The Clash Film Column: Piss Wizard Potter

And The Art Of The Steal…

Oh, like you’ve never shown up to work still a little bit bladdered…

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That was the week in which...

Daniel Radcliffe admitting to being drunk on the set of Harry Potter

It’s hardly the most raucous of headlines – indeed it amounts to little more than “teenager got smashed”, which is an event approximately as surprising as day following night. But Daniel Radcliffe would sometimes arrive to film Harry Potter while still sauced from the evening before.

It’s an entirely natural reaction if you spent your teen years starring in one of the biggest franchises in film history. Even more so if you can’t leave home without being recognised and have enough wealth not to be reduced to scrabbling around for dropped coppers to finance a four-pack of Zywiec.

Everything is pretty rosy in teetotaler Radcliffe’s world now: his reinvention from Potter has moved smoothly with the strength of his performance in Kill Your Darlings and the huge success of The Woman In Black, and two further films, What If and Horns, will be released before the year is out.

While it’s understandable that some will find interest in this (non) story, it demonstrates the ever-blurrier line of creativity-meets-celebrity. Such mundanity rarely adds to our understanding of an actor or a musician’s work: it generally just adds to the noise of nothingness that creates fame for fame’s sake. As Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson has been quoted: “Fame is the excrement of creativity, it’s the shit that comes out the back end, it’s a by-product of it. People think it’s the excrement that you should be eating. It’s not. It’s the creativity and the audience and being there in the moment”

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The Big Film: The Art Of The Steal

The phrase “heist movie” is rarely used without the word “derivative”. Featuring the usual clichés in a broadly interchangeable plot, The Art Of The Steal really can’t claim to have transcended such a trend.

Our lead throughout these time-honoured shenanigans is Kurt Russell as Crunch Calhoun (yes, really): a stunt-man-cum-pro-heister (yes, really) who ended up in a Polish slammer after being sold-out by his brother Nicky (Matt Dillon). Nicky wants to make amends by getting the old team together for one last job by lifting an ancient manuscript which will make everyone enough cash to retire from. You know the drill. Forgeries. Stealth. Deadlines. Deception. Vagina-inspired art.

The two leads feel like they’ve been dropped in directly from higher-profile films: Russell is virtually indistinguishable from his role in Death Proof, right down to his silly character name, while Dillon again carries the knowing, dry-humoured double-crossin’ that served him so well in There’s Something About Mary. And, just to underline the film’s desired credentials, Terence Stamp excels as the (you’ve got it) reformed thief out to catch the gang red-handed.

The Art Of The Steal doesn’t stand up to any rigorous analysis; it’s simply too generic to spark any serious reinvention of a dog-tired genre. Surprisingly, however, its approximation of Guy Ritchie directing Ocean’s Fourteen is fun and engaging enough to work as a solid single-serving of entertainment, even if it’s one that you’ll struggle to remember mere moments after the end credits roll.

The Art Of The Steal, trailer

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Also Out: Camille Claudel 1915

There’s the sense throughout Bruno Dumont’s follow-up to Hors Satan that this is a very timely film, dealing as it does with ideas around what to do with women of strength, talent and intellect, how they should be controlled and informed (by men) of how to feel and behave, through the true, historic story of the artist Camille Claudel.

Juliette Binoche is Camille, giving an extraordinary performance despite minimal dialogue and traditional action. The film focuses on her detainment in a mental asylum by her family following a long period of grief following the death of her father, as well as the breakdown of her relationship with famous sculptor Auguste Rodin – who she is convinced stole her work and ideas.

The first hour is beautifully meditative and the lines between her sanity and other’s perceptions of it are delicately blurred. After an hour, as the film physically leaves the confines of the asylum and her beloved brother Paul enters, the film falls away and becomes more clinical, more expositional and much less interesting. The introduction of historical fact and a greater male perspective makes the film less clear in its intention. When we are allowed to simply feel the immensity of Claudel’s loneliness, it’s quite remarkable. Words: Neil Fox

Camille Claudel 1915, trailer

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New Talent: Hannah Arterton

Who? Not content with merely producing Bond girl and all-round star Gemma, the Arterton family have created another acting talent with her younger sister, Hannah.

What’s she been in? Her highest profile role so far came as Korinna in the BBC’s series Atlantis. Director Stephen Poliakoff gave Gemma her first break with another BBC series, Capturing Mary, and did likewise with Hannah when she was cast in his play My City.

What’s coming up? Hannah has a contrasting pair of films coming within the next week. In Hide And Seek, she plays one of four young people who escape London to live a polyamorous life in the countryside, and she also had a key role in Walking On Sunshine – a musical packed with ’80s hits which appears to be the type of movie that you love or loath. Hide And Seek premieres at the Edinburgh Film Festival tonight and plays again on Sunday, and will debut in London at the East End Film Festival on Tuesday. Walking On Sunshine is out next Friday.

They say: “Casting directors looking for a new Marie Antoinette, start here.” Herald Scotland

She says: “Whenever each of us get a really exciting script, we call each other up and discuss how exciting the script is, in the same way I do with a lot of my other friends who are actors... When this film came along, I knew that it was the right part for me and this was the time I’d been waiting for.” Cineworld

Walking On Sunshine, trailer

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Shorts

Colin Firth has pulled out of Paddington. Apparently sickened by the thought of eating marmalade sandwiches throughout the entire shoot... Wait, that’s not right. Firth dropped out because his voice doesn’t fit Lima’s most famous bear. Why would a Peruvian bear speak with a posh English accent?

The World Cup means that most film companies are scheduling their better prospects for a less risky time, hence two weeks of mostly low-profile releases. Last weekend’s UK box office takings reflect this. 22 Jump Street (review) is an overhead kick above the competition. Oculus, Belle and Devil’s Knot all land places in the first XI, leaving T.S. Spivet, Of Horses And Men and others to stew on the subs’ bench.

Talking of the World Cup, while Roy’s boys were doing their usual almost-but-not-quite routine on the pitch, the knuckle-headed element of their support were sadly less than welcoming to Riz Ahmed. That’ll be the Riz Ahmed who was born, raised and educated in England. The Riz Ahmed who is based in England. The Riz Ahmed whose best acting work (Four Lions, Shifty, Ill Manors, Dead Set) examines the harsh realities and utter absurdities of urban English life. The Riz Ahmed who releases music on an English label. The Riz Ahmed who should be perfectly free to support England without abuse.

 

 

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Words: Ben Hopkins, except where indicated

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