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Plastic Review


Weak

Lazy filmmaking undermines this sparky caper thriller, from paper-thin characters and convenient plot points to limp direction and corny editing. This is a real shame, because the bright rising-star cast brings real energy to the weak material. So audiences who can switch off their brains might have some fun watching this fast-paced romp. But everyone else should be wary.

It opens in Britain, where economics student Sam (Ed Speleers) is running an elaborate credit card scam with classmates Fordy, Yatesey and Rafa (Will Poulter, Alfie Allen and Sebastian De Souza). But when local gangster Marcel (Thomas Kretchmann) discovers their operation, he demands a £2m payoff to let them go. So Sam secretly manipulates his new girlfriend Frankie (Emma Rigby), who happens to work for a credit security firm, into getting them the key information they can use to stage a series of high-stakes cons in Miami. And when this plan falls apart, they decide to launch an elaborate sting to rob £20m of diamonds and set themselves up for life.

The premise isn't bad, but the script is packed with coincidental things that make it utterly impossible to believe. Frankie's job is one of these, as is the fact that Rafa looks just like the Prince of Brunei. And of course, since the plot needs some third-act suspense, Yatesey suddenly turns out to be a careless idiot. None of these things make any sense, leaving everything about the film feeling gratuitous, including the sunshiny beauty of the Miami Beach setting and the presence of inexpressive actress Rigby. Plastic, indeed.

Continue reading: Plastic Review

Osama Review


Good
Siddiq Barmak's Osama, the first Afghan film produced since the Taliban was dismantled by the U.S.'s post-9/11 military efforts, is a scathing indictment of the horrific treatment of women under Osama bin Laden's reign of terror. It's also, in light of the recent Under the Skin of the City and Kandahar, a somewhat familiar portrait of the Islamic world's systematic attempts to subjugate its female population through a mixture of humiliation, violence, and public and professional segregation. Yet if Barmak's film is not a unique depiction of the Islamic world, it is nonetheless a fiercely acute condemnation of the Taliban and a piercing call to arms on behalf of the country's enslaved female population.

"I wish God hadn't created women," laments a widow (Zubaida Sahar) who, because of a Taliban law that forbids women from working or traveling outside the home without male companionship, becomes trapped inside her house with her elderly mother and young daughter (Marina Golbahari). Fearing they'll die of starvation without an income, the mother - taking her cues from a fable her own mother repeatedly recites - decides that she'll disguise her daughter as a boy and send her out to work. By chopping the young girl's hair off and dressing her in men's clothing, the mother transforms her pretty daughter into a boy and gets her a job at the dairy shop run by a friend of the girl's dead father. Yet the ruse is soon put in jeopardy when the girl - re-named, in a bit of heavy-handed symbolism, Osama - is recruited along with the rest of the town's boys to join the Taliban.

Continue reading: Osama Review

Grand Theft Parsons Review


OK
The resounding message of Grand Theft Parsons, if there is one, seems to be that hicks are big on honor. Really big on honor. Apparently, a hick should honor his word to a friend in any way possible, up to and including stealing the body of a country musician from Los Angeles airport in the back of a yellow hearse with a yin-yang sign on it (and with the name of Bertha) and then taking said body to be torched in the California desert.

It's not my place to pass judgment on the burial rights of musicians (just on the movies made about the incident), but Grand Theft Parsons has one of the most sitcom like plots I've seen in an impendent movie in a long time. While a studio flick have might have taken such a shtick for slapstick and made it dumbly funny, Grand Theft Parsons goes down the road of the metaphysical, using a corpse in a car as an excuse for a surreal waxing philosophical on hicks, bodies, and rock and roll.

Continue reading: Grand Theft Parsons Review

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Frank Mannion Movies

Plastic Movie Review

Plastic Movie Review

Lazy filmmaking undermines this sparky caper thriller, from paper-thin characters and convenient plot points to...

Osama Movie Review

Osama Movie Review

Siddiq Barmak's Osama, the first Afghan film produced since the Taliban was dismantled by the...

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