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Friday, September 7, 2012
With great weather predicted, but autumn on the way, this could be the last sunny weekend of the summer. So, whether you’re out in the countryside or heading for an entertainment venue, here’s our suggested list of ways to make sure you take full advantage.
Family days out:
The biggest show on the road this weekend is the return of the Tour of Britain cycle race.
Cheer on national cycling hero Bradley Wiggins as he bids to add the title to his incredible 2012 double of the Tour de France and Olympic gold. The first stage takes place on Sunday, starting at Ipswich Waterfront at 10am, reaching Reydon/Southwold around 11.40am, Lowestoft 12.07pm, Great Yarmouth 12.40pm, Potter Heigham 1.06pm, Coltishall 1.26pm, Reepham 1.53pm, Swanton Morley 2.11pm, Dereham 2.15pm and ending at the Norfolk Showground at 2.46pm (where there is also a family fun day).
The flat nature of the stage means it should end in bunch sprint at the Showground making another British cycling hero, sprint specialist Mark Cavendish, a firm favourite to get to the line first.
With British cycling on a huge high after the heroics of Team GB at London 2012, the chance to see both ‘Wiggo’ and ‘Cav’ (not to mention 100 of the world’s other top cyclists) should ensure that last year’s crowds will be even bigger this time round, so make sure you get your place in good time.
Highlights will be on ITV4 at 7pm. The Eastern Daily Press and Evening News will be on hand too, of course, following the action live online.
Gear up for the arrival of the Tour of Britain by getting on your bike and helping to raise funds for your local church during the hugely popular annual Norfolk Churches Trust Bicycle Ride on Saturday. The event has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years to help preserve the county’s legacy of medieval churches. Have fun designing your own route, then cycle, walk or ride round as many churches as you wish from 9am-5pm. The 2011 ride raised more than £120,000. You can download a sponsor form, and a list of all the churches and chapels taking part, from the NCT website. Don’t forget to get your sponsors to Gift Aid their donations too. norfolkchurchestrust.co.uk.
Great Yarmouth’s fifth Out There International Festival of Circus and Street Arts is up and running, with a feast of international street and circus performers to enjoy. The festival, which continues until Sunday, has grown rapidly to be the largest of its kind in the region. Most of the attractions are free, but there is a special ticketed show tonight at 7.30pm when the Hippodrome hosts rock‘n’roll circus Switch, from French circus geniuses Compagnie Bam (£10 (£8 cons), 01493 844172, hippodromecircus.co.uk). Don’t miss Saturday’s spectacular Waterlitz in St Nicholas Car Park at 7.30pm, and The Wheel of Death daredevil show (three shows Saturday and Sunday afternoons in St George’s Park – renamed Festival Park). There’s lots more too – check out the website and programme for details. www.outtherefestival.com.
In the Cinema:
Lawless (18) 5/5
Based on a true story, Lawless knocks back a drink with three brothers who become kings of their close-knit community by running moonshine across the state line.
Set in early 1930s Virginia and adapted from Matt Bondurant’s novel The Wettest County In The World, Nick Cave’s script corrals its fair share of rootin’ tootin’ cliches to a fine bluegrass-tinged soundtrack.
Yet, for its dramatic simplicity, John Hillcoat’s film packs a hefty punch, exploring the bonds of trust that are tested to their limit when the bootleggers are pummelled senseless by the long arm of the law.
In the mountains of Franklin County, local cops turn a blind eye to the illegal activities of Forrest Bondurant (Tom Hardy) and his siblings Howard (Jason Clarke) and Jack (Shia LaBeouf).
The brothers run a successful bar and eke out a comfortable living by trading moonshine, made at secret distilleries maintained by Jack’s disabled pal, Cricket (Dane DeHaan).
The siblings’ business empire threatens to crumble to its foundations when sadistic Special Deputy Charley Rakes (Guy Pearce) arrives from Chicago on a mission to shut down the distilleries at the behest of District Attorney Mason Wardell (Tim Tolin).
“I’m the one who’s going to make your life real difficult from now on if you don’t tow the line, country boy,” Rakes tells Forrest.
However, the eldest Bondurant isn’t threatened and rudely dismisses the big city hotshot.
As young love blossoms between Jack and preacher’s daughter Bertha Minnix (Mia Wasikowska), Rakes sets about dismantling the brothers’ operation from the inside, targeting weak links including dancer Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain), who has recently taken up a position as a waitress at the bar.
The subsequent, blood-spattered feud between the cop and a defiant Forrest - “We don’t lay down for nobody!” - underpins Hillcoat’s gritty Prohibition-era thriller.
Lawless pulls few punches in its depiction of the senseless violence meted out by the two sides. A late-night attack on Forrest is particularly graphic.
Hardy delivers a brooding central performance, maintaining his stoic hard man image around Chastain’s emotionally battered love interest. However, it’s Pearce who scorches every mud- and blood-smeared frame as a obsessive-compulsive bully who hides behind his police badge.
“Have you any idea what a Thompson sub-machine gun does to a mortal,” he giggles to one petrified cop, who believes the Bondurants to be immortal.
The Oscars love a bad guy and a Best Supporting Actor nod might well be Pearce’s reward for this simpering villainy.
Gary Oldman is underused in an eye-catching role as the suave mobster who Jack hopes to emulate.
LaBeouf’s tender romance with Wasikowska sweetens Hillcoat’s bitter pill but don’t expect a happy ever after.
When these varmints stray beyond the point of forgiveness, death is the only absolution.
Review by Damon Smith
Dredd 3D (18) 5/5
If you were thrilled by Gareth Evans’s bone-crunching action romp The Raid back in May, then Pete Travis’s ultra-violent reboot of the 2000AD comic Judge Dredd will induce uneasy feelings of deja vu.
The dramatic set-up - a tower block siege, which can only be resolved by the gung-ho hero working his way to a kingpin’s lair on the top floor - appears to be almost identical.
So too is the script’s insatiable blood lust.
However, while The Raid orchestrated breathtakingly balletic fight sequences that were beautiful in their barbarity, Dredd takes a high-velocity gun to the heads of its nameless victims and splatters their brains across the camera lens.
Travis lingers on the carnage with the introduction of a designer drug called Slo-Mo, which - as the name suggests - reduces the speed of skirmishes to a crawl a la ‘bullet time’ in The Matrix, allowing us to see the trajectory of bullets as they scythe through flesh and explode internal organs with sickening fury.
It’s a blessed far cry from Danny Cannon’s ill-fated, cartoonish 1995 foray into this dystopian future with a chisel-jawed Sylvester Stallone in the title role.
In the near future, America has been reduced to an irradiated wasteland and more than 400 million people are crammed into Mega City One on the eastern seaboard, which is patrolled by law-makers called Judges.
The Chief Judge (Rakie Ayola) asks universally feared Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) to assess rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a mutant with devastating psychic powers.
Reluctantly, Dredd mentors Anderson and they head to the Peach Trees mega-block, home to 60,000 impoverished denizens, to investigate reports of a triple homicide.
The Judges apprehend Kay (Wood Harris) for the murders and using her abilities, Anderson surmises that the suspect is linked to sadistic dealer Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and the supply of Slo-Mo.
Before Dredd and his protegee can interrogate Kay, Ma-Ma locks down Peach Trees and orders the hoodlums and lowlifes in the building to kill the interlopers.
Dredd opens with a frenetic motorcycle pursuit through the streets of Mega City One and director Travis keeps his foot on the accelerator for most of the film.
Urban scowls beneath his helmet, tossing out the occasional one-liner, while Thirlby adds a touch of humanity to the degradation.
Her troubled heroine is the only character with anything that resembles an emotional arc.
Headey chews scenery with obvious relish, defying macho conventions as a powerful woman in the patriarchal mire.
Special effects are solid and Travis acknowledges the 3D by throwing debris and severed limbs at the screen at regular intervals.
Adrenaline-junkies and hardcore fans of the comic should enjoy the unremittingly bleak rush.
Review by Damon Smith
The Sweeney — Ray Winstone and Ben ‘Plan B’ Drew are Regan and Carter in Nick Love’s updating of 1970s TV series which opts for 21st adrenaline fuelled slickness rather than 1970s gritty.
Hope Springs — Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are go for couples counselling in bittersweet comedy from the director of The Devil Wears Prada.
ParaNorman — Animated comedy about a small town that comes under siege by zombies featuring the voices of John Goodman and Casey Affleck.
Premium Rush — More used to dodging cars, a bike messenger with a suspicious package become the target in action-thriller.
Shakuni’s Game of Dice
Norwich Playhouse, September 8, £9 (£7 cons), 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk
The latest show from Natyapriya, the only traditional Indian dance company in Norfolk — whose name is derived from the Sanskrit word for love (‘natya’).
When the handsome Prince Arjuna beats the evil-tempered Duryodhana in a battle for the hand of the beautiful Princess Draupadi, Duryodhana vows to take revenge on his rival’s clan, and asks him devious uncle, Shakuni, to help him with his magic dice.
With the odds stacked against them, the Pandavas lose everything, including Draupadi. At the last minute the god Krishna steps in and temporarily reconciles the feuding clans – although the war is far from over.
Natyapriya was founded in 1996 by Anne Tiburtius, a classically trained Indian dancer and still one of the group’s senior dancers.
Their productions always combine colourful costumes, mesmerising music and authentic Indian dance. Its members specialises in Bharatanatyam, a classic Indian dance form and also the national dance of India. Their shows are always evocative and quite a specacle, so this is one not to miss.
Norwich Playhouse, September 7, 8pm, £13, 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk
Fearsome iconoclast Simon Evans brings his well received Edinburgh show — entitled Friendly Fire — to Norwich on the back of some rave reviews.
Erudite, articulate and supercilious, with trademark sharp tongued ironic wit and devastatingly funny gags, he has appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and is a Radio 4 regular.
It took him 15 years to get around to doing his own touring show last year, so it is perhaps a surprise that he is back with another so soon. However he certainly has had the best training.
He’s collaborated with Jimmy Carr, Sean Lock and Dara O’Briain, supported Lee Mack and appeared on Radio 4’s The News Quiz and The Way It Is.
His association with Lee Mack bgean in stand up competition. When Lee landed joined They Think It’s All Over, he asked Simon to join the writing team.
That sidetracked him into writing but now he’s back doing stand-up in a show that dismantles the lies that comfound us all - from fairytales to post-match analysis.
Circus And Water Spectacular
Yarmouth Hippodrome, until September 18, Mon-Sat 2.30pm (not Fri)/7.30pm, Sun 2.30pm/6.30pm, £19-£13 (£15-£12 cons), £12.50-£10 children, 01493780223, www.hippodromecircus.co.uk
The Yarmouth Hippodrome summer show continues to run tuntil September 18.
Award-winning comedy duo Clive and Danny are back after a four year summer absense to star in the summer spectacular joining host Jack Jay, comedian Mick Potts, Scruffy the loveable rogue dog act, some death defying aerial acts, dancers, special effects and, of course, the water spectacular.
Joining the line-up for the first time is an amazing Egyptian themed high bars act from the Ukraine and Russia the Leon Troupe, also on his first visit to the Hippodrome from Moldavia incredible artiste Yuri performs his unique acrobatic act.
From Romania come the crazy high wire antics of the Cristea Family even riding a bike across the high wire with someone standing on the rider’s shoulders, and Aurel and Denisa perform a daring and original aerial number high in the roof, together with eight Estelle Clifton dancers, the Jan Baines swimmers and acrobats
BBC Music Video Festival, which runs from September 10-29
Music videos have come a long way since Video Killed The Radio Star by Buggles became the first song ever played on MTV in 1981.
From multi-award winning extravaganzas like Sledgehammer — which saw Peter Gabriel lying still under a sheet of glass for 16 hours while plasticine modellers got to work — to simple but hugely effective videos like that for Johnny Cash’s Hurt, it’s an art form that has spawned a whole industry.
And where once the video was only possible for high profile acts whose record labels were willing to stump up the substantial budget required, the advent of cheap cameras, home editing technology and a ready outlet on the likes of YouTube mean it is now in the hands of any band.
Arguably the only barrier stopping any band from producing a memorable video — from established artists to the most humble local act — is there own imagination.
That’s the message that will be heard loud and proud at this year’s BBC Music Video Festival, which is organised in Norwich and aims to enthuse both artists and the general public. It is an opportunity for film-makers and musicians will get their work seen and heard by thousands of people.
The festival takes submissions from anyone in the world, and will showing some fresh foreign talent alongside some of the breakthrough videos. But there will be plenty of local talent too and they will get some valuable national exposure too as selected videos will be shown on the BBC’s Big Screens in 22 towns and cities all over the UK throughout September, October and November. “Music video really has come into its own in last 15 years,” said festival producer Sam Hill. “Close to being a dying medium at one point, it’s risen phoenix-like across the internet. For lots of us, YouTube and Vimeo have become crucial ways to listen to music, and marvellous opportunities to see some of the most creative, distinctive and talented film-making today.”
The BBC Music Video Festival, which runs from September 10-29, has sorted through hundreds of submissions to bring us the best, the most innovative and most distinctive. “We can’t show you everything, but we can show you some of the year’s best music videos from all over the world,” said Sam.
Videos will be shown daily on the Fusion screen at the Forum — the largest HD screen in Europe. Videos include international talent like the Fleet Foxes (pictured top), to local bands like Crystal Bats and Olympians.
“Also, this year we’re showcasing the fan-films, documentaries, road trips and passion-driven movies that give us unique insights into individual scenes and different towns,” said Sam. “We’ve got films about specific scenes in Bristol and Leeds and ones that uncover hidden underground movements. From dubstep to death metal, we’re aiming to show the expanding relationship between film and music.”
■ Catch some of the best videos to be featured at: vimeo.com/bbcmusicvideofestival