Tag Archives: George Clooney

Money Monster

money monster

“There’s human fingerprints all over this.”

Films about money confuse the ever-living-shit out of me. I mean, I can barely manage my monthly credit card payments and my TV bill, so going in to films like Wall Street always leave me nervous that I’m going to come out more confused than I went in. The Big Short is probably the most recent of these films to have me worried; luckily it had Margot Robbie naked in a bath tub to explain what was going on; I listened well I can tell you.

Now, I admit, I completely mis-read the kind of film that Money Monster was going to turn out to be. I was petrified that it was going to be another film that made me feel insecure about my chequebook. Luckily, I was wrong; and actress-turned-director Jodie Foster’s latest view from behind the camera turned out to be less a futile attempt to teach me how Wall Street works and more a tense, nail biting hostage thriller that doesn’t let up from start to finish.

George Clooney is Lee Gates, the loud, brash presenter of TV show “Money Monster”. Five days a week, he’s on the air giving advice and doling out wisdom to anyone who’ll listen and making money doing it. But 24 hours after IBIS International – Gates’ promised “sure thing” investment – goes south to the tune of $800 million because of a glitch in the companies trading programme, Gates finds himself staring down the barrel of Kyle Budwell’s (Jack O’Connell) pistol.

After losing every penny in the investment group’s crash, Budwell sees only one way forward – taking the financial guru and his crew hostage, wrapping him up in an explosive jacket and demanding answers on live television. With Lee’s long-time director Patty (Julia Roberts) in the studio trying to help the situation, the trio work to get IBIS’ boss Walt Camby (Dominic West) to answer for his company and get some closure before the hostage taker blows them all to hell.

Tension is the order of the day for Jodie Foster’s latest film. From the very second that O’Connell appears on the screen sweating and nervous, to the film’s final moments, you’re on the edge of your seat, with your bumhole puckered, and chewing on your nails.

Once the action starts, the film runs on at a breakneck pace, never really giving you time to catch your breath and take stock of what’s going on. For most of the film, we are confined to Gates’ set and Patty’s studio. Foster has done a splendid job of making you feel like you’re jammed into this situation, watching from the wings and wondering if you’re going to get out in one piece. It’s not quite claustrophobic, but it’s certainly very close.

And the film has actual, legitimate movie stars in it. George Clooney is awesome as Lee Gates. The Hollywood powerhouse does a great job as the ego-filled money mogul, brought down to earth with a proper bump as he’s strapped up with a bomb and told it’s his fault he’s in this position. With Julia Roberts up in the studio and in his ear, she is great as the TV personality’s foundation and ramps up the tension for all of us every time she gets nervous.

But, as is becoming the case quite a bit, the standout of the show is Jack O’Connell. Even with his slightly dodgy Brooklyn accent, O’Connell proves once again that he’s fast becoming a force to be reckoned with and believably goes toe-to-toe with Clooney at every step of the film. Considering the pedigree of actor he’s on the screen with, he still does a magnificent job of shining as bright as the rest of them.

So while I was expecting a slightly different film, Money Monster was a pleasant surprise. Every minute is wrought with tension and it’s acted and directed brilliantly. If a smartly written, smartly made hostage thriller is the kind of film that’s right up your street, then Money Monster should satisfy all your cravings.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland just doesn’t work.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

tomorrowlandDespite how I may come off on here and on my Twitter from time to time, I am actually rather much an optimist.  Oh sure, I have cynical and realist tendencies – I write for the Internet, for god’s sake, they’re kind of a pre-requisite – but deep down, I am very much an optimist.  I like to believe the best in people, I like to believe that bad people can change over time, that our planet is still salvageable, that one day we may end up living in some kind of wonderful progressive future of sunny optimism.  We might not get jetpacks, but things may be more or less sustainable.  And given the choice between excessively bleak and cynical verging-on-nihilist stories, or idealistic heart-warming tales of happiness and friendship, I will pick the latter almost every time.  In some ways, this makes me childishly naive and unprepared for reality, but what is our day-to-day existence without some semblance of hope?

I tell you all of this not because I enjoy over-sharing about myself on the Internet, but because I want you to know that I agree with almost everything that Tomorrowland is preaching.  That the future does not have to be set towards total annihilation through global warming or thermonuclear war or some kind of natural disaster, that optimism can triumph over cynicism, that those best qualified to save us from such catastrophes should be given free rein to set about doing so, that our obsession with violent destructive media that treats the apocalypse as nothing more than destruction porn is worrying and possibly sets back our willingness to take environmental threats seriously, that cancelling the Space program but keeping a nuclear weapons program going is inexplicable…  I agree with pretty much all of that!

It’s also why I am incredibly disappointed to have to tell you that Tomorrowland just straight up doesn’t work.

I’m not going to mince words or delay the reveal, folks, the reason why Tomorrowland just doesn’t work is because it’s not really a story.  Oh sure, the two problems that you were probably expecting to hear when the time inevitably came for the sentence “Brad Bird has made a bad movie” to be printed are also here.  The last third is a total mess of prior foreshadowing that gets no payoff, that sidelines our supposed lead character, Casey (Britt Robertson), almost totally, and contains random robot violence and explosions that feel almost completely at odds with the “positive thinking can change the future” message that the film had spent 90-odd minutes preaching beforehand – all things that reek of executive meddling wondering why a $180 million Summer blockbuster doesn’t have any action to sell people on and forcing substantial rewrites.  Meanwhile, co-writer Damon Lindelof’s grubby fingerprints are all over the abysmal pacing, structure, and plotting – no 2 hour movie should spend upwards of 70 minutes setting up its story – that kill almost any semblance of emotional depth and resonance.

Those are problems, but even if you stripped them out, this film would still not work.  See, the messages that Tomorrowland wishes to impart are great messages… it’s just that Brad Bird, who directed and co-wrote the story and screenplay, forgot to fashion them onto an actual, y’know, story.  This is the kind of film where characters will shout the film’s ideology back and forth at one another instead of actually performing actions that communicate them without incredibly clunky dialogue.  There are multiple instances where the film will stop, physically stop in its tracks, whilst a character stares just slightly off to the side of the camera and monologues about the righteous indignity that Brad Bird has against our collective cynical apathy.

That second paragraph in this review?  That is quite literally a 3 minute monologue that our nominal villain gives just before the really-quite-terrible whizz-bang action finale kicks off.  I half-expected Bird to just at one point walk on-screen, tell everyone to take 5, and finish the rest of it himself.  The cynical and optimist push-pull protagonist dynamic is the sole thing that Frank (George Clooney) and Casey’s relationship is built on, instead of it being only a part of two fully-rounded characters.  There are no real characters, no emotional stakes, just endless sermonising, that I agree with which is something I find incredibly annoying, about how awful cynicism is and how things need to change.

In fact, I take back my complaint about Lindelof’s “mystery box” storytelling.  He was only trying to hide the fact that there isn’t really a story to this movie, so let’s give him points for trying to make this an actual film instead of just an extended lecture from a High School principal about how very naughty we’ve all been.

Not to mention the times when its themes and ideas end up becoming contradictory for one reason or another.  Tomorrowland believes that our best and brightest should be given their own perfect utopian space to work unencumbered by politics and the law and such, where they are free to create anything they want.  Frank, however, was kicked out of Tomorrowland for… inventing something he shouldn’t have.  There’s a setpiece set in a geek and sci-fi nostalgia shop that’s run by a pair of robot villains (a wasted Keegan-Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn) that insinuates that relaxing and regressing too much in nostalgia instead of thinking up bold new exciting futures is bad and a waste of potential.  Tomorrowland itself… is designed almost entirely like how people in the 60s thought our future would look like and shares influences with the area at various Disney parks.  The film keeps saying that positive thinking, non-violence, and forward-thinking will create a brighter future… but the finale boils it down to fighting robots and trying to destroy the one machine that is certainly going to kill the future.

What’s most frustrating about such massive systemic flaws is that I can see the film that Tomorrowland could and should have been poking through every now and again.  Specifically, the film looks outstanding.  I mean, of course it does, it’s Brad Bird!  The man has always been gifted visually, and I honestly would have been offended if the film didn’t look fantastic.  Besides, I’m a sucker for the visual designs of how people in the 50s and 60s thought the future would look.  There’s a lightness and optimism to the film’s visual palette, a sincerity and love that communicates the general messages of the film in a way that feels natural instead of via the tin-eared lecturing provided by the plotting and dialogue.

There’s also Britt Robertson’s fantastic performance as Casey.  Bird and Lindelof’s script doesn’t give Casey much of a character besides relentless and boundless optimism – this is a high schooler who sits through multiple lectures about how the world is doomed, is the only character who wants to ask the question of how we fix it, and leaves her lecturers speechless when she does, in case you want another indication of just how non-existent this film’s subtext is – but, dammit all, Robertson is going to try and imbue Casey with one, anyway!  It’s a relentless charm offensive, full of charisma, wonder, and a quiet insecurity and sadness, the kind of performance that normally leads to deserved stardom and a long and healthy career.  There are even points where she’s acting circles around George Clooney – who is often good, but feels more than a little miscast as the grumpy cynical member of the main cast that’s rounded out by Raffey Cassidy, as a pre-teen android called Athena, whose relationship with Frank is something I am not even going to touch with a ten-foot pole.

In all of Tomorrowland’s 130 minutes, there are precisely 5 of those where it works totally.  Casey sneaks off to a large open field in order to discover the world that appears when she touches the pin without any of the distractions and restrictions of reality.  So she touches the pin and is instantly dropped into the centre of Tomorrowland.  It is an utterly magical place, filled with pristine surfaces, bright cheery colours, beaming sunshine, skylines, jetpacks, flying cars, rocket ships with seats just for you.  Brad Bird demonstrates all of this in one shot, taking his time when following Casey through this utopia, letting that optimism sink in, as Michael Giacchino’s score emphasises the wonder that is adamant in Casey at this wondrous place.  For 5 glorious minutes, Bird stops shouting at the audience and just shows.  He visualises what our future could be like instead of lecturing us on it, and the sheer joy and childlike hope it features swelled my heart and almost moved me to tears.  It is magical.

But then it is cruelly cut short, the utopia fades away and Casey is left back in reality, waist deep in a swamp.  The pin was not a gateway to Tomorrowland, it was an advertisement for it, marketing for a utopia that exists but not in the way that it sold as.  Infected by cynicism, hopelessness, and a leader that would rather sermonise the people he was originally trying to save instead of actively going out of his way to save them.

I can’t think of a better metaphor for Tomorrowland, really.

Callum Petch can give you a kiss in the morning and a sweet apology.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch) and listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio every Monday at 9PM BST (site link)!

100 Greatest TV Episodes: Twenty-One Guns (s12 ep 22)

A less than regular series charting the 100 greatest individual television episodes, as chosen by the Failed Critics & other TV obsessives.

ER gurney

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a doctor. Not in any real sense, you understand. But in the same way that The Good Wife made me believe I would legitimately succeed as a lawyer, fifteen years of ER provided me with a pretty comprehensive medical education.

Ask someone to name their favourite episode of the County General drama, and they’ll more than likely mention George Clooney in a storm drain. Stalwarts may also reference helicopter crashes, road trips, or a certain hand written letter. Season 12 doesn’t feature highly (or at all) in many of the great episode lists.

By season 12, many people had given up on ER. If not during the first episode (an hour dedicated to the disappearance of Nurse Sam’s annoying, diabetes-ridden kid) then definitely midway, when some disillusioned writer, still mourning the loss of Carter, would scrape the bottom of his high school creative writing level barrel and come up with The Monkey Episode. Later weeks spent a significant amount of time in Darfur which, while enlightening, were not particularly escapist TV. In short, season 12 was disjointed, and watching it was all a bit of a chore. Until Twenty-One Guns.

Twenty-One Guns takes us back to basics. A typical day for the ER staff: religious groups spouting premonitions, hapless trainees, disgusting irrigations and board level bureaucracy. Alongside this, the funeral of one of their own, unexpectedly killed off in the previous episode. Oh, and the O.K. Corral.

The season finale drama is provided by Nurse Sam’s dysfunctional family members. Again. Only this time it’s her convict ex-husband, come to stage a prison break via the suture room. So that’s actually pretty cool. And, for those of us only just recovered from the security breach which led to the fatal stabbing of a medical student back in season 6, pretty fucking tense. Cue guns, lots of guns. Possibly over twenty.

As ever, the heart of the show lies in a crisis, as the nurses and doctors step up and do their thing. Morris, a slacker from the moment he arrived on the job, finally seems to know what he’s doing and, on his last day in the ER, might actually save a life. Possibly his first! And who knew you cared so much about desk clerk Jerry until he nearly died, huh? When Weaver, the matriarch, finally arrives in the aftermath of the bloodbath, there is a palpable sense of relief. These guys really are a family. And not just because Kovac got Abby knocked up.

Few characters could pull off ‘interesting subplot’ when your main storyline features guns, hostages and vending machines. Neela is the little English doctor that could. Parminder Nagra (from Leicester, don’t you know?!) is brilliant generally, but particularly strong when burying her dead husband. Yet even in the midst of her grief, she and Pratt, her funeral wing man, find themselves inexplicably drawn to the hospital. That Emergency Room has a weird hold over them all. You generally have to die to leave County. Or land a big screen casino heist franchise.

I’m a sucker for dramatic American set pieces soundtracked by British alternative rock bands (which is totally a spoiler for my choice for greatest episode of The Newsroom). Nonetheless, the final minutes, from the opening bars of Open Your Eyes, give me goose bumps every time. This entire sequence is wonderfully done and, after humble (shit) beginnings, closes season 12 with an almighty cliff-hanger.

ER is an ensemble drama which is almost entirely famous for a single character, who left less than a third of the way through. However, as anyone who stuck with the show to the bitter end will tell you, the real star isn’t that Kentucky born, pig-keeping, silver fox at all, but the admit desk, the board, and the gurneys. They set the tone.

“I think there’s something going on at the hospital.”

Failed Critics Podcast: 100 Episodes in and EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!

HerAfter a disastrous attempt at recording our 100th episode last week, we’re back after our brief hiatus with our ‘official’ centenary podcast. And it’s more packed than ever, with no less than six new (or nearly new) release reviews. We argue over whether or not The Lego is awesome or simply just very good; we look at two very different explorations of humans/machine relationships with Her and Robocop, and we still find time to talk about Dallas Buyers Club, The Monuments Men, and Cuban Fury.

We also discuss the Bafta results, make our Oscars predictions, and you finally get the Cutthroat Island review you’ve all been waiting for.

Next week we’ll be ‘live’ from Glasgow Film Festival, with reviews of 20 Feet From Stardom, Mood Indigo, and The Zero Theorem plus loads more.

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Failed Critics Podcast: Gravity, being smug, and Steve’s big mouth

GRAVITYWelcome to another long-awaited Failed Critics Podcast, and hopefully absence has made your hearts grow fonder.

This week sees a number of firsts, including Owen’s first stint as the quiz host, James’ first week without a new film to review for What We’ve Been Watching, and the first time we’ve had to edit the podcast to remove spoilers rather (unlike most weeks where we edit out the standard Owen disconnection).

Oh, and we also review one of the most anticipated movies of the year.

Join us next week (or possibly tomorrow, who knows) for reviews of The Councellor, Don Jon, and The Butler.

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London Film Festival Diary: Gravity and Clint Mansell

We’re very pleased and proud to present our latest contributor, Carole Petts. Unlike the rest of us she lives in London and is able to report back from this year’s London Film Festival.

Gravity Sandra BullockThis is my third year in attendance at the London Film Festival, and every year it feels somehow bigger. Last year the festival literally did grow, taking the events outside of their natural West End/South Bank dwellings and putting on screenings in places such as Hackney and Islington. However it also contracted; shortening from three weeks to under two. This makes it pretty difficult for even the most committed film-goer to cram in all the screenings they would like to take in, and makes the annual post-launch appointment with the planner and highlighter even more fraught.

This year matters were not in any way helped by the total failure of BFI’s payment system on the first morning of the members sale, leading to much anguish and, for myself, a near three-hour queue on the South Bank for tickets. Happily this ended with me getting all the tickets I had planned for, and this has made the experiences so far even sweeter.

My festival started on Thursday night with a late addition to the programme – an entry in BAFTA’s regular Masterclass strand with the composer Clint Mansell. I’m a big fan of Darren Aronofsky, so the chance to see this talk with his musical collaborator was one I couldn’t turn down. Clint was excellent value for money and whoever took it upon themselves to put a bottle of red wine on the table deserves a pat on the back – he was slightly nervous at the start but a couple of glasses seemed to put him much more at ease. Clint spoke frankly about his lack of formal musical training and how the partnership with Aronofsky has blossomed through both of them trying to figure out what they were doing in their respective roles, sometimes by means of trial and error. I did get to ask him a question and he gave a very expansive answer, including the fact that Lux Aeterna (aka the song for the X-Factor, or as Clint put it “the song that bought my house”) was originally written for a project long before Requiem for a Dream.

Friday night was quite literally a big one – the gala screening of Gravity had taken place at Leicester Square the night before, but I decided instead to see it on the biggest screen in Britain – the BFI IMAX. Event organiser Stuart Brown stated in his introduction that this had been the hottest ticket of the festival and that he’d had to turn down many famous names who had called asking for tickets. Director Alfonso Cuarón had been holding a Screen Talk at the NFT just before our showing, so he popped in to personally introduce the film.

I’d like to point out that I am not particularly enthusiastic about 3D films. I think most of the time it is superfluous and a cynical way of charging more for a ticket. The exceptions to the rule, in my opinion, are Avatar (regardless of your view on the film, you cannot argue that it was a huge step forward in the use of 3D) and Life of Pi, which I felt was the best use of the technology to give depth to landscape until now. Gravity joins this shortlist as one of the few films I feel has made use of 3D to deliver a cinematic experience which is breathtaking in both its ambition and achievement.

You probably know the synopsis already – Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are two astronauts on their first and last missions respectively. Disaster strikes when their shuttle is destroyed, and they are tied only to each other in the vast expanses of space. It’s much better if that’s all you know going in – even the destruction of the shuttle is different to the one depicted in the stunning, one-shot trailer, and the film is all the better for it. Bullock gives an excellent performance as the rookie who ends up in the first situation any astronaut is trying to avoid, and Clooney is, well, he’s standard George Clooney – witty and smooth, without some of the irritating smarmy qualities that can come through in his performance sometimes. Gravity is a nerve-shredding film that switches pace with ease, and succeeds in conveying both the sheer vastness and the contradictory, terrifying claustrophobia of space. See it in 3D, on the biggest screen you can find, from November 8th.

Finally in this entry comes my annual viewing of shorts. Due to the dedication of the animated shorts this year to children’s films – because they clearly don’t get enough of them during the year – I’m seeing two strands this year: Love and Laugh, which was the subject of last night’s The Best Medicine. Highlights from the selection included Penny Dreadful, a film about a child kidnapping going horribly wrong which reminded me a lot of Seven Psychopaths (hey, I enjoyed it); Things He Never Said, a hilarious wish-fulfilment fantasy where a man tells his girlfriend what he really thinks; and Talking Dog For Sale 10 Euro, where a man finds the titular advert in a coffee shop and decides to ignore his own misgivings. Some of the shorts didn’t quite work – the audience sat in baffled silence during Drunker Than A Skunk, a strange animated poem – but the beauty of short films is that there’ll be something else along in a moment which will probably be more your cup of tea.

That’s it for this week! Join me next week when my festival (and wardrobe) really gets going with gala screenings of Parkland, 12 Years A Slave, the always hotly-anticipated Surprise Film (last year was Silver Linings Playbook; this year my money is on The Butler or Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) and my own personal highlight, Only Lovers Left Alive, as well as Don Jon, Exhibition and the Love shorts.

See you next week!

Carole will watch most types of film and particularly anything starring Nicolas Cage, leading to her firmly-held belief that The Wicker Man remake is the funniest comedy ever produced.  She hates Grease.

@The_DarkPhoenix

A film couples special

In honour of this commercialised cliché of a Thursday, here are five film couples we’re rooting for. 

brief encounterCouple: Laura Jesson & Alec Harvey
Film: Brief Encounter (1945)
Background: Noel Coward’s poster child for adultery, the stunning Celia Johnson, plays a married with two housewife, whose only real excitement comes from her Thursday afternoon trips to Boots and the pictures. Her kids are bratty and her husband is a dull crossword obsessive, so when she meets a hunky doctor (Trevor Howard) on a train platform, she falls for him understandably hard.
Relationship: The clue’s in the film title. The pair have a handful of meetings, and a couple of furtive kisses. Although they get a room at one point, it doesn’t quite come off. Ultimately, marital commitments, family responsibility, and the lure of earning the big doctor bucks in Johannesburg win out over larking about on the boating lake together. Since Laura does the right thing, despite it condemning her to a life of misery, it’s shame she is denied the dramatic and emotional farewell she deserves. Bloody Brits and their stiff upper lips.
After the film: It being the forties, Laura & Alec aren’t privy to the same levels of constant communication we’re used to today. (One time, he misses their scheduled rendezvous due to a hospital emergency and she has to just wait until the next week to hear from him. Imagine!) This means that, sadly, they probably never spoke to each other again. They’d never pull that off today. He’d be stalking her on Facebook within five minutes of leaving the platform. After the obligatory ‘I’m on a train’ tweet, obviously.

jerry maguireCouple: Dorothy Boyd & Jerry Maguire
Film: Jerry Maguire (1996)
Background: After sports agent Jerry (Tom Cruise) has a crisis of conscience and distributes a mission statement that gets him summarily fired, accountant Dorothy (Renée Zellweger) is inspired enough to become his only employee.  Dorothy is a single mum, and Jerry has recently broken off his engagement with another woman. Their lack of office space, long working hours and general dire financial straits inevitably bring them closer together.
Relationship: ‘I’ve got this great guy. And he loves my kid. And he sure does like me a lot.’ Ok, so he shoplifted the pootie. And their subsequent marriage is more for tax purposes than anything romantic. But Jerry does eventually realise how much Dorothy means to him and, like the true salesman that he is, wins her back with a single word. He always was good in a living room.
After the film: Cynical as I am, I’d like to think these guys were just dysfunctional enough to make it. His share of that $11.2million Cardinals contract would surely reduce some of the stress, and give Dorothy the taste of First Class she deserved. And, with Rod & Marcee Tidwell (frankly the perfect couple) as their BFFs and relationship mentors, just maybe they did. At least long enough to take Ray to the fucking zoo, anyway.

fantastic-mr-foxCouple: Mr ‘Foxy’ Fox & Mrs Felicity Fox
Film: Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)
Background: Young, in love and on a routine squab raid, Fox (George Clooney) & Felicity (Meryl Streep) get caught in a fox trap. Felicity reveals that she’s pregnant and makes him promise that, if they get out alive, he’ll find a safer line of work.
Relationship: 12 fox years later, the husband & wife are living a happy life of domesticity with their son Ash, but Fox still desires more. It isn’t long before his animal instincts drive him to risk everything in the pursuit of apple cider and poultry. It’s only when his nephew Kristofferson is captured that he realises the error of his ways. Though Felicity rolls her eyes and proclaims she never should have married him, it isn’t long before they’re dancing together over the end credits.
After the film: Their eventual underground home is safe enough to satisfy Felicity’s maternal instincts, with night time access to a supermarket to supply Foxy with the finer things in life. Plus, they’re going to have another cub. You’ve got to give them a fighting chance. Until he’s exhausted the supermarket’s extra special range, and gets a taste for foie gras again.

chasing amyCouple: Holden McNeil & Alyssa Jones
Film: Chasing Amy (1997)
Background: ‘Quickstop? My best friend fucked a dead guy in the bathroom!’ Holden (Ben Affleck) & Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) meet while appearing at a comic book convention in New York. Both hail from New Jersey and, as they soon discover, share a number of acquaintances. While Alyssa is gay, the pair soon become close and begin a relationship, which mainly consists of having sex, hanging out, and exchanging the usual Kevin Smith angst-ridden dialogue.
Relationship: The pair engage in lots of frantic sex, deep and challenging discussions about virginity and fisting, and some pretty killer arguments. Alyssa’s friends are distinctly unimpressed by the gender of her new beau, while Holden’s comic partner Banky goes out of his way to highlight her flaws. Holden freaks out when he learns more about Alyssa and her ‘Finger Cuffs’ history, and calls off the whole affair. One person who is rooting for them, however, is Silent Bob, who startlingly breaks his quiet in order to drop a relationship wisdom bomb and almost save the couple. Until Holden starts banging on about threesomes again.
After the film: Though the movie ends with Holden & Alyssa apart, there is definitely a glimmer of hope. Holden has learnt his lesson, lost his best friend, and written an apology comic, for crying out loud! It’d be nice to think that lovelorn Holden didn’t end up like Silent Bob – ‘A tubby bitch crying like a little girl to Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits’. (So says Jay. Personally I think he’s kind of hot.)

slumdog-millionaireCouple: Jamal & Latika
Film: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Background: Jamal (Dev Patel) and Latika (Freida Pinto) meet as children in the aftermath of the Bombay Riots. Taken by a gangster and trained as beggars, the two are separated by his meddling brother when they try to escape. The film tells the tale of Jamal’s life as he never stops looking for her, even while appearing on Indian quiz television.
Relationship: Jamal eventually tracks down and rescues Latika, only to have her stolen away by his older brother once more. Years later he finds her again, but she has to send him away to keep them both alive. It’s admittedly not the smoothest of couplings but, having experienced such a shitty start to life, you can understand his determination to make this work. After risking everything, and taking quite a few beatings, to save Latika, it’s his knowledge of cricket which eventually gets him the girl. And a the big stinking pile of cash.
After the film: D. It is written. Duh, of course they end up together! And I bet they have loads of cute kids. And all dance around to Jai Ho every single day.

Happy Valentine’s Day, love from Failed Critics x

Failed Critics: Episode 14 – The Dark Knight Rises BATMAN SPECIAL

Holy half-baked opinions Batman! This week our very own Rogues Gallery of Villains (Gerry – The Joker, Owen – The Riddler, James – The Penguin, Steve – Catwoman) not only review The Dark Knight Rises, but also tackle all things Batman in a bumper 2 hour Batman Special.

THWACK!

In the opening section we discuss our randomly-allocated Batman films of the past – including Gerry’s near-breakdown over the 1966 movie and Owen looking for the positives in Batman and Robin. Plus Steve puts us all to shame with his tales of heroism. Well, sort of.

BIFF!

This week’s Triple Bill sees the critics giving us their favourite performances from the actors that have played the Caped Crusader in the last 25 years.

CRACK!

Then finally (at 1hour and 19 minutes if you want to skip) we review the most anticipated film of the year. Does it live up to expectations? Was it a worthy conclusion to the Dark Knight Trilogy? Could we understand a word Bane was saying?

We’re away next week, but will return on 7th August with a review of Ted and our favourite sporting movies.

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