Posts Tagged ‘Andy Serkis’

In a nutshell: East London meets Wild West

Popcorn rating: 4/5

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And you’ll certainly be left with that lasting impression after watching Wild Bill.

British actor Dexter Fletcher’s first stint in the director’s chair sees Charlie Creed-Miles play the aforenamed anti-hero. Bill Hayward is out on patrol after eight years in prison for a list of convictions as long as a shopping list.

Bill comes home to find the same hoodlums running the estate and his sons Dean, 15, and Jimmy, 11, fending for themselves after their mum ran off to Spain. At first his natural instincts kick in and Bill wants to make a similar escape to Scotland, but surprising his sons and even himself, he soon finds himself well equipped to be a dad and even commits to a low paid job over the perks of crime. However, it isn’t long before his old gang and Social Services at his neck and chaos commences…

Sure, Bill wants to change, or at least escape from his old life, but there are insurmountable obstacles in between him and that fresh start. Fear not though; this is no misery saga. Fletcher weaves his magic with storytelling, somehow managing to merge comedy with a gritty drama that evolves throughout its runtime.

Although Wild Bill is set in troubled neighbourhood in east London some tense scenes are deliberately filmed in a Western style adding to the story’s unique charm. Also look out for an extended cameo by Andy Serkis, who is currently busy working on The Hobbit.

Ultimately, Wild Bill reminds you that hope can be found in depths of despair and although you can’t expect the happiest of endings that leaves you feeling good.

Reviewer: David Morgan

In a nutshell: Spielberg works his magic on a classic comic icon.

Popcorn rating: 3.5/5

Belgian artist Hergé (pen name of  Georges Rémi)  once said he “thought Spielberg was the only person who could ever do Tintin justice.” The late comic writer created the boy reporter and adventurer in 1929 and now here we are in 2011 where his vision has come true.

It’s up to film fans and critics to discuss what The Adventures of Tintin would have been like in someone else’s hands but Hergé was right – Spielberg has done wonders with it.

Obviously the most noticeable thing about Tintin is its gorgeous motion capture visuals, which involves transforming the actions of real actors into animated sequences. It’s been done before with the likes of Mars Needs Moms where it was greeted by an underwhelmed audience. This time it is more promising with Spielberg proving how immersive the technique can be. Indeed, perhaps Tintin will do for motion capture what Avatar did for 3D.

Despite its flashy visuals, Tintin has an old fashioned feel to it. The globe-trotting adventure is almost reminiscent of Spielberg’s Indiana Jones films but is more accessible and child friendly. It will be a hit with the kids but you may be left with the lingering sense that more should have been on offer for adults.

The story sees Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his new friend Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) search for a sunken treasure ship that was commanded by one of Haddock’s ancestors. They aren’t alone,however; hot on the trail is villain Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig).

Essentially, Tintin shows a cast and crew at the top of their game having a lot of fun. You know you are in safe hands with the likes of Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson producing. The film even reunites the team behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Thomson and Thompson and director Edgar Wright as a script writer.

Expect multiple sequels.

Reviewer: DavidMorgan

In a nutshell: Apes start talking ‘bout a revolution

Popcorn rating: 4/5

We’ve all fond memories of the Charlton Heston original and maybe even a few of you male readers may have fond memories of Helena Bonham Carter’s she-ape in Tim Burton’s remake, but is a frightening prelude to our inevitable future as slaves to our simian overlords.

Directed by Rupert Wyatt, who proved he’s no slouch with debut feature The Escapist, Rise of the Planet of the Apes has proved to be the Indian summer blockbuster and then some.

Starring Andy Serkis – the undisputed King Kong of performance capture – Rise… takes us into new territory for this franchise reboot. Setting the action on a firmly human-run Earth, James Franco’s boffin is frantically searching for a cure to Alzheimer’s, which – as any fan of cinema, science fiction or literature will know – is destined to bring about the end of our kind. Becoming an unwilling father to baby chimp Caesar, he is firmly pushed back to the background as we meet the most interesting and engaging performance-capture protagonist of all time.

Andy Serkis as Caesar is a revelation and with technology beginning to catch up with his acting ability – the death knell to the trade? – has made the most convincing argument for awards recognition of the performance capture medium yet. His chimpanzee displays a range of emotions that Keanu Reeves can only dream of and by the time the revolution kicks in, you’ll be betraying your species in who to cheer on.

It’s not all fancy tricks and sad-faced apes, there is great action too, Serkis’ Casear leading a tactical charge in the finale worthy of his name and visually the CGI is breath-taking. There are some sly nods to the originals – including a post-Draco Tom Felton gaining the honour of uttering that immortal line and subtle and clever hints to future instalments.

Smart, engaging and moving, a summer blockbuster with substance, this planet’s journey to simian society couldn’t have got off to a better start.

Reviewer: AoifeWantonMovieLover

In a nutshell: Neither macabre nor funny, if you really want to see it, at least wait till it’s on
Sunday afternoon telly

Popcorn rating:1/5

Burke & Hare Director John Landis has a pretty envious CV of quality comedies under his belt (Animal House, The Blues Brothers) as well as a few lemons (Blues Brothers 2000 anyone?). Unfortunately, with Burke & Hare, he’s be back in the citrus fruit section with a missable, boring and excrutiatingly unfunny “black comedy”. The
titular pair, portrayed by everyman Simon Pegg (playing Simon Pegg) and a hammy Andy Serkis, were a pair of grave robbers back in 1820s Edinburgh who started a new career as serial killers, earning their wages by selling said cadavers to Dr John Knox. Dr Knox dissected the bodies as part of his anatomy lectures. That’s the crux of the
story and, as you can tell, so far, so dark. Lovely jubbley.

Up the close and down the stair,
In the house with Burke and Hare.
Burke’s the butcher, Hare’s the thief,
Knox, the man who buys the beef.

Scottish children’s rhyme

While murdering rarely lends itself to comedy, films such as the wonderful Arsenic and Old Lace prove
that such black tales can be done, and indeed done well with a wonderfully light, tongue in cheek touch. Unfortunately, while Landis’s Edinburgh looks the part with lots of grime and muddy hues, Burke & Hare is not thrillingly naughty. In fact, it is when it strives for laughs with overplayed slapstick that Burke & Hare is at its most tedious. Of course, while it isn’t funny, Burke and Hare may have worked if it was either A. An intriguing portrayal of what is a
remarkable if ghoulish true story or B. A dark, creepy tale of shadows and nefarious goings on. It is neither. And an interesting cast which includes Pegg’s old comrades in arms, Jessia Hynes and Michael Smiley, alongside Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson and Tim Curry fail to ignite even a spark of interest or humour.

My advice? Don’t bother. The time you spent watching this would be much better spent hoping someone from the
Psychoville school of creepy (yes, I mean you Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton) takes up the tale and does it some justice.

PS – The 1 rating is for the at least passable Northern Irish
accents from Pegg and Serkis.

Reviewer: Curlyshirley