www.list.co.uk/film COMEDY THE STORY OF F*** (15) 84min (Network) ●●●●●

Hunter S Thompson’s ‘the music industry is a cruel and shallow money trench . . .’ quote is so trite it’s printed on the urinal in the men’s loos at King Tut’s. Hardly an inspired note on which to begin a satire of the pop business, then, but while The Story of F*** fails to say anything especially clever, it proves a decent if unfocused low-budget irreverent British comedy from a pair of first-time directors, cousins Adam and James Abadi. Hapless Cosmos Records A&R man Lewis Sipricosh (Finlay Robertson) attempts to use the hype machine to sell a no-hoper rock band, the titular Fuck, to the masses and exact revenge on a back- stabbing rival. The Hollyoaks-standard cast are carried by a couple of strong performances from Danny Webb in particular as Cosmos’s sexually-deranged chief exec and there a few solid laughs, not least when the band’s demo is tossed down a shaft containing stock footage of a hungry alligator. An official trailer is your lot special features-wise. (Malcolm Jack)

DRAMA/COMEDY THE BALLROOM (15) 95min (Matchbox) ●●●●●

Brazilian director Lais Bodanzky’s charming but cheeky comic drama takes place over one night in an old school ballroom (or ‘gafieira’) in Sao Paulo, where the ageing locals teach a handful of young newcomers a thing or three about life, love and partner dancing. Bodanzky has

(guess who plays her?) was delivered on a plate to thumbscrew-happy Afghan rebels in return for a lucrative arms deal, she seeks her own revenge by kidnapping the PM’s spin doctor (Star Trek’s Marina Sirtis) and humiliating her on a live internet feed. But will Mandelson’s Jack Bauer-esque behaviour allow the public to see the light? Unsmiling writer and director Tristan Loraine delivers a DVD-extra justification for this unwise affair. (Brian Donaldson) DRAMA HOTEL (15) 74 min (Artificial Eye) ●●●●●

Jessica Hausner shows the same eerie sense of place as she would show in her recent Lourdes, a gaze that makes simple details stand out in all their bland terror. As Irene (Franziska Weisz) takes a job as a desk clerk in a luxury Austrian hotel, Hausner isn’t so much interested in the luxury but the uncanny feeling that this is a hotel where a swimming pool offers quiet menace and everyone acts slightly off-kilter. The manager of the hotel says at one moment doors must be kept locked: ‘the devil never sleeps’. Recent Austrian

cinema has a way with plaintive framing to bring out the cold emptiness of a spiritless world, whether this is Michael Haneke’s work in The Seventh Continent and Benny’s Video or Ulrich Siedl’s with Dog Days and Import/Export. But it is also here in the transitive nature of the characters’ actions. When Irene asks a colleague if she’ll cover for her so she can go and visit her sick mum, the other girl agrees but insists, ‘you owe me’. Minimal extras. (Tony McKibbin)

assembled a cast of veteran South American actors to play the film’s ensemble of former dance kings and ageing beauties and utilised a ten-strong team of scriptwriters to come up with plotlines dealing with various aspects, good and sad, of getting old. And with much of the overlapping action shot at close quarters with handheld cameras, it’s an admirably warts and all portrait of ageing. But with its great soundtrack of Brazilian and ballroom classic, it’s also an upbeat experience. And a frequently funny one- two. ‘There are only two things that prevent a lady from being asked to dance,’ one old lothario says to a pair of elderly women. ‘Not knowing how to dance and bad breath.’ No extras. (Miles Fielder) THRILLER 31 NORTH 62 EAST (15) 99min (Kaleidoscope) ●●●●●

Would you trust a Prime Minister who is a cross between John Prescott and Boris Yeltsin? This and several other lumpen creations are offered up in a ham- fisted attempt to point the finger at government agencies who ruthlessly chuck our brave boys and girls on the frontline only to be sacrificed for political gain.

When Jill Mandelson (Ultimate Force’s Heather Peace) uncovers the truth that her SAS twin sister


Box Set Collection


Did you know that, with the dawn of MTV in the 1980s, the pop promo became almost as important to an artist’s career as their actual songs? Everyone who has studied that period or, worse, lived through it, won’t need telling twice. Well, that’s a blow, because there’s barely an interview that goes by in this three-part music history documentary which doesn’t offer up such an opinion in some way. So, everyone from Bonnie Tyler to Gary Kemp and Simon Le Bon to Mick Fleetwood deliver that statement as though they were the first to ever say it.

Shown originally on the Sky Arts channel, Video Killed the Radio Star is a nostalgic trip of sorts, albeit a highly selective one. The three segments are divided up by director rather than, say, years or genres, making it a rather narrow portrait of a singularly vast field. Russell Mulcahy, David Mallet and Wayne Isham are the three makers in question and they certainly can take their place in the promo pantheon for, respectively, ‘Wild Boys’, ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and, um, ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’. But such a tight focus means no mention at all of the era’s true groundbreakers: ‘Thriller’, ‘Two Tribes’, ‘Take on Me’ and even some others that didn’t begin with ‘t’, such as ‘Money for Nothing’ and ‘Sledgehammer’. There are acres of extras on these discs which bumps up the running time considerably, taken up mainly by extended versions of the artist interviews and, truly the only real pleasure of this box set, the actual films themselves. (Brian Donaldson)


Secret of the Unicorn and the BFI have unearthed two bona fida Tintin related classics. Made under sanction from their protective creator, they are a remarkably accurate live action homage to the characters that have charmed and entertained millions around the world over the last 80 years. As ever it’s Captain Haddock that injects the comedy and exasperation into proceedings with carefully observed stumbles, outbursts and

These two releases from the British Film Institute should sate any self respecting Hergé fan. It’s undeniably an informatively shrewd move to showcase these two films from 1961 and 1964 in advance of Spielberg’s adaptation of The

of course displays of excess. The identikit tomfoolery of the Thom(p)son Twins is faithful, as is the hard of hearing genius that is Professor Calculus. Tintin, played by Jean- Pierre Talbot bears a remarkable likeness, and engaged enough with the character to carry out all of the marshal art inspired fight scenes himself, to great effect. The film’s plots are

essentially remoulds that take inspiration from The Crab with the Golden Claws and The Seven Crystal Balls, they are nonetheless plausible in Hergé’s world that fascinates with adventure, heroism, gadgetry and humour. Complete with 30-page booklets containing stills, essays and commentary these are must have releases. (Simon Dehany)

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