The Lesser-Known ‘Blokes’ Night In’ Movies!
Jul 2012 21

It would be easy to make a standard, boring, everyday list of blokes’ night in movies.

For example:

1. Die Hard
2. Commando
3. Terminator
4. Universal Soldier

Job done. That took (at most) about 30 seconds to think of. The much harder challenge was to think of four films which would be perfect, but are lesser-known gems.

So here goes:

1. Judgement Night
Stephen Hopkins directs Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jeremy Piven and Dennis Leary in an action-packed 90 minutes in which a group of friends get lost on their way to fight, and see something they shouldn’t have done. Get the pizzas in.

2. Tresspass

Described as possibly the best single-location action film of all time (Can’t think of many others, so it may not be the greatest of compliments, come to think of it). Bill Paxton and Ice T star, I don’t think I need to say anymore. Beers in the fridge.

3. The Last Boy Scout

Pretty much universally panned on its release, which is why it isn’t as well known as (in my opinion), it should be. Bruce Willis and Damon Waynes star in this Shane Black-penned Tony Scott-directed action movie. Crisps at the ready.

4. Happy Gilmore

OK so probably not exactly unknown, but for my money the one of the funniest films ever made. Somebody call a taxi.

The Dark Knight Rises; But Does He Fall?
Jul 2012 22

A film this hyped is hard to have an unbiased opinion on, and boy, has it been hyped. As I mentioned in my previous piece about Batman fanboys, two effects of this mega hype are that over-praise is spouted by loyal fans, followed by contrarians feeling the need to try and single-handedly rebalance the public perception of a film. Where’s the reality in this situation? Usually, it’s in between. So, with this in mind, the questions are: Is The Dark Knight Rises good? Yes. Very. Is it a fitting end to this box office behemoth of a trilogy? Indeed it is. Is it better than The Dark Knight? No, but only just.

Going back as far as 1998’s Following, Nolan’s films have displayed inventiveness at a story and script level that is rare in the mainstream. Christopher Nolan loves an idea then, and, apart from the thoughtful casting, the grounding in realism, and complex but coherent storylines, it is the introduction of ideas that has made his Batman trilogy more than just a superhero franchise. TDKR has a complex narrative bursting at the seams with ideas. So full of ideas in fact, that it actually ends up working against the movie, to the point where it falls behind The Dark Knight in the quality stakes. But, as I said before, only just.

In Gotham City, eight years have gone by since the events of TDK. The citizens have been at peace, and, after allowing himself to take the blame for Harvey Dent’s actions in TDK, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has allowed his superhero alter-ego to fade from public life. Indeed, Bruce Wayne himself is a recluse, walking with a cane, sporting a beard and some grey flecks in his fair. The Wayne Corporation hasn’t been doing too well financially, but other areas of the city have. There’s an effective cat-burglar that comic book fans will recognise as Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), who bears witness to a coming storm. A storm that threatens not just Wayne, but the entire city of Gotham. This metaphorical storm is best personified by ideologically-driven main antagonist, Bane (Tom Hardy) whose brutal physicality alone gives an idea of the things to come. To say any more would be to spoil a wonderfully intricate plot, influenced by Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, which, in the style of the other entries in this franchise, uses the larger themes of our times to pull us deeper into the story.

The Devil may wear Prada, but Catwoman wears high-kicking spandex

The opening set-piece has deservedly grabbed plenty of attention, and, indeed, the opening 45 minutes is paced expertly, ebbing and flowing with an urgency that grabs you by the shoulders, and doesn’t let up for some time. Even when it does (which is understandable), the plot throbs with intensity. And by the time the final plot machinations start, followed by a fitting ending, it feels like you’ve lived through every rain drop of the promised storm. The intricate, idea-laden plot, at times threatens to spin out of control, is not as cohesive at TDK. A Tale of Two Cities concerns the American Revolution and the French Revolution, and the events of the latter in particular, are evident in the plot of this film. A scene set in the Gotham Stock Exchange, themes of economic bubbles bursting, and class warfare all make it unsurprising that Chris Nolan actually filmed sequences in the midst of the Occupy Wall Street protests. If Batman Begins was about emerging from the shadow of 9/11, and TDK a terrorism allegory, the TDKR deals with the economic disarray that has defined our times since the release of the previous film.

Bane: Gotham’s reckoning?

Against this broad, plot-heavy canvass, do the actors get to strut their stuff? It might be surprising to hear that, yes, they do. Michael Caine is allowed to display a greater range of emotion as Alfred than he has before, and he delivers his lines with the kind of honesty that such an extravagant plot needs. Anne Hathaway effectively high-kicks the fanboys’ concerns repeatedly in the face with a performance that displays physical dexterity and a great line in amorality-while also getting some of the best quips. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman are able to escape some of shackles of the old ‘good cops trying to do their job’ shtick by giving their performances the nuance that lesser actors couldn’t. Tom Hardy’s voice courted controversy in early trailers, with some fans complaining they couldn’t understand it. I found him mostly audible, with a lip-curling accent apparently based on Bartley Gorman. His physicality is spot-on, and although he has a mask on his face for most of the film, is able to bring forth at least some performance with the rest of his body and his eyes. But this film marks what is, in my opinion, Christian Bale’s best performance in this trilogy. In the first film, he was hamstrung by the dead-weight of the hero origin story. In the second, the late Heath Ledger took centre-stage. Even though his performances were successful in the past, this film finally allows him more of a range, and he ‘rises’ to that challenge believably and rousingly.

The Dark Knight Rises: Christian Bale’s finest Bat-moment?

As I’ve said, the plot is nearly pulled under by the weight of its ideas, but it does hold together-helped by excellent performances, and as a whole, is able to outweigh its shortcomings. Bane doesn’t provide the kind of gravitas that the Joker did in the previous film, and the plot probably wouldn’t give the Joker room to shine anyway. Directing action has been cited as a weakness of Nolan’s in the past, and although the film’s car chases and fight scenes go some way to dispelling that theory, an injection of action into the middle section of the film might have given the film more momentum.

The film ends in a fitting way, coming thematically full-circle, and echoing plot beats from previous films. In times where the 99% are deciding that it’s time the 1% pulled their weight more when it comes to solving the world’s problems, what Nolan seems to be saying is that we all have a responsibility to each other, and the world at large, to do what’s right, before it all collapses in on us. A throughly well-executed and thrilling conclusion to the series, I wait with baited breath for Nolan’s next move.


PS: Before the film, the teaser for next year’s Nolan-produced, Zach Snyder-directed Man of Steel played. All I can say is: epic.



Hit or Miss?
Jul 2012 25

I love it when TV surprises you. Genuinely that is.

While there is plenty of good quality drama out there, mainly from the US, it’s rare that something so subverts the medium of telly that you really can’t tell what it might throw at you next.

After recently finishing series 1 of British home-grown drama Hit and Miss, I can genuinely say this one kept catching me off-guard. The premise has received plenty of press, with transsexual hit wo(man) Mia (played without any sense of easy understanding by a wonderfully elusive Chloe Sevigny) coldly despatching John Doe’s throughout each episode, under the direction of her client, Eddie. We know little of Eddie other than he hangs out in bars and clubs up north, issuing death warrants to Mia with cold instruction. Eddie and Mia’s interdependence underpins the series. There is little evidence of mutual friendship, just raw need, which means they look out for one another without giving a damn.

But more central to the plot is that of Mia’s relationship to a motley crew of children living in a rundown farmhouse on a desolate moor. Early in the series, Mia learns that a former girlfriend, from her previous existence as a man, has recently died, handing custody of one of his own children, as well as three more (two teenage), to her. Yep – confusing, and complicated.

Somewhere, in her pre-op existence as a cold blooded killer, Mia must find the time to be a surrogate parent (mother or father?!) to the four children, dealing with some pretty meaty issues (try rape and murder) in the meantime, looking to find acceptance on every level of personal and social existence. Each episode follows the complex relationships that Mia forms with those who directly affect her life, fighting to gain the respect of her adopted family, while protecting them the only way she knows, with ruthless detachment. Sounds tricky? Well it is. It’s difficult to like many characters in Paul Abbot’s drama, and this is where it works. Apart from the kids, who are depicted as uncertain, angry, defensive, angelic and in serious trouble, there is little else to route for. Every time Mia allows you in, she despatches someone without a second thought, showing no repentance, after all, it’s just a job, paying to keep a roof over her news brood’s heads.

Plot strands link the episodes together, not dragging on. Six episodes felt right, but as with all good dramas, it leaves you wanting a second series to see how things work out.

Beautifully shot, with the cold moors as backdrop, this is un-mistakenly British drama that challenges. No heroes, no easy answers, just some uncompromising situations in which characters are trying to get by. Surviving Mia’s cold killer is beyond many, but it’s the mere survival of everyday that challenges each and every character in this series. I really do hope there’s more to come.

Not easy, or simple viewing. But then the best TV shouldn’t be, should it?


Jul 2012 27

A quick glance through the pages of any 2012 film magazine or website should be enough to demonstrate that we currently living through the golden age of the superhero movie. Never before have our cinema screens been so overrun by spandex-clad bodybuilders fighting the forces of evil. And with good reason. Movies after all are big business, and the superhero movie is a Hollywood producer’s dream in terms of its appeal to the ‘four quadrants’ – specifically; both male and female, the under 25’s and over. In these dark times popular culture needs its heroes, and it seems, finally, they have arrived.

And while as an audience we are increasingly expecting more depth and gravitas from our men of steel, these are still films for the family. The grownups go to the movies too, but this year in particular they have been seriously neglected. There have been exceptions:  At the start of the year we were treated to David Fincher’s ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’, and more recently Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’. But generally the childless among us have had little reason to step away from the wonderful world of drama now available on our television sets.

Which is why the recently released trailer for Quentin Tarrantino’s ‘Django Unchained’, is such cause for celebration. Having danced around the genre of spaghetti western his whole career, we are finally being offered a genuine western from the master of the Mexican standoff. A look at the trailer shows us what’s in store: Tarrantino favourites Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson underpinning the action, a star turn from Jamie Foxx – an actor bitterly underused since his Oscar Winning portrayal of Ray Charles, and finally a villainous role for the De Niro of our generation – Leonardo Di Carprio. All of this twisted with the director’s now-standard black gold dialogue.

Critics of the filmmaker may sight his previous movie ‘Inglorious Basterds’ as reason to disregard his upcoming film as more pop-history junk. But place that movie alongside recent Hollywood historical offerings such as ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ and ‘The Raven’ and its clear to see Tarrantino’s talent for meshing entertainment with issues shine through. Granted, slavery is a huge issue and Tarrantino has had his run-ins in the race department. Most notably with Spike Lee’s searing criticism of his use of the N-word in 1997’s ‘Jackie Brown’. But these misgivings should be viewed as merely hurdles for Tarrantino to overcome – he is after all a filmmaker with such a unique voice and   style that I cannot but wish him the best. In an age of sanitized supermodels he remains an auteur – who takes his audience to places they may not feel comfortable to go. Places in modern cinema, where it is rare to be invited.

Lightness of touch and a real sense of humour is something our current superhero filmmakers seem to have overlooked, and it is this refusal to take himself seriously that is so appealing about Tarrantino’s latest. Real life issues such as slavery may no longer have a place in the modern multiplex, but I have a feeling that if anyone can bring the adults back to the movies, it’s Quentin Tarrantino. I can’t wait.


Social Media’s Impact on Entertainment – Prometheus
Aug 2012 22

What was the most divisive film of the year?


Ok, what was the second most divisive film of the year?

The Dark Knight Rises?

… Hmmm, alright, what was the third most divisive film of 2012?

Prometheus? Exactly.

Upon its release, Prometheus seemed to delight and infuriate in equal measure. It got good write-ups, as well as white-hot servings of reviewer rage. It took millions at the box office, yet left many baffled.

In short, nobody can agree if it’s good or not.

Lost scribe Damon Lindelof co-wrote Prometheus, and after the fanboy backlash that greeted the Lost finale, a lot of Prometheus‘s harshest critics took to the twitterverse to vent their displeasure at what they saw as the same failings to their various rag-tag groups of followers.

This picture clearly wasn’t posed at all. Damon Lindelof always looks this pensive and high-contrast.

This is where social media comes in. You see, Lindelof has something of a track-record for engaging with fans, seemingly not even avoiding the disproportionately angry trolls who inhabit the interwebs. Lindelof even apologised to fans in the aftermath of the Lost final episode, and clearly has kevlar-skin for criticism. The Wall Street Journal published a piece on its Speakeasy blog interviewing Lindelof about the reaction to the movie, the way he interacts with fans, and creative decisions made along the way. It’s a fascinating read, and a great insight into the inner workings of his mind. I thoroughly recommend you check it out at this link.

For the record, I enjoyed Prometheus, although I can acknowledge that it has problems. If a film does enough with its story to get me hooked, plot holes don’t always bother me as much as some people, although they definitely have an effect. Whether some of these negative points will be addressed in the mooted sequel is hard to say, all I know is that I enjoyed the ride, and would have no problem telling Mr. Lindelof so myself.



DVD Review: Detention
Sep 2012 09

***Joseph Kahn‘s self-financed Detention never got a theatrical release in the UK, and had an extremely limited run in theatres in its native US. With this in mind, it’s clear that the distributors acquired the movie with one eye on the DVD market, which makes it somewhat fitting that I finally caught up with it on that scion of the physical media formats: DVD.***

Detention is a film for teenagers. It’s so specifically aimed at teenagers that, with its constant quick-cutting, ADD cultural references to YouTube, text messages, Slasher Flicks and John Hughes, it could only be more ‘teen’ if it was composed entirely of text speak. Preferably in 140 characters or less.

So modern, they’ve even got one of those portable phone things!

It’s got a plot, but since that doesn’t even begin to encapsulate the film, it’s barely worth outlining… don’t worry, I will anyway. Essentially, a movie-inspired serial killer called Cinderhella is stalking the halls of a high school populated by the kind of pop-culture savvy, wise cracking, clique-defining kids that could only exist in this kind of film. It culminates in a Saturday detention organised by the Principle, unintentionally trapping them with their own hunter… Plot-wise… that’s about it. Since so much of the running time is taken up with trying to reach ‘the kids’ with their cultural touchstones, the story is, at best, secondary.

Josh Hutcherson watching where he’s looking

The film stars Josh Hutcherson, flush from his recent mainstream attention-garnering role in The Hunger Games (despite a lengthy filmography before that), and he also produces it. Hutcherson and his up-and-coming cohorts throw themselves enthusiastically into their various smartass roles. Joseph Kahn, the director and co-writer, is best known as a prodigiously successful music video director. His quick-cutting, bubblegum, MTV-friendly style is perfectly showcased in, and suited to, this film. His only prior full-length effort, 2004’s Torque, was an action film best described as The Fast and the Furious but more over the top (yes, that’s possible!).

Joseph Kahn: busy weaving cinematic dreams.

The Teen Tenner is an elusive beast to ensnare (often quality is not deciding factor in a film’s success), but when a film so sets its stall out to court that most fickle of demographics that its ratio of pop culture reference to actual character-building, story-defining content is at least 5:1, you know they’re playing a high-stakes game…

And you know what? It sort of works.

The constant quick-cutting editing, the bombardment of music cues, the bright colours, fourth-wall demolishing dialogue and heightened acting could well attract the kind of teen who spends hours watching MTV whilst using Facebook on their iPhones. It’s hard to get bored watching this film, even if it is hard to actually feel anything. When a character refers to another as “more concept than reality”, you know that this tightrope will be a hard one to walk, but there are laughs in there, and real ingenuity in the visual effects. The self-consciousness of the dialogue mirrors that of the most insecure and image-cognisant teen, and, while entertaining, makes it hard to believe them as real people, even within this hyper-reality.

Yes. This is Cinderhella. Cool, huh kids?

Detention is trying something different. It’s smarter than Not Another Teen Movie. But by virtue of the fact that it’s written and made by adult men, it also comes across like an ageing hippy guidance counsellor type trying to relate to the kids on their own level by talking about Twitter and Justin Bieber. Ultimately, characters who are believable and relatable, rather than trendily postmodern, and story lines that are coherent and engrossing, as opposed to inconsequential and disposable, will always resonate better with people on the whole. As interesting and unique as Detention is, even its much-maligned target demographic likes to feel something once in a while when watching a film.

A mess, but a unique and audacious one.



First Impressions Last…
Sep 2012 11

First scenes in movies are like the opening lines in a novel. Fundamental.

As you settle in your cinema seat, juggling popcorn and a giant soft drink, these are the moments which pull you from reality into another world, that cause you to stare and stop shifting. In those opening seconds, the impression created is something that will influence the rest of your viewing.

It’s not that a film cannot redeem itself from a weak start, or even a low key one. But what an opportunity for a director to grab your attention, and retain it. If the film is great, you’re with it from the very start. If it’s not, you’ll still remember the opening scene.

Yep – First impressions last.

So I got to thinking. Of all the movies, what would happen if I tasked myself with listing my five favourite opening scenes? Scenes that, regardless of how long since I first saw them, have lived on in my head.

Tough? Certainly. I had to pick openings that have stayed with me, regardless of the rest of the film (I’m happy to say that four out my five I class as truly great films).

So without further ado, my five top film openings are as follows:

5) 2001 A Space Odyssey – Much celebrated and unlike anything else. The scenes that Kubrick put together revealing the dawn of civilisation are disturbing, haunting, epic and awe-inspiring. The bone-toss transition to spacecraft a piece of Kubrick genius. Not a word is spoken, and yet you are glued to every gesture, sound and shot of barren landscape. Not to
mention the Monolith.

4) Narc – Perhaps a strange choice, but I just can’t forget this brutal opener, which hits you like an unexpected stomach blow. Within a manic 45 secs, a chase on foot sees a junkie inject an innocent bystander with heroin, another man shot, as well as a pregnant woman left with blood and urine pouring from her as Jason Patric (good? bad? – at this stage we have no idea, after all he did shoot her) crouches over her screaming as sirens draw closer. The remainder is pretty weak, but I’ve never forgotten the first minute.

3) Bladerunner – My favourite movie of all time. The text telling you it’s Los Angeles in 2019 fades before revealing a vista somewhere between a nightmare and something beautiful. Flames and flying ships surround the viewer, before we cut to a screen-filling eyeball reflecting this futuristic depiction of Hades, and then cut back again as the Tyrell Corporation looms into view. The music by Vangelis is suitably otherwordly, and sends a shiver down my spine every time. Visionary, poetic and truly, truly beautiful.

2) Star Wars IV:A New Hope – A planet, a moon, a small spaceship followed by a bloody BIG one. Well known, well celebrated. This changed cinema forever. Enough said.

1) Once Upon a Time in the West – A lesson in pure filmmaking indulgence. This 12 minute opening is a slow moving puzzle depicting three cowboys waiting at a station. What for? We don’t know. The scene is wonderfully constructed, using sound and editing to build the mystery. There’s humour and tension, but no rush. Everything unravels towards a moment of pure and sudden violence as Charles Bronson arrives. The result? We have lots more questions, but are already hypnotised. Like the rest of the film, Director Sergio Leone delights in taking his time. Thank God, because when cinema is this good, there’s nothing better than wallowing in it.

So that’s it – my top five.

Agree or disagree?

I don’t care.


Film Iconoclasts #1: Wes Anderson
Sep 2012 13

***In the first of an occasional series, RBT’s contributors explain why they hate cinematic icons, beloved to the rest of us. First up is Tom A on Wes Anderson…***

First off, I just want to say that, as weird as it sounds, I want to like Wes Anderson. He’s everything I should like in a director: he’s visually stylish, he attracts great acting talent, has great taste in music, and he’s a genuinely original voice in film today. I should like him, but I just… don’t. With his outsider-sympathy, quirky, out of time characters, and droll scripts, that he is virtually scientifically-engineered to appeal directly to a specific strata of society, who doubtless model their life on his autumnal-hued, corduroy-textured, 60s British-Invasion-themed aesthetic. His devotees are so numerous that they have a name.


I am no Wesbian.

I sort of like Rushmore, but if anything, the carefully ordered world his movies inhabit, with its deliberate prissyness just rubs me the wrong way. It’s all so about the aesthetic that it feels like nothing spontaneous is ever likely to happen. But also, what’s up with the pacing of his films? I love a slow-burn, quiet film, but his films just seem to have climaxes that come out of nowhere, and endless builds that result in no pay-off. So much stuff happens to Jason Schwartzman’s character in Rushmore, that I completely lost track of his life by the end of the film.

If the first word that comes to mind when you see this photo isn’t automatically abusive, you are a Wesbian.

Watching his films is like being in an immaculately-clean, but retro-styled house that is so artfully laid out, so delicately composed that you daren’t touch a thing. In fact, you just sit on the sofa (without-god forbid-putting all your weight on it), praying that you wiped your feet properly on your entry. It’s so bad, in fact, that you wish you actually did step in something on your way over, just so that something would happen that doesn’t obey his stringent aesthetic policy so precisely.

His characters, with their studied intellectual eclecticism, and penchant for unusual interests begin to nauseate with their incessant posturing. His taste in music, while good, is shoved down your throat so hard that it comes out of your rectum, and don’t even get me started on The Darjeeling Limited.

I can sort of see why people would like him, there’s a lot to admire, for sure. But I just can’t get past his pretentiousness (and boy, do I ever like some pretentious filmmakers; Terrence Malick, anyone?). You know what, though, I am glad he exists, I’m glad that there is such a distinctive voice out there, making films. I am also glad, however, that I won’t have to see another one of his films again.

Wes Anderson: I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.


A Better Bond than you think (or remember).
Sep 2012 16

Okay, I’ve heard it all before – “Dalton was crap”, “Don’t tell me you’re a Tim Dalton fan”, “He was worse than George Lazenby” etc etc etc.

I’m bored of it.

With Skyfall on its way, I felt now was a good time to offer why Tim Dalton isn’t just the strongest Bond, but why I consider the Living Daylights one of the best three Bond films ever made. Don’t worry, I’m not going to make this long and boring – and I’m not going to whitter on about the plot details of TLDs either.

But rather than go on ploughing your Connery, Moore, Brosnan and Craig furrows (sorry for the omission George, but nobody cares), isn’t it time you put your prejudice to one side and re-discovered the best and most complicated Bond portrayal to date?

A little historical context to set the scene; Dalton was asked as a 22 year old stage actor to play Bond in the movie On Her Majesty Secret Service. Dalton turned down the opportunity because he thought he was to young to play the character (note the respect for the role). We know what happened next.

Dalton was asked twice more, For Your Eyes Only(1981) and Octopussy (1983). It wasn’t until 1986 that he finally felt he looked mature enough to play Bond and was offered a three picture deal.

Dalton’s take on the character was to create a screen version of the brooding and methodical assassin envisioned by Ian Fleming in his original stories. Dalton was a RADA trained Shakespearian actor and certainly had no intention of smirking and punning his way through the role. He chose to go his own way. Goodbye super-villains hellbent on far fetched world domination plots, and hello to arms dealers, Afghan resistance fighters, complicated double-crosses and political assassinations. The familiar elements were preserved – the car, the locations, but anchored in a real cold war setting. The whole thing shifts along with an urgency that would have been a fantasy in any of Moore’s efforts but it asks a lot of the viewer to keep up. I can imagine myself as a kid trying to watch this, and I would have hated it – where were the spaceships? Hell, he even stays with just one woman throughout!

However, the short and long of it is that Dalton suffered a very mixed response after the extended stay of Roger Moore. Now listen, I grew up with Moore as Bond, and loved him at the time. But I was a kid. I find his Bonds un-watchable now. When The Living Daylights hit the big screen, global audiences were still in mourning for Moore’s bond, and found Dalton humourless. It seems that heady excesses of good story, three-dimensional characterisation and real world setting were too challenging for most. After all, where were all the puns and the evil bloke who plans to ravage the planet with some deadly plot? Where were Jaws and Grace Jones?

I’ll summarise my feelings by saying that Daniel Craig’s incarnation of Bond, so universally acclaimed (and of which I am a fan), is an echo of Dalton’s harder edge. While Licence to Kill was a weaker film, Bond had never been so tough (until Craig). You sense a seething anger in his characterisation, which bubbles just below the surface in every scene. It’s important to remember that Craig has hinted that Dalton’s brief stay in the role is his own favourite, elements of which he has built into his own portrayal (You don’t see him cracking many one-liners do you?).

Timothy Dalton was scheduled to play in his third instalment as Bond in the planned The Property Of A Lady (one of only 3 original Fleming titles yet to feature in the movie franchise by the way), when the film was canceled during pre-production due to legal wrangling between EON and MGM. After five years, Dalton’s contract obligation for a third film was over. He was asked once more to play Bond for Goldeneye but turned it down. To date, no one was ever asked to play Bond without a contract more than twice.

So listen, take a chance to check out Tim Dalton in one of the best Bond films ever made, and look up a copy of The Living Daylights (distinguished by being the last Bond to feature a score by the legendary composer John Barry, who had been with the franchise all the way (and it’s as strong as any in the series)). The film really is better than you think, remember, or have been told (if you’ve never seen it).

However, if you’re someone who doesn’t like grown up spy thrillers, with an intelligent plot, a complex leading character capable of cruelty and single-minded obsession when pursuing a mission, combined with a fine piece of acting, then maybe you should give it a miss and watch Spy Kids, Stormbreaker, or A View to a Kill instead.

Your choice.


The 10 Worst Films to Win the Best Picture Oscar
Sep 2012 17

Every year, when it’s Oscar season, we try to convince ourselves that this time, a film will win the Best Picture Oscar, not because it’s an ‘issues’ movie, not because it features great period detail and theatre-bred British talent, not because Harvey Weinstein has used his considerable heft to pummel the voters into submission, but because it’s genuinely the best film to come out in that 12 month span. Of course, this is a matter of opinion; but there are several films that over time have been proven to not be deserving winners in the year they won, and we thought we’d round up 10 of them, to point and laugh at.

It’s also worth pointing out that, while this is the Academy Awards and therefore, is ostensibly purely the opinion of the titular Academy, who have no responsibility to anyone but themselves, they are by far the most prestigious movie awards ceremony going, so it could be argued that they are the de facto ‘Kingmakers’, and should behave as such. A lot of the films that make up this list aren’t bad films, just not the best films made that year. A common complaint is that films are ‘Oscar bait’. Cynically-engineered to appeal to the Oscar voters and hoover up awards. This is perhaps exacerbated by the horribly skewed voters’ demographics, 94% of whom are caucasion, and also 77% male. So read on, to find out what we think are the 10 worst films to win this coveted award…

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