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Boytown

Benny G (Glenn Robbins), former member of hit pop group Boytown, wants to re-form the act.  Determined to recapture the glory days of the past and his musical mojo, he enlists the other four members, including Tommy Boy (Mick Molloy).  When their re-ignited musical foray doesn’t go as planned, they change tactics by writing songs for their own age group, with such classy titles as ‘Cellulite Lady’.  Followed by a documentary crew, the egos and past mistakes all come together to create a musical re-unification that could fall apart at any moment.
The pop music genre has been a blessing/curse for the modern music staple, creating catchy songs along with disposable personalities.  The cycle of pop is finite, as when one generation of fans grow up, their younger peers search for new musical heroes and discard former music idols.  Boytown shows what happens to unwanted groups, and how they try to remain ‘relevant’ in today’s world.  Whilst the idea of crafting a comedy about this subject is a good one, the script doesn’t follow through on its promise.
Mick Molloy and his brother wrote the screenplay, which only occasionally raises a knowing smirk.  The difficulty in parodying something that is already a joke is clear to see with endless video clips parodying the dance moves of such groups not helping. The crutch of the story is there, but there isn’t anything for the actors to grab onto.  The one joke idea runs out of steam after the first thirty minutes.  The brief running time is evidence that more should have been put in the script to expand the characters, bringing out their quirky personalties which may have led to more comedic possibilities.
The actors all gamely do their best with their sketchy roles, with only Glenn Robbins standing out from the group.  Lachy Hulme as the sleazy record producer is the best thing about the film that comes to life whenever he appears.  Victoria Hill appearing as a South American pop diva also creates much needed chutzpah.  It’s a shame that even with such fine comedy pedigrees of the leads, the film wasn’t as biting as it should have been.  It appears that in his quest to reach to the broadest possible audience, Molloy has smoothed his satirical bite, only landing pillow punches to his targets.
Boytown is moderately amusing without being hilarious.  The savage comedy that each of the leads are known for isn’t found here, with the cheap budget also downgrading any potential the film may have had.  This is a very disappointing film coming from a group who have produced a toothless tiger of a satire.
Rating out of 10:   3

Children of Men

Based on a P.D. James novel, Children of Men chronicles a future where children haven’t been born for 18 years.  This has led to a breakdown in the social order with Britain a totalitarian state.  Theo (Clive Owen) is enlisted by former girlfriend Julian (Julianne Moore) to escort a woman to the border - one who has become pregnant and holds the key to the future survival of earth.  Awakening Theo’s spirit, he learns to rely on his wits against an armada of armoury and deception to ensure her safety.
This futuristic thriller portrays a frightening world where refugees are turned away with self preservation being paramount.  The government uses fear as a tool to control its citizens, which is similar to that being used by certain current regimes.  The potential of a new child being born leads some characters to betray their ideals ensuring the flame of hope is extinguished, so that its citizens lose the will to fight back.  The society with nothing to lose has no future, but with the arrival of a child, it has everything to gain.
The screenplay effectively delivers its powerful messages, with the gritty cinema style successfully creating the bleak world in which the protagonists live.  At times the script does seem stretched out, however, with some scenes unnecessarily extended.  Some character’s motivations are never made clear which whilst it does lend it an enigmatic quality, doesn’t serve the film as well as it should.  The first half of the film is excellent, where the tension is palatable, but towards the end things become unstuck where what was needed was a more rounded conclusion. 
The casting in the film is first rate with fine performances.  Clive Owen impresses as a man who is as aimless as the next person, but finds purpose in his new assignment.  Michael Caine appears as Theo’s hippy friend, dispensing new age advice while smoking the heavy joints.  Caine shows his acting prowess and almost steals the film.  The rest of the cast do well, enjoying their mysterious and multi-dimensional roles.
This is a thought provoking, interesting thriller that makes use of its remote location.  The action scenes burst frenzied energy, with quieter moments lingering long in the memory.  The set design stands out by showing a possible future that isn’t in the realms of impossibility.  Whilst the tension isn’t maintained through to the end, the film does serve as a potent reminder as to where the world may be heading.
Rating out of 10:  7