Archive for August, 2012

It’s 1931, in deepest, darkest Franklin County and the Bondurant brothers; Howard (Jason Clarke) the goggle-eyed, drunken and rowdy eldest, Forrest (Tom Hardy) the hulking, pouting, indestructible middle brother and Jack (Shia LaBeouf) the clumsy, eager and impulsive runt are comfortably riding out the Depression by brewing, selling and plying the authorities with their own special brand of pungent moonshine.

Operating on the back of their feared reputation, the brothers mercilessly protect their turf until the slippery and supercilious entrance of Special Deputy Charlie Rakes threatens to uproot their pursuit of the American Dream. Thereafter follows a rumpus tale of their fight for survival littered with pretty ladies, malicious villains and ferocious punch-ups.

Based on a true story, our protagonist is not, somewhat surprisingly, Tom Hardy but Shia LaBeouf who, as Jack Bondurant, attempts to bypass his brothers authority and become the gangster he’s always fancied; the type who sits behind the wheel of his flash motorcar clad in a tailored suit, his hat cocked over one eye, a burning cigar hanging permanently from his lips, his fingertips blackened from thumbing countless dollar bills. Forrest (Hardy) lurks moodily in the background, uninterested in the ostentation, ever-ready for an opportunity to bloody his knuckles in the interest of protecting his beloved moonshine.

Despite LaBeouf’s expressive performance as the passionate and ardent youngster, it is Tom Hardy who still manages to steal the show. His southern drawl pours from his pouting lips with the correct stodginess and subtlety providing ones ears with a rather pleasant sensation. There is nothing more exasperating than an Englishman attempting to replicate an American accent, or vice versa. However, Hardy seems to have succeeded; despite replacing the majority of the script with pensive snorts and melodic grunts. Whether he’s hulking in the background, sulkily peering from beneath his hat or punching the life-force from some dastardly enemy prior to removing their testicles and mailing them to the cops, one can not help but be drawn to him at all times.

After truly murdering the Queens English with a horrifyingly exaggerated performance as King Edward VIII in ‘The Kings Speech,’ Guy Pearce has finally returned to superb villainous form. Special Agent Charlie Rakes is a foul, pompous, bow-tie sporting, heinous individual who appears to be suffering from copious psychosexual issues which manifest themselves in moments of sadistic violence. Moreover, his hair-do, a truly magnificent creation, appears to part precisely at the mid-point of his brow and spreads, in a stupendously lubricious manner to his temples akin to the parting of the Red Sea. This greasy artistry only seems to add to the skin-crawling sensation that Mr. Pearce so brilliantly brings to his character.

So, if a good gangster romp, with a boisterous, knuckle-dusting storyline, a dash of eccentric hilarity and an appearance from the ever suave Gary Oldman is right up your dark alley, this is the movie to while away your evening. Those with a delicate disposition may wish to hide in their popcorn at particular moments; you have been warned.

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One afternoon, on a sweaty commuter train hurtling towards Waterloo station, I collapsed into a vacant seat (which itself is a rarity) hauled The Naughty Book Of Tat from my handbag and settled into a momentary world of guilty pleasure. Whilst being thrown from side to side across the carriage my eye was caught by a young woman whose nose was pressed into the identical book. Glancing around at my fellow commuters I counted a total of SIX women, of all ages, their eyes twinkling at the pages of one or other of the ‘Grey’ Trilogy. This, of course, did not account for those techno-savvy girls who were eyeing up the same novel on their kindling-thingummy-bobby-whatsit. Truly, we are a nation obsessed.

Once again, Volume II delivers us inside the idealistic world of our two sordid love-birds. Thumbing past the inevitable swoon-worthy storyline of private jets, skyscrapers, gadgets, gizmo’s and bodyguards we are transported straight back into their filthy shenanigans which take place in a variety of settings and with an assortment of eye-watering implements.

In short, Ana lasted approximately 34 minutes without Christian Grey in her life (after stomping off into the distance in the last chapter) before she returns to his over-protective clutches and is once again lost in his extraordinary world.  In bad news we are still being subjected to panting pirouettes from Ana’s ‘inner goddess’ whilst her subconcious peers haughtily over half-moon specs.  In good news however, this volume delivers psychotic ex-girlfriends, gun wrestling, helicopter crashes, a frighteningly clingy ‘Mrs Robinson’ and a gritty insight into Christians somewhat chilling past.

Realistically of course (and I do so hate to bring us all back down to earth, but stay with me) should Christian Grey exist, we would no doubt be thoroughly appalled and outraged at the prospect of being controlled so intensely; being told what to wear, what to eat, having our calls and emails continually monitored and our every movement noted by a burly security team. That and the fact that our dear protagonist manages to reach an earth-shattering, universe-exploding orgasm at the drop of a whip. (Hmph.) But, of course, what did we expect? These naughty tales have never claimed to be realistic, accessible or even the pinnacle of English Literature. They do, however, seem to unsettle a lot of chaps.

The usual reaction from a gentlemen peer at the sight of the now infamous cover peeking from my handbag is a ‘tut’ followed by a ‘scoff’ and therafter a ‘oh, not you as well, that stuff is utter rubbish.’ Now, correct me if I’m wrong here, I don’t recall the climatic event which follows a gentleman’s perusal of the t’interweb for ‘educational videos’  is a review of the storyline; or is it?! I rest my case, yer Honour. Women often require the setting of a scene, to be lost within a story in order to reach the same, um, conclusion. It appears, however, that the main bone of contention is the fact that here we are sitting on public transport openly skimming this marvellous ‘final taboo’ filth without batting an eyelid. Perhaps, if the metro handed out free copies of ‘Nudey-Boobs Weekly,’ our gentlemen friends wouldn’t feel so left out? 

Regardless, if you wish to disappear into a lip-smacking, skin-tingling sensation without the requirement of any form of brain power, this is the perfect escape. Not only that, its an excellent conversation starter;  catch the eye of a fellow fan, smile knowingly and youre already friends! 

We are fully aware it’s not going to make it into the ‘Classics’ section of Waterstones, nor do we care. In the meantime we shall continue our depraved adventures with Mr Grey, flushing happily behind the pages, our inner minx performing a sexy bellydance with floaty scarves, our subconcious gagged and bound in a cupboard whilst wistfully conjouring an excuse to fall head first into the office of a handsome billionare.