44 Inch Chest


It’s been 10 years since the release of Jonathan Glazer’s “Sexy Beast,” and yet the movie remains one of the most unforgettable crime thrillers ever made. Much of the film’s success was thanks to Sir Ben Kingsley’s electrifying performance as the venomous Don Logan, so it’s not surprising that the latest expletive-laced thriller from writers Louis Mellis and David Scinto is highlighted by the same kind of scene-chewing roles. “44 Inch Chest” assembles a cast of some of the best British actors working today, including Ray Winstone as Colin Diamond, a gangster contemplating murder after his wife informs him that she’s fallen in love with another man. After his friends kidnap her secret lover and take him back to their secret hideout to exact revenge, the heartbroken Colin must decide between killing in the name of love and walking away the better man.

Though “44 Inch Chest” is filled with lots of clever dialogue between Colin and his friends (an entertaining Tom Wilkinson, Ian McShane, John Hurt and Stephen Dillane), the story leaves much to be desired. There simply isn’t enough going on to fill an entire movie, and the fact that it’s structured more like a play (with a majority of the action taking place in a single room) only makes you wonder why it wasn’t conceived as one. If you can make it through the sluggish 95-minute runtime, “44 Inch Chest” is worth watching for the performances. Just don’t expect to be blown away.

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Celluloid Heroes: Best British Imports of the Decade

Foreign films made a big splash at the turn of the century, with many moviegoers finally realizing that subtitles weren’t so bad after all. Though a language barrier was never the reason the British film scene failed to take off, it really came into its own in the aughts with the introduction of new talent like Guy Ritchie, Edgar Wright, and Danny Boyle. As part of our look back at the movies of the 2000s, here’s a list of the best British imports of the decade. You’ll probably notice some similarities among many of the entries, but that’s just because when it came to delivering great genre films, the U.K. was king.

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10. “Son of Rambow”

Movies like “Son of Rambow” don’t get nearly as big of an audience as they deserve, which is a shame, since it’s one of the most wildy inventive family films I’ve seen in a long time. And who better to make a movie that incorporates animated doodles into its character’s imagination than the director-producer duo that created the wacky, stop-motion music video for Blur’s “Coffee and TV”? It’s a match made in heaven, though much of the film’s success is thanks to newcomers Bill Milner and Will Poulter, who give child actors a good name.

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9. “Billy Elliot”

Jamie Bell may be all grown up, but “Billy Elliot” remains the best thing he’s done. A classic feel-good movie featuring a great soundtrack, a funny and heartfelt script, and a memorable performance from Julie Walters as the title character’s chain-smoking ballet teacher, “Billy Elliot” was nominated for three Oscars and was eventually adapted for the stage (with music by Elton John, no less) where it went on to win ten Tony Awards. Still, for as much love as the Broadway musical has received during its five-year run, the movie version is still one of the most entertaining British films I’ve ever had the pleasure to see.

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8. “Sexy Beast”

Though it’s best remembered for Ben Kingsley’s riveting turn as Don Logan, a venomous, high-strung gangster who doesn’t take “no” for an answer, “Sexy Beast” is a smart and energetic crime drama that also happens to be pretty damn funny. Of course, most of that humor comes from Kingsley’s expletive-laced performance, and it’s a crime that he wasn’t rewarded with a nice, shiny Oscar. Still, even though the movie is essentially the Ben Kingsley Show, “Sexy Beast” served as a nice introduction to Ray Winstone and Ian McShane, and will likely go down as one of the better crime dramas of the decade.

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7. “RocknRolla”

Say what you will about Guy Ritchie, but his movies are an absolute blast to watch, and “RocknRolla” is easily his most mature film to date. Though he still seems to favor style over substance, the movie still succeeds thanks to an amusing story and lively ensemble cast led by Gerard Butler and Tom Wilkinson. Plus, that bizarre dance scene between Butler and Thandie Newton is one of the funniest WTF moments of the decade (not to mention their subsequent sex scene). Ritchie’s films may never receive the credit they deserve (he’ll forever be remembered as a Tarantino wannabe, even though QT himself has been accused of stealing several times over), but “RocknRolla” is what going to the movies is all about.

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