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Been a bit silent on the blog front lately mainly because there hasn't been a lot to talk about. The cinemas have mainly been full of Avengers, Men in Black 3, Snow White and Prometheus, with Ice Age 4 coming along to clean up after them.

Lesser known new films have struggled to survive. Friends with Kids was ripped to shreds by critics and ignored by the public. Your Sister's Sister died a death (my theory here is that the poster – featuring two women and a man, one of the women wearing a knitted hat – looked just like Never Let Me Go, and is anyway a very dull poster. So, bad ad campaign).  Rock of Ages seemed as if it might be a big hit, but maybe there just aren't enough film fans who love big hair and bad music. Abraham Lincoln was a brief flash in the pan, and no one had ever heard of Storage 24 (they still haven't). Who ever thought that was a good title for a movie?

Meanwhile, almost unnoticed, Ken Loach's Angel's Share has picked up £1.4 million, which is pretty good at a time when football, tennis, Jubilee and impending Olympics are taking up so much attention.

What about America, where none of the aforementioned have had any impact? No 1 is currently Ted, starring Mark Wahlberg and a teddy bear with a dirty mouth and a filthier mind. The trailer looks funny, if – like me – you're easily amused by that kind of thing. And at No 2, there's a film about male strippers called Magic Mike, starring the newly renascent Mathew McConoughey (see also Killer Joe). And it is directed by Stevn Soderbergh. Yes, the one that made Haywire not very long ago, and Contagion just before that. And 3 Oceans 11 films, 2 films about Che, and a remake of Solaris. The very prolific, talented, speedy and imaginative Steven Soderbergh, who has made about 17 feature films since 2000, plus a few other things, and has 2 more films coming next year. The perfect riposte to the Stanley Kubricks and Terence Malicks of this world. Both films – Ted and Magic Like – have had good reviews, and I look forward to seeing them here soon.

The death of Nora Ephron at 71 brought forth a whole slew of affectionate and funny articles about her, and while I was never a huge fan of Sleepless in Seattle, and You've Got Mail, and although Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal were an improbable and unsexy couple in When Harry Met Sally, she was a witty woman who did very well in a world which is as dominated by men as it ever was.

Eric Sykes doesn't quite qualify as a film star, and his name will mean nothing in America, but he was the last of that generation which included Peter Sellers, Sid James and Tony Hancock, and seemed as though he was a lot nicer than all three of them out together.

We will now be hit by a succession of cinema tsunamis (try saying that over and over very quickly), starting with Spiderman, which previewed this week, and which I think is a really nice romcom with added special effects; then Batman in 2 weeks, which will drown the opposition for millennia to come. But will hopefully be worth watching.  The next serious competition won't come till mid-August with the new Bourne film and the new Pixar film, and I guess I should mention Expendables 2.

Gossip? Well, the world knows that Tom Cruise is being divorced by Katie Holmes who also wants custody of their daughter, which suggests a whole sub-text about Scientology, and with Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master coming soon, The Church of Barminess may be in for a hammering.

Which would be a terrible shame.

By Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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