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Friday, 30 March 2012

THIS WEEK: The Awakening / Smokin' Aces / The Tree Of Life


Rebecca Hall stars as Florence Cathcart in a movie I don't feel got the attention it deserved.  We are post-WW1, "a time for ghosts", as the film has it; Cathcart is busying herself investigating and writing about claims of spirits, hauntings, and the charlatans who take full advantage of the vulnerable people in this tragic time.  With each debunking an ambiguous, crushing memory is brought to the surface; is this a woman searching hopefully for the case she cannot disprove?  The answer to this, and other questions, remains smartly unaddressed, with reveals punctuating the film perfectly, as we follow Cathcart on a journey to a boys' boarding school.  Dominic West's Head Master Robert Mallory explains the boys are "frightened to death" of a ghost in the grounds.  Upon her arrival the stage is quickly set for an elegantly told tale, which carries in its fabric some special qualities that so many ghost stories don't: empathy, sadness, and great sense of melancholy.

The movie looks gorgeous, with stunning set and cinematography.  Director Nick Murphy's framing, timing of chilling moments, and pacing is close to perfect right the way through.  He maintains a sense that you are missing a piece of a puzzle, though you cannot put your finger on what it is; he holds the tension just right, never revealing more of his hand that he needs to, but never being so aloof as to lose your interest.  Yes there a couple of bits and pieces I think are a tad clumsy, but nothing that took me out of the story.

To suggest other stories which it owes a debt to would spoil certain elements, but if you like the really classic tales akin to The Turn Of The Screw, this is definitely a movie you should make time for.  For my money it out-classes the recent The Woman In Black on a few points.  I reference this movie in particular because it shares common ground in terms of premise, setting and tone   What is interesting is I do not think it is necessarily as scary as that film, but it is the better movie overall.  Firstly there is a very strong central performance!  I'm not getting at Radcliffe, don't worry, I think he did perfectly fine, but when you see Rebecca Hall (The Prestige may be the last time most people will have seen her in a big role), you will know what I mean.  Another area in which it is near perfect is its use of the jump-scare; there are not many here and those which are work nicely.  Finally, it doesn't cop-out on the final act as so many other films have the tendency to do.  As always with such a film as this, there is some debate over whether the final act works as well as he thinks it does.  I understand this; not everybody will feel totally satisfied, but the film is strong enough in so many other areas, it is hard to walk away feeling you haven't just seen a very well-told ghost story.  Watch out for the great setpiece involving the doll-house; sounds cheesy to describe, but it really works!

This is a film that nearly gets everything right; it manages to balance haunting storytelling, interesting characters you have to care about, and the creepy elements.  The result is an extremely enjoyable film, with a turn in the story that feels familiar when it occurs, and yet you almost certainly will not see coming beforehand!  4/5

Catch it if you like:  Any really good, classic ghostly tales, because this is pretty on the money!


Okay, what to say?  A Las Vegas entertainer, Buddy 'Aces' Israel, has turned snitch on the mob and he is staying in a penthouse suite, under full guard, until it is time to give his evidence and be whisked safely into protection.  Lots of other people want him dead, hence the clever title of the movie...get it?  It's about everybody wanting to smoke Aces?  Nevermind...

Joe Carnahan has a good idea in here somewhere, but instead of paying a tribute to Tarantino, he should have handed the job over to him.  In Tarantino's hands this movie would be dynamite!  Smokin' Aces lacks the characters and dialogue of Tarantino; Carnahan opts for over-the-top, unrealistic, and actually rather silly archetypes, and at points ugly stereotypes, who have no heart or soul, nothing to relate to or understand.  In some cases it is an attempt to be hip and cool, but it comes off as juvenile in what should have been a rather snazzy, smart, exciting thriller......yeh that's right, like True Romance!  Think I'm exaggerating?  This movie features a gang of "funny", foreign, half-naked, chainsaw-welding goons.  Yeh......

Its last-ditch attempt at having an intellectual edge will only fool the most simple-minded, really.  Am I saying it's not a clever idea?  No!  In fact I quite admired the last five minutes of the movie; it is well shot, well-written, well-scored (Clint Mansell is the star of this film!) and Ryan Reynolds gets to act...something nobody else has the chance to do throughout.  I just found myself wishing the director had made the movie that deserves the smart, well-executed ending, because then it wouldn't feel so disappointingly out-of-place, and people like Reynolds and Garcia wouldn't seem so wasted!

For a restrictive setting, some credit must be given for being able to stage some tasty action set-pieces pretty well, and there are some humorous moments throughout, but this is nowhere near as good as its full-to-the-brim cast and reputation as a contemporary minor classic had me believe.  It it not without merit, but I found myself pretty unimpressed.  2/5

Catch it if you like:  True Romance, The Usual Suspect....Both films you will get more from.


Terrence Mallick directs Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain (if direct is the right word) in this meditation on very lofty notions about the meaning of life, our origins, existence of God, nature, etc, etc.  I'm being flippant only because, aside from it looking absolutely stunning and owing a great deal to Kubrick's mind-boggling masterpiece 2001..., this really falls rather flat.  I give Mallick a round of applause for being brave and bearing his heart in such a way; this is clearly a work of love, from a man doing some immense soul-searching, but by a certain point I found myself thinking he should really not involve us in that search.  Taking us from a death of child in the 1950's, back to the BEGINNING OF TIME......WITH DINOSAURS....was an error.  How did Kubrick get away with it?  I don't know....I can't answer that, I only know that this movie struggles in the end under the weight of its own.....ponderings.  Nobody really gets the chance to perform, as this is more of a moving photo book.  There are some enjoyable sequences in here, but not enough to hang such a long film on.  It ultimately left me rather cold; there is not much more I can say.  2/5

Catch it if you like:  The Fountain, 2001; A Space Odyssey.....In fact, just watch those.  They are just as meandering and lacking in narrative rigour, but at least they are technically astonishing, boundary breaking, and you can find yourself beautifully lost in and moved by them.

Friday, 23 March 2012

THIS WEEK: We Bought A Zoo / Pretty Persuasion / Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes / The Skin I Live In


This is a film that could easily have taken a more maudlin route due to its backstory, but Cameron Crowe keeps it light and gentle.  With terrific performances and a great sense of fun, this movie makes virtues of its flaws (of which there are many for the hardened, more cynical critic) and charmed me in spite of myself. Very innocuous, probably lacking in realistic bite for some; it might be fair to say that a dramatization of the story without the Disney-like, incredibly sweet filter may have been a better film, but as wholesome, family entertainment goes you couldn't do much better than this. Allow yourself to be won over; enjoy the fun, sweet, biographical tale, and get into the usual, excellent jukebox soundtrack, because this is a nice, family-friendly film which is hard to say anything bad about, even if you feel you should. It is nothing super special in technical terms, but it doesn't mean to be; it is endearing and has a lot of heart. With a film like this, it's all that matters.

There are going to be films out this year that are better, and certainly more surprising, but in terms of being swept up and invested in a nicely-told, lovely story, this is one of the best of this type of movie I have seen for a long time, and I will be surprised if it doesn't end up as my favourite "feel-good" film of the year.  3.5 / 5

Catch it if you like:  Sugary, sweet, inoffensive family entertainment


A teen highschool-based movie akin to Mean Girls, though with a far darker and arguably realistic bite to it.  Evan Rachel Wood, her generation's Christina Ricci but nobody seems to notice, plays teenageer Kimberly Joyce, who will do anything to get famous.  She has a best friend, and picks up the archetypal, unassuming, innocent newcomer in the form of Randa, and together they hatch a plot to get back at a teacher that involves an accusation of sexual assault.  It is a typical setup; you do not need any more than this to get the idea of where the movie goes, though unlike other films like this, it sinks its teeth rather more deeply.

I had some trouble being comfortable with how the director Marcos Siega wants us to take the film, because I am not sure he had a firm handle on it himself.  It is partly satire, party surreal, offbeat comedy and partly serious drama with something to say.  All of this would be fine in more capable hands, but Siega, whose work is primarily in television, seems to struggle to marshall everything correctly.

That said, once over the awkward opening ten mintues or so I settled into the film and enjoyed it for the most part; I certainly loved James Woods as the racist father who doesn't listen to his daughter and spends his days masturbating when he should be working.  I couldn't quite get past the clunkiness of some of the storytelling and found myself wavering between being really engaged and slightly bored, but this falls to nobody but the director.  Until late in the day I wasn't sure about the rating, but the finale of the movie displays some flair I wish I'd seen elsewhere, with a final beat giving the whole thing some extra gravitas.  3/5

Catch it if you like:  Mean Girls, and the like.


Most people are familiar with the story of The Planet Of The Apes, so it is enough to say this is, as the title would suggest, the build up to that.  A slightly mis-cast James Franco plays Will Rodman, a scientist on the verge of curing Alzheimer's when it all falls apart.  Andy Serkis, who must surely be sick of being typecast by now, plays Caesar, the ape rescued from being destroyed, and the catalyst for The Rise!

Some smart nods toward the original are dropped in, and despite some qualms over predictability, and little attention being paid to physical change of characters over time, the movie does enough with the visual wizardry elsewhere; the animation is very impressive, there are a lot of well-shot, well-directed action set-pieces, as well as a smart closing credit sequence that ties it all up rather nicely.  A hugely enjoyable experience, if not the masterpiece I suspect some were hoping for.  4/5

Catch it if you like:  Kinda obvious...


I was very much looking forward to this film; it sounded dark, twisted, creepy, and horrific.  In ways it is, and for an Almodovar fan I can see there is an awful lot to be admired here.  The problem is I have never been a fan of his work; it was only the sound of the strange, Cronenberg-style setup that intrigued me.  On that point, this is a movie which, had Cronenberg been in charge, I think would have been one of my favouries of last year; it deals with many ideas that are staple points for him, most prominently the subject of sexual identity.  As it stands, it retains too much of the awkward campness inherent to an Almodovar film for me.

You will note I have not mentioned any sort of synopsis.  There is a reason for this; the movie is best enjoyed knowing as little as possible.  There is some self-assured, confident film-making going on here, and the fact I find myself thinking about it for a long time after is a testament to its power, but I wish it had delved deeper; there are some complex ideas here, it's the sort of movie whose nuances you can find yourself discussing for a long time, but with such explosive themes at its heart, I felt it was a little light-footed.  Like I say, had this been Cronenberg I feel this would been an epic movie; as it is it is worth renting, and certainly if you are already into the director's work you will really love this movie.  3.5 / 5

Catch it if you like: David Cronenberg, Pedro Almodovar.......Antonio Banderas speaking Spanish

Friday, 16 March 2012

THIS WEEK: The Raven / Tyrannosaur / We Need To Talk About Kevin / Win Win


From the director of V For Vendetta, The Raven has a similar stamp, so if you didn't enjoy the prior, there is certainly no point bothering with the latter.  Likewise if you are a fan of Edgar Allen Poe and have been looking forward to this as some sort of honest dramatisation of the last days of his life, or any sort of exciting, analytical look at the author and his work (as the title might lead some to imagine), then you are due a disappointment.  In fact if you remove Poe as the central character and replace him with any other budding detective type, you can still keep the drive of the story, and the same subject; you really wouldn't be looking at that different a movie.

With that being said, if you can ignore some awkward moments of performance from other cast members, John Cusack is eternally watchable, and the comic book style and dashes of humour work well for the most part.  Although I did find myself feeling that the film, at just short of two hours, is a bit too long for its own good, if you're after an intriguing whodunnit, pick a Saturday night you're not going out and give this a go.  3/5

Catch it if you like: V for Vendetta, Sleepy Hollow


Paddy Considine directs a surprisingly fierce film about "redemption in the darkest of places" with Tyrannosaur.  Joseph is a seriously damaged and raging man, already well on his way down the spiral, when he walks into a Christian charity shop, run by Hannah.  It becomes clear that neither of them are what we perceive them to be, both hiding deep personal scars, and both dealing with those scars in ways that could not be more extremely different.  As unlikey a pair as they seem, they find something in each other which they didn't realise they were looking for, or had perhaps simply stopped believing could exist in another person.

This is an 18 for a reason; it has moments that are pretty tough, sexual violence and violence towards animals included, and the film deals with subject matter that some may find difficult to bear with, but if you can, Tyrannosaur turns out to be a film you are deeply moved by, and on which you can't help but reflect.  The film works as a lesson to us all on the damage we can cause with our pre-conceived notions about others, acknowledging the truth that we are never black and white, but rather ever changing shades of grey.  Despite the fact I feel no desire to sit through it again, it is a highly recommended watch, not least due to the two leads: Peter Mullan is terrific, and Olivia Colman (Green Wing, Peep Show, Hot Fuzz) took my breath away with an astonishing turn as Hannah; she delivers every line, thought, and complex emotion absolutely perfectly.  Where was her Oscar nod?  4/5 

Catch it if you like: Nil By Mouth, The War Zone


Having recently finished reading the astounding book, it was going to be tough to review this purely as a film in its own right.  Absolutey terrific performances from Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller in a film that deals with a challenging, and divisive topic: What responsibility, if any, must a mother take for her child's awfulness when there was no bond from the beginning, the parental instinct does not exist, and it seemed from the very start the child was a sociopath who hated you?

It is a shame to see Johh C Reilly in a role that never feels fully fleshed out, and their daughter reduced to little more than a footnote in the story.  It is also a shame to see Ramsey decide that art house was the way to go with such a story, as I feel this detracted from the potency at times.  There is a sense with this movie that we are getting the summary points rather than the lines that join those points and put them into proper context.  All of that said, however, they do seem to land the complex last beat rather nicely, it is engaging and provocative, and if you have not read it it is definitely a conversation starter of a film.  It is, however, so stylised, and about issues so emotive, that you will either get into it or it will leave you cold, dependant on your taste.

Any and all flaws of the film do not apply to the book, which I highly recommend; it fleshes out and makes important every character and relationship, moments in the film that feel summary are a whole chapter in the book (there are entire sections of the book dropped when I think the film really needed them), and the devastation, thought processes, comments on American culture, the loss of the nuclear family and the complex nature of redemption are all explored perfectly in the novel.  And I haven't even mentioned the brilliant framing device the novel uses, allowing the finale to blindside and devastate its reader.  Sorry to gush over the book, but it is rather incredible.

Anyhow, back to the you can see, it is hard for me to rate this one.  I do understand that often a film is based on a great book, and you cannot put a film down just because you happen to have read it and see the differences, but in most cases an adaption carries the spirit of a book well enough that only die hard fans of the original will be pedantic and pick it apart.  In this case I feel that, as good as the film is, it misses some crucial elements and that there is quite a wide space between the novel and the movie.  That said, as a whole this still stands as one of the most challenging and interesting films of last year.  Three feels too harsh, and four feels too giving, so I will do that rare thing and split it.  3.5 / 5

Catch it if you like:  The Good Son, Elephant


Paul Giamatti plays Mike, a struggling lawyer and a brilliantly nice bloke, the kind of guy you really want to see do well.  So when he thinks he sees a way of dealing with his family's financial issues by....bending the rules a little, you know it's all going to go wrong, it's just a question of when and how....and you feel really bad for him, cringing as you watch, waiting for the axe to fall.

This is one of those movies.  High spirited, funny, very smartly written, and then, unexpectedly really touching!  The middle of the film slouches slightly, but by the final act it's picked up again and I found myself really feeling good and happy to have taken a chance on a little film that got NO exposure.  I should also add it is terrific to see Burt Young (Rocky franchise) picking up character work and still delivering the goods.  If you love good indie movies, please check this out.  4/5

Catch it if you like:  Ghost World, Little Miss Sunshine, Whip It

Saturday, 10 March 2012

THIS WEEK: A Tale Of Two Sisters/Dark Corners/The Living and The Dead/Warrior

So because the cinema this week was pretty poor and I didn't see anything, I stuck to some home-viewing.  The following can all be found to rent, if any take your interest.


Apparently inspired by Korean folklore, this is a twisted little beauty of a horror.  No doubt more terrifying for some than others, it at least makes a tremendous effort to suck you in and put you right on edge.  To detail the story is to spoil the twists and turns the film takes you on; part of its allure is the smart way it sets you up to think you're going this way, and then turns in on itself and confounds your expectations....numerous times.  You think you have the film pegged, but you don't.  At no point until the very final moments are you fully sure you understand what has happened, and even then, after just one watch, it can still seem confusing.  My only real criticism is in fact that his desire to keep you guessing means that he turns the final act into perhaps a bit too much of a puzzle that drags on just a little too long, but I don't think that is enough to damage your enjoyment.  The nature of the storytelling, and the use of sound to create one hell of an unsettling atmosphere makes it well worth your time; whether you choose to go back and watch it again to make more sense of it is down to you.  If you think you're going to get something like The Grudge or The Ring, don't be fooled, this is a very different animal, working in a very different way.  I guarantee that if you go with it, you will find at least one scene that will rattle your nerves in here.  4/5

Catch it if you like: Ju-On, Ringu, The Eye


The good comes in the form of a reasonable effort to lay out a mystery in a way that doesn't spoonfeed the audience, and the lead Thora Birch, doing her absolute best with these women.  Yes, women, will make sense if you choose to watch it.  It is described as a "bloody puzzle", and takes its cues from David Lynch.  Therein is the problem, if you have seen any of Lynch's most surreal work, you have already seen this sort of thing done better.  He has never dealt with this idea, but the techniques here used to create the proverbial rabbit hole, keeping you intrigued and guessing, are all tried and tested by him, and here, thanks to some bad performances and a delivery that really brings to mind the later Nightmare On Elm Street movies, they just look amateur.  Ironicially, here we have a tale that does actually tie up more concisely than any of Lynch's work, and yet it just isn't as polished and masterful.  It's a shame, becase in here somewhere is a neat little thriller trying to get out.  Sadly, I just felt it drag and was glad when the credits rolled.  2/5



Dismiss any first impression of a film about zombies or monsters; this is a fairly unsettling story concerning a mentally ill young man, who is left to take care of his mother while his father, a Lord, deals with business away, unaware that the nurse who is supposed to be taking care of his wife is locked out of the house.  Whilst not wholly successful, and certainly an idea that could have been better-executed in somebody else's hands, this is nevertheless a film you don't feel you can switch off; you have to see the end, despite it possibly not being completely satisfying.  A lot of the credit must go to the cast, notably Roger Lloyd-Pack, who very quickly quashes any expectation of comic delivery more akin to his character Trigger from TV's Only Fools And Horses, and Kate Fahy, also most commonly seen on TV, is the ill mother.  Then there is Leo Bill, who gives an astonishing performance as the son; he is that actor you know you should know, but you can't place.  After graduating from R.A.D.A in 2001, he has popped up in various roles we will have all allowed to blindside us, to our shame: 28 Days Later, Kinky Boots, Becoming Jane, Me And Orson Welles, Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Alice In Wonderland, and from TV, Midsomer Murders, Spooks, Messiah, Silent Witness, Ashes To Ashes and Doctor Who.  No wonder I recognised him :/

Another film with a lot of nods to Lynch again, as well as many moments that would not be out of place in a Darren Aronofsky film, whilst not being as good as either, this is still worth a shot.  3/5

Catch it if you like:  Requiem For A Dream, Trauma.  


 A film that many, myself included, agree is an overwhelmingly powerful family drama, very well disguised as a typical, predictable sports movie about MMA wrestling. Yes it adheres to some cliches and "movie moments", but superb, heartbreaking performances from Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte (legend), complexities of characters that make them far more realistic than those you will find in other films like this, and well-executed violence make this a hugely underrated film of 2011.  If you think you've seen it all before, this is definitely for you.  You will be moved.  4/5

See it if you like:  Hard to say.  How about, Nick Nolte surprisingly at the top of his game, or Tom Hardy practicing for Bane this year.  Just see this!

Monday, 5 March 2012

If I Ran the BBFC....

So it turns out the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) do, contrary to my understanding, take themes and tone into account when passing movies at a particular audience age certificate.  Please feel free to take a peek for yourself, should you feel so inclined, at  The point being that to pass a film at a certain age category, the film must actually adhere to guidelines with regard to that particular certificate in as far as its theme and tone, as well as its visual content.  So as you will see, clearly abusive, course language used regularly in a film involving race relations, which depicts lessons learned and takes a clear stance against racist abuse, such as This Is England, may be passed as a 15; this is as long as any other content does not restrict the film to a higher rating.  If a film with the same content and abusive courseness is depicted without such a stance against it, it is more likely to be restricted to the 18 certificate.  These more specific guides are in place for many topics, such as sexual content, drugs and violence, but also the tone as well.  In other words, if a work's overall tone is considered to be out of line with a particular certificate, it may be restricted higher, despite the fact that no actual content of the film is out of line with the guidelines.  Make sense?  If not, an example might be a children's horror; the film contains little strong language, no drugs or tough violence, and in this respect may seem suitable for a young audience, but the film's tendency to linger too much on the more frightening elements may still cause the BBFC to request cuts to ensure the less restrictive certificate be passed.

Why do I bring this up?  Well when I look back at the films I have seen over recent years, as much as I appreciate what the BBFC do, and fully support all efforts to ensure the correct audience are allowed to see certain work, two things concern me.  The first of these is the British certificates themselves.  I think we have it all wrong.  Let me break it down and explain my qualms:

U - Okay, I think we're looking good on this one, right?  It makes sense and is pretty unarguable.  If there is no content that would upset anyone in any way, it's a U.

My solution: Keep this.

PG - What does it mean?  Yeh I know 'Parental Guidance', but look at the guideline to it.  Effectively it is saying everyone can see the film, but your child might be upset by some things if they are "sensitive".  Sensitive to what?  Basically if it's a PG, you should (not must, just should) accompany your child or check the film first, but many parents won't bother with this nowadays; it leaves a nice crack for many kids to get to see something they should possibly not, because cinema staff can't really enforce anything.

My solution: Introduce the PG-13.  In other words, if you appear to be younger than thirteen you MUST be accompanied by an adult, or you do not get a ticket.  And when the film comes out to buy?  Same thing applies, ID for those who may not yet be a teenager.

12A - This applies only to cinema releases, and is just saying that if your child is under 12, you take responsibility as the accompanying adult for their exposure to the movie.  Essentially, we're not going to tell you why exactly, but your child might not be ready for this; take them at your own risk??  Stupid.  Nobody reads that notice about it being the adults' responsibility, and then we get people complaining when they think their child will have nightmares, or has seen content they did not expect to be in a 12A.  It's an ambiguous certificate that simply allows a lot of films to be used as a babysitting service.  It is also the certificate where I think errors can be most easily made, and this is where the aforementioned tone and themes issue comes into play.  Too often the studio will push for it, and it seems the BBFC buckle, awarding it because there really isn't any real reason not to.  Except I think there is a reason not to.  Too common were the stories of the upset parent because they weren't expecting The Dark Knight to be quite so intense, Indiana Jones with its supposed glorification of knives, and many others.  Have you seen The Woman In Black?  What parent would take their child to see that film?  There surely comes a point where, as is stated on the BBFC site, tone and theme come into play?  More and more film certifications, to my way of thinking, seem to be betraying that.

12 - If you're under twelve, you can't see the film.  This makes a whole lot more sense; it is nice and clear, alhough 12 itself is, I feel, an odd age to set it at.  Thing is, it only applies to video releases; in other words after it leaves the cinema, where too many people under twelve got to see it with their lazy parents when it was a 12A!  For fuck's sake.

My solution:  Scrap all this 12 nonsense, it's a weird age to have it set at; they're not even a teenager yet, and it will cut down on the babysitting stuff.  The PG-13 deals nicely with those films that straddle the awkward line between "suitable for all" and "just a little too grown up for a young child", and for the next step up, we have the 13.  It's fairly simple, if you are under 13, you can't see it because of the darker, sexier or violent ideas it contains that we know your parents don't want you to be exposed to just yet.  What about the 11 and 12 year olds who aren't satisfied with having to see some films with their parents and want something a bit more grown up?  Wait a year!  Many of us had to, and it didn't do us any harm.  When it is released to buy, keep the certificate it had at the cinema; the rule doesn't change, you still have to be 13 or older to buy it!

15 - What's with this magical age of 15 in this country?  It's such an odd choice to make this point in the young person's development the one where they are suddenly okay to see significantly more scary, violent, drug-oreintated and sexual material.  The last point in particular confuses me; in this country you have to be 16 to be sexually active legally anyway.

My solution: Scrap 15, make it 16 with the same strict rules.

18 - Makes total sense.

Finally, re-introduce the X idea, strictly adults only.  We should still be able to go to the cinema and see strictly adult content, when something is simply too extreme, even for the 18.  With the X, you must be 21 to view or purhcase the movie. 

The second thing that bugs me is the general lack of enforcement.   Too often you can see clearly underage people, without guardian (you can usually spot them because they are on their phone).  Cinema staff are the last, and often only barrier between the audience and a film featuring content and themes not intended for them.  This is a shame, because it is quite an indictment on so many irrespondible parents who simply don't bother with the upbringing of their spawn, but it makes it all the more important for staff to be vigilant.  I'm sure there are plenty trying to adhere to the law, but it frustrates me that the regulation on it is not tougher.  I am sure there are penalties for the cinema and its staff for not idenitifying younger audience members, but it is important we see it actively in place.  When I go to a store and see a child denied the purchase of a 15, only to then see his mum get it for him successfully, I have to wonder what is going on?  Putting money over responsibility and the law that protects young people is no excuse.