Posts Tagged ‘England’

Tabloid

Posted 25 Jul 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Tabloid, USA, 2010

Directed by Errol Morris

Tabloid, though it is a documentary, is also one of the funniest films of the year. Anyone reading this, and certainly any student of comedy, is sure to be aware of the well-worn axiom, “It’s funny because it’s true.” Regardless of exactly what parts of its wild, often unbelievable story are actually true, in the most objective and unquestionable sense, legendary documentary filmmaker Errol Morris’s latest, Tabloid, is likely one of the funniest films I’ll see all year. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the assertion of its dubious protagonist that it was nothing less than “Christ-like love” that led her pit bull, Booger, to save her life at one point; equally hilarious is Joyce’s proclamation about the tabloid media, “If you tell a lie long enough, you learn to believe it,” uttered without any apparent awareness of the irony inherent in that statement being delivered by someone of her pedigree.

I’m getting ahead of myself. For those who don’t know, Tabloid tells the story of Joyce McKinney, a former beauty pageant queen and Miss Wyoming who allegedly kidnapped and raped a Mormon missionary named Kirk Anderson in 1977, after following him across the globe from California to England, where she believed the Mormons had brainwashed and enslaved him. The tabloids of the time, particularly the competing British Daily Mirror and Daily Express, had the proverbial field day with the story, dubbing it “The Case of the Manacled Mormon!”  Read More

Starter For 10 – Revenge Of The Nerd

Posted 23 Jul 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

Starter for 10, UK / USA, 2006

Directed by Tom Vaughan

Starter for 10 is a British/American film directed by Tom Vaughan from a screenplay by David Nicholls, adapted from his own novel Starter for Ten. The oddest thing about a film like Starter for 10 is that it seems to be almost completely pointless until the last thirty minutes or so, and the most unfortunate thing about the project is that the first hour is almost completely alienating. This isn’t the type of film where the audience is required to root for anyone in particular, nor are we given much of a climax to look forward to. We follow a young college student in England in 1985 as he enters Bristol University and attempts to find his place and enter a quiz show club, in which one does their best to win championships on television. We follow him through bum friends, a failed and unrealistic attempt at a relationship, and a conventional attempt at knowing everything.

The good news is that James McAvoy is watchable enough to excuse most of that. The bad news is that even though McAvoy is a watchable actor, of some considerable skill, the film itself is hollow and flatter than paper. It’s peppered with calm and collected performances, but that and a bad screenplay don’t make a good movie. Make no mistake, Starter for 10 is enjoyable, albeit conventional and formulaic. However, it’s great performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, and McAvoy himself that magically make the film worth watching more than once, even if you just want to catch all the reaction shots from Cumberbatch that you might have missed the first time; as with everything else in which he appears, he’s a complete joy. Read More