Tag Archives: hugh grant

Richard Curtis’s Love Actually

Who doesn’t love Love Actually? I know I do. It’s such a sentimental, goofy, overblown pile of mush and I love it even more for being so. It can be sappy, but a lot of the situations and character interactions it entails are blunt, awkward truths made even more hilarious by an even more awkward cast, and encapsulate the meaning of Christmas. Not all the couples work out, not all of the individual stories end well or in satisfaction for characters or audiences. But that’s life, and they make the best out of what they have at this time of year, which is what it’s really about. Some turn out splendidly for the characters, leaving them beaming. Some learn tough lessons that are necessary for growth, some find love in storybook fashion and others are simply there for comic relief. What comedy and tearful drama we get as too, delivered by an astoundingly massive cast of British legends, speckled with a few familiar Yankee faces just to garnish the giant British figgy pudding. Liam Neeson plays a grieving father whose son (Thomas Bodie Sangster) is sick with love. Neeson’s sister (Emma Watson, grounded, real, heartbreaking) deals with her irresponsible husband (Alan Rickman, incapable of a false note). The newly elected Prime Minister (Hugh Grant in full flustered, fumbling glory) is attracted to his cute secretary (Martine Mcutcheon) and aloof writer Colin Firth feels pangs for his Portuguese housekeeper (Lúcià Moniz) who speaks not a word of English. Laura Linney has a steamy office romance with Rodrigo Santoro whilst dealing with an ill sibling, Bill Nighy is hysterical as a cynical Grinch of a pop star with a jaded facade, Keira Knightely, Chiwetel Efjor and Andrew Lincoln are involved in a subtle love triangle, and there’s all kinds of interwoven vignettes including Martin Freeman, Elisha Cuthbert, Ivana Milicevic, January Jones, Claudia Schiffer, Shannon Elizabeth, Denise Richards, Joanna Page, Sienna Guillory, Billy Bob Thornton as the sleazy US President and a priceless Rowan Atkinson as the world’s weirdest jewelry salesman who gives new maniacal meaning to holiday gift wrapping. It’s a big old circus of Christmas spirit with all kinds of different desires, motivations and relationships that reaches a festive fever pitch before erupting into a joyous finale of giddy Yuletide melodrama and cathartic good times that is impossible not to smile at. An annual watch for me.

-Nate Hill

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Night Train To Venice: The actual worst film ever made

People often ask me what the worst film I’ve ever seen is, and for years I found the question difficult due to the sheer volume of trash and cinematic pond scum out there. Then I saw Night Train To Venice, and… yup, it’s officially *the* worst fucking movie I’ve ever seen. The cover is innocuous enough, boasting a slightly esoteric Euro-trash thriller starring everyone’s favourite aloof British hunk Hugh Grant and everyone’s favourite British arch villain Malcolm McDowell. Sounds vaguely promising, right? Oh boy. Ohhh boy. The thing starts off with Grant, some chick (Tahnee Welch) and a handful of other weirdos boarding a night train somewhere in Europe, and then… I can’t even describe how strange, stupid and incoherent it gets. There’s Nazi skinheads that put off a rapey vibe but it’s never clear why they’re on the train or where they came from. McDowell is credited as ‘Stranger’ and all he does is loom ominously, spout threatening dialogue with zero context and add to the din with his wasted charisma. There’s loose plot threads flung around like confetti but none are developed, or even addressed beyond wanton scenes of fuckery that have no place anywhere. It sucks because this isn’t even fun to watch in a burning car wreck type way like a lot of fun bad movies, it *actually hurts* to watch this unpleasant piece of shit trip over itself and parade across the screen like a gaggle of spastics set loose from the asylum. McDowell has more than a few shitty flicks in his war record but this really takes the goddamn cake. If I ever get to sit opposite Grant, however, I’m going to bring this one up with a straight face and then slap him across his before that cavernous dumbo grin even starts to take shape and the trademark awkward sheepish excuses start to trundle out of his mouth. As for the director and rest of crew, lord only knows what was going through their heads when they produced and assembled this piss poor, jumbled up dose of cinematic diarrhea. It doesn’t even make sense or stand as an example of what not to do in the celluloid zeitgeist, it’s so bad. It exists in a vacuum of space all its own that functions off the kind of zero point energy reserved for things so shamelessly awful that it actually takes cohesive effort to gain admission. Please, please avoid this thing, it’ll literally shorten your life span having to sit through it and you’ll lose more brain cells than you did last Friday night. Ugh.

-Nate Hill

Knights be Damned: An Interview with Silvio Simac by Kent Hill

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Knights of the Damned is a film of a type you don’t see much of any more. When I was a kid there were fantasy films by the country mile – with titles including Wizards of the Lost Kingdom, Sword of the Valiant, Hawk the Slayer, The Archer, Zu Warriors, Knight of the Dragon.

But then, like the Western before them, they dried up and have henceforth become sporadic and fleeting. Knights of the Damned marks a return which sees the fantasy genre clash with the zombie phenomena in a film which sees a band of returning nights having to fight their way back to the castle of their sovereign lord through dragons, sirens and dark alchemy which has caused the dead to rise and stalk the living.

It is an exciting throwback to those fantasy films I know and love, as well as being something fresh and a little bit different. So, thrilled I was to speak with the star of show, Silvio Simac. And, thrilled was I to learn that KOTD is the first installment in an epic trilogy. Silvio is no doubt a future action movie notable and comes to the Damned with a CV of great roles in a vast array of high-concept cinema.

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So, for all you fantasy lovers out there that secretly yearn for a return to the heady days of high adventure – I won’t spoil it for you – check out Knights of the Damned now, and press play to listen to a fun interview with one of the knights most bold from days of old, whose mighty sword slashes the heads of those undead . . .

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(Courtesy of Kung-Fu Kingdom.com)

Silvio Simac is a Croatian-born British martial artist and actor who has enjoyed a long and varied three decade career with some outstanding achievements. These include being (multi-time) British, European and World Taekwondo champion. Aside from TKD, Silvio holds black belts in Choi Kwang Do, kickboxing, karate and combat self-defence. Having starred in numerous movies with such action superstars as Jet Li, Scott Adkins, Kane Kosugi and Jason Statham he also regularly attends martial arts and health-oriented seminars and conferences alongside such friends as Benny The Jet, Cynthia Rothrock, Michael Jai White, Don Wilson, Shannon Lee and many more! Silvio is widely respected by his peers for being a fount of martial arts knowledge and experience on training techniques, nutrition and philosophy; he remains a hardcore student of life, happily sharing and communicating what he’s learned with ease, covering those details that can be so easily overlooked by other teachers in this day and age.