Damian Jones

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Belle Review


Excellent

The plot feels like a Jane Austen novel infused with a hot-potato political issue, but this is actually a true story. It's been somewhat fictionalised, but the central facts are accurate, and while the production is perhaps a bit too polished for its own good, the solid acting and filmmaking make the story involving and provocative. And its themes feel just as relevant today.

In 1769 London, a young half-black girl named Dido Belle is taken by her soldier father (Matthew Goode) to live with his uncle, the Lord Chief Justice Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson). With his wife (Emily Watson) and sister (Penelope Winton), he is already caring for another niece, and the two girls grow up as inseparable friends. Hidden from society, Dido (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) inherits a small fortune from her father. And while Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) is penniless, her white skin makes her a more suitable spouse. Then family friend Lady Ashford (Miranda Richardson) foists her son James (Tom Felten) on Elizabeth. To their horror, his brother Oliver (James Norton) falls for Dido. But she's more interested in an impoverished law student (Sam Reid).

Along with these rather standard period-movie romantic shenanigans, there's a major subplot about Lord Mansfield's imminent ruling in the first court case to take on the slave trade, which could destabilise the entire British Empire. And this is where the film jolts into something significant: the UK's top judge had an adopted mixed-race daughter who probably influenced the first landmark decision against slavery. Meanwhile, director Amma Asante also vividly portrays the gritty realities of this young black woman's precarious position in society.

Continue reading: Belle Review

Powder Room Review


Grim

While women in the audience may find resonance in the comical prickliness, this film remains more of a stage play than an actual movie. Indeed, playwright Hirons has adapted the script from her play When Women Wee, but it's such a broad farce that we never quite believe any of it on-screen. Although two of the actresses nicely underplay their characters for the cameras.

The story takes place almost entirely in the ladies' room at a British nightclub, where the disorganised Sam (Smith) is having a night out with her friends: shameless maneater Chanel (Winstone), trashy Saskia (Hoare) and the too-nice Paige (Steele). Then Sam runs into the posh Michelle (Nash) and her gorgeous French friend Jess (Chaplin), and decides to ditch her pals. But the club isn't big enough to avoid them for long, and things get increasingly messy for everyone as the night progresses. Meanwhile, the restroom attendant (Fiori) just laughs at their melodrama.

With Sam at the centre, every other woman is essentially a stereotype carefully written to convey some aspect of femininity. By contrast, the men are barely defined at all, so only two register, both of them unusually nice: Sam's ex (Warren) and a guy (Balfour) she chats to in the smoking area. But in this large ensemble, only Sheridan and Winstone manage to give their characters three dimensions, mainly because they create properly cinematic performances that rely on understated details rather than histrionics.

Continue reading: Powder Room Review

Picture - Damian Jones , Demetrius Jones,... , Thursday 16th August 2012

Damian Jones and Sam Sarpong - Damian Jones , Demetrius Jones, Sam Sarpong Thursday 16th August 2012 Sam Sarpong has a meeting with NBC Universal, along with writers and producers of the film 'Angels Landing' to discuss his role in the up and coming project

Damian Jones and Sam Sarpong
Damian Jones and Sam Sarpong

Picture - Chase James, Demetrius Jones, Sam... , Thursday 16th August 2012

Sam Sarpong and Damian Jones - Chase James, Demetrius Jones, Sam Sarpong, Damian Jones and Carlos Aleman Thursday 16th August 2012 Sam Sarpong has a meeting with NBC Universal, along with writers and producers of the film 'Angels Landing' to discuss his role in the up and coming project

Fast Girls Review


OK
Lively dialog and realistically played characters help make this sporting drama engaging despite a formulaic screenplay. And even if it's rather corny, the film could be genuinely inspiring to young athletes in an Olympic year.

Gifted runner Shania (Crichlow) lives in a rough London estate, where she trains with a local shopkeeper (Davis). Despite her lack of support, she's one of the fastest athletes in Britain, and qualifies for the team in the run up to the World Championships. She's facing competition from her privileged rival Lisa (Lily James), whose father (Graves) heads up Team GB. Shania is happy running solo and, despite encouragement from coach (Clarke), isn't sure about becoming a team player and joining Lisa, Trix and Belle (Burroughs and Lynch) for the relay event.

Continue reading: Fast Girls Review

The Iron Lady Review


Good
A fairly straightforward character portrait without any real analysis or message, this biopic succeeds because of the translucent performance by Meryl Streep. While the script and direction are inventive, they're also oddly uncritical.

In present-day London, Baroness Thatcher (Streep) is battling delusions of her dead husband Denis (Broadbent), who triggers memories of her life in politics.

Growing up during the war, young Margaret (Roach) becomes increasingly involved in politics, catches the eye of young Denis (Lloyd) and moves up the ladder from MP to become Britain's first female Prime Minister. She was also the longest-serving PM in the 20th century, staunchly sticking to her guns through the Poll Tax strikes, Falklands War and privatisation of much of the British state.

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Picture - Damian Jones London, England, Wednesday 4th January 2012

Damian Jones Wednesday 4th January 2012 'The Iron Lady' UK film premiere held at the BFI Southbank - Arrivals London, England

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll Review


OK
Anchored by a ripping central performance from Serkis, this biopic about notorious musician Ian Dury is too stylish for its own good. Director Whitecross shows ambition and audacity, but his riotous visual style is distracting.

Disabled by polio at age 10, Ian Dury (Serkis) grew up with a fierce determination to be himself, and against the odds became an iconic leader of Britain's punk scene in the 1970s. But his unruly lifestyle takes a toll on his personal relationships, and he barely knows his son Baxter (Milner) from his first wife Betty (Williams). So Baxter comes to stay with him and his current girlfriend Denise (Harris), and both father and son need to figure out how to relate to each other. And to realise how much they need each other.

Continue reading: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll Review

The History Boys Review


Good
Plays do not always make the transition well from stage to screen - they can come off too talky or stagnant, mannerisms that work well on a far-off stage sometimes appearing stilted on a big screen.

Fortunately, thanks to the rambunctiously energetic performances and Nicholas Hynter's equally jaunty direction, The History Boys looks right at home on screen; what poses a larger problem is whether it will translate as fluidly from Britain to America.

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Welcome to Sarajevo Review


Grim
If Woody Harrelson is a journalist, then hell, I'm Woody Harrelson.

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Millions Review


Excellent
You're a preteen growing up in the United Kingdom, and you just stumbled upon the loot from a bank robbery. What do you do? Tell your father? Keep it a secret? Contact the police? Give it to charity? Go shopping? Well, whatever you're going to do -- be fast, because in less than a week, the UK is switching to the euro, which will render the money useless.

Welcome to the dilemma in which Damien (Alexander Nathan Etel) and Anthony (Lewis Owen McGibbon) find themselves after moving to a developing British subdivision with their father (James Nesbitt) shortly after their mother passes away. Damien discovers the loot one afternoon as he watches trains pass while inside his homemade cardboard box hut. A spiritual young lad obsessed with famous saints, Damien believes the money is a gift from God; therefore, he wants to give it to charities and poor people. When Anthony finds out about the money, however, he has other ideas for the money...

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Dancing At The Blue Iguana Review


Weak
I'm jaded enough as a film critic to be unsurprised when I see a movie about five strippers, all leading melodramatic and tragic lives.

But when those five strippers are all reasonably B-level or former A-level movie stars, even my ears start to perk up. Even more amazing -- they're all naked.

Continue reading: Dancing At The Blue Iguana Review

Splendor Review


Good
Generation X will leave behind an inimitable legacy. Splendor, with all its profound idiosyncrasies, will someday be considered proof.

Twenty years from now people will look back and say, "Man, everyone was so weird in the nineties!" and frankly after seeing this movie, I'll agree.

Continue reading: Splendor Review

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