Nigel Sinclair

Nigel Sinclair

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1: Life on the Limit Review


Good

Essentially a feature-length In Memoriam reel, this entertaining Formula One documentary thrills us with its whizzy editing while it traces the sport's deadly legacy. It took some 45 years after F1's inception in 1950 for proper safety guidelines to be implemented, so watching the parade of iconic drivers, living and dead, is often quite emotional. And the film tells this story with a pumping kinetic style.

Motor racing has a long history in Europe, becoming a proper sport with the birth of Formula One in 1950. But as car-building technology developed, the safety systems didn't keep pace. So drivers were racing at double the speed without up-to-date barriers, safety equipment and emergency procedures. Between 1968 and 1974 alone, the sport lost such iconic drivers as Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Roger Williamson, Francois Cevert and Peter Revson in terrible crashes. Over the years the regulations were changed, but it wasn't until Ayerton Senna's shocking death in 1994 that the entire system was overhauled. And no driver has been killed in an F1 Grand Prix since.

In addition to Fassbender's enthusiastic narration, the line-up of on-screen interviewees is seriously impressive, with a collection of champions, team leaders, businessmen, journalists and others recounting their memories as the film presents a chronological history of the sport. Director-editor Crowder ramps everything up as he mixes archive film and stills with thundering music to get the adrenaline pumping. Many of these sequences generate a lot of vroom-vroom energy, even if the video trickery sometimes gets too flashy. Intriguingly, the film's most riveting segment is a single take with no edits, shot from Senna's helmet as he does a qualifying lap in Monaco.

Continue reading: 1: Life on the Limit Review

Snitch Review


Good

Dwayne Johnson tries to flex his acting muscles in this smarter-than-usual action movie, based on a true story that gets under our skin. He's never played someone as fragile as this, which is fascinating even if the film ultimately can't resist cranking up the action while turning rather preachy.

Johnson plays John, a construction company owner whose bright 18-year-old son Jason (Gavron) is caught in a drugs sting by an undercover agent (Pepper). Jason is facing 10 years in prison, and offered a way out if he can finger another drug dealer. But he doesn't know any, since he was set up himself. So John makes a deal with a federal prosecutor (Sarandon) to find a big dealer himself. He convinces reluctant ex-con employee Daniel (Bernthal) to work with him, contacting a local dealer (Williams) before going after the kingpin (Bratt). But of course things get increasingly dangerous the deeper they go.

While Johnson's acting chops aren't terribly subtle, he's such a charismatic screen presence that we are fully engaged with him from the start. The tender scenes between him and Gavron add weight to the whole story, while the tetchy connection between him and Bernthal keeps the film on a knife edge. By contrast, Sarandon and Pepper are pretty much just scene-stealing sharks using innocent people to do their dirty work.

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Picture - Nigel Sinclair, Olivia Harrison and... New York City, USA, Tuesday 4th October 2011

Nigel Sinclair, Martin Scorsese and Olivia Harrison - Nigel Sinclair, Olivia Harrison and Martin Scorsese New York City, USA - HBO documentary screening of 'George Harrison: Living in the Material World' at Alice Tully Hall Tuesday 4th October 2011

Picture - Nigel Sinclair New York City, USA, Tuesday 4th October 2011

Nigel Sinclair Tuesday 4th October 2011 HBO documentary screening of 'George Harrison: Living in the Material World' at Alice Tully Hall New York City, USA

Nigel Sinclair

The Way Back Review


Good
Based on real events that are outrageously inspiring, this epic-style movie is packed with emotion and adventure, although it also feels a little overlong and meandering, mainly due to the narrative itself.

In 1939 Poland, Janusz (Sturgess) is charged by the Soviets with spying and sent to a Siberian gulag. In the middle of the bitter winter, he and six other prisoners manage to escape: veteran American (Harris), hothead Russian criminal (Farrell), helpful comic (Bucur), artist (Potodean), nice-guy Latvian (Skarsgard) and night-blind youngster (Urzendowsky). The first 300 miles to Lake Baikal almost kills them, but they've only just begun the 4,000-mile trek to freedom in India. And they've also picked up a young Polish girl (Ronan).

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Let Me In Review


Good
While there was no way this would recapture the magic of the 2008 original Let the Right One In, this remake is a decent film in its own right. Moody and atmospheric, the film subverts expectations by mixing darkly introspective drama with full-on horror.

In 1983 New Mexico, Owen (Smit-McPhee) lives with his absent mother (Buono) in a generic apartment complex. It's the dead of winter, and a new neighbour attracts Owen's interest: Abby (Moretz) is also 12 years old, "more or less".

Although she says they can't be friends, they clearly already are. And Owen needs a friend, since he's being horribly bullied at school by Kenny (Minnette) and his pals. But Abby has problems too: she needs human blood to survive and her guardian (Jenkins) is struggling to supply it.

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Amazing Journey: The Story Of The Who Review


OK
"From humble beginnings to their meteoric rise to rock legend status," Amazing Journey offers everything we've come to expect from a rock documentary. Every piece of information you'd want about The Who can be found here. Early hits like "I Can't Explain" and "My Generation" are chronicled, as is Pete Townshend's instrumental destruction (which has since become a widely copied cliche). Each member of the band gets face time -- though John Entwhistle and Keith Moon, both deceased, are covered via archival material -- in order to pontificate on the band's origins and legendary stories. Non-Who rock gods, from Sting to Eddie Vedder, are also on hand to wax Whoish.

You really hear all there is to know about The Who along the way: from Tommy to two drug overdoses to the influence of guru Meher Baba (the "Baba" in "Baba O'Reilly") to the 11 people killed at a 1979 Who concert trampled trying to get into the show, still the deadliest concert event in American history. Even Townsend's run-in with the law over a child pornography incident earlier in the decade is covered, if only on a surface level.

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Masked & Anonymous Review


Terrible
Masked & Anonymous, as a title, comes across as a vague, artsy moniker as inaccessible as the film it represents. But look closer at the name of this movie about revolution and despair, and you'll discover a clear reference to the film's writers; credited as Rene Fontaine and Sergei Petrov, the screenwriters have been unmasked, as it were, revealed to be the film's iconic star, Bob Dylan, and director Larry Charles (HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm).

The result of this combination is an overly ambitious film that's as muddled and cryptic as a mumble-filled Dylan vocal. Dylan stars as the symbolically named Jack Fate, an apparent musical legend, jailed in the midst of a brutally downtrodden America where the government has taken over, war is rampant, and even the counter-revolutionaries have counter-revolutionaries.

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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Review


Good
When Arnold Schwarzenegger first uttered, "I'll be back," nearly 20 years ago, someone should have asked him, "How many times?" Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines marks Arnie's third go-round as the futuristic cyborg, and tweaks the formula just enough to keep us entertained.

Already, T3 has a strike against it. Sequels with "Three" in the title tend to reek, from The Godfather: Part III to Jaws 3-D. Strike two comes in the form of high expectations. Twelve years ago, James Cameron raised the bar with Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a superior sequel and a long-standing leader in the high-tech special effects field. The shoes director Jonathan Mostow (U-571) was asked to fill look mighty big.

Continue reading: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Review

Nigel Sinclair

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