 1/2 hour long film which makes the whole experience both gripping and compelling.  This DVD should not be confused with Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital which was both lamentable and labourious when broadcast in 2004, featuring a giant anteater (as you do).

The first episode does take a while to get going, as the office politics involving the high profile Helmer versus the staff who are combating him at every turn, make you feel like you are watching just another hospital drama, but the introduction of the deluded Mrs. Drusse soon starts things up and the supernatural occurences.  Von Trier (along with co-director Morten Arnfred) do not go out of their way to scare, instead the sinister edge and feel are indicative to building up suspense and save set pieces for the final episodes with powerful sequences featuring gory surgical procedures, a neurosurgeon being impregnated by a ghost, black market dealings for organs and an ambulance that appears day and night.

At times very scary and full of gore; at other times blackly comic in its humour - this DVD will be worth watching for aficionados and new fans, allowing the televisual work to be worthy of comparison to Von Trier's more illustrious and renowned cinematic work.

The special features include a portrait of Von Trier, a behind the scenes featurette, commericals directed by Von Trier and special commentaries.  With a running time of 537 minutes with English subtitles, available at £39.99RRP from Second Sight Films.

My thanks to Aim Publicity for the chance to review this title, follow them on twitter @AimPublicity

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Ghosted - DVD review

Directed by Craig Viveiros, in his first feature production as writer and director, Ghosted is a hard hitting prison set drama featuring an array of British male acting talent.

Jack (John Lynch) is a model prisoner and wants to remain anonymous and keep his nose clean, however, on the anniversary of his son's death Jack is dealt a tragic blow when his wife ends their marriage.  Amongst the prison mayhem, is young Paul (Martin Compston) who is riding with the psychotic 'Baron' Clay (Craig Parkinson).  Feeling parental after losing his son, Jack decides to take Paul under his wing and save him from a life of damage that will happen if Paul stays with Baron.

A tough uncompromising portrayal of prison life featuring some fine performances from a strong ensemble.  Compston, who first came to attention in Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen has always had a great presence and is slowly growing into a very mature adult performer.  Whilst Parkinson (last seen in Brighton Rock) has a real swaggering menace to him, talking softly with the ability to switch quickly with a look or word.

Whilst the performances are gripping and expected from the cast; the dialogue at times does seem a bit contrived in places - perhaps that is the fault of the generic conventions of prison films.  Good guys look soft in prison compared to the pure evilness of the bad guys, who are in prison for a reason. 

This is not to do Viveiros a total disservice; the photography is a winner picking up all the burden of prison life on the prisoner's faces and the fight scenes do lend themselves a real viscerality in their brutal rendering.

However, with all prison films the ending comes far too soon where we are left with no answers to some questions left hanging in the air.

Ghosted is out in cinemas now and released on DVD on Monday 27th June by Revolver Entertainment for £12.99RRP

Click here for the trailer.
Follow the film at Facebook here
Follow Aim Publicity on twitter @AimPublicity and Revolver Entertainment @Revolveruk

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

New guests in England's ODI party

With England and their selections for the ODI series (one T20 and five ODI's) against the touring Sri Lankans, it is less a case of out with the old and in with the new; as out with the past it and in for another try.

Following the appointment of Alastair Cook as the new ODI captain and the feeble exit from the World Cup on the sub-continent, England need to re-assess their format and team selection.  Several players have seemingly written themselves out of the equation and removed from selection - Paul Collingwood, so often the heart of the England side, has been put out to pasture and is grazing in Durham with a groin strain; Michael Yardy, who worked well with Graeme Swann, is out with depression and seemingly played his last game for England.  And as always there is the query over who should keep wicket, and if that person should open the batting.

England made their selection on Tuesday morning; selecting Craig Kieswetter (Somerset) as the wicketkeeper removing Matt Prior, and recalling Samit Patel (Notts) who has won his battle of the bulge and shown enough progress to be given another chance, although he has been warned to not let himself down in terms of fitness.

In terms of Prior, he should not really worry about his position.  Far from him be looking over his shoulder for the test gloves, Prior is firmly implanted in that position and the picking of Kieswetter is England's intention of creating a pecking order.  Prior will have to do a lot wrong (of which he did not in the recent test series) to be usurped from the test side, but his non-selection is more a reflection of his inability to become an effective ODI opener, which saw him bat down the order once Pietersen took charge, and stay there once KP was injured.  Prior never scored an ODI century, and most importantly failed to be an explosive power hitter at the top of the order.  England must hope that the combination of patience (Cook) and bombast (Kieswetter) will prove decisive.

As for Samit Patel, it cannot be construed as a controversial selection, as once his weight was under control his sheer talent with bat and ball could not be overlooked.  His non-appearance in the recent World Cup on surfaces that would have suited his bowling was the x-factor missing from a dormant England side; as Yuvraj Singh showed for triumphant India - a powerful batsmen who could chip in for some profitable overs is something essential in the overall set up of a winning side.

Presumably, the non-selection of Chris Tremlett for the ODI side can be considered one of two things, either he proved too costly or one-dimensional for the one day game, or they want to keep him fit before the touring India side hit town.  You will probably see James Anderson miss one or two games for that same reason, and the inclusion of Jade Dernbach (Surrey) and Chris Woakes (Warwickshire) is indicative of that, as England attempt to breed some youngsters in high intensity atmospheres.

All in all the batting remains the same expect Cook and Kieswetter to open as discussed, with Trott coming in first wicket down, followed by KP, Bell and Morgan in a not too different Test/One day crossover, with Ravi Bopara again being the nearly man as Patel is picked ahead of him for his bowling prowess - with Swann, Anderson, Broad and one other filling up the places.

Against a Sri Lankan side itself in transition, expect a different story from the test side.  Sri Lanka are very capable one day players with proven track records and have the returning Lasith Malinga (who retired from tests) joining up with the squad and the versatile Angelo Mathews, a one-day specialist.

Expect a 3-2 scoreline to go either way, but hey the winner may be the weather who may have the last laugh.

Animal Kingdom DVD Preview

Hey all, just to let you know that the critically lauded Animal Kingdom will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray from Optimum Releasing and ThinkJam on Monday 11th July


ANIMAL KINGDOM tells the gripping tale of seventeen year-old J (James Frecheville), as he fights for survival in a vicious criminal family and the detective (Guy Pearce, The King’s Speech and Memento) who tries to save him. Pope Cody (Ben Mendelsohn), an armed robber on the run from a gang of renegade detectives, is in hiding, surrounded by roughneck friends and family. Soon, Pope’s nephew, J, arrives and moves in, but when tensions between the family and corrupt cops reach breaking point, J finds himself at the centre of a cold-blooded revenge attack that turns the family upside down. 

Writer and director David Michôd’s brutal and captivating depiction of Melbourne’s criminal underbelly heralds the arrival of an intense new voice to contemporary Australian Cinema.

The film has received awards and nominations worldwide, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Jacki Weaver, and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival.

My review will follow in due course, but giving you a heads up, as the check disc arrived this morning and I am watching the film now - looking forward to it

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Abramovich's Last Gamble

So it has happened, Chelsea have gone and got another special manager.  A special manager for a special team you may say, that is certainly what they will think on the Kings Road.  Following the swiftness and harshness of Carlo Ancelotti's dismissal after the last game of the season in a corridor of Goodison Park, it became apparent that Chelsea were urgently requiring a newly appointed manager sooner rather than later, two reasons: can you imagine another top four contending side unable to get a manager before July when one is required, also the transfer window is open and they need to start refreshing the squad that was left trophyless following a double in the season previously.

However, the appointment on Wednesday 22nd June of FC Porto's young manager, Andre Villas-Boas, following his resignation from the team he led to the Europa League title in May; means that he like so many has followed the money to London town and the chance to follow in the footsteps of his Porto predecessor, Jose Mourinho as one of the few men to win back to back the two major European trophies. 

Whilst Mourinho's achievement of winning the UEFA Cup (defeating Celtic) and then the next season winning the Champions League was a watermark for the nearly men; Mourinho showed that coaching and an experienced unified side can win it all.  Unfortunately, this was the last time a Champions League was won by a team outside of the powerhouse nations of England, Spain and Italy.  Villas-Boas has a greater chance of winning the continent's premier competition with England's second best side, than he would with Portugal's championship side

However, this appointment is less about the man being appointed and less even about the men overlooked for the job - the whole Hiddink compensation game was getting messy; it is again about the man who has hand picked his new manager.

For Roman Abramovich, this is seemingly the last throw of the dice to cement Chelsea as the dominant club side of the nation.  Manchester United are the champions, and in pole position to reclaim that title with a rejuvenated Fergie at the helm and with the promise of fresh faces.  Manchester City may have got into the Champions League, but look likely to lose their talisman Tevez and in spite of unlimited funds look likely to add little to the squad.  Arsenal maintain to toe that line between transition and unable to fulfil their definite promise, and look likely to lose captain Fabregas to the Catalan capital.  Liverpool seem resurgent with new squad members already joining the second Dalglish revolution.

The reason this appointment means more about Roman than Andre, is that Roman needs to retain the Premier League title and get back to the Champions League final.  Boas will be under no disillusion, he will be expected to create results and win trophies in his first season - quite a baptism of fire for a 33 year old manager in his first season of managing his first club overseas.  Having been unable to appoint his first two choices in Hiddink and unable to entice Mourinho back to his previous home, Roman has appointed a man with a fine looking CV; however Porto have been dominant in the Portugese league for many years and do not be surprised if their new manager wins the league title.

Boas does not need to live up to the example of Mourinho, although the similarities between the two are very apparent - both started as translators for Bobby Robson, both did not fulfil great playing careers, both managed Porto and now both left for the pastures of Kensington and Chelsea.  However, he is in danger of possibly ruining his reputation before it has even started.

Will Roman give Boas the necessary two seasons to garner the rewards? Will Boas (who is fluent in English) be able to cripple the apparent player-power of brokers Terry, Lampard and Cole and create a new sense of unity and stability that Mourinho did in his stint?  And what if the appointment proves to be disastrous, with results not reflecting the faith Roman has?  Will he pull the trigger if necessary, and will we be looking at another Roy Hodgson situation, where a good manager gets the big club appointment too soon.

And what if Abramovich does prove to be ruthless again in his sacking of another manager, that might be the end of his tenure as any manager would rightly suggest why go and coach for a man who is so ruthless as to not give you the real time required to gain results.

Whatever the outcome the £13.3m compensation Porto has received suggests that Chelsea may well have pulled off the transfer coup of the summer, and he it is not even for a player.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Faccia a Faccia (Face to Face) - DVD review

The western genre is full of law and order versus chaos and violence; stand offs between two men who hold opposing virtues in equal measure and consider their respective cause as worthy enough to fight for.  In most cases, the sheriff who wants to uphold the sanctity of peace and goodwill in his far flung town, and the six-shooter who wants to get everything he wants through violence at any cost to human life. 

This exciting new re-released Spaghetti western flips the ideas of law and order, right and wrong, order and chaos and the identity of the good guy in westerns on its head.

Faccia a Faccia, is directed by Sergio Sollima (The Big Gundown) and tells the story of a retiring professor Brad Fletcher (Gian Maria Volante) who due to his poor health moves west for warmer climate.  As soon as he arrives, he is taken hostage by the bandit Bennett (Tomas Milian) and has to live with the gang. 

After initial reluctance, he finds a calling amongst his fellow criminal cohorts, taking to crime and thuggery with ease.  This leads to Fletcher overthrowing Bennett and initiating a crueller system of leadership instead, so in essence a standoff between two villains forms the central relationship and conflict of this film; the generic modification being that the more evil villain of the two was once a learned man.

I can see initial similarity to John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, where James Stewart's character Rance Stoddard when also moving west from the east attempts to incorporate his learned skills of knowledge upon the illiterate townsfolk with limited success.   
             Much like Fletcher, Stoddard is assaulted by Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) on his first night in town and as John Wayne's Tom Doniphon explains to Stoddard - you have to fight fire with fire, and as much as Stoddard wants Valance put behind bars, violence is the only solution to a mind like Valance.  And so the famous conclusion with the realisation, and the memorable, 'when the myth becomes fact, print the myth' holds greater sway as Stoddard is now an elected Senator on the back of his feat of being said man.

The new print format on this DVD release from Eureka! entertainment features stunning cinematography in glorious Techniscope and a thrilling orchestral score from the renowned Ennio Morricone. 

The pictures and the framing of the action in this Texas landscape is helped by the ruthless and convincing performances by the esteemed cast.  Spaghetti westerns (western genre pictures produced in Italy) were made famous by Sergio Leone's Dollars (1964-66) trilogy featuring Clint Eastwood in the mid-1960s and this production made in 1967 is symptomatic of those thrilling films, retaining the same zest for excitement and thrill seeking.

Not to do a discredit this picture, it does convincingly portray a picture what the cruelty and ruthless west must have been like - the dynamic relationship between the learned Fletcher and outlaw Bennett, and how cleverly the educated man from the east attempts to takeover the man of the west, can be interpreted as a comment on imperialism which coming from a European viewpoint is both tantalising and alternatively creative.

However, as the western genre lives on mythologising men to epic status above their station as sheep herders and cattle ranchers; so this authentic slice of stylish 1960s Italian cinema, this film is ripe for reappraisal and should be allowed to create its own myths.

The DVD contains the original Italian audio with new English subtitles, and new Technicolour print; US and Italian theatrical trailers; an interview with director Sergio Sollima, a lavish 16 page booklet containing a new essay by spaghetti western expert Howard Hughes.

Available from Eureka! on Monday 20th June on both Blu-Ray and DVD

Crazy, Stupid, Love - Preview material

Set for UK release on 2nd September 2011 from Warner Bros. Pictures, Crazy, Stupid, Love. stars Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon, and is directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris).

At fortysomething, straight-laced Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the dream—good job, nice house, great kids and marriage to his high school sweetheart. But when Cal learns that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), has cheated on him and wants a divorce, his “perfect” life quickly unravels. Worse, in today’s single world, Cal, who hasn’t dated in decades, stands out as the epitome of un-smooth.

Now spending his free evenings sulking alone at a local bar, the hapless Cal is taken on as wingman and protégé to handsome, thirtysomething player Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). In an effort to help Cal get over his wife and start living his life, Jacob opens Cal’s eyes to the many options before him: flirty women, manly drinks and a sense of style that can’t be found at Supercuts or The Gap.

Cal and Emily aren’t the only ones looking for love in what might be all the wrong places: Cal’s 13-year-old son, Robbie, is crazy about his 17-year-old babysitter, Jessica, who harbors a crush on Cal. And despite Cal’s makeover and his many new conquests, the one thing that can’t be made over is his heart, which seems to keep leading him back to where he began.

With a huge potential audience across a wide reach of demographics judging by the talent on display from the everyman quality of Steve Carell, to the still under-rated Ryan Gosling. Female comedic quality is supplied by Emma Stone and Marisa Tomei, while overall veteran experience is guaranteed by Julianne Moore and Kevin Bacon.  As fine a group of ensemble actors as you could wish for; and directed by the two men who directed the criminally unseen I Love You Philip Morris, and wrote Bad Santa, so laughs are their perogrative. 
This is out in September, so lets get tongues wagging about Crazy, Stupid, Love before then.

Click here to watch the hilarious trailer

The official web site: and follow on Facebook

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Putty Hill - review

Matt Porterfield's breakthrough Sundance fested award winner gets a UK release with a limited run at the ICA.

Following the death of a young man, his family and friends congregate in Baltimore, Maryland to commemorate his passing at his funeral as is the custom.  Using handheld techniques, we follow these late teenagers and young adults as they go about there day to day lives as is the custom of documentary realism narratives.  However, then the fourth wall is broken seemingly, when an off-camera presence makes himself known by asking the youth in the frame questions about his life, the funeral and the boy, Cody, who passed away. 

The interviewer is in the same vein as Nick Broomfield would be, provocative in his questioning and leading with his meaning.  Unlike Broomfield though who would inject himself into the frame whenever possible, on this occasion the interviewer remains off-camera and serves merely as a therapist for the people he talks to.  It allows these young people, who are constantly put in their place by society and hierarchial structures of family dynamics, to speak for themselves.

The interviews are never confrontational or antagonistic, Porterfield is making a subtle reference and political comment about these people.  Sometimes they just want to talk, and if they are afforded the time to talk and shown due respect they can speak freely, openly and with suprisingly clear clarity.  Unlike the usual fame hungry people so often thrust before the camera in other documentary films and programmes.  The need to communicate face to face in this age of instant messaging and contact has never been more prevalent.

Credit for these to camera dialogues should go to Porterfield and his co-writer Jordan Mintzer (who also produced) as they give these young people proper things to say allowing them to be intelligent yet with under the surface complexities waiting to burst out; the performances from the young cast go hand in hand with the effectiveness.

When there are not interviews on screen we are given some beautiful photography by Jeremy Saulnier, especially the woodland of the Baltimore area portraying a stillness in the surrounding Maryland state, lets not forget this is a funeral movie after all - the chill and still of funerals are portrayed with great humanity and subtlety.  This is helped by the sound design as evidenced by the paintball scene that opens the film, the hum and bang of paintballs impacting on tree bark, metal and flesh gives us a sonic spectrum for the mind and eyes.

Following in the footsteps of Cold Weather, Catfish and the obvious debt of the influential works of Gus Van Sant, especially Elephant, the combination of naturalistic performances and documentary realism genre are woven together to creditable effect.  It tells you so much in an interview, yet a look can say so much, a film that never gives its full hand away; but there is no danger of it bluffing, this is the real deal.

If you can get to the ICA in the next two weeks, you shall not be disappointed.

Floodtide (1949) - DVD review

Much like the other recent Park Circus film release, The Brothers, this film directed by Frederick Wilson (The Quiller Memorandum) depicts young adults with high aspirations and intentions beyond their normal social circle.

In this instance, David Shields (Gordon Jackson) wishes to leave the farm that he lives on with his father and head for the shipyards of Glasgow and earn his keep as a shipbuilder.  David has a flair for the designing of these huge structures and after attending night schools, he grabs the attention of the boss, Anstruther (played by Jack Lambert) who decides to send him to a technical college, where he passes in style. 

Added to the mix, is David's growing affection for Anstruther's daughter, Mary (Rona Anderson) a woman of privilege who wants David to forget his down at heel roots and leave behind his good friend, Tim Brogan (James Logan) who shows David who to let his hair down.  One amazing sequence is when David and Tim go out on the town to a dancehall, and you see a scrum of people you think fleeing the scene of a major accident when in actuality they are dancing in perfect choreography to the show band playing on the stage.  Like the films great location camerawork, this scene is shows you something that is definitely of its time but also the swell of community spirit that occured in Scotland during the post World War 2 years.

David's panache and willingness to stand out from the crowd can mark him as a cinematic forerunner of Sidney Stratton (Alec Guinness in The Man in the White Suit) and Arthur Seaton (Albert Finney in Saturday Night, Sunday Morning); two other aspirational young men who had ideas above their station and come into trouble for doing so. 

Whilst the former may well be in the same satirical vein of most Ealing Studios production, David certainly appears closer to Arthur and his 'angry young men' contemporaries played with relish by Tom Courtenary and Richard Harris, that helped make their distinguished careers.

Shot on location in the streets of Glasgow and Clydeside featuring sweeping magasterial shots of the historic shipyards.  but of cultural significance and historical merit as these shipyards are now not used and lie dormant in this modern age.

Acted with great skill by the consumate cast, which includes the Dad's Army veteran John Laurie, this fine film released on DVD for the first time is not just a time capsule to a forgotten world, but a different way of life.  The film concludes on a heath with a romantic clinch which marks it as an equal to The Brothers in terms of melodrama, but on this instance the melodrama takes a back seat to depict a young man with aspiration and the thrilling ride to succeed.

Released on 20th June, Floodtide is available for the first time on DVD from Park Circus films (  for £15.99RRP, with extras consisting of an image gallery.

West is West - DVD review

Director Andy de EmmonyFollow here for a link to interview with the director Andy De Emmony

The long anticipated and hoped for sequel of the 1999 box office success 'East is East' is released by Icon Home Entertainment on 20th June.

The film with the wish of Aybu Khan-Din is written not so much as a sequel but as a stand-alone film in its own right, and for the most part it proves a successful follow-up to the film that won a Bafta for Outstanding British Film.  The cast return en masse (although Jimi Mistry fans will feel slightly short changed).

The original film was ground breaking in that it brought subject matter previously unheralded to the big screen; inter-racial marriage set against the backdrop of 1970s working class Salford,Manchester with all its contexts of class and social status.  The idea of a white woman marrying a Pakistani and the hatred that such things may incite were addressed, but the violence is reserved for the cold hand of George Khan (Om Puri) who beats up his wife in the back office of their chip shop.  Whilst played and marketed for laughs, the original did have its darker moments.

'West is West' focuses on Sajid (Aqib Khan - in his first role), the youngest son, who is rebellious playing truant from school and avoiding bullies who berate him as a 'Paki' thus causing worries about his identiy and reluctance to accept his mixed heritage and hating his father.  The need for discipline and restraint in the young tearaway leads George to take him to his homeland in Pakistan to the family home he abandoned 30 years previously to marry Ella (Linda Bassett).

Mostly played for laughs, but asking genuine questions about identity and belonging not just to your race but your family home; the film has these major questions but has a lovely parallel narrative surrounding Nemar (the middle son) and his quest for a wife. This narrative garners the most laughs as the bride he chooses proves to be more than meets the eye.  Sajid and George's narrative journeys are directed with a humility and subtlety which is with thanks to the direction of Andy de Emmony, who has a long track record in television drama, and this comes to the fore in his feature length debut effort.

Beautifully shot by Peter Robinson, again making Pakistan (though the film was shot in Indian Punjab for insurance purposes) look as beautiful as Chris Menges did for 'Slumdog' and it is this debt to that Oscar winning film that gives this film not a rose-tinted view of the world, but a serious enough tone to go in balance with the humour that comes from Sajid's escapades as a hermit attempts to teach him lessons about life by stating the obvious and making the youngster discover it for himself.

Great performances by all concerned, most notably Aqid Khan who with no training instills Sajid with a bit of Malcolm McDowell mixed with Alex Turner, giving poetry to such profanity he sometimes spouts and Ila Arun, as Basheera Khan, the first wife who shows the vulnerability of her husband's abandonment in her aged face; though talking only Punjab she instills the character with such grandeur and poise it is striking and the scene with her and the second Mrs. Khan are startling.

Khan-Din (and the producer, Leslie Unwin) gets the wish of having the film stand on its own, and though it might not garner the same box office and clamour as its predecessor did it still deserves credit for being a work of supreme technical accomplishment and maturity. A straight drama with comedic appeal in this day and age of hook and gimmicks.

There may be a third film to complete the trifecta, possibly following Sajid's attempts to get married himself - maybe this will be played for laughs; but as long as this cast remains the same, there remains the key to its ever growing appeal.

Distributed by Icon Home Productions this Monday for £17.99RRP on both DVD and Blu-Ray

I Am Number Four - DVD review

Based upon the novel by Pittacus Lore, produced by Michael Bay and directed by accomplished young film-maker, D.J. Caruso, this big budget film blasts onto the screens this month with a lot of expectation and hype that this may be the new franchise in Hollywood.

Alex Pettyfer, is Number Four, one of the Nine from an alien world, Lorian, who have abandoned their home world and arrived on Earth to hide from the Mogdolorians who are looking to kill the Nine.  As they hold powers or 'legacies' which combined can create great power.  In a prologue, we see Number Three being murdered, from there we are hurtled to Florida where Number Four is enjoying the beach and somersaulting on a jetski.  After discovering number three's death and being labelled a 'freak' by a girl he likes, it is the decision of his warrior-protector Henri (Timothy Olyphant) to leave town and put the Mogs off of their scent.

They land in Paradise, Ohio and are met by thunderstorms; at one point John (his new name) remarks how the town should be called Ironic.  Henri pleads for invisibility but quickly John makes enemies out of the jerk jock; befriends the conspiracy believer, Sam and gets rose tinted eyes over an outsider girl who dabbles in photographer, Sarah (Dianna Agron, head cheerleader Quinn from 'Glee').  But the Mogs are quickly on his heels; dressed menacingly like angels of death in long black trenchcoats and painted in tribal tattoos, these are evil so and so's, and as well as extra-terrestrial weaponary they also have huge monstrous beasts to also do their bidding.

Caruso has territory with big action scenes, and this is his first blockbuster following a step up from his last two films.  Disturbia (a Rear Window) for the 21st century with Shia Laboeuf imprisoned in his own home playing part-time detective was a thriller with genuine scares, he then did the under-rated and low profile Eagle Eye which borrowed another Hitchock genre, this time North by Northwest with Labeouf going cross country to clear his name with the help of a rampant computer who was his eye in the sky. 

Whereas, these were accomplished productions, acted well and shot quickly, on this occasion there is no opportunity to rip off Hitchcock and instead bow at the altar of Michael Bay.  Bay with his thirst for destruction on the screen, is afforded that in the climax of the film with the special effects bonanza in the high school and football field; grenades, lasers, fireballs and a monster mash in the showers.

Before the monster mash, Caruso does try to establish a sympathy for the characters working on the dynamic of their relationships, elevating the romantic elements of the storyline to prominence and letting the death of a paternal figure have echoes when it does happen, not rushing into it.  The credit for this should fall at the script written by three talented writers, two of them are Alfred Gough and Miles Millar - two names you might not recognise, but might be familiar with their most famous creation Smallville, the early years of Superman which followed Clark Kent at a high school, not too dissimilar to Paradise, Ohio. 

Whilst a good television show in its day combining the quality of Dawson's Creek with the X-Files freak of the week fix; the show sometimes fell in on itself when it had to rush the climatic fight with Clark Kent hiding his powers from the ordinary people.  There the constrictions of an hour prime time to fill was the fault, here though in spite of the near two hour running time, some of the same problems pop up again. 

The climax does have a feel of putting all of its eggs in one basket, is this indicative of cinema at the moment or can we blame Bay.   Everything is given to sell the mandatory sequel, with lessons learned, a new character named in Teresa Palmer's brief but explosive cameo, her place in the next film is assured with her soon to be iconic look in leathers and aviators, even a good punchline, 'Red Bull is for pussies'.

All in all there is a lot to be excited about - characters that are engaging, funny dialogue and a lot of action set in the real world whilst mixing it with other-world mythology, a reluctant hero who is only just beginning to understand the consequences of his actions. 

Hopefully, the film will garner the greater plaudits and audience it so richly deserved (but did not attract) on its initial release.  This is harmless action stuff with something for all the family - romance, action, special effects, aliens, drama with the surrogate father-son relationship between Four and Henri.  The sequel may be forthcoming, but if it is not, check this out before the film gets forgotten about.

I Am Number Four is released on 20 June on both Blu-ray and DVD, but if you are an extras junkie, make you sure you fork out for the Blu-ray version which has tons more extras than the DVD equivalent.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Eccentricities of a Blonde Haired Girl - DVD review

The 102 year old film-maker de Oliveira, so often making films that push the limits of cinema occupancy, has seemingly found a spring in his ageing feet. 

Adapting a short story from Portugal's most famous 19th Century author Eca de Queiroz, and in so adapting a short story has given it a fleeting 64 minute running time contemplating young love and the curve ball it can throw you at the end.

Utilising the device of having Macario (Ricardo Trepa) recite the story of the events that have happened in the previous few months , to a female passenger on a train as he exiles himself from Lisbon, allows the flashback to have its place and be the truth and reality de Oliveira strives for. 

The flashback is broken up only when Macario feels it necessary (unusually his travelling companion finds it hard to look at him seemingly), to elaborate as to why he fell head over heels with Luisa (Catarina Wallenstein, in her first lead role), a girl on the other side of the street from his office veranda - and only ask for her hand in marriage once he has his own finances in order (considering he is an accountant you think he would have). 

This is a film of its time, with characters mentioning the economic climate and Macario referring to himself as 'poor as a bank'.

The pacing of the film is coupled with the effective editing of a skyline from day to night and vice versa to connote the changing of time and Macario's recollection of the story. 

While it can be admired that old-fashioned romantic notions are attempting to be introduced into this 21st century, the yearning for formality and chivalry will inevitably come back and bite you on the behind - and when it comes to beautiful women in film, the men are usually suckers (like Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity or Jack Lemmon in The Apartment) for a girl with nice hair and who will flash a smile, even if the ulterior motive is under the surface.

The twist at the end can be construed as abrupt, but in the twists of life and love nowadays it is more ideal to think of it as appropriate.  It is certainly appropriate to marvel at the determination of de Oliveira to still be making films that are attentive to detail and distinguished in its execution.
Eccentricities... is distributed by New Wave Films ( and is available for £15.99RRP on DVD and is certified U.  It is released on Monday 13th June.

Human Centipede 2 - Appeal press release

This is the full press release from the UK distributors Bounty Films/Eureka! Entertainment concerning the classification uproar regarding the BBFC and The Human Centipede 2 last week:
Within the last week, the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) announced that it had rejected and was unable to classify for release on DVD, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)

Bounty Films, and its UK distribution partner Eureka Entertainment Ltd., are disappointed by the decision of the BBFC to deny the film a classification certificate.  While both companies respect the authority of the board, we strongly disagree with their decision. 

In support of their decision, the BBFC issued a press release that gave an unprecedented level of detail regarding certain scenes contained within the film.  Whilst it appears customary for the BBFC to issue press releases in support of its decision making, the level of detail provided therein does seem inconsistent with previous releases where the statements have been more concise.  We are concerned this may be prejudicial to our forthcoming appeal.

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is adult entertainment for fans of horror films.  If a film of this nature does not seek to push boundaries, to challenge people and their value systems or to shock, then it is not horror.  The subject matter of this film is in line with not only the genre, but other challenging entertainment choices for adult consumers.

We respect those who have different opinions about both the film and the genre, and whose opinions may differ to our own, but we hope that the opinions of the adults for whom this product is intended will also be considered.  The adult consumers who would watch this film fully understand that it is fictional entertainment and nothing more.

Classifying and rating product allows the public to make an informed choice about the art and media they wish to consume.   Censoring or preventing the public from obtaining material that has not been proven to be harmful or obscene, is indefensible in principle and is often counterproductive in practice.  Through their chosen course of action, the BBFC have ensured that the awareness of this film is now greater than it would otherwise have been. 

Having taken advice on these matters, and in accordance with BBFC guidelines, we will be submitting our appeal to the Video Appeals Committee in due course.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Hangover - Drunk on success


Finally, you get to see the film that everyone is talking about. And much like a night out at the think everyone says is hot, it falls flat on its face and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Whilst the original Hangover in 2009 was a shot in the arm for American studio comedy, a resurrection of sorts after so many baffling rom-coms and Frat Pack comedies that left you speechless, this is a return to those dark days.

I remember speaking to a fellow cinephile about the release of the film in fact two weeks ago on the day of its release, and he asked me what the expectations were. I had to be honest, they were not positive. Partly, because the sequel is emblematic of too much of a good thing (look at the Pirates franchise), why ruin something that was so perfect with what will be bad from the get go.

The beauty of the original was that it was an idea for the film that should have been done years ago, so credit to the screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore who wrote it and enshrined themselves in history. Luckily, they are left laughing loudest because they did not write the script for this awfulness. That should have been an indicator, instead the script is written by the director, Todd Philips, who is a better director than writer - and taking over inherited characters and feeding them lines is not the same thing.

From the get go, it takes ages for the film to get a head of steam - it starts in LA and then they leave for Bangkok. Stuart (Ed Helms), the dentist, is getting married to American-Thai bride Lauren in her home country, so Phil (Bradley Cooper), Doug (Justin Bartha), Alan (Zach Galifinakis) and Lauren's younger brother, Teddy () are in tow on the flight.

From the initial re-introduction of Alan, there is a whiff of staleness about Alan's material - whereas two years ago his child-like naivety was whimsical and hilarious, due to Galifinakis playing the same role in Due Date, albeit effeminately, you feel as if you have been beaten to death with this schtick of a fat man-child who may or may not be gay and is the stupidest person in the room; even though he gets the two biggest laughs from me, when a ladyboy reveals her parts he turns and says 'Is this a magic show?' and when he drops anchor on a boat which is on dry land. The latter one is near the film's end, where I wanted to laugh after nearly 90 minutes of not laughing. He also leans in over peope's shoulders when in shot to get cheap laughs.

The performances are not great, as I have stated with Galifinakis - Cooper seems bored and looks destined to befall the career of second generation McConaughey, eye candy with a good delivery of a line; Bartha might as well not be there, Teddy is a red herring to the proceedings and almost forgotten about a few times. Only Helms as the constantly put upon Stu is the one who comes out with any credit, as he embraces his demon (or is it semen)inside him. Even Chow (Ken Jeong) returns and he chews up the scenery with relish but annoying degree of sanity.

My other initial acknowledgement of this film being a failure, was that it was set in Thailand. Knowing how easily American comedies are racist all is apparent here as we have ladyboys, the language difficulty -not one American even attempts to speak the local dialect and a monkey (always a bad sign when a sequel introduces an animal to the cast) that stimulates masturbation on a Buddhist monk. Alan says masturbation is funny and universal, no it is tasteless and lowest common denominator comedy.

The whole production feels like it was rushed with a script that the original scriptwriters had now say in and would have refused had they seen it; hence their absence. I hope this is the end and we do not see a film to complete a trilogy, although again money talks and the initial box-office receipts are positive, although that is because the original was so adored people cared about these characters and wanted to see what happened next. Now I am not so sure that investment will carry over to a third film.

There was a reason why there was no sequel to Animal House, you can have too much of a good thing. In this case, we have had too much of a bad thing and like any old Hangover that takes place in a foreign country - it is best to keep it to yourself, forget it and never bring it up again.

James Patterson 'London Private'

In this ever decreasing global community, things seem to be moving at quite a pace. Nevermore so in evidence, than the work of James Patterson, celebrated creator of the Alex Cross character immortalised by Morgan Freeman in the films Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider.

Patterson, a long term advocate for literacy (especially in children) has used his muscle as a best-seller to collaborate with up and coming authors in dual efforts. This means Patterson can keep releasing books under his marquee name whilst maintaining his work to get children reading from an early age.

Private London  is a spin off of a new franchise Patterson created with Maxine Paetro, on this occasion his co-author is Mark Pearson - it tells the tale of a private detective agency in London, a spin-off of the Los Angeles agency set up by the erstwhile Jack Morgan. In London, the head of Private is former Royal Military Police Sergeant Dan Carter, imagine Jason Statham but with an ability to string a sentence together without a grunt or monosyllabic shrug

The book revolves around two kidnappings, involving the same family, the Shapiros from Los Angeles. We flashback initially to a date in 2003, when Hannah Shapiro's mother is kidnapped, held for ransom, raped in front of her and the ransom is never paid by her billionaire father, Harlan. Flash forward to 2010, and Hannah is about to start studying Psychiatry at Chancellors in London, Morgan contacts Carter to be Hannah's personal protection during her stay in our homeland.

Then to the relative present day, and another kidnapping takes place this time with Hannah the target. However, with this being a Patterson thriller, nothing or anyone is ever what they seem - with the threat of crosses, double crosses and triple crosses always in place.

Carter and his team are on the case, but Carter has his own backstory with his ex-wife DI Kirsty Webb on the case from the legitimate standpoint for the Police; it is never made out that Private are secret just a private detective agency with unlimited financial resources that put the Metropolitan Police in the shade.

There is a common theory regarding the success of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code - not that it was about the conspiracy theory, but because the chapters were short and punchy. Four to five pages that were of narrative significance and sustained a sense of purpose by including a moment of incidence or thrill. Private London puts Brown's books to shame, chapters of sometimes two pages in length means there is always something to keep you gripped. This novel was swallowed up in two days of page turning wonderment.

Whilst an American writer taking on London is not out of place, you need only look at Jeffrey Deaver's recent Bond novel, you can see why Mark Pearson was required. Pearson must have helped with the geographical element of locations from the difference of Metropolitan and Jubilee Line to identifying Amersham in Buckinghamshire.

The dialogue is the key to the page-turning, snappy and in combination with constant action and violence; however it never gets to the stage of parodying itself, although characters do refer to watching television programmes and it being nothing like the real thing. Characters are also self-knowing of what to say next,( 'Ready?' he asked. I nodded, resisting the impulse to say I was born ready.) straight talking guys who get to the point.

The only drawback was the other case revolving missing fingers in the book, whilst dealt with care and suggestion, that plotline gets kind of forgotten about once the kidnapping of an American princess takes centre stage. Patterson has that ability to render your full attention in what he exactly thinks you should pay attention to.

For fans of Patterson's novels, of which there are 1,698,671 on Facebook at last count, this is a definite positive addition to his back catalogue and the enticing anticipation of a sequel with a brilliantly constructed reunion at the end means Private London is open for business and it is booming

Private London is released on Thursday 9th June in Hardback by Century Publishing for £18.99 and is 368pages.

Become a fan of James Patterson on Facebook,.

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Brothers - DVD review

Released on DVD for the first time by Park Circus Films - tells the story of Mary (Patricia Roc), who raised in a convent leaves for the Isle of Skye to serve an old man.  Whilst there she works hard for the old fiend, who reminds her constantly at how lucky she is to have a roof over her head; while also deflecting advances from the men folk of the island.  She works for the Macraes, a family who have a long rivalry with the McFarishes.  Mary's arrival provokes latent sexual urges in the young men of the families, the rivalry reaching boiling point on certain occasions.

Melodramatic by genre, but not a women's picture as Ms.Roc portrays Mary as a woman far from vulnerable who can fend for herself as she has to resist physical advances on more than one occasion.  The film is quite suggestive, unlike the fiercely proud and distinctly British fare of the era from Powell and Pressburger, and earlier works of David Lean in his collaborations with Noel Coward.

The otherness of the region and distinct air of non-Englishness on display helps proceedings, as you treat it as something altogether different from that which you are used to.  The scenery is shot beautifully, giving the highlands a sense of dread as this omnipresent character.

The night scenes when Mary is either out with Fergus (Maxwell Reed), John (Duncan Macrae) or at a social event, Roc is shot with her hair down and suddenly the Scottish landscape is like Brigadoon with Northern lights beaming in the background, so there is a hint of fantasy and even, magical realism taking place.

Featuring John Laurie (of Dad's Army fame) in a supporting role with his wild eyes acting for him, this film has more redeeming features for you to watch than for you to turn off.  Even if it does feature one of the most ludicrous fist fights between Fergus and John which peeters out in a waterfall, and the first (and only) example of death by goose.

Surprisingly suggestive for its time in the immediate years following World War II, the film is pleasantly entertaining and at times a tense viewing but that is credit to the director David MacDonald, who directs with vigour and assurance, and he is himself helped by a brilliant leading performance from Roc as the feisty and irresistible Mary, and it is a shame that Roc never reached the exalted heights of her contemporaries, Margaret Lockwood and Vivian Leigh.

Available for the first time on DVD, The Brothers is out on Monday 6th June from Park Circus films for £15.99RRP

The Mechanic - Review

Jason Statham returns on DVD with another action film with lots of violence, lots of shooting, lots of gun and not a lot of dialogue or theoretical expansion of the geo-political spectrum of arms trafficking.  No, this is a Statham film, he is the good guy who shoots the bad guy(s) ad nauseum.

Statham, is the Mechanic, Arthur Bishop (a remake of the 1971 original starring Charles Bronson) an agency assassin who handles and eliminates targets with ruthless aggression and emotional detachment.  He is mentored by Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), who treats Arthur as more of a son than the disappointment of his actual blood son, Steve (Ben Foster).

After completing his most recent target in Mexico, Arthur returns and finds that his new target is Harry.  After meeting his boss, played with atypical malevolence by Tony Goldwyn, who confirms that Harry is the next target due to some embezzling of company funds; Arthur takes it upon himself to seek out why Harry has been set up.

This sort of narrative structure and plot points are by the by on occasion, and once Steve arrives wanting to learn the tricks of Arthur's trade and make his father proud of him.  Foster, for so long a bit part player and excellent in The Messengers (with Woody Harrelson), is himself not the most handsome or as muscle bound as Statham, luckily though he can deliver a line - something Statham unfortunately cannot.

But you do not buy or pay a ticket for a Statham actioner for him to talk, you pay for him to kick butt.  He has worked very hard on his career, making familiar and generic actioners with homophobic tendencies and a regrettable body count.  You could even say that the film is misogynistic, as the only woman in the film is a prostitute who is paid by Arthur, a prostitute who does not even know his name.  Cleverly, she asks him for his name and in his rich thick cockney accent, Statham replies, 'Aaar-fur'.  She replies, 'No, you look more like a David or a Brad.  I will see you around Brad.'  Statham smiles that Bruce Willis smile like he does after he says 'Yippee-kayee'. 

Statham is the model 21st century actor, he is an amalgamation of other actors - Willis, Stallone, Caine and Bronson - and in this day and age, in this global culture of various cultural icons; Statham is the actor that is both nostalgic, making you yearn for glories and pictures of old - with an embracing of the new and violent world we live in.  Statham and Foster put so many bullets into some goon at the end, you think is there much purpose to that or is it just how things are handled; and then there is the cod slow-mo at the end to hark back to the epitaph of Bonnie and Clyde, that started this whole slow-mo gunplay.

Watching The Mechanic on DVD is a better way to watch it, I would have been disappointed to pay to see this film at the cinema as the ending is a little bit cod but it ends with Statham jumping into a new car and driving off into the sunset to his next role of similarity. 

Much like that other B-movie star, Randolph Scott, a star who was eclipsed by contemporaries like John Wayne and Henry Fonda; Statham is like that Scott character - an outlaw who does his business in a city or town, and then leaves to pop up in another city or town playing the same role.

Yet the reason a film like this, with its $40m budget, is produced and with technical sheen is because Statham is a DVD icon - guys love to buy the films, watch it with a beer and a smile as those memories of Rambo and Commando reappear on the brain. 

Is it worth reviewing a Statham film, when you know what you are going to get.  This is not his best film, that remains Chaos; but this is a worthy second thanks in part to the continual growth and aura of Statham on film and the excellent support of Foster.

The Mechanic is released on Monday 6th June by Momentum Pictures and is available at £15.99(DVD) and £19.99(RRP), check out the website for more details on the title.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

BUG: Moby Special - review

Wednesday 1st June, first day of a new month, my first time at BUG! a bi-monthly showcase for new music videos of both mainstream and indie acts and shown on a big screen at the BFI Southbank.  Tonight in a special edition, hosted by Adam Buxton (of Adam & Joe fame and 6Music DJ), is a retrospective of one of the most iconic and noticeable music video artists over the last 20 years.

Moby, who rose to prominence with his second single, Go (Ondrej Rudavsky) in 1991 with a video that was hypnotic and a hallucinatory fit set to three minutes.  Moby was marked as an artist who knew what he wanted to do with his videos, and how they were an important outlet for his artistic and polemical outlet.

Moby will forever be remembered for the 1999 album Play, one of the biggest selling albums of that decade and a seminal work, which thanks to every track being available for licensed use in advertising, TV or films made the album ubiquitous and landed Moby some notierity for his wish to make as much money as possible.  In the interview with Buxton, Moby quoted that the reason he did that was because the album was initially not a success and landed him some awful reviews, his only regret was he wish he did not allow the licensing in the UK and left it only to non-English speaking territories like Japan and Portugal, for example.

Watching the music videos there is a recurring theme of morose mortality, death is a common thread in certain videos; the allure of celebrity and the use of famous actresses (Christina Ricci in Natural Blues (David La Chappelle, 2000) and Heather Graham in The Day (Evan Bernard, 2011) are most memorable, and now even Moby himself or thelittleidiot character of his is itself a character.

In the interview with the ever entertaining Buxton, who bought a lightness and touch to proceedings making an audience laugh when commentating on the comments left on YouTube for three videos, Moby touched upon his collaborations with David Lynch, his input into the videos - stating that he leaves the creative process to the creative minds, except for In This World, which was his idea initially and the work of; a new venture that allows non-profit organisations and independent filmmakers to use his exclusive work and tracks for use in their films.  Another capitalist venture? Moby stated that if profit was made, a portion of profits must be paid to the Humane Society, so he cannot make money even if he tried.

The other excellent venture of the evening was the opportunity to focus on new videos for new Moby material from the new album Destroyed; sanctioned by Moby, BUG, Saatchi & Saatchi and Vimeo to search for new directorial talent - the 'Hello, Future' Music Video Challenge showed three videos selected for the final. The winner to be selected at the New Director Showcase at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity on June 23rd. 

Two videos for Be The One were shown, the better being the animated version by Roland Wittl of Germany, incorporating the littleidiot character in an animation video that was indicative of past work and recurring themes.  However, the best one in my opinion, was After directed by Alberto Gomez of Mexico; an intoxicating and mysterious and at times terrifying video that was spellbinding in its editing and getting great performances from a young cast.  Again, this showed the global reach of Moby as an artist whose work can reach all corners of the globe without pandering to different nationalities; the work can speak for itself.

For more on BUG at the BFI go to for details the next night is on July 13th/14th at the BFISouthbank. Or follow on twitter @BUGmusicvideos or on Facebook; bugvideos.
For more on Moby go to and

Twenty8k - a bold future for British filmmaking

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending in Newham the set of a new and exciting British production, Twenty8k. Co-directed by David Kew and Neil Thompson, produced by Martin Carr and starring Parminder Nagra, Stephen Dillane, Jonas Armstrong and Kierson Wareing; in a script written by Jimmy Dowdall and Paul Abbott. It tells the story of a young woman, Deeva, a fashion executive in Paris who returns home to East London to defend the name of her brother who has been arrested for murder, but as she seeks to uncover the truth, lies and conspiracy come to the fore with twists aplenty.

Firstly, upon my arrival on set I was allowed an in-depth sit down with Martin Carr, a passionate man who described the film as a 'woman in peril thriller', a rare beast for these times and one for which they always had the acclaimed Nagra in mind for. As we arrive on set, they are in the last week or so of major shooting, due to Parminder's busy schedule in line with her work on J.J.Abram's new TV pilot Alcatraz; this has been a busy five weeks and hectic for the still young actress - who is back in England for the first time in years.

Nagra, is the cornerstone of the film, and in some exclusive reel footage we were shown; we see a scene of her crying in her brother's bedroom as she sees the only contact with which she had with him; a postcard from her home in Paris where she was working as a fashion executive, she breaks down in tears as this postcard is the only link she had with her brother, the tears expressing guilt and regret over the greater distance she had withdrawn from family life.

Mr.Carr went on about the gruelling schedule of shooting, days shoots running from 7am to 5pm, and then sometimes a night shoots going from 5pm to 7am, sometimes straight after, which has been hard on the 40 strong crew, but the professionalism on display has been all apparent.

As the money man, he was not shy to state how the budget at £1.4m is very good for a British film of this stature - but with its presence as the marquee British release of the early spring after the Oscar rush of films, the film could be the first thing of London in 2012 before 'the big sporting event' appears on the horizon in late July. Yet Mr.Carr made the point, 'that filmgoers pay £8 or whatever it is, for a big Hollywood blockbuster and the same for a small British film, so why can we not offer the British film fan the same sort of sheen and look as a Hollywood film.'

Asking about the script, a first draft was written in 2008 but following a creative difference with the original author, mostly about the omnipresent c-word in British pictures; Carr approached Paul Abbott (Shameless, State of Play) who said no but came back and did a draft and the beauty of Abbott's work, 'is that in two lines he gets the audience to ask 30 questions'.

Carr hopes that along with such films like Enemy of the State and the Bourne franchise, 'there will be a sense of immediacy with the work and that the preparation will pay off. And that there will be an international reach for this film even though it has a low budget, but this has class and we are using London as an asset and character in proceedings. And in Deeva (Nagra), we have a character who is a strong yet vulnerable girl, using her skill set and intelligence - allowing us a greater demographic due to her everyman quality.'