What would it have been like growing up living in the shadow of Bono and U2? Well Neil McCormick, author of Killing Bono: I was Bono’s Doppelganger knows exactly what that feels like. And his book turned out to be quite a good movie based on his experiences. With a huge interest in seeing Robert Sheehan in a role other than Misfits, I sat down to check out Killing Bono. In an odd turn of events, this is one of those films of one-upsmanship. I find McCormick’s character to be intriguing and tragic, especially with his circumstances and the adversity he faces. So let’s blast out to some U2… and Shook Up.
In the late 70’s, Paul Hewson, soon to be known as Bono (Martin McCann) and his friend David Evans (The Edge) would form a band that would sweep the world, in a similar fashion to The Beatles. Neil McCormick’s brother Ivan (Robert Sheehan) was recruited at first by Bono, but it was Neil’s (Ben Barnes) decision to keep him from the band. Holding this secret inside, Neil will do anything in his power to beat Bono and his fast rising star. With travels to England, a few
A little bit of Martin McCann as Bono.
relationships, and some fiddling around with record producers, It is up to Neil to prove to his brother and everyone that his mistakes were made for a reason.
And it’s a long journey from the bottom to the top (or as close as it gets). This movie has some twists and turns (on a downward spiral), and leaves you realizing that it doesn’t matter if Neil succeeds, it is up to him to do what he thinks is best for himself, and realize he cannot choose for others. He can only be as good as he himself can be. Now there’s a bit of some moral wisdom to dish out at the end of a film.
A little taste of the McCormick brothers!
I had only seen Ben Barnes in a few things before he burst onto the scene in this film. Stardust and Prince Caspian in the Narnia series to name the few. But this is one of those out there roles for Barnes. He’s all over the place, he’s ecstatic, he’s cocky and ready to roll at any moment. This is a hard role to pull off if you don’t have the personality for it, but Barnes does a good job of it. I wouldn’t have minded to see Robert Sheehan in the pivotal role, but this was all good all the same.
But my what a young actor Robert Sheehan is turning into in the world of movies. First there’s his strange appearance in Nic Cage’s Season of the Witch, and then followed by this movie? Soon he’ll make a name for himself as a period piece actor in the American film world. And I hope his unforgiving comedy will be able to come across the “big pond” in order to become a mainstay in America. I see big things for this young star, and I wish him the best.
Pete the ridiculous record exec.
It is rather unfortunate that this is Pete Postlethwaite’s last performance before his death. This actor who I will always remember as the whimsical man who gave James the seeds that would send him on his journey in James and the Giant Peach. In this film, he’s a bit of a different character. Pete plays a garishly homosexual landlord with a penchant for large parties. Helping Neil and Ivan along the way in London, it is Pete who brings together Gloria (Krysten Ritter) and Neil as Karl, Gay Landlord Extraordinaire.
That’s some great hair there, Robert.
And you can’t forget Peter Serafinowicz as Hammond, the ridiculous record producer. First he was Pete, the dick roommate in Shaun of the Dead, but he has gone on to do some great T.V. work Look Around You and various other writing and starring in British television. He was the voice of Darth Maul for god sakes! What an accomplishment! This strangely wonderful man is just the kind of quirky actor this film needed.
Oh, and we have to talk about the soundtrack! This movie didn’t directly feature any U2 tracks, this features all original (or did Neil make it?) music for the film, or something or other. And I really enjoyed the music. Ben Barnes had a great musical performance and really captivated what it meant to be a popular band in the 1980’s. Couple this with a combo of darkish humor and drama, and you have a film about triumph and revenge. I’d give this film a watch for any U2 fans. 6.9 out of 10.
Let’s get some dark eyeliner on and hit up this club.
1 Comment | tags: 1970's, 1980's, adversity, all original music, all over the place, American film, author, bands, based on the book, Ben Barnes, big pond, Bono, British television, cocky, darkish humor, David Evans, death, dick roommate, dick roommate, downward spiral, drama, ecstatic, England, final performance, Gloria, great musical performance, great soundtrack, Hammond, homosexual, intriguing, Ivan McCormick, James, James and the Giant Peach, Karl, Killing Bono, Killing Bono: I was Bono's Doppelganger, Krysten Ritter, landlord, large parties, living in the shadow, Look Around You, make a name for himself, Martin McCann, Misfits, moral wisdom, Narnia series, Neil McCormick, Nic Cage, not literal, odd turn of events, one-upsmanship, Paul Hewson, period piece actor, Pete, Pete, Pete Postlethwaite, Peter Serafinowicz, Prince Caspian, quirky actor, ready to roll, record producers, revenge, rising star, Robert Sheehan, Season of the Witch, secrets, Shaun of the Dead, Shook Up, Stardust, The Beatles, The Edge, tragic, triumph, twists and turns, U2, U2 tracks, unforgiving comedy, voice of Darth Maul, whimsical man, writing and directing, young star | posted in Movies
I'm liking this.
In the same vein as Black Death and watched only a few nights afterwards, I came to the realization as to why this movie didn’t work for me. It’s not Nic Cage or Ron Pearlman. It’s not the lackluster accents put on by the cast. It’s not the Rock ‘n’ Roll ahead approach to the plot. It’s the fact that I didn’t feel that any of these actors were ever meant to or destined to star in period pieces. As in Black Death, Sean Bean was specifically bred and born to play the role of a Medieval knight. In Nic Cage’s case, I’m not at all positive. Sure, Ron Pearlman has wielded a sword in In the Name of a King (come to think of it, even Jason Statham can’t play an English peasant…) but Pearlman’s body size is really only perfect for Hellboy and Blade II.
And, in this manner, I was removed from fully immersing myself and enjoying the plot presented in Season of the Witch. (Original title idea for Scorsese’s
Do you believe this wench to be a witch?
Mean Streets.) I had to watch this though. My goal in life is to watch the entire career of Nicholas Cage in full. All the way from Fast Times at Ridgemont High down to Ghost Rider 5 (I hope…). I’ll take all the good (The Cage Renaissance) all the way down to his money problems (National Treasure and onwards… for now…). Seeing as this Medieval film really fits this quota, let’s dissect it.
Nic Cage and his flowing locks of sultry power.
So Behmen (Nicholas Cage) and Felson (Ron Pearlman) are two ex-crusaders. And to say that, I mean that after many wars, these two decided all the killing wasn’t worth it anymore. And I gotta say, some pretty pimp-ass helmets as well. They look like cauldrons. Whatever floats your boat. So these two ruffians hustle it back to Germany just in time to find that the Black Plague has hit Europe. (Actually accurate that a lot of Crusaders missed that bit in history.) Discovered in some barn area that they are wanted by the Church, these two duel for a quick second and then are whisked off to meet with Cardinal D’Ambroise (Christopher Lee).
Haggard as ever and possessed by the plague, the Cardinal orders these two men to escort a suspected witch to a hidden monk’s shindig house in order to LIFT THE ENTIRE CURSE OF THE BLACK PLAGUE. All because of one girl?
Unlikely… But that’s beside the point. So the two agree to avoid jail/death, and they assemble their Super Squad. First up we got Debelzeq (Stephen Campbell Moore). This is pronounced De-ball-sack. Unfortunate, but an actual name. One of the more believable period piece actors, Moore brings a bit of the clergy to the screen. There’s Eckhart (Ulrich Thomsen), the soft-spoken man with a heart of gold. He obviously can’t last. And there’s Hagamar the thief (Stephen Graham). He’s really not worth mentioning.
Robert Sheehan, the last bastion of hope in this film.
And then there’s the star of the show. Young altar boy turned knight, Kay von Wollenbarth (Robert Sheehan). This new up and coming actor stars in one of my favorite shows in the U.K., Misfits. This show (which will be reviewed soon) is a wonderful breakout role for Sheehan, and he has proved his mettle since then in Killing Bono and Red Riding. He’s really not given a chance to shine in this film with the limited script, but you’d barely recognize him. If only his Irish accent could flow from those lips in every film.
So, on this whirlwind roller coaster adventure, in every twist and turn, lives are at stake. Is Anna (Claire Foy) truly a witch? Or something more? Will Behmen and Felson survive? Only watching this movie from start to finish in hopefully one sitting will tell…
There’s really not much to say about anything else in this film, so I’ll summarize. The acting is a period piece, without a sense of the period. English accents failed to veil whatever was going on at the time. If those were even accents… I love the Cage, but when you want some Cage action, you expect a bit better from him. This one was toned down and I commend him for that action, but some more terror and mania was necessary. This supernatural film came across as realistic at first, and moved towards the CGI graphics and buffoonery towards the end. It seemed as if the movie was going in two different directions from start to finish. I don’t blame the actors or what was attempted onscreen, I would say the flaws started from the writing/pre-production phase. So, cast and crew of Season of the Witch, you gave it your all, but you let Nicholas Cage down. And for that, the Cage vehicle of dastardly deeds gets a measly 3.3 out of 10.
This haggardly crew must fight the witch in this touching film of evil.
3 Comments | tags: altar boy, Anna, bad writing, Behmen, Black Death, Black Plague, Blade 2, born to play a knight, breakout role, Cage action, Cardinal D'Ambroise, cast and crew, cauldrons, CGi graphics, Christopher Lee, Church, Claire Foy, Crusaders, Debelzeq, didn't work, Eckhart, English peasant, Europe, ex-crusaders, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Felson, flaws, Germany, Ghost Rider series, Hagamar, Hellboy, hidden monks, In the Name of the King, innocent girl, Irish accent, Jason Statham, Kay von Wollenbarth, Killing Bono, lackluster accents, limited script, lives at stake, lots of killing, Mean Streets, Medieval, Medieval film, Misfits, money problems, most believable period piece actor, National Treasure, Nicholas Cage, Nicholas Cage career, not a period piece, not much to say, pimp helmets, pre-production, Red Riding, removed from the film, Robert Sheehan, roller coaster adventure, Ron Pearlman, rushed plot, Scorsese, Sean Bean, Season of the Witch, star of the show, Stephen Campbell Moore, Stephen Graham, Super Squad, supernatural film, terror and mania, The Cage Renaissance, thief, toned down, turned knight, two different directions, UK, Ulrich Thomsen, up and coming actor, wars, witches | posted in Movies