News Column

best of the rest [Birmingham Mail (UK)]

August 16, 2013


ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA (15) old DJ from a struggling Norwich radio station - Alan Partridge.

North Norfolk Digital's new owners have renamed the station Shape and are counting beans, not brain cells.

Alan, pictured below, (Steve Coogan) knows the writing is on the wall and if he can't get late-night broadcaster Pat Farrell (Colm Meaney) fired first then he'll get the bullet.

I'm not convinced of the need for the extended siege as a plot device - the film is even better before that kicks in and the hostage situation stalls momentum.

But this is still a tremendously funny movie which not only pays an affectionate homage to the crazy world of local broadcasting but has the most laugh-out loud pre-credits sequence we've seen for a very long time.

Whatever you do, don't miss Alan singing along in his car at the beginning. If you were driving yourself, you'd end up hitting a tree.

THE LONE RANGER (12A) WHATEVER your opinion of this film distilled from reviews in the US, don't take them at face value.

This is one of those big-budget movies some critics were sniping at before they'd seen it.

Johnny Depp plays Tonto, now the main character, with Armie Hammer as a ranger who doesn't want to shoot anybody.

Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski has used his Oscar for directing the animation Rango to take some brave risks with producer Jerry Bruckheimer's money.

Primarily, this is too long and violent for any film with a Disney label.

But its humour runs deep and if another studio had made it, then surely more critics would have seen the film for what it is.

The Lone Ranger is a fun reinterpretation of the old railroad frontier territories peppered with some truly outstanding, old- school stunts and some Lawrence of Arabia-inspired cinematography.

PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS (PG) THIS film tries to fill a huge gap in the market by offering thrills and spills for younger children - those under 10 who are a bit too young to see what passes for the average 12A these days.

It's like a cross between Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Based on another Rick Riordan novel about the 'children of the gods', the security of their Camp Half-Blood woodland haven has been compromised by the poisoning of tree bark.

A spectacular mechanical bull arrives to almost gore demigod Percy (Logan Lerman) to death. The only way to restore defences is to head for the Golden Fleece in the Sea of Monsters (aka the Bermuda Triangle).

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