Wednesday, 27 January 2010

2012; Death Race; Creep; Ladyhawke


The latest instalment in disaster porn seems to paint itself into a corner by shafting the entire planet. Where next for Roland Emmerich?
As an effects movie, it’s sensible to start talking about the cast. Chiwetel Ejiofor delivers a nice line in earnest speeches as one of the government scientists who figures out what’s going on, although it’s really all down to Jimi Mistry. I’ve not seen Chiwetel deliver a poor performance yet, so it’s simultaneously a shame that he’s stuck there but also a joy that there’s some quality to cling to.
John Cusack doesn’t muster up half the magic as he has from favourite past performances, but he still has charm and enough skill to convince as a terrified parent, at least more so than the CGI collapsing around him.
Oliver Platt often plays a kooky guy, which can work to an extent (see Lake Placid) but just as often falls flat. Here he is given a straight role as a government bigwig who has to tell it like it is, even with a hint of a mean streak as he voices the choices of who should be saved and why.
Danny Glover plays the noble POTUS who goes down with the ship in a fairly predictable role, and Woody Harrelson enjoys being a bit PG nutty as the loony conspiracy theorist who has hit upon the truth – the world is ending and the government are hiding it.


Some of the sequences are undeniably impressive even if they never convince – the limo escape scene for example – though others don’t impress after scale eventually becomes meaningless; an ark in danger of colliding with Everest doesn’t benefit from the contextual size of the set piece, by that point it’s just yet another thing what does crash.
As an example of the futility of this genre, the urge for one-upmanship in ‘event’ cinema seems to ignore the success of the old 70s disaster movie – it wasn’t the effects that made them memorable, rather the tight cast who have to endure the trials that befall them. The urge here is to cram in too much to give you a neat focus, so many characters can only end up more flimsy through lack of exposure what with it being hard enough to go up against the effects as it is. For example, much is made of the plastic surgeon Gordon being an important stepfather to Cusack’s kids, but then he dies and it’s all okay. Too much time is spent building up characters that go nowhere, almost as if they realised halfway through that shots of buildings crumbling and big waves get boring after a while, and they needed something else to justify the running time (and expense).

Cultural stereotypes aren’t as bad as in some previous blockbusters (hello Independence Day) but you still have some choice morsels such as the Russian billionaire and his spoiled, fat children.
Outside the spectacle 2012 is obviously mawkish with the nuclear family prized above all, despite its bleatings about all of us being humans together. At least it decides Africa is saved whilst everywhere else on Earth gets fucked.

Is there anything to it other than entire cities sliding into the sea as John Cusack makes numerous improbable escapes? No.

2012 : not as exciting as zombies.

Death Race

Paul W.S. Anderson’s remake of Roger Corman has the dubious honour of worrying Event Horizon as his best film.
Even with all the violence and lechery, it still manages to neuter the original by only putting hardened crims in danger, therefore scumbags who obviously deserve to die get blowed up or mushed rather than innocent pedestrians. Except the Stat who is obviously innocent, and also ripped with a fondness for figure-hugging tops and the target of a conspiracy where he is framed for his wife’s murder, so he aims to get them what done this. Cue frowning!
Lovejoy’s in it as the wise old prison guy, and a wincing geeky type of whom it’s not quite clear what he’s done to end up on Terminal Island. How did he get there? Why has he been welcomed into the bosom of Lovejoy’s engineering set-up? Not important, and in a film with characters named Travis Colt and Hector Grimm you’re not meant to be thinking too hard about back story.

The palette is muddy, the race sequences are little different to what you’ve seen before if you’ve happened on Mad Max 2, Fast & Furious and the like, the characters are your basic ethnic US prison stereotypes – the Hispanic guy, Aryan Brotherhood guy and African American guy getting the most exposure, with the added twist being that Tyrese Gibson’s black driver is also gay, but a nasty macho one rather than a mincing queen for a change. Because Death Race is so cutting edge.
Shooting blah, shunting blah, explosions blah, it is mildly entertaining but you will have seen better before umpteen times over, with other films managing more invention in most aspects you could care to think of, be it fighty bits, drivey bits or shooty bits.
Quite why they decided that Joan Allen couldn’t just act evil as the villainous prison warden rather than resorting to applying too much eye make up on her I may never know.
Still, it’s always nice to have the Stat frown and growl his cockney growl at everyone before hitting them.

Second best Paul W.S. Anderson film? Yes, but still turgidly average and not deserving of more than a straight-to-rental release. 


Two things occur to you on watching Creep – what was Franka Potente doing, and why is Vas Blackwood not on our screens more?
Death Line and American Werewolf in London have already ‘done’ terror on the tube, but it’s still nowhere near as overused a venue as the old dark house, cabin in the woods or spaceship. Franka being locked in at Charing Cross with no one noticing is a little hard to swallow, as is the scumbag Guy somehow finding her, but let’s not try to make sense of low budget horror now, eh? Thankfully the plot behind the strange disfigured murderer and the glimpses of a bricked up hospital ward are never explained, leaving the viewer to pick up the pieces from what is briefly shown.
The madman himself is played by Sean Harris who recently appeared as Bob Craven in the Red Riding Trilogy, and as a ridiculously OTT junky in Harry Brown. His performance shines through despite the heavy prosthetics and pig squealing, and shows what a difference can be made to a creature feature when you dress up an actor rather than just going for a guy with the most bulk and telling him where to stand. Although only appearing in the last scenes of the film, he lifts Creep from being yet another low budget shocker without it having to resort to laughs. 


I almost instantly gave up on Ladyhawke as the titles began, with the repeated shots of a hawk fluffing its wings a bit over an alternate sunny/moonlit background, with the most hellishly cheesy 80s synth-fest raping my ears. There’s a special flavour of 80s synth wank that infested a great number of films in that decade, almost as many as films with scenes unnecessarily shot in strip clubs. This awful tangent of music is the perfect accompaniment to the garish and vapid attitude that clouded a lot of 80s culture, and those hideous notes seem to be optimistically overlooked by the great many artists who seek to mine the pit of 80s electronica recently. Very few synthy scores work, with John Carpenter’s pieces usually avoiding the worst excesses and of the few, along with the famous Vangelis Bladerunner score, that aren’t godawful.

Aside from this misfortune, Ladyhawke is a better than average entry in to that decade’s fling with fantasy and fairytale. Fittingly released in a set alongside Willow and Legend, Ladyhawke chooses only the faux medieval setting and a little bit of magic which is usually just spoken of, rather than brought to the foreground. Essentially a love story, or of how Matthew Broderick’s pickpocket Phillipe Gaston comes to be mixed up in it, we find Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfieffer as the lovers who are separated by a curse – he is a wolf by night, she a hawk by day, neither able to see each other as humans thanks to a jealous evil bishop who Hauer’s Navarre now sets out to slay.

Broderick is the right kind of cheeky and at this point had grown a lot since War Games. His charm and ability to carry a movie were evident here, a year before Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in ’86. Hauer is convincing as the noble and feared captain of the guard in exile, that face giving just enough of an air of mystery to make him threatening, but easily dampened by his smile. Pfieffer’s Isabeau is literally luminous and believable as the impulse behind the bishop’s fall to the dark arts, though she rarely gets to do a lot besides sit around looking lovely.
The chemistry between Pfieffer and Hauer isn’t really in evidence, though that may be unfair to call as they spend the majority of the movie apart.
Able support from Leo Mckern, John Wood and Alfred Molina, called upon here to look bearded and dirty as a wolf hunter, and some gorgeous Italian locations with castles, sewers and slapdash forest dwellings really help to set the scene of post-Crusades France.

It’s all very Sunday afternoon well-isn’t-this-nice, but still makes for an enjoyable movie that thankfully loses the synths towards the end and settles for the standard orchestral delivery when our lovers are finally reunited.

Friday, 15 January 2010



Slotting into the end-of-the-world zeitgeist that has built up with the renewed interest in the latest installments of two popular 70s genres, the disaster movie and zombie movie, Daybreakers performs the coup of covering both the tail end of the human race and the collapse of those responsible - in 2019 a vampire infection has spread so rapidly that they now comprise 95% of the population of Earth, with the last few humans hunted down in order to be farmed for blood.
Opening with a suicide scene where a young girl leaves a note and waits in the garden for sunrise, only to burst into flame, we than have sections of the note highlighted - frustrations at never growing up - then into the titles. This involves snippets of headlines and news broadcasts that fill in the back story. It seems a bat is responsible for kick-starting the infection in humans, and now vampires have become so numerous that blood supplies are running dangerously low and they are desperately trying to create a synthetic substitute.

The effort to create a new world adapted for vampires is admirable - subwalks, underground tunnels that connect buildings in cities, have been constructed so that vampires can move about during the day, and cars have modifications which block out the light and instead use cameras to feed video of the outside world in order to drive in sunlight. Smoking has enjoyed a rise in popularity, understandably as there is no health threat to the immortal undead and it provides a distraction from blood hunger as stocks dwindle, but well observed details like these also raise questions: in one scene the camera pans across a group of young vamps hanging out in what appears to be some sort of school uniform, and smoking with the studied insolence of the adolescent. But now that smoking is no longer taboo, why is the act an opportunity to display teen rebellion? And more importantly the majority of the teen vamps would be in their twenties by now seeing as the infection began a decade before - why carry on the teen act? Of course there is the possibility that vestigial social conventions still cling on, but it doesn't explain where the tobacco comes from - who grows it and how? If it's produced in indoor greenhouses how is photosynthesis achieved without killing the vampires?
Happily the film isn't chock full of such inconsistencies and within the horror genre Daybreakers does a pretty thorough job at creating a believable world, to the extent that you would pick up on niggles such as the cigarettes rather than just dismiss the whole thing as rubbish.

The themes underlying the film aren't exactly subtle; the baddies aren't just vampires, but represented by the corporation that farms blood and researches a substitute, and its CEO played by Sam Neill, whose fake fangs seem a little ill-fitting compared to the rest of the cast. Then you have the military industrial complex  in the form of the vampire army which hunts humans in daylight with tricked out humvees, full body anti-sunlight armour and automatic tranquiliser rifles. Further social commentary comes from the juxtaposition of the slick, suited vamps, living in fancy minimalist boxes in the city, whilst the human survivors clad in check shirts and blue jeans hole up in the countryside, setting out to rescue other survivors around the country in convoys of pickups and mobile homes.
Within vampire society itself the danger of blood famine isn't just starvation - it seems that if vampires go without human blood for too long they start to devolve into mindless, bestial creatures, taking on an appearance more bat than human and quite willing to attack other vampires in a lust for blood.

Amidst all of this is Ethan Hawke, head haematologist at Neill's company and in charge of blood substitute research, motivated not only to save vampirekind but out of regret that humans have become an endangered species. His chance encounter with a small band of survivors leads to him gaining their trust and being invited to their sanctuary in order to work on a cure that may have been discovered.
There's clearly a lot going on, but Daybreakers also manages to be particularly bloodthirsty, even for a vampire movie, with scenes of feeding, dismemberment and decapitation that wouldn't look out of place in a typical zombie flick, and even full-on gory bodily explosions. The cast do well, with Ethan Hawke in drippy mode as the vampire with a conscious, Sam Neill as the oily, reptilian arch capitalist who constantly pushes the bottom line (it seems that a decade of vampirism hasn't led to bloodlust overtaking consumer greed as the primary driving force) and Willem Dafoe, whose striking, sunken face perfectly fits someone supposed to be an ex-vampire, as well as the character who provides the main source of comic relief "Are we safe?" "As humans in a world of vampires we're about as safe as a five dollar whore".

After a resurgence in the vampire flick in 2009, thanks to the success of the Twilight films, it seems odd that Daybreakers has been released so far adrift, especially as at this time of year it is up against all of the last minute Oscar hopefuls. However, this distance surely works in its favour and helps it stand out, kick-starting 2010 and giving hope that this may be another good year for mainstream horror with the remakes of Romero's The Crazies and the Wolf Man both due shortly.

Not perfect, no, after all there must be a new slant to vampires in order to differentiate from the usual default of paler skin and shit contacts (look at Blade 2 for instance) that doesn't involve them having glittery fucking skin, but there are interesting ideas that are executed well enough that raise this above the average.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Kung Fu Panda; Vantage Point

Kung Fu Panda

Often celebrity voices in big-budget animated features are used as a selling point and don't necessarily work for the benefit of the film or the characters.
Thankfully, Kung Fu Panda does not have this problem at all. Very few people could say "awesomeness" with such conviction or enthusiasm as the inimitable Jack Black as panda Po, and Dustin Hoffman brings the right level of stern gravitas to his role as Shifu. Angelina Jolie submerges herself in her character of Tigress, avoiding any grandstanding for what is a supporting role, whereas Michael Clarke Duncan's gravelly bass is recognisable but also a perfect fit for the part of the head of security Commander Vachir, in charge of keeping the deadly Tai Lung inarcerated. Tai Lung himself, in the grand tradition of plummy English-voiced baddies, is here played by the post-Deadwood Ian McShane, making the voice subservient to the character as with Jolie.

Beyond the voice talent I'm happy to say that Kung Fu Panda is a delight. What could have easily been a throwaway cash cow of fighting funny animals not only delivers some choice dialogue thanks to Black, but great slapstick and genuinely thrilling action scenes in what is a loving homage to Kung Fu flick tradition. The martial arts scenes themselves surpass most action to have have come out of the West in 2008, and a good deal of what made it over from the East, thanks to the possibilities opened up by CGI in impossible camera angles and rubber-limbed actors. Whilst action flicks from Hong Kong, Korea, Japan et. al are embracing the use of CGI more and more, the juxtaposition of live action and clearly CGI shots still have yet to cross the uncanny valley.
In Kung Fu Panda nothing is real, so everything is real.
Speaking of animation, the art style is wonderful, giving the right mix of anthropomorphism that retains each species' integral features whilst opening them up for a bit of rubber-faced emoting - the rigid bulk of rhinoceroses, the spindly limbs and necks of the storks, the wrinkled skin and lethargy of the tortoise. By 2008 the CGI technicians had developed just enough to bring textures to life, and the film is full of hair, crumbling masonry, exploding fireworks and millions of other incidental details that keep you firmly rooted in the world so that you can pay attention to the story of Po and his trials as the supposed Dragon Warrior, said to protect Peace Valley in its time of need.

I was luckily enough to catch this at the cinema and enjoyed it very much indeed, but it's after repeat viewing that I realise the care that the production of the film has been lavished with. If you have any affection for either old school kung fu (Jackie Chan cameos as Monkey) or decent CGI animation, you owe it to yourself to seek out the Kung Fu Panda.
In 2011 the release of the sequel, Kung Fu Panda: Kaboom of Doom, is expected. Whilst the writers and the main voice cast are due to return, the directors are not, so it remains to be seen how much of an influence they had on the look of the film.

Vantage Point

Not far into this I was thinking "Rashomon lite directed by Tony Scott", and by the end of the film I didn't have any reason to alter that summary much.
During a summit in Santander, the President of the USA is shot and then some bombs go off. Lots of people are involved in the events that unfold, and we are treated/condemned to following the story from a number of their perspectives, including a network TV crew, secret service agent, Spanish policeman, tourist with a digicam and those responsible for the violence that occurs.
Things start off well with Sigourney Weaver in charge of editing and selecting live footage on the fly in a mobile news centre - the ideas of perspective are laid down, showing the importance that can be played in your particular 'vantage point', if you will. After the climax of an explosion in the square where the summit was being held, we rewind back to the start, at 12 noon, and then follow things through the eyes of secret service agent Dennis Quaid (in squinting constipation mode), who we learn has only recently returned to active duty after foiling a previous assassination attempt by taking the bullet himself. Next comes a local Spanish cop played by Eduardo Noriega, and the first hints that some characters may be closely linked to the shooting and bombings, and then the always reliable Forest Whitaker as the tourist Howard Lewis, followed by William Hurt as the President himself.
Speaking of which, it felt a little bit much at the end, when Quaid had finally saved the president and it was a happy ending, ignoring the dozens of innocent bystanders mashed up by the bombings, shootings and Quaid's crazy driving through the course of the movie. It's hardly unique among Hollywood blockbusters in its importance pecking order of President>Americans>everyone else, but somehow feels cheaper in what is trying to sell itself as a bit more intelligent what with the "Look! I'm playing with time!".

As each segment unfolds we are dropped more and more hints about who is behind the conspiracy and how, but curiously not why. After Hurt's section the film loses its way a little and rather than give the time to another character, it splits between a half dozen or so, turning it into yet another post-2001 thriller and losing the main differential it had in order to stand out from a fairly crowded bunch.
Admittedly the action/chase sequences are relatively well executed, making for a tense experience and excitement, but ultimately once the pieces fall together and the 'vantage point' conceit is abandoned, it ends up failing in comparison with more temporally traditional thrillers.
It's fine, really, not something you'd feel wasteful for having watched, and as cinematic excursions for actors in hit TV shows go it's not a bad little movie for Lost's Matthew Fox, especially as the success or failure doesn't fall on his shoulders, it being an ensemble piece.
"Tony Scott's Rashomon lite" may be a little generous, in retrospect.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Nowhere Boy; Uncle Buck; Is Anybody There?; Mary and Max

Nowhere Boy

This story of John Lennon's youth is initially jarring - the images of Liverpool as a prosperous, thriving city seem rose tinted until you realise that it's position from the 70s onwards (until its relatively recent prosperity) doesn't reflect the situation in the post-war years, as the city became an important area of industry in the 50s.

Whilst music is a main focus, particularly the pre-Beatles skiffle band The Quarrymen, the story hinges on the familial tensions with John raised by his aunt Mimi and only reintroduced to his mother (who is portrayed as mentally ill; though any diagnosis goes unnamed she seems to be suffering from manic depression) in his late teens. His uncle and father-figure dies early on in the film, and whilst the family drama undeniably has a large impact on the young Lennon, a lot of it does seem to manifest as so much teen disaffection, with lots of swearing, swaggering and slamming of doors. The young Beatle comes across as a bit of a dick, fairly selfish and egotistical.

Kirstin Scott-Thomas is great as the tightly wound Mimi, and Anne Marie Duff plays his mother mostly bursting with joy at having her son back in her life. David Morrisey also plays well as her long-suffering partner Bobby, concerned at the disruption of having John back in her life. Sam Taylor-Wood paints the scene of the era of rock n roll seeping into the culture of the late 50s convincingly, all Elvis quiffs and natty overcoats. Aaron Johnson is deceptively good; much has been made of his relationship with director Taylor-Wood and their age gap, and you would therefore expect the petulant teen act to come more naturally, but he manages to hold the attention and gel the whole film together, exuding the charm that Lennon had which mitigated his less palatable traits. By the time the film is over you feel that you want to see the Beatles start as a band proper, but then this is a Lennon biopic, not a Beatles history piece. You don't need to be a big Beatles, nor indeed Lennon fan, to get something out of Nowhere Boy, and one scene in particular is a genuine tear jerker by virtue of succesful character build up and emotional investment into the the film so that you do care for them. However, maybe as I'm not a big Beatles or Lennon fan I'm more inclined to forgive it any failings? At times it does feel like the focus may be a little tight, and for what is essentially a family drama in the same vein as a thousand decent UK TV productions or the Leigh/Loach features, it manages to engage though with perhaps a few too many soft edges.

While similarities aren't what biopics are all about, the lead does have a vague resemblance to Lennon so it's a bit shocking when the UK's own possible geek shorthand and Michael Cera equivalent, Thomas Sangster turns up as the mini-Mcartney. Really?
He does then go on to deliver a well balanced performance and shows Macca as a match for Lennon's ambition in his quiet confidence.

Nowhere Boy is not especially exciting but solid, something you would likely enjoy at the time but without the aforementioned Taylor-Wood/Johnson media spotlight, it's unlikely that you'd remember this by the end of the year.

Uncle Buck

A John Hughes film more child-focused than the teen pictures he was more famous for, there is still a discernible undercurrent of adolescence, both through Tia as the moody eldest daughter of the Russell family and Buck's niece, and then also with John Candy's Uncle Buck himself, the fully grown commitment-phobe manchild.

For all of the build up of Buck as a responsibility free zone, barring a couple of specific incidents (although his troubles with the washing machine are more of a smutty gag device than a flaw in domestic skills) he seems surprisingly adept at looking after a typical 80s WASP household. Having two well behaved and intelligent young kids surely helps, in Maizy and Miles, Miles being one of Macauley Culkin's first roles and showcasing his pint-sized wisecracking charms in a scene of verbal sparring with Candy. The discovery of Culkin no doubt prompted Hughes to write and produce the amazingly successful Home Alone a year later, which featured Candy in a cameo that had echoes of his role in Hughes' earlier Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Besides Candy and Culkin, it's always good to see Laurie Metcalf appear in a film. Despite always getting the feeling that she's done well in films after Roseanne, her part in Uncle Buck took place during the first year or so of the eleven year run of Roseanne Barr's hit sitcom; Metcalf's role is more likely to originate in her numerous appearances on Saturday Night live which acted as the springboard for dozen of movie careers for comedians including Candy himself. Like you didn't know.

Tia provides most of the friction with her indignant adolescent schtick, first directed at her mom, then when mom's dad suffers a heart attack and prompts the emergency need for Buck as baby sitter, her ire is focused on Buck himself. This creates some of the films more memorable scenes as Candy relishes the opportunity to play the no-nonsense, straight talking Buck dishing out put downs and pearls of down to earth wisdom to Tia's nasty boyfriend Bug and to Maizy's strict school principal.
It's hard to know just who the film is aimed at, too tame as it is for the usual Hughes teen audience but perhaps too much going on for kids to get? It's hard to think of a PG film shot in the last few years without a fantasy element to the story that features kidnap as a comedy moment. It's possible that kids were treated more like people in the 80s, or at least by Hughes, with a different approach to the "family" move than exists today.

In any case it's an enjoyable Candy vehicle even though you feel that he's hardly being stretched. Aside from Candy and Culkin it's business as usual - quite what people are nostalgic about the 80s for escapes me.

Is Anybody There?

It's strange to see Bill Milner in another 80s-set coming of age feature, but somehow this seems both more conventional and bolder than Son of Rambow.

Bill plays Edward, a ten year old whose parents run an old folks home, which is implied has made him a bit of a loner who is obsessed with the supernatural and the idea of life after death, spending time investigating ghosts and leaving tape recorders in the rooms of his parents charges just as it looks as if they will expire.
Michael Caine plays Clarence, the latest addition to the motley bunch of characters (played by a number of well known UK TV faces) in the home though more lively and cantankerous to boot. Initially the two clash but soon become friends, and although the joining of the young and old is a well-worn film plot cliché, there are scenes that dampen this. One in particular seems a prime opportunity for a spot grand emotional catharsis, if a little predictable, but instead is deflated by an episode of Clarence's encroaching senility. Milner and Caine are as good as ever, and ably supported by Anne Marie Duff and David Morrisey as Edward's mum and dad, desperately trying to make the home work even as dad goes through a bit of a dodgy mid-life crisis.

The lack of sugar coating to the message of the finality of death is one of the bold moves, avoiding any dealing with the supernatural or religious elements (and in fact having Leslie Philip's character at one point decry Christians. In another he is in blackface for Edward's fancy dress birthday party and is rarely seen outside of his chair, glass of brandy in hand).

There are some echoes here of the wonderful Venus, although Is Anybody There? deals more with the aged looking back at life rather than dealing with the affects of age on the day-to-day, but these differences are obviously attributed to the perspective, here age is seen from the perspective of an inquisitive ten year old rather than from Clarence, the old magician.

Is Anybody There? enjoys great performances from the leads and all of the supporting cast, and while it's not about to rewrite the rules of the family drama it is a film well worth watching.

Mary and Max

Winner of a bunch of awards in 2009, Mary and Max is a hugely enjoyable stop motion animation about the decades-long pen pal friendship between chubby, 8 year old loner Mary Daisy Dinkle from Melbourne, and 44 year old, obese, New Yorker with Asperger's, Max Jerry Horovitz. The story is wonderfully told with narration throughout, the content of which is on the more innocent side when compared to the images themselves. The claymation is used to great effect in creating the grotesque but cuddly characters, cloaked in hues of brown in Melbourne and grey in New York. Virtually every frame is packed with detail and bursts with life; it would be fair to say that the film is rife with eccentricity, and isn't without a great deal of pathos with no attempt to hide the more unpleasant aspects of human nature. As cute as the animation is, the film does feature a number of serious themes and I wouldn't really see this being a family feature.
It's funny and moving, what more do you want?
Dame Edna Everage, AKA Barry Humphries, delivers the narration, with Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Max and Toni Collette as Mary, all concocting excellent performances, with only Eric Bana in a supporting role instantly recognisable.
Oh, the soundtrack is also beautiful and fitting.
Honestly it's wonderful, and you won't regret catching it if it gains UK distribution this year.