Bob Hoskins dies


I was saddened today to hear that the great British actor Bob Hoskins had passed away, following a bout of Pneumonia.  He was 71.  He appeared in some of my favourite movies like the ground-breaking Who Framed Roger Rabbit as well as the Winona Ryder / Cher drama Mermaids.  He was best known for some of his tough gangster roles such as Mona Lisa, but could also put his name to comedy effortlessly and was often a very charming and likable presence.

He will be greatly missed, and my thoughts go out to his friends and family.

Bob Hoskins

1942 – 2014

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R.I.P.

Doomsday


Viewed – 30 September 2009  DVD

I was never a fan of the post-apocalytic Aussie action franchise Mad Max.  All that moody desert landscape stuff and screaming mad men in armoured cars – not my bag.  So on first hearing of this British-made Escape From New York meets 28 Days Later, I was less than underwhelmed, even if it was by the director of the mostly excellent The Descent.

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Now fast-forward to present, having just finished watching it, and what can I report?  In 2035, 27 years after the outbreak of the Reaper virus kills millions, a strain of the disease erupts in London, threatening the world, and so a team of specialist soldiers are sent into the abandoned wasteland of Glasgow in a hope to find a cure.  Rhona Mitra, former Tomb Raider model and all round hot stuff plays total bad-ass Major Sinclair, and is this movie’s meal ticket as every time she is on screen she raises the movie out of it’s b-movie routs by being so cool.  Add to this some admirable production values, plenty of gung-ho action and lots of gore, as well as a killer soundtrack  – and it’s obvious this was done with one word in mid:  fun! 

Director Neil Marshal follows up The Descent with this boys-own fantasy of a movie that has all the ingredients any testosterone fueled guy craves – guns, car-chases, explosions and tits!  Hell yeah!  Saying that we also get a cast of Brit heavy weights in the form of Bob Hoskins and Malcolm McDowell to lend the pop-corn proceedings some class.

Definitely one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen in a long time.

Verdict:  5 /5

Beyond The Sea


Viewed – 23 August 2008  DVD

For some reason it has taken me a long time to get around to watching this.  I was first attracted to the idea of a Bobby Darin biopic when I saw Kevin Spacey perform Mac The Knife on a chat show -and was stunned.  If any actor was born to play this role, it’s Spacey – and here, in the movie of the actor / crooner’s life directed by Spacey himself – the results are quite remarkable.

Bobby Darin was basically a low-rent Frank Sinatra who eventually found fame in both singing and acting, mostly down to his boundless enthusiasm and magnetic charisma.  He married actress Sandra Dee and was a hit at various big name venues such as the Copacobana and the glitzy clubs of Las Vegas.  Yet he was also plagued with illness; as a boy he was said to not be expected to live beyond 16 years of age.  Although such claims were to eventually catch up with him in his late thirties, what he achieved in between is stuff of Hollywood and music legend.

What I was most impressed by with this film, was the way it avoids a warts and all biopic for more of a swansong to the man, his music and the effect he had on those around him.  Kevin Spacey is simply astonishing, proving himself a magnificent showman – and delivers brilliant song & dance numbers in both realistic and fantasy sequences giving the whole film a magical, surreal look & feel that makes me think of musicals like Singing In The Rain.  I was almost expecting Fred Astair to make a cameo.

Add to this a quality cast (including Bob Hoskins, John Goodman, Brenda Blethyn and Kate Bosworth as Sandra Dee), fantastic visuals and dance choreography – and this is probably one of the most purely entertaining films you’re likely to see.

Verdict:  5 /5