Holly Grigg-Spall
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Holly Grigg-Spall

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Category: Film27 Culture Features1

Year: 201021 20097

Popularity: Most Viewed Most Commented On Most Shared

Recent Articles

  • Funny Ha Ha: Up close and personal with the comedienne Joan Rivers in A Piece of Work

    An article in the British Guardian newspaper recently claimed “U.S.
      An article in the British Guardian newspaper recently claimed "U.S. celebrities use reality cinema to fight power of gossip bloggers," noting that the release of the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work will be closely followed by films focused on Carrie Fisher and Billy Joel. In the world of journalism three is, they say, a trend, but this new genre of moviemaking would be better evidenced if Lindsey Lohan or Mel Gibson were to open their doors to a camera crew. The reality format is fascinating, and feeds human curiosity in a far healthier way than the grocery store tabloid route. In A Piece of Work, Rivers sets a high standard, doling out thought-provoking insights and self-analysis with such plain honesty that it is, at times, grueling to watch. She displays her relationship with her daughter, the enduring impact of the suicide of her husband over twenty years ago and her daily round of neuroses. Yet this whole person is much more interesting than anything we can create, more intriguing than her media persona. It's easy to see how frustrating it would be dealing with decades of over-simplified and lazy public opinion that berates you for being angry, outspoken, female and old.
  • A Good Night's Sleep:The Dark Knight director is back to break the run of bad summer movies with Inception

    One of my personal problems with Facebook is that I have a lot of other reviewers as friends, meaning that when they see a movie long before its release, they often can’t help but make their opinion known.
      One of my personal problems with Facebook is that I have a lot of other reviewers as friends, meaning that when they see a movie long before its release, they often can't help but make their opinion known. One such friend, Ali Catterall, wrote of Inception: "It. Is. Awful. (I will, of course, be one of perhaps three critics offering this verdict. The rest of the lazy sheep can bleat all they like about its perceived triumphs." And as I normally find myself agreeing with him - most recently about the rubbish-ness of Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland for example - I was readied to not like Christopher Nolan's follow-up to 2008's smash hit, The Dark Knight. Sometimes when everyone says a movie is good, it's because it actually is, but experience tells us that blockbusters are rarely as exciting as their trailers suggest. The cause-effect graph states the more money spent, the more rubbish the story will be. Summer blockbusters also set a particular challenge for the reviewer, as essentially no one cares whether you like them or not, most will go regardless - unlike with a small independent film that you can potentially introduce to vast numbers, it would otherwise pass by.
  • In With the Old: Lives and deaths intertwine in Please Give

    Here is one of those movies that will make you want to go straight out and rent the rest of the writer-director's work.
      Here is one of those movies that will make you want to go straight out and rent the rest of the writer-director's work. It will make you excited at the prospect of mining Nicole Holofcener's whole back catalogue, and wonder why you never took notice of her name before. The thing is, she makes the kind of films that might have passed you by, as they did me, mostly because they sound like earnest, pseudo-intelligent weepies for women who want to bond and cry over the luxurious yet miserable lives of beautiful, sad accountants and lawyers. They have titles that suggest as much, like Friends with Money and Lovely and Amazing. These sound like movies that dupe people into thinking they are good, but really, they're not. They seem shifty and suspicious. Plus Holofcener's last film, Friends with Money, starred Jennifer Aniston, which in itself might be enough to put off some discerning moviegoers, even if it did also star Catherine Keener and Frances McDormand, it was Aniston's name that stood out and marked the movie with bad mojo.
  • Playing it Safe: Pixar once again puts Woody and friends in peril for the third installment of Toy Story

    There’s a palpable weariness in the movie theater as the latest addition to the Toy Story franchise draws to a close and it’s not just because of the struggle with young children who got bored after the first sighting of the familiar gang.
      There's a palpable weariness in the movie theater as the latest addition to the Toy Story franchise draws to a close and it's not just because of the struggle with young children who got bored after the first sighting of the familiar gang. The film's conclusion suggests further stories and frankly, the whole if-toys-could-talk routine is getting a little old. This time, Andy is all grown up and going to college. The toys get donated to a day care center by mistake and they must come up with an elaborate plan to get home. There is laughter and there are tears, but there are only so many times one can find Mr. Potato Head losing his limbs funny, or Woody contemplating the scrawled name on the sole of his cowboy boot sad.
  • Brand New: Russell is as wild as ever in Get Him to the Greek

    Being an English woman abroad, I feel more fondness for Russell Brand now when I see him pictured with Katy Perry in US Magazine than I did when he lived just down the road from me, drinking in the pub round the corner from my office.
      Being an English woman abroad, I feel more fondness for Russell Brand now when I see him pictured with Katy Perry in US Magazine than I did when he lived just down the road from me, drinking in the pub round the corner from my office. As I juggle the debauched stories from his autobiography, My Booky Wook, and the scandalous tabloid headlines with his current cleaned-up, red-carpet-friendly persona, some apprehension gets mixed in with that fondness. Brand's confessional, hyper-literate, surrealistic stand-up comedy is brilliant. When he made the move to Hollywood with Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the obvious fear was that he'd lose his edge and let his latent vegetarian-yoga-buddhist side take over his talent. We English were pleased to hear of Brand bringing down the Jonas Brothers at the MTV Video Music Awards with a canny reference to French philosopher Foucault, but still it was assumed American celebrity would eventually ruin him. Although Forgetting Sarah Marshall was funny, it could have easily been a fluke. The idea of a spin-off from that film in which Brand's rock star character, Aldous Snow, is chaperoned by record company intern Aaron Green, played by Jonah Hill, from London to a come-back concert in Los Angeles sounded dubious. I was prepared for Get Him To The Greek to be disappointing, maybe even a disaster. Instead, red-carpet Russell Brand is a revelation in a movie that should make him much more than just Katy Perry's boyfriend this side of the Atlantic.

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