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Grassroots and No are both political films based on real events that concentrate on the competition: to win a local election in the former film, and to win a regime-changing plebiscite in the latter. The fact that No succeeds as an engaging film to such a greater extent than Grassroots shows that political races on film need to be contested by sharply-o...

Films based on a comic book will always attract two forms of criticism. Firstly there’ll be those who judge the inherent quality of the film. Then there’ll be those who’ll judge the film and its fidelity to the original source material. For a perfect of example of this then you need look no further than V For Vendetta. Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s original graphic novel...

You remember where you were when you saw it happen. It was a normal Tuesday lunchtime in the UK, just after Neighbours in fact. Flicking through the channels, every one of them seemed to be showing a disaster movie, involving cinema’s most recognisable skyline. Like most of the western world, you watched, incredulously, as fiction and reality merged. No one knew then what was going ...

Cocaine Cowboys is a documentary looking at the rise of drug gangs in 1980s Florida. It was released in UK cinemas on 23rd November, so should be on near you. For those unfamilar with the events of the period, the documentary tracks the transformation of Miami from sleepy retirement village to a place made rich through drugs and violent killings. Read on for the trailer, which is ...

The London Film Festival opens tonight with a screening of Never Let Me Go, an adaptation of the 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro novel, starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland, and the movie directed by Mark (One Hour Photo) Romanek. The story takes place in an alternate England, where medical research has solved most illnesses, and the aver...

Given that the UK Film Council have announced that the next few months will be the 'Summer Of British Film' (appropriate given the bloody awful weather at the moment) it's good to see that Special Edition # 20 (yes, break out the champagne as we've made it to 20) has plenty of great British films for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own homes. Alongside the homegrown product,...

Films, films and more films. And some TV shows. Yes, Special Edition# 34 has plenty of fun things for you this time around. It’s a good job the clocks went back or Laurence Boyce wouldn't know where to find the time…. It seems that all our directors have decided to have a laugh: after Mike Leigh decided to head down the comedy route in Happy-Go-Lucky and some would say that Guy Ritchie has be...

In this fine appraisal of his oeuvre, Heylin looks at the director's failure to capitalise on the promise of Citizen Kane. In this fine appraisal of his oeuvre, Heylin looks at the director's failure to capitalise on the promise of Citizen Kane. Welles' own uncompromising attitude didn't help his later projects, such as The Magnificent Ambersons and A Touch of Evil, but nei...

  Final Cut's latest offering on DVD is another fine garnering of some of the best shorts going, filmed, animated or even snapped with a stills camera and given a frantic screen life, as with Jo Barnes' Midst of Paradise. Don't be put off by the grotesque image from Cleanse that adorns the front cover. Just wait until you see the full story! Ouch! A deep facial will ne...

Those who know the work of illustrator Dave Shrigley will understand how easy it is to fall into cliché when describing his work. Words such as ‘twisted’, ‘dark’ and ‘disturbing’ seem inadequate to express his truly warped view of the world and the people who inhabit it. Now, with the aid of Chris Shepherd who directed the wonderful short film Dad&rsqu...

Subtitled "The Oil Crash," this is, as co-director/producer Basil Gelpke puts it, "A film that promises to be a bit of a downer." He isn't  really joking: the documentary looks at the amount of oil likely to be left in the ground (not much) and what preparations have been made for a post-plentiful-oil society (not many). It's a wake-up call that comes without...

Do you want some DVDs? Then you've come to the right place squire as I have Special Edition # 46 all ready and waiting with some tremendously fun new films to see you through the days. This time around we've got violence, corruption and a half shark and half octopus. As you do.  Danny Trejo plays a man whose family have killed and whose beloved town has been corrupted out of all recognition. K...

  Britain's latest and remotest filmfest in the Shetland Islands got off to a great start with a screening of BBC 4's drama Reichenbach Falls, a fast-moving drama made by a BBC Scotland team. The TV programme clearly proved that low budget does not exclude high production values - something known to indie filmmakers for a long time - but clearly the message is now getting through to TV...

Even though Laurence Boyce is getting ready to visit a mass of summer music festivals, he’s still ploughing through all the latest DVDs as Special Edition # 30 amply illustrates. This time around: Clint Eastwood impresses, someone actually makes a sequel to Donnie Darko and – as always – there’s a little bit of old school Doctor Who. Even though he’s heading towards his 80s, Clint Eastwood ...

The LFF has chosen well for its opening night. Ahead of the final presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain in New York tonight, Frost/Nixon, the tale of a president undone in a television interview, has its world premiere in London tonight. Surely you know the story? The 37th president of the United States was involved in some bad stuff called Watergate (let's ignore...

Paul Taylor takes a tragic story and makes an up-lifting, life-affirming, non-preachy film. We Are Together (Thina Simunye) has as its backdrop one of the most urgent (and shameful) issues of our time: the spread of HIV, Africa's 1.2 million AIDS orphans and the lack of access to life-saving anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs. That less than 17% of HIV sufferers have access to the drugs in ...

Laurence Boyce has a lot to catch up on as he’s been under water for the last couple of weeks. Nope, he’s not been on a fun diving holiday. He’s been in the city of Hull, which – for those of you who haven’t been following the news – has the kind of weather that would make Noah very happy. He wrings himself out and removes the damp from his DVD player to find...

Come on the long days! Laurence Boyce has been stuck in front of a computer for the past few weeks, watching many, many films and currently needs a tanning machine to ensure his skin resembles the colour of porridge. Thankfully, the stuff that he’s been watching for Special Edition # 38 means that Laurence Boyce has at least got to enjoy some really good films and TV shows. But, for the love of...

From the striking opening credits, with a boy throwing eggs at the screen, you know that Mischief Night is going to live up to its name. It is both an irreverent look at life in a Leeds suburb, as well as an exploration of the effects of increased ethnic segregation. The setting of Beeston, Leeds – home of three of the July 7th bombers – also provided the backdrop to Pen...

Special Edition # 45 marks my return after a hiatus due to things that I can’t tell you about. Well, I could tell but then I’d have to kill you.Which would be a bit unfair given that there are lots of lovely DVDs due out very soon. So, rather than dwell on an emotional reunion, let’s just get straight on with it shall we? A Facebook movie? Whatever next? A musical about My Space? An opera ab...

Sicko was shown at the London Film Festival last week. It is Michael Moore's latest effort, looking at the mess that is America's privatised healthcare system, relying as it does upon insurance claims to pay medical bills.  As Moore's average, middle-class, insured subjects show us, though, having the insurance may still not be enough. The industry does all it can to avoid payouts,...

There's a rather funny viral doing the rounds by UK blog the Shiznit about what if the 2015 Oscar nominations told the truth, following similar posts they've done in previous years. I didn't feel like sharing it however because their poster for Selma ('Challenging Race Biopic: if you don't like it then you basially hate black people') troubled me somewhat. I had to see it to be sure - and no lo...

Ken Loach finally gets a DVD collection worthy to his name, the horror continues seven months after everyone thought it has ended and Shane Meadows proves that he's still one of the best UK directors today. Add in more classic and contemporary films and - of course - some of the best comedy and TV shows available then you've really got no excuse: read Special Editon # 22 before you go shopping ...

Back in March during the battle between The Hurt Locker and Avatar at the Oscars, much-loved political theorist Zizek waded in with a comparative review of the politics of the two films. His conclusion was that James Cameron's film had been the best attack on the military-industrial complex and US corporate hegemony. Kathryn Bigelow, on the other hand, he argued, legitimised the Iraqi invasio...

Wow. When Mike Leigh goes comic, he really goes for it. Happy-Go-Lucky , the tale of Poppy, a North London primary school teacher with a very un-London persistently sunny nature and a whole host of whacky quips, gets driving lessons and talks too much. That's the film. The latest Mike Leigh film. No, really.             Here's ...