Artist: Cheryl Cole Album: Messy Little Raindrops Location: Newcastle
Cheryl Cole is one of those celebrities who always seem to be in the limelight, whether it’s for being one of Britain’s most annoying talent show judges, going through a very long divorce or releasing her new album. When I got her album I genuinely didn’t know how good or bad it was going to be and I really did listen to it with an open mind.
The King of the South T.I. returns with his long awaited seventh studio album ‘No Mercy’. There has been so much anticipation lingering around the release. When the first promotional single ‘I’m Back’ was released earlier this year in March, fans were eagerly expecting something big, especially as it was the first album out since T.I's release from prison earlier this year.
Band: The Wanted Album: The Wanted Location: London
Newest boy band in the UK music scene The Wanted have released their self titled debut album. Their number 1 hit ‘All Time Low’ was exceptionally catchy and surprisingly unique for a manufactured boy band, and after hearing it I had high hopes for this band.
Prince Albert of England certainly does have his share of problems. Plagued since youth with a perpetual stammer, his position in the realm requires him to speak publicly at a growing number of ceremonial occasions. A particularly painful address at Wembley Stadium is dramatized by screenwriter David Seidler in excruciating detail at the beginning of Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech.
I looked forward to John Curran’s Stone and really wanted to like it, but I felt something lacking. I’m going to chalk it up to Angus MacLachian’s script which, though it provides one of Robert DeNiro’s best parts of recent years, still lacks a satisfying third act.
The American starring George Clooney is attractive to look at…and that’s about it. The plot deals with an assassin/weapon maker who wants to get out of the game (following a taut opening sequence that leads us to expect more from the movie).
Michael Douglas and Oliver Stone revisit Gordon Gekko in the long-awaited sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. While it’s not the cultural touchstone its predecessor was, Money Never Sleeps is an enjoyable tale which brings Gekko into the 21st Century, replete with reptilian financiers who make him look like small change in comparison– and consequently, a more sympathetic character. It would be nice to say the recently released market master Gekko is the main player, but alas, this Wall Street has more players on its mind besides Gekko.
Aaron Schneider’s Get Low is only now getting a wider release, and it’s about time. Beautifully filmed by David Boyd to evoke the Depression era, the film is a gentle, charming, funny, moving tale starring Robert Duvall is a hermit (on a fairly large tract of land) in self-imposed exile from his small town (and life, in general) who decides he wants to throw himself a funeral while he’s still around to see it.
Finally caught up with Christopher Nolan’s Inception and I’m glad I did. While I don’t think it’s as profound as it thinks it is, or wants to be, it’s perfectly enjoyable as a thrill-packed action ride. Yes, there is the “dream team” and corporate espionage, as well as a dead wife who keeps causing problems.
The Other Guys, courtesy of director Adam McKay, is a funny buddy movie with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as mismatched desk jockeys living in the shadow of supercops Samuel Jackson and The Rock, until something happens…
There are some other films worth checking out if you haven’t already… The Expendables, a muscular old-fashioned action yarn from writer/director/actor Sylvester Stallone, pits a singular group of mercenaries led by Stallone and action stalwarts such as Jet Li and Jason Statham, against a regime consisting of a corrupted ruler and an evil rogue operative, played with relish by Eric Roberts.
I’ve managed to catch up with a few of the many summer films that the major studios have pinned their hopes on. Let me start with two films that might be worth your time. The animated, 3-D Despicable Me is a joy from beginning to end, including the closing credits (stay for them).
Steve Carell voices Gru, a supervillain (with financial support from the Bank of Evil) whose grandiose schemes have resulted in diminishing financial returns.
was pleasantly surprised with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, as I haven’t been the biggest fan of director Jon Turtletaub’s National Treasure opuses. However this fantasy of rival sorcerers (Nicolas Cage, the good; Alfred Molina, the bad) who keep their feud going for centuries (over a beautiful woman—what a surprise) manages to mostly enchant from beginning to end.
What can I say about M. Night Shamaylan’s latest exercise in tedium,The Last Airbender?To begin with, I don’t think it’s a good thing when you want all those characters who are hunting the young hero (a boy with airbending powers and a reluctant, would-be Avatar to boot) to actually catch up with him and put him—and us—out of our misery.
Predators, with a chiseled Adrien Brody in action hero mode (there’s no avoiding those soulful eyes as he tries to proclaim how soulless he is), is a pretty good thrill ride for about two-thirds of the way.
Various human predators (soldiers, convicts) are dropped in a very remote area to do battle with some skillfully constructed (go special effects!), monstrous predators. In another words, it’s The Most Dangerous Game all over again, as the unwilling but skilled human prey try to evade, outwit, and overpower the beasts, while trying to figure out how to “get off the island.” Director Nimrod Antal successfully creates a feeling of dread, and the early action sequences are savage and well-staged, even if we know it’s only a matter of time before the characters cash in their chips. However, after Lawrence Fishburne’s character is introduced-as the world’s unlikeliest stealth fighter- the movie disintegrates into a series of unlikely, prolonged battles, unnecessary sacrifices, and a few jawdropping surprises. But for about 65 minutes, the movie delivers the goods—too bad it didn’t know how to finish the trip.
After all this escapism, I escaped to Jay and Mark Duplass’ intelligent, entertaining comedy of terrors, Cyrus. A very endearing John C. Reilly is John, a divorced man on a downward spiral who drunkenly meets lovely Molly (a very appealing Marisa Tomei) and proceeds to hit it off with her—so much so, that even in the light of day, these two troubled souls seem to have found each other’s salvation.
Summer’s here and it’s popcorn movie a go-go…First, the Tom Cruise we know and occasionally like is back in James Mangold’s breezy, entertaining Knight and Day, playing a possibly rogue CIA agent who entangles a first unwilling, then willing hostage Cameron Diaz in his flight from murderous operatives and some other very bad people, all in the service of preserving a longlife battery (Duracell, it ain’t).
It’s nice to see Michael Douglas back in a good vehicle with Solitary Man. In many ways, Brian Koppleman and David Levien’s film (script by Koppleman) presents a greatest-hits display of the Douglas persona: ambitious, unscrupulous entrepreneur undone by greed and supreme hubris (following a trip to the doctor—what was in that EKG?); charming, irresponsible ex-husband, lover, father, grandfather etc; unlikely mentor.
It’s summer season at the multiplexes, and this brings out the inevitable sequels of variable quality. Shrek Forever After (in 3D!) is a pleasant surprise, a vast improvement over the last installment and while it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the first Shrek, it does have generous helpings of wit and poignancy in addition to the visual wizardry.
Nothing you have seen in your life can prepare you for something as awe-inspiring as MacGruber. No movie I have seen recently (or perhaps ever) succeeds—through an overabundance of mind-numbing ineptitude masquerading as celluloid–in alienating the audience on so many levels. But where do I begin? One can start with the character of MacGruber himself.