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145. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – Summer of ’99 (#137)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Babu Patel and David Singleton, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, continuing our Summer of ’99 season, Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

1999 was a great year for movies, with a host of massively successful (and cult) hits that would define cinema for a next generation: Being John Malkovich, The Blair Witch Project, Go, Cruel Intentions, American Beauty. The Summer of ’99 season offers a trip through the year in film on the IMDb‘s 250.

Four young men in London find themselves in the middle of an elaborate scheme involving half a million bounds, mountains of marijuana, a shady sex shop proprietor, and two antique shotguns. As the situation rapidly escalates outside of their control, can these four young men keep their heads above water?

At time of recording, it was ranked 137th on the Internet Movie Database‘s list of the best movies of all-time.

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Non-Review Review: Welcome to the Punch

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013.

Welcome to the Punch is a weird best, a sort of a hybrid that runs on a engine built of mismatched parts. It’s very clearly a distinctly British film. the presence of Mark Strong and James McAvoy attests to that, let alone the supporting cast composed of people like Daniel Mays, Jason Flemyng, Davide Morrissey, Peter Mullen and Andrea Riseborough. However, it’s constructed in the style of an American action movie, with lots of guns, explosions and chases. It’s a very strange cocktail, and Welcome to the Punch suffers because it doesn’t blend the strength of both schools of thrillers. It feels rather clumsily, and rather hastily, thrown together without any real thought as to what the final composition might turn out like.

Top gun...

Top gun…

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Non-Review Review: Wild Bill

Wild Bill is the charming directorial debut from veteran character actor Dexter Fletcher. The established actor, who has worked on projects as diverse as Band of Brothers, Press Gang and The Three Musketeers, also wrote the screenplay for this slightly quirky British domestic drama, which sees an absentee father fostering an emotional connection with his abandoned kids. It’s a fairly conventional plot, and Fletcher doesn’t cram too many surprises in there, but the movie is wry enough and has a thinly-cynical exterior that makes the pill easy enough to follow. It’s not  quite a masterpiece, but it’s engaging and diverting enough to leave a pleasant impression.

Wild at heart...

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The Quatermass Experiment (2005) (Review)

The wonderful folks at the BBC have given me access to their BBC Global iPlayer for a month to give the service a go and trawl through the archives. I’ll have some thoughts on the service at the end of the month, but I thought I’d also take the opportunity to enjoy some of the fantastic content.

The Quatermass Xperiment was a very important place in the history of genre television. Originally airing as a six-part drama on the BBC, the 1953 adventure serial demonstrated that televised science-fiction could be written for adults. Written by Nigel Kneale, the show had a major influence on the genre not only at home (inspiring Doctor Who), but also internationally (allegedly paving the way for 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien). In 2005, as part of BBC 4’s “TV on Trial” season, a remake of the classic serial was commissioned, with one especially fascinating facet: it would be broadcast live.

Man of science...

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Non-Review Review: Hanna

A special thanks to the guys over at movies.ie for sneaking us into an advanced preview screening.

If ever there was an odd choice for an early summer release, I think Hanna is it. Directed by Joe Wright (the guy who brought you Atonement) and starring an Oscar bait cast including Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett (with solid support from Jason Flemyng and Olivia Williams), Hanna is the story of a teenage assassin set loose upon the world after a life spent in the wilderness. If that cocktail doesn’t sound crazy enough, Wright sets the movie as a fairy tale.

What’s genuinely astounding is how frequently these elements compliment each other, even if there are a few moments where they seem at odds.

Joe Wright takes a shot at directing an action film...

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