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Month: April 2013

Trance Review

Often, Hollywood seems to release films in pairs: two volcano movies (1997’s Dante’s Peak and Inferno), two doomsday asteroid movies (1998’s Armageddon and Deep Impact), two romantic comedies about the President’s daughter dating what turns out to be a (spoiler alert!) secret service agent (2004’s Chasing Liberty and First Daughter), and so on (The Truman Show/EdTV, The Illusionist/The Prestige, Leviathan/The Abyss). Well, following in this fine (?) tradition, this summer we’ll be seeing two “White House overrun by terrorists” movies – the operatic sounding “Olympus Has Fallen” and, an early contender for film title of the year, “White House Down”. It seems the British film industry is finally catching up with this habit, as just a few weeks after Welcome to the Punch comes another London-based crime thriller starring James McAvoy. However, despite some surface comparisons, veteran director and official hero of the realm Danny Boyle’s latest release, Trance, is very different from the all-style-no-substance of Eran Creevy’s film. Trance opens in classic heist movie style; an art auctioneer called Simon explains directly to camera the ‘rules’ of stealing a piece of valuable art. Part Ocean’s 11, part The Prestige, this sequence gives you an immediate way in as well as a clear indication about the type of film you’re about to see. Simon is telling you both the rules of the game and how the players are going...

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Welcome to the Punch Review

Despite what can only be described as the worst film title so far this year, Welcome to the Punch opens strongly with an exciting robbery sequence executed in the heart of London City. Four villains, looking incredibly sharp in matching suits and gas masks, march out of their target building carrying large holdalls presumably fully of cash, and climb aboard four motorbikes, ready to burn off into the distance. Just as they depart however, maverick cop Max Lewinsky screeches onto the scene to give chase. A break neck pursuit ensues through deserted streets, dockland locations and finally into a set of tunnels. Lewinsky, despite now being on foot, manages to catch up to and ambush the bikers, succeeding in dismounting one. A scuffle ensues, but Lewinsky loses out – getting shot in the leg which leaves him at the mercy of the robber. Rather than kill him, however the criminal spares Max and escapes with his ill-gotten gains. Flash forward 8 years, and Max is still in the Metropolitan Police force. Suffering from the physical and mental scars of the encounter we learn that the man who shot Max was Jacob Sternwood – a career criminal and one of the most wanted men in Britain. Sternwood vanished after the heist and Lewinsky has never really recovered from both the incident and his failure to apprehend the criminal. Passed over...

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