Films of the week: A passionate call to revive a spirit of collectivism
Friday 21 June 2013
The Spirit of '45
(Ken Loach, 2013) Using talking heads, fabulous archive footage and the music of the period, Ken Loach's documentary evokes the mood of the immediate post-war years, when a defiant spirit of collectivism led to the birth of the NHS and the modern welfare state. And with endearing optimism, it argues that if we can regain that public mood, the good fight against Thatcherite market forces might still be on. ****
(Cameron Crowe, 1989) Cameron Crowe's debut film is one of the loveliest teen movies of the Eighties, and the motormouth high-school graduate Lloyd Dobler is one of the defining roles of John Cusack's career. The film is best remembered now for the iconic scene in which Lloyd holds aloft a ghettoblaster playing Peter Gabriel, in order to woo back the school brainbox. ****
Brothers of the Head
(Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe, 2005) The director's previous film was the excellent documentary Lost in La Mancha. This one is a convincingly faked documentary, based on a 1977 Brian Aldiss novel, that tells an alternative history of English pop culture in which a pair of conjoined twins (Harry and Luke Treadaway) led a successful and influential punk rock group. Weird, cool and more than a little bit messed up. ****
(Neil Burger, 2011) Putting to good use the fallacy that humans only use a small percentage of their brain power, this flashy techno-thriller gives protagonist Bradley Cooper a designer drug that lets him tap into the rest. Effectively, it's a superhero movie in which the hero's new power is intelligence. Sample dialogue: "Read Brian Greene's Elegant Universe in three days – and I understood it!" ****
(Ken Loach, 1990) Starring Robert Carlyle and Ricky Tomlinson as non- unionised labourers on a London building site, Riff Raff still has a strong social conscience but it is one of Ken Loach's lighter-hearted films: an ensemble comedy full of naturalistic banter and earthy humour. There's a romantic subplot, too, though it isn't as convincing or engaging as the workplace scenes. ****
The Hurt Locker
(Kathryn Bigelow, 2008) Action films have long used the unexploded bomb as a device to generate tension and suspense in a scene. This multi Oscar-winning war movie, which puts you right there, in the dust and in the moment, with the members of a US bomb disposal unit in Iraq, has dozens of such scenes, at regular intervals, and is exceptionally sweaty and intense as a result. Jeremy Renner stars. *****
(Paul Verhoeven, 1997) Unless you consider Showgirls an elaborate joke at Hollywood's expense, then this garish, gory and highly entertaining sci-fi action film ranks alongside RoboCop as Paul Verhoeven's most satirical work. Earth is at war, and various square-jawed, Aryan-looking youngsters are recruited, trained and then sent off to do battle with massive, insectoid aliens. Casper van Dien stars. ****
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 5 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
The Gamechangers trailer: Daniel Radcliffe stars in GTA movie
Star Wars: New action dolls launched on Force Friday ahead of The Force Awakens release
Joan Aiken: Today's Google Doodle celebrates life of British fantasy novelist
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Everything extra JK Rowling has revealed about Harry Potter
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees