Tuesday January 1
From Time Out Film Guide
Think of any major conflict or famine since the late ’60s, and chances are that war photographer Don McCullin was there. His pictures count the human cost: a starving albino Nigerian boy whose legs are so thin it’s a wonder they can hold his body up; that famous shot of a shell-shocked Marine in Vietnam. Even just watching this impressive documentary, you feel a little unhinged by the scale of suffering.
Interviewed at home, McCullin, 77, comes across as a man possessed of moral conviction, direct and down-to-earth: ‘I’m not an artist or poet. I’m a photographer.’ His former editor at the Sunday Times calls him a ‘conscience with a camera’. And watching McCullin talk about the dignity of the people he photographs, I’m not surprised they let him into the most unimaginably harrowing moments of their lives. You would. McCullin also shows us some of his photos taken closer to home, some of Brits in deckchairs by the beach: ‘Eccentrics, you can get them by the busload here. I love it.’ What a man.
Playing for Keeps
From Time Out London
The Scottish actor Gerard Butler doesn’t have a great track record with US movies but at least this spares us his American accent: he plays a Scottish former footballer who’s hit hard times in suburbia. The purpose of his relocation to the States is to bond with a son he’s neglected – and potentially get back together with the lad’s mum (Jessica Biel). But soon he’s conscripted to train his boy’s after-school soccer team and along the way starts to service the sex-starved moms.
These saucy interludes sit very oddly with the father-son bonding – it’s hard to know what this is trying to be: sports drama, family comedy, romance, mid life-crisis movie or sex farce? The latter option allows for enjoyable moments, thanks to a seductive, manipulative Catherine Zeta-Jones and a neurotic Judy Greer (even if neither does the image of women any favours). Meanwhile, Uma Thurman seems to think she’s in a Carry On film, all doe-eyed panting and heaving bosoms with Dennis Quaid on auto-pilot as her greasy wheeler-dealer husband.This has a decent cast, and Butler is reasonably charismatic. But everyone involved deserves a script with more wit, originality and sense of purpose.