jack_ryder: (Default)

Biopic of Ian Dury (of Ian Dury and the Blockheads fame.)

You can't fault the casting of Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. Andy Serkis inhabits the carnivalesque character of Dury like a second skin. He has the growl, he has humour, he captured exactly what was appealing and so very different about Ian Dury. We also have Olivia Williams (Dollhouse) as his wife and Naomie Harris (28 Days Later) as his lover. No less than two Dr Who companions appear (Arthur Darvill relegated to the background as a Blockhead and Noel Clarke gets a scene to himself as an angry record producer) and we also get Toby Jones, Ray Winstone, Mackenzie Crook and Michael Maloney.

And then we get needlessly flashy direction to bugger everything up, as if the director doesn't want to be outshone by the brilliant cast. It doesn't help that despite the collage effects, the animation and the disorientating editing, that the story flattens Dury out to be effectively an angry cripple who alienates everyone he works with (and the film itself doesn't give any reason for anyone to stay with him, relying on Serkis's charisma to do the job.) It's certainly less flattering to Dury than, say, "Chopper" was to Mark Reid but the more interesting stories in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll seem to be occurring on the periphery of the film - we never see his first marriage to Betty, we don't have a clue how successful Chas Jankel was on his own (or even why he would have stayed with Dury so long, he's painted as a huge music nerd, much more interested in finding the perfect riff than actually performing) we have these people drift in and out of Dury's life and the only one who doesn't change is Dury.

Criticisms aside, it was worth it for the magnificent central performance by Serkis, more a channelling of Dury's ferocious spirit and energy than a mere impersonation. I just wish the film was a more solid platform to support it.

(This trailer gives you a very good idea of what to expect, accidentally revealing a little too much of the ordinary biopic at the heart of the film.)

jack_ryder: (Default)
I'd heard Mark Kermode enthuse about it on his podcast and I'm afraid I must join him in singing its praises.

It is a thoroughly delightful and charming film and highly recommended.

Very, very different to the Dreamworks clotted confections of congealed popular culture, "Cloudy" is almost old-fashioned in a way, deriving humour from character and situation, rather than rapidly out of date references (well, except for the Internet video gag, perhaps, but that was funny.)

[livejournal.com profile] murasaki_1966 and I were absolutely charmed by it.

(and, no, we didn't see it in 3D)
jack_ryder: (Default)
I couldn't call myself a Wachowsky Brothers fan before now. I wasn't a big fan of The Matrix (much preferring Dark City) and avoided the sequels. I didn't mind Bound but thought it wasn't as interesting as people made out (basically being a film noir with a lesbian relationship at it's dark heart) but I have to say that Speed Racer is one of the most interesting films I've seen in ages.

It's not the likeablecast (John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci are great on screen together, and Emile Hirsch is fine as Speed), it's not that the kiddy pandering (the monkey and the younger brother) is not teeth gratingly annoying (though I could imagine others would find it so), it's not the anti-corporate message (so NuHollywood) - it's that I was watching new ways of cinematically depicting narrative and back story unfurling before my very eyes.

Honestly, the Wachowsky Brothers have created a near-perfect amalgam of comics, anime and cinema - it's far more interesting in how it tells the story than something like Sin City (which I disliked.)  I think it's actually quite revolutionary and I recommend it to anyone interested in cinematic narrative.

Now, if only they could make a film for adults...
May. 17th, 2008 08:14 am


jack_ryder: (Default)
[profile] iwoolf, Peter and I managed to catch this much-lauded Spanish horror film at the Norton St Cinemas last night.


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