Tony Grisoni

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How I Live Now Review


Excellent

Remarkably bleak for a teen movie, this drama keeps us gripped as it throws its characters into an odyssey that's seriously harrowing. Gifted filmmaker Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) and a fine young cast make sure that we feel every punch of emotion along the way. And the premise itself gets our minds spinning in unusual directions.

Set in the present day, violent uprisings are growing in Europe as 16-year-old Daisy (Ronan) heads from New York to Britain to spend the summer with her Aunt Penn (Chancellor) on a farm in rural Wales. A sullen loner, she tries to avoid her three chirpy cousins: the quiet genius Eddie (MacKay) is her age, while the more adventurous Isaac (Holland) is 14 and the younger Piper (Bird) is clingy and annoying. Then while Penn is away on business, the violence spreads to the UK, which descends into martial law. The cousins are divided and sent into care. But they promise to meet back at the farm, which is going to be an epic journey for Daisy and Piper if they can escape from their new home.

The story is told from Daisy's perspective, complete with glimpses into her troubled thoughts, dreams and nightmares. We're never sure why she is so deeply fearful of everything around her, but Ronan brings out her fragile mental state beautifully, then takes us along as Daisy is pushed to the limits and must find the inner strength to go forward. As a result, the other characters remain less-defined, although MacKay and Holland bring layers of interest to Eddie and Isaac. As Daisy's companion, Bird is much more present on-screen, and we're as irritated by her as Daisy is.

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The Unloved Review


Excellent
Actress-turned-filmmaker Morton shows a remarkable confidence as director of this intensely personal drama, which is loosely based on her own experiences.

And even though the story wobbles along the way, it's a vital, involving film.

Lucy (Windsor) is an 11-year-old living with her father (Carlyle) in Nottingham. But when a schoolteacher discovers that she has been violently beaten, she's placed in a care home, sharing a room with 16-year-old tearaway Lauren (Socha). Lauren takes Lucy on several rather illicit outings, constantly landing the pair in trouble. And when Lucy wonders why she can't live with her mother (Lynch), her social worker (Stacey) only says that it's not possible.

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Picture - Wendy Brazington, writer Tony Grisoni,... London, England, Tuesday 26th January 2010

Wendy Brazington, David Morrissey, Tony Grisoni, Rebecca Hall and Maxine Peake - Wendy Brazington, writer Tony Grisoni, Rebecca Hall, David Morrissey and Maxine Peake, Winner of TV drama, Red Riding, presented by Rob Brydon Tuesday 26th January 2010 at South Bank London London, England

Brothers Of The Head Review


Excellent
As Terry Gilliam's film and world were crumbling around him, Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe were there with their cameras rolling. What once could have been a nifty little making-of documentary turned into a turbulent, God-doesn't-want-it chronicle of a filmmaker who is pushed to the edge and ultimately has to give up. Fulton and Pepe got lucky with Lost in La Mancha, but now they have to prove their worth with a sophomore effort. To prove that point they have chosen to pour their talent into a fictional story about... conjoined twin rock stars?

Fulton and Pepe thrust us into the lives of the Howe brothers (Luke and Harry Treadway), conjoined by a small extension of flesh at the middle of their ribs. At the age of 18, they are picked up by music promoter Zak Bedderwick and coupled with manager Nick Sydney (Sean Harris, pure sleaze with the moustache to match) and bassist Paul Day (Bryan Dick) to start a rock band. The sessions bring out the differences in the brothers: Tom's quiet sensitivity and genius at guitar and Barry's outlandish and audacious singing. The band's sound emulates punk icons The Sonics and shreds out on stage as Barry taunts the audience to touch the flesh that connects him to Tom. Things go haywire when a woman, medical journalist Laura (Tania Emery), falls for Tom and rouses feelings of wanting freedom from the eccentric, often dangerous Barry.

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Tideland Review


Unbearable
It's not that there's necessarily anything wrong with a film that uses the dead gas escaping from a putrefying corpse for comic effect by making it sound like flatulence. There's nothing that says a film can't find the humor or humanity in a mentally damaged, possibly homicidal man befriending a lonely pre-teen girl of dubious sanity with whom he seems to have less-than-honorable intentions. And there's nothing wrong with having squirrels or severed dolls-heads speak to that same girl in lieu of human companionship. In short, it's not the dark subject matter of Terry Gilliam's Tideland that makes it so squirmingly unwatchable, it's his callous, giggly, and monstrously tone-deaf approach.Based on the novel by Mitch Cullen, Gilliam's film is a trippy fantasia that has the feeling of a Neil Gaiman pastiche of a junkie version of Alice in Wonderland as interpreted by Asia Argento and JT LeRoy -- only worse. The rather brilliantly naturalistic Jodelle Ferland wastes her talent playing Jeliza-Rose, a young girl of uncommonly optimistic outlook whose no-good parents (Jennifer Tilly and Jeff Bridges) are squabbling junkies who barely pay attention to her unless it's to help them shoot up. Not long into the film, Tilly fatally overdoses, sending Jeliza-Rose and her dad, Noah, on the road, as Noah is convinced in his heroin haze that the authorities will be after him. They end up at his old family farmhouse, boarded up and filled with the dusty memories of his long-dead mother. Then Noah ODs, too, leaving Jeliza-Rose on her own.She doesn't seem to mind, really, as it takes her awhile to even realize Noah is dead (in the meantime, she dresses his corpse in a wig and makeup). The world through Jeliza-Rose's eyes seems a pretty wonderful place, which she fills with imaginary voices and fantastical creations. The house itself is full of undiscovered treasure and surrounded by tall, wind-blown prairie grass. Meanwhile, just down the road is another house where a crazy woman in a black beekeepers' outfit (Janet McTeer) and her younger brother (Brendan Fletcher), the previously mentioned potential psychopath who initially comes off as an innocent but seems later to take a liking to Jeliza-Rose.Tideland is obviously a story packed full of material that's best handled delicately, what with the overall fog of insanity and the intimations of pedophilia. The problem here is that "delicate" is not a word one would ever use to describe Gilliam. A filmmaker with obvious and commendable visual talents (strangely in abeyance here), his storytelling taste has always vacillated between the sarcastic and the sentimental, with Tideland being a stomach-churning slurry of the two. In a story that calls for a light hand, Gilliam uses only the hammer, smacking home each and every scene with acting best described (with the exception of Ferland) as hysterical and a sense of humor that goes beyond the merely tasteless and verges on the deranged.There's always the chance that the whole film is a great put-on, a low-budget joke of the most gigantic order -- it does literally end, after all, with a train-wreck. Anything is possible. But that may not matter in the end, because if there was ever a film to end a career, Tideland is it.The tide is high and I'm movin' on.

In This World Review


Excellent
From the bombed out ruins of Afghanistan to the Red Cross outlets of London, Michael Winterbottom moves from A to B to C to D (with stops along the way in Iran, Turkey, and France) in his new digital feature In This World as Pashtun refugees flee their decimated homeland. Though he beats a fierce political drum in the name of universal humanity, Winterbottom's movie is a visceral experience more than a liberal sermon. It's as exhausting as it is stunning to behold.

Told in his usual you-are-there style, with aggressive handheld cameras pursuing his subjects, Winterbottom keeps his story on the ground level, which is to say the human level. He hit his stride with his own brand of expressive naturalism with his Thomas Hardy adaptation, The Claim. One of the most prolific of modern filmmakers, Winterbottom brought joy to the world with his Manchester-based swirl of post-punk music in 24 Hour Party People.

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Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas Review


Good
You might be tempted to dismiss Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as a curiosity, an attempt to exploit the pockets of fame enjoyed by Hunter S. Thompson and director Terry Gilliam.

When I first saw the film in 1998, that's what I did.

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