Shiny Shelf

Archive for 2011

By Mags L Halliday on 21 March 2011 Comments Off

‘71 Into the Fire’ takes a little known incident of the Korean War and gives it well-deserved epic treatment.
There’s a broad trajectory war films take, as the war they depict recedes into history. During the war they are obviously propagandist. Immediately afterwards they are patriotic and heroic. Then comes lighter fare, then films that question [...]

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By Mark Clapham on 17 March 2011 Comments Off

To my surprise, ‘Being Human’ creator Toby Whithouse managed to not only provide a satisfying conclusion to a season I’ve had mixed feelings about with this episode, but also retroactively fix a lot of my issues with the season as a whole.
By the end of ‘The Wolf-Shaped Bullet’ I was left feeling optimistic about the [...]

By Jim Smith on 15 March 2011 Comments Off

A curious, amiable but in some ways nihilistic comedy by Carlo Mazzacurati, there’s something of the work of the Boulting Brothers about ‘La Passione’. You can easily imagine Peter Sellers in the lead role (played splendidly here by Silvio Orlando) of hapless, ageing film director Giani Dubois, railroaded into directing a provincial Easter Passion Play because a leak [...]

By Jim Smith on 15 March 2011 2 COMMENTS

Former leftist firebrand Marco Bellocchio writes and directs this episodic family saga, which was put together over a decade by crews of film students under his tutelage and which features members of Bellochio’s family in almost every significant role.
Stay away actress mother Sara (Donatella Finocchiaro) has a life that does not lend itself to child rearing. [...]

By Mags L Halliday on 14 March 2011 Comments Off

‘Vallanzasca, gli angeli del male’ (‘Angel of Evil’) is a slick portrayal of a smooth criminal. It purports to be the true story of a criminal whose gang ran riot in Milan in the 1970s.
‘True crime’ films are, of course, nothing of the sort. The messy reality of events is neatened up and causality is [...]

By Lance Parkin on 11 March 2011 Comments Off

There’s a Darwinian process with art. To generalise wildly, a lot of the more ordinary examples of novels, plays, movies and so on fall away, leaving only the particularly notable. The stuff that isn’t to our taste shuffles aside.

By Eddie Robson on 09 March 2011 Comments Off

Asterisk introduces Obelisk to his girlfriend.

By Alex Fitch on 08 March 2011 Comments Off

Currently showing at one of the most prestigious cinemas in the UK is the slightly unlikely choice of a low budget film about care in the community, made in New Zealand.

By Mark Clapham on 02 March 2011 Comments Off

If I say that ‘True Grit’ is pretty much a perfect movie, it’s not so much that I’m placing it in some imaginary canon of great films, or saying that it’s impossible to improve upon, merely that it has all the elements you might want in a visit to the cinema, and that all those [...]

By Mags L Halliday on 28 February 2011 Comments Off

Starting on 1 March, we’re planning to say ciao to a range of contemporary Italian cinema at London’s Italian Film Festival.
We love a film festival here. There’s something very satisfying about a week immersed in cinema, looking at themes that emerge from a well-curated programme.
The Italian Film Festival’s programme includes ten new Italian films across [...]

By Iain Hepburn on 24 February 2011 1 COMMENT

A triumvirate of Scots comedy shows have broken through to critical acclaim in the last couple of years, gaining support from the likes of Grace Dent despite their availability on the other side of Hadrian’s Wall being limited to iPlayer.

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By Alex Fitch on 23 February 2011 Comments Off

…as dumb, violent, action, drink smuggling films go, it’s the best I’ve seen in a while.

By Eddie Robson on 23 February 2011 3 COMMENTS

A few thoughts on the passing of one of Doctor Who’s major players.

By Lance Parkin on 21 February 2011 Comments Off

Six months ago, I reviewed ‘Superman’ #700, which had the prologue for Grounded, the new story in which Superman decided he needed to connect with ordinary people and so began to walk from the East Coast of America to the West. I quite liked it.

By Eddie Robson on 18 February 2011 4 COMMENTS

He’s cute! He’s controversial! We look at the furore surrounding the lovable reggae rodent.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 17 February 2011 1 COMMENT

‘Dark Metropolis’ is a slickly shot indie sci-fi movie that aims high with its concept. Humanity has lost a 300-year old war to their genetically engineered offshoot called the Ghen.

By Eddie Robson on 16 February 2011 1 COMMENT

Obelisk ponders Asterisk’s inevitable obsoletion.

By Alex Fitch on 16 February 2011 1 COMMENT

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reprise another version of their amiable bromance that’s been featured in all their collaborations and is an entertaining Sci-Fi romp aimed at fans of the genre.

By Lance Parkin on 15 February 2011 1 COMMENT

The most memorable character of Durarara!! is silent and wears a motorbike helmet, and is spoken of in whispers.  ’Some say she doesn’t even have a head under that helmet, just some weird black fog. Some say her motorbike is really a horse in disguise. We only know her as … ‘. To a British [...]

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By Eddie Robson on 08 February 2011 2 COMMENTS

Another instalment in the lives of our dynamic duo.

By Mark Clapham on 07 February 2011 1 COMMENT

There’s no particular mystery about the ancestry of this ‘Family’: it’s the ‘Fantastic Four’, via Disney/Pixar’s ‘FF’-a-like ‘The Incredibles’, filtered through the ‘no capes’ superhero show genre popularised by early ‘Smallville’ and, more recently, ‘Heroes’.
The introduction of superpowers is virtually a find and replace of the Fantastic Four’s origin story: our four characters go on [...]

By Eddie Robson on 01 February 2011 Comments Off

The debut of a thrilling, all-action comic strip.

By Mark Clapham on 20 January 2011 Comments Off

Watching ‘Missing’ I was unsure of whether it was a coldly scathing portrayal of male violence against women or a tasteless, and for the most part extremely slow, horror film.

By Matthew Badham on 18 January 2011 Comments Off

This collection falls into that well ploughed furrow of English language comics on both sides of the pond that can be classified as auto-bio.

By Matthew Badham on 14 January 2011 Comments Off

This collected volume of Eddie Campbell books from Top Shelf features comic strips from the eighties, nineties and the noughties (Is that what that latter decade is called?) And it is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

By Alex Fitch on 12 January 2011 Comments Off

It’s beautifully shot, has a great soundtrack and a gripping performance by the lead. However not a film I feel I’ll ever want to watch again…

By Mags L Halliday on 06 January 2011 4 COMMENTS

The return of 165 Eaton Place is compact and lively, with only the odd wandering accent to let it down.

By Jim Smith on 04 January 2011 1 COMMENT

ITV’s ‘Marple’ is, and always has been, a strange hybrid beast and this is perhaps down to what seem to be a large number of contradictory pressures on it.