Tag: Rhys Ifans

SXSW 2010: Mr. Nice

You’d think that a story about one of the most infamous drug smugglers of the 1970s would make for a pretty good film. After all, this is a movie that opens with the lead character comically declaring, “My success went right to my head, and I’ve been living off it ever since.” But Bernard Rose’s “Mr. Nice” is so painfully tedious in the presentation of its subject matter that you eventually lose interest. Based on the life and times of Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans), a promising Oxford scholar who gave up a future in academics to pursue a career dealing drugs, the movie follows his rise to infamy as one of the world’s foremost hashish distributors.


Unfortunately, none of it is particularly engaging, as Rose races through each major event like it’s a bullet point on a crib sheet. Ifans may have campaigned hard for the role (he’s good friends with the real-life Marks), but he’s delivered much better work in smaller roles, while Chloë Sevigny (as his wife, Judy) is essentially a glorified extra. Only David Thewlis escapes unscathed as an IRA soldier who joins Marks’ risky business venture, but even his performance doesn’t always click. The bulk of the blame, however, belongs to Rose, as he just doesn’t know how to make the story interesting. He definitely has some great ideas (the decision to hold back any color until Marks smokes his first joint works well in depicting the importance of drugs in his life), but more often than not, he only makes the movie worse. “Mr. Nice” certainly has its moments, but you’d be better off just catching Ted Demme’s “Blow” on cable instead.

The Film Formerly Known As “The Boat That Rocked”…

…has been given a new name for its U.S. release: “Pirate Radio.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the motion picture in question (which lets out most of our UK readership, as the film was released across the pond back in April), here’s the official synopsis from Focus Features:

“Pirate Radio” is the high-spirited story of how 8 DJs’ love affair with Rock ‘n’ Roll changed the world forever. In the 1960s, this group of rogue DJs, on a boat in the middle of the Northern Atlantic, played rock records and broke the law, all for the love of music. The songs they played united and defined an entire generation and drove the British government crazy. By playing Rock ‘n’ Roll, they were standing up against the British government who did everything in their power to shut them down. The band of rebels is led by The Count, played by the Academy Award-winning Philip Seymour Hoffman, Quentin (Bill Nighy), the boss of Radio Rock, Gavin (Rhys Ifans), the greatest DJ in Britain, Midnight Mark (Tom Wisdom), Doctor Dave (Nick Frost), and Young Carl (Tom Sturridge), who comes of age amidst the chaos of sex, drugs and rock n roll. The film features an unbelievable selection of music including The Beatles, The Stones, Beach Boys, Dusty Springfield, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Smokey Robinson, David Bowie, Otis Redding, Cat Stevens just to name a few. The film is laugh out loud funny and speaks to the rock n roll rebel in all of us.

A few other bits which might interest you: it also stars Kenneth Branagh, Rhys Darby (“Flight of the Conchords”), Chris O’Dowd (“The I.T. Crowd”), Ralph Brown (“Meadowlands”), January Jones (“Mad Men”), and Jack Davenport (“Coupling,” “Swingtown”), and it was written and directed by the always-enjoyable Richard Curtis, the man behind “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill,” “Love, Actually,” and the “Bridget Jones” films.

Here’s the trailer for your viewing enjoyment:

In a turn of events which obviously leaves me pleased as punch, I have been invited to participate in the press junket for the U.S. release of the film, so stay tuned to Bullz-Eye and Premium Hollywood for further coverage, including discussions with Mr. Curtis and some of the stars of “Pirate Radio.” Rest assured, my first question will be, “Who decided that Americans couldn’t appreciate a title like ‘The Boat That Rocked’?” (I’m guessing I’ll learn that some higher-up decided, “Hey, the kids love the pirates, so maybe we can trick ’em into thinking this is actually about pirates!”)

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