First-time director Owen Harris boldly attempts a comedy even blacker than American Psycho or Filth with this 1990s Britpop satire, but he never quite gets the tone right. Based on the bestselling novel by John Niven (who also wrote the screenplay), the film lacks a single character the audience can identify with or root for. And since it's impossible to care about the slimy anti-hero, the movie ends up merely feeling mean-spirited.
The slimeball at the centre is Steven (Nicholas Hoult), an A&R man at Unigram Records at the peak of Britpop in 1997. He's had a run of hot new artists, and doesn't let his loathing of pop music slow him down, tormenting his assistant Rebecca (Georgia King), his faithful scout Darren (Craig Roberts) and his matey colleague Roger (James Corden). He's also so determined to get a promotion that he takes things to violent extremes, then becomes even more annoyed when the job goes to his hated rival Antony (Tom Riley). So now all he has left is the search for another vile musician he can turn into the next big thing.
The film has a sleek, snaky energy to it that nicely recreates the cut-throat atmosphere of the period. And Niven has a lot to say about how the music business abuses truly talented artists while promoting inept stars like Steven's aspiring girl band Songbirds. Essentially, this film is a full-on assault on a British society where self-absorbed jerks climb the corporate ladder because they're ambitious, not because they're actually good at anything. The one sense of balance in the story comes from a cop (Edward Hogg), who's investigating a murder but really wants Steven to help him launch his own musical career. In other words, the film is shouting its themes at the top of its voice, rather than letting them hit the target with quiet precision.
Continue reading: Kill Your Friends Review
It's the mid 90's and the music scene in the UK is booming. Excess is the word of the decade and the music industry runs on a steady supply of drugs, booze and huge amounts of money. Steven Stelfox is a young A&R manager at one of London's biggest labels but in reality it's quite by chance that he's made it. It's a dog-eat-dog industry and when your ideas run out there's a good chance you'll be cast aside. Not wishing to be the next for the chopping block, Stelfox takes his career ambitions to a whole new level. How well would you survive when even your friends are your enemies?
Since its release in 2008, John Niven's book 'Kill Your Friends' has become a cult classic. Niven himself had worked at many record labels and inspired some of the themes behind the story. Whilst the story is fiction and no one was actually killed, many people in the industry draw many parallels to what actually happened during those years.
When the Nazis took over Vienna prior to the Second World War, they stole countless, priceless artefacts. One of these artefacts was the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, and an Austrian Holocaust survivor has the perfect claim to it. Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) hires Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a lawyer of Austrian decent, to help her become once again acquainted with the famous painting of her aunt. The problem is, that the painting is held in a Vienna art gallery, and the Austrian government are adamant in keeping the national treasure. Altmann, on the other hand, is desperate to get back what is rightfully hers.
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In Vienna, British businessman Michael (Law) has arranged to meet Slovakian prostitute Blanka (Siposova) on her first night on the job. But the situation shifts, and Michael ends up thinking about his wife (Weisz) in London.
Meanwhile, she's having a fling with a Brazilian (Cazarre) whose girlfriend (Flor) is fed up with his infidelity. On her flight home, she meets a troubled British man (Hopkins) and a recovering sex-offender (Foster). Meanwhile, an Algerian dentist (Debbouze) in Paris is in love with his Russian employee (Drukarova), whose husband (Vdovichenkov) works for a hotheaded gangster (Ivanir).
Continue reading: 360 Review
As Renato Vallanzasca (Stuart) grew up, he graduated from petty crime to full-on bank robberies and kidnapping, eventually becoming one of Milan's most notorious criminals with a gang that included two childhood friends, Enzo and Sergio (Timi and Bliebtreu), and their "little sister" Antonella (Vega).
Through brazen crime sprees, prison terms and escapes over some 20 years, he fathers a child with Consuelo (Solarino) and befriends a suave archrival (Scianna). But his ongoing problem is whether or not he can trust those who are closest to him.
Continue reading: Angels Of Evil [vallanzasca: Gli Angeli Del Male] Review
It never ceases to amaze me how much mileage there is left in the road trip and romantic comedy genres when they're blessed with a little creativity -- and the eccentrically dark chocolate German bonbon "Im Juli" (translated "In July") is nothing if not clever and resourceful.
Writer-director Fatih Akin boldly casts Moritz Bleibtreu (Lola's boyfriend from "Run Lola Run") as his hero Daniel, a socially insecure square and a dullard of a high school physics teacher. Not only is the hunky actor credible, he's also full of surprises as the character starts learning to take life by the horns.
The plot is also deceptive in its understated simplicity: Instantly smitten after a chance meeting with a beautiful Turkish girl (Idil Uner) passing through Hamburg, Daniel undertakes the first spontaneous act of his life -- he hits the road to Istanbul searching for her.
Continue reading: In July (Im Juli) Review
First-time director Owen Harris boldly attempts a comedy even blacker than American Psycho or Filth...
It's the mid 90's and the music scene in the UK is booming. Excess is...
When the Nazis took over Vienna prior to the Second World War, they stole countless,...
Loosely based on Arthur Schnitzler's play La Ronde, this beautifully assembled film is easy to...
Stylish filmmaking and an energetic pace help carry us through this complicated true story from...