Nigel Sinclair

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Nigel Sinclair seen at the world premiere of 'The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years' held at The Odeon Leicester Square, London, United Kingdom - Thursday 15th September 2016

Nigel Sinclair
Nigel Sinclair

The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years Review

Very Good

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which offers an inside look at Beatlemania, the three years when the best pop band in history toured the world. The messy title is a hint as to how compromised this film is: it's not a proper journalistic look at the band, but rather an approved portrait with the rough edges removed. But with its never-seen footage and lots of great music, it can't help but be hugely entertaining.

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr spent years developing their sound before they hit the big time. And when they set off on their first tour in 1963, things immediately went crazy, with unprecedented displays of fan adoration. Fans couldn't get enough of these cheeky young guys from Liverpool, and their irreverent antics during interviews further endeared them to their audience. As they embarked on their first major tour of America, young journalist Larry Kane was sent to accompany them. Initially annoyed at this fluffy assignment, Kane was won over by their talent and the way they stood up to segregation laws in the South. But by 1966, they found that playing concerts in stadiums was simply too exhausting (they couldn't hear themselves above the screaming), so they abruptly stopped performing in public. The rest of their career took place in the studio.

All of this is recounted in a terrific range of home movies, archive footage, snapshots and interviews from the time, plus present-day recollections from Paul and Ringo. Added to this are interviews with celebrities who as children saw them perform, artists who worked with them and historians who examine their talent and impact. With access to this kind of material and a skilled editing team, Howard creates a film that's energetically gripping, offering a perspective on the Beatles that we may not have seen before.

Continue reading: The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years Review

1: Life On The Limit Review


Very 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


Very 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.

Continue reading: Snitch Review

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
Nigel Sinclair
Nigel Sinclair, Martin Scorsese and Olivia Harrison

The Way Back Review


Very 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).

Continue reading: The Way Back Review

Let Me In Review


Very 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.

Continue reading: Let Me In Review

Amazing Journey: The Story Of The Who Review


Good
"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.

Continue reading: Amazing Journey: The Story Of The Who Review

Masked & Anonymous Review


Bad
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.

Continue reading: Masked & Anonymous Review

Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines Review


Very 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

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Nigel Sinclair Movies

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

1: Life on the Limit Movie Review

1: Life on the Limit Movie Review

Essentially a feature-length In Memoriam reel, this entertaining Formula One documentary thrills us with its...

Snitch Movie Review

Snitch Movie Review

Dwayne Johnson tries to flex his acting muscles in this smarter-than-usual action movie, based on...

The Way Back Movie Review

The Way Back Movie Review

Based on real events that are outrageously inspiring, this epic-style movie is packed with emotion...

Advertisement
Let Me In Movie Review

Let Me In Movie Review

While there was no way this would recapture the magic of the 2008 original Let...

Masked & Anonymous Movie Review

Masked & Anonymous Movie Review

Masked & Anonymous, as a title, comes across as a vague, artsy moniker as inaccessible...

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Movie Review

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Movie Review

When Arnold Schwarzenegger first uttered, "I'll be back," nearly 20 years ago, someone should have...

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