New HBO drama Looking offers an unfiltered look at three friendships in San Francisco, one of America’s most iconic cities. The show follows the complicated love lives of Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Agustín (Frankie J Alvarez) and Dom (Murray Bartlett), whose stories intertwine as they search for happiness in an age of unparalleled choices – and rights – for gay men.
The third part of the unplanned Status trilogy – It’s Christmas and It’s Complicated – is brimming with seasonal expectation.
One last Christmas review from me before the big day, and it has to be the British made festive comedy Get Santa currently in cinemas as we speak, so may be a great time killer over the holiday season for all the parents out there.
Santa Clause has crash landed while test driving his new sleigh just two nights before Christmas, and finds himself and his reindeer scattered across the city of London. When he attempts to rescue his reindeer from the compound of Battersea Dogs Home he is arrested and thrown into Lambeth Prison. He calls upon the help of nine-year-old Tom and his ex-con father, Steve, currently on parole from a two-year stint as a getaway driver to break him out and help save Christmas.
Written and directed by Christopher Smith, best known for independent British Horror films such as Creep and Severance, Get Santa is a great British effort at the Christmas Film. The film stars an array of British faces in the roles including Rafe Spall, Warwick Davis, Stephen Graham and none other than the fantastic Jim Broadbent as old Saint Nick himself, and works tremendously well as both a Christmas film and a prison break film, oh and a comedy too. There are nods to films and TV throughout, such as Ronnie Barker’s Porridge, The Shawshank Redemption and many Christmas films lend moments along the way.
Jim Broadbent is one of those actors who in my mind can hardly do wrong, especially in comedic roles, and here as Father Christmas, he excels and possibly becomes one of the greatest on screen renditions of Santa to so far grace our screens. Rafe Spall gives a heartfelt turn as the ex con father aiding his son in this impossible mission in an attempt to make up for his absence.
The father and son team are tailed by the police, headed by Trainspotting’s Ewan Bremner and Steve’s stern parole officer played by Joanna Scanlon, and Santa’s little helper in the prison is the convict known as Sally Gunnell (rhyming slang for tunnel) none other than Warwick Davis, all of whom bring some fantastic comedic performances to the fold.
As is important with any Christmas family movie, the film is full to the brim with sentiment and merriment, but there’s enough here to entertain the adults as well as the kids, including the scene in which prison barber (Stephen Graham) helps to reinvent Santa into the prison safe “Mad Jimmy Claws”.
Get Santa is shot and edited tremendously well, with modest yet believable visual effects here and there, although with perhaps a little too much lens flare, as seems to be the in thing these days (thanks JJ Abrams), but all in all creates a great adventurous feel good journey which will have and your children on the edge of your seat, in fits of hysterics and holding back the odd tear too. If you like Christmas films, well, I think that Get Santa is going to become one of those classics that will make essential viewing for many years to come.
Three years after achieving a huge hit with the first Inbetweeners movie, the cast are back with another ‘Brits Abroad’ money-spinner.
The Inbetweeners 2 (Channel 4 DVD) picks up with geeky Will (Simon Bird) struggling to make friends at university, while self-absorbed Simon (Joe Thomas) is trapped in a loveless relationship with his new girlfriend Lucy. When Simon and dim-witted Neil (Blake Harrison) visit Will for a humiliatingly uneventful weekend, the hapless trio make the decision to travel to Australia to meet up with vulgar likely lad Jay (James Buckley), who is supposedly having the time of his life, working as a DJ in Sydney. Inevitably, Jay’s tall tales have little connection to reality and the posse’s feeling of mutual disillusionment spurs them on to explore Australia and rub shoulders with the hordes of hardened backpackers.
Orson Cornick isn’t comfortable being called a filmmaker, we spoke to him to find out why, and what inspired his touching and mult-layered second film Take Your Time. Here’s what he said:
Based on cartoonist James Thurber’s 1939 short story of the same name, Ben Stiller‘s The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is the second cinematic version to grace the screen, the first being the 1947 version starring Danny Kaye as the story’s protagonist.
Bad habits, bad manners, bad attitude. Billy Bob Thornton is the Bad Santa in this hilarious movie produced and devised by the Coen Brothers.
One of our D&CFilms founders does an astounding Terrahawks impression, so we were chuffed when news of a free Terrahawks Christmas episode will be online.
A film influenced by the responses of its audience and a graduate who completed his studies despite contracting meningitis were among the Plymouth University winners at the 2014 Media Innovation Awards.
Finian Vogel‘s short surfer film Charging the Barrel was premiered at the Bristol Surf Film Festival. The film explores the thoughts and experiences of three surfers and bodyboarders in Cornwall. Rather than celebrating perfection this film celebrates raw enthusiasm. We asked Finian about the inspiration behind and the making of Charging the Barrel, this is his response.
Flirting, Sirens and Lawn Dogs (to name but three) director John Duigan has been linked to helm the teen surf story Bluer Than The Sky by Cornwall-based writer Lisa Glass.
Intrigue in Seattle, murder Down Under and a backwards-looking family movie – this week’s best DVDs reviewed.
Based on the Danish crime drama of the same name (well, Forbrydelsen, technically), the US remake of The Killing first hit our screens in 2011, but enjoyed mixed fortunes, getting cancelled not once, but twice – only to be bailed out by Netflix on both occasions. With a fourth and final series now poised to air on the online streaming service, The Killing – The Complete First, Second and Third Seasons (MediumRare) is available to buy, with seasons two and three available on DVD for the first time.