London Critics’ Circle Film Awards 2012: Winners

Actors, actresses, critics and industry types gathered at the BFI Southbank, London earlier this evening to reveal the 32nd annual London Critics’ Circle Film Award winners.

Emerging on top were The Artist, which scooped three awards; A Separation, which won two prizes; and We Need To Talk About Kevin, which – deservedly so – won British Film Of Year .

Anna Paquin (!!!) tied with Meryl Streep for Actress Of The Year, while Olivia Continue reading “London Critics’ Circle Film Awards 2012: Winners”

Evening Standard British Film Awards 2012: Nominations

Shame, Tyrannosaur and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy lead the nominations for the 39th London Evening Standard British Film Awards.

Selected by a host of Britain’s leading film critics, the London Evening Standard British Film Awards recognise the skill and audacity of those involved with the British film industry.

The awards, hosted by Stephen Mangan, will take place on Monday, February 6 Continue reading “Evening Standard British Film Awards 2012: Nominations”

BAFTA Film Awards 2012: Nominations

The nominations for the 2012 Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA’s) were revealed earlier this morning by Daniel Radcliffe and Holliday Grainger.

The Artist lead the way with a whopping twelve nominations, with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy following closely behind with a still impressive ten.

Meanwhile, The Descendants, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Hugo and The Help all picked up several nominations in key categories, while Paddy Considine, Continue reading “BAFTA Film Awards 2012: Nominations”

DVD Releases: January 16, 2011

The Guard (Review)

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle and Mark Strong

An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring. Continue reading “DVD Releases: January 16, 2011”

Golden Globes 2012: Winners

At a glitzy awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, California, the winners of the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards were announced, with The Descendants, The Artist and Martin Scorsese winning the night’s top prizes.

In terms of acting, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jean Dujardin and Michelle Williams walked away winners for their performances in The Descendants, The Iron Lady, The Artist and My Week With Marilyn, respectively.

The full list of winners: Continue reading “Golden Globes 2012: Winners”

BIFA Awards 2011: Nominations

Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, Steve McQueen’s Shame and Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy lead the nominations for the 14th annual Moët British Independent Film Awards (BIFA’s), which were announced at a ceremony in London earlier today.

Other nominees include Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, Richard Ayoade’s Subarmine, Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin and John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard. 

The BIFA’s, an awards ceremony aimed squarely at acknowledging the Continue reading “BIFA Awards 2011: Nominations”

Cinema Releases: August 19, 2011

Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Starring: Jessica Alba, Jeremy Piven and Joel McHale Continue reading “Cinema Releases: August 19, 2011”

UK Box Office – July 15 – 17, 2011

1. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – £23.7M

2. Tranformers: Dark Of The Moon – £1.9M

3. Bridesmaids – £1.5M

4. Kung Fu Panda 2 – £779,000

5. The Guard – £368,000

6. The Tree of Life – £267,000

7. Zindagi Na Milege Dobara – £254,000

8. Bad Teacher – £203,000

9. The Hangover Part II – £101,000

10. Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – £59,000

Review: The Guard (2011)

Writer-director John Michael McDonagh (brother of In Bruges’ Martin McDonagh) makes his feature length directorial debut with action-comedy The Guard – a welcome variation on the typical buddy-cop format. The film centres on Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson): a drug-taking, prostitute-loving and socially unorthodox Irish cop who – when an international drug-smuggling gang decides to start using the small town as a hub for their illegal deliveries – is teamed up with FBI agent Wendell Everett (Don Cheadle) to investigate.

What ensues follows a fairly typical action-comedy structure, and it doesn’t deviate much throughout the majority of the film. However, rather than focusing heavily on forgettable plot strands, McDonagh admirably shifts the attention to Boyle’s character, and occasionally to his peculiar relationship with Everett. He lets the subplots arise from and fall back into the background in equal measure. At times, the narrative wavers enough for viewers to begin to question the film’s purpose and overall direction, but it mostly remains surprisingly focused. For a debut feature, this is no easy task.

McDonagh’s script, much like his brother’s for In Bruges, is packed full of profane humour, unforgettable one-liners and an array of distinctive characters. He has also instilled it with a subtle, yet acutely aware social commentary that not only impiously takes the piss out of Irish culture, but also makes you very aware of the seriousness of the underlying racism and the lay of the law. It often playfully nudges at the edge of disbelief, but – considering the comical take on the subject matter – it always reins itself in and never pushes the audience too far. The dialogue in particular is extremely enjoyable, breathing life into each individual character, while the welcome self-awareness pays undeniable homage to the likes of Edgar Wright and Diablo Cody.

Gleeson nails Boyle’s unconventional nature perfectly, and he delivers a wonderfully whimsical and forthright performance, adding a feeling of improvisation to the already blistering dialogue. This is also evident in the way he approaches the relationship with Cheadle’s uptight Everett. Despite being almost polar opposites, the pair share a tangible bond.

Big fans of Cheadle may be displeased at how little screen time Everett is allowed, but this is Gleeson’s vehicle through and through. While it’s a shame that his character’s background and ethics are skimmed over, it simply wouldn’t make sense for McDonagh to spend any more time on the supporting cast. Admittedly, they all hold their own in their respective roles, with Mark Strong and Fionnula Flanagan delivering particularly noteworthy performances. Strong inhabits the lead drug-smuggler Clive Cornell with a cool ease, while Flanagan delights as Boyle’s whiskey-swigging mother.

Aside from a comparatively inconclusive and evasive third act and the under-explored dynamic between Boyle and the trio of villains, The Guard is an admirably executed and often hilarious variation on the overdone action-comedy genre, elevated by stand-out performances across the board and an extraordinarily well-executed script from McDonagh.