Friday, 8 November 2013

Tank Top Movies UK Road Trip

Welcome to Tank Top Movies UK Road Trip. Haven’t got the time or money to pack up the car and get roaming around the UK? Well, no worries, allow us to give you the tour of Great Britain, one movie at a time. We’re going to start off in London and work our way round the UK, stopping off to check out films showcasing various UK locales and cities. Every film mentioned in this blog is available on various on-demand services - just head over to Tank Top Movies to find out where best for you.

Don’t hesitate to let us know what movies you would have picked for your UK road trip. In fact, scroll to the bottom and you will find an editable map to add your own favourite movies - let's crowdsource a comprehensive guide. Let’s get this show on the road!

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)- Unsurprisingly, London is the most common location for films set in the UK. We’ve gone with this Guy Ritchie classic, but honestly the wealth of candidates is overwhelming: A Clockwatch Orange, Harry Brown, Attack of the Block… I’m sure you have your own favourite. If you haven’t checked out Lock Stock however, you’re in for a treat. British Gangster films don’t get any better.

A Canterbury Tale (1944)- In stark contrast to London- the amount of films set in Kent is quite sparse. Nevertheless, A Canterbury Tale is a fine piece of wartime film making. Kent lives up to its garden of England tagline- with plenty of countryside on view, alongside the bombed ruins of parts of Canterbury. The film is an enjoyable light mix between Chaucer’s famous work and war time propaganda.

Brighton Rock (1947)- A no brainer for the list. Brighton Rock is a classic piece of British thriller film making and perhaps Richard Attenborough’s most famous role as the gangster ‘Pinkie’. The amount of films set in Brighton are few and far between, but Brighton Rock itself did get a remake in 2010- my advice: stick to the original

The Witches (1990)- This Roald Dahl adaptation set primarily in Cornwall is a thoroughly charming and imaginative children’s film. The Witches sadly happens to be the last film the great film maker and puppeteer Jim Henson ever worked on.

Starter for 10 (2006)- James’ McAvoy stars in this sweet hearted film about a young man’s adventure into the world of university life at Bristol in the 80’s. The plot revolves around his tryouts for the University Challenge team and keep an eye out for an early role for, now world famous, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Hot Fuzz (2007)- While actually set in the fictional Sanford, Hot Fuzz gives us a hugely entertaining vision of a Gloucestershire village. Edgar Wright’s second film in his Cornetto trilogy is a laugh a minute, action packed buddy cop adventure. There is also a blink and you will miss it, extremely brief cameo by Peter Jackson, as a criminal Santa Claus.

Submarine (2010)- Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut film is a fantastically original and offbeat coming of age comedy. It has a great soundtrack and top performances all round. This one went a bit under the radar but is certainly worth a viewing

Control (2007)- Control is a biographical film about Ian Curtis, lead singer of the band Joy Division. The film's focus is on Curtis’ marriage, the band's formative years and his struggle with epilepsy. New order, the later incarnation of Joy division provided some of the music for the film.

Nowhere Boy (2009)- Liverpool and Manchester have produced some of the UK’s most iconic musicians, so after Control, here is another Biographical film, this time about the biggest success of them all perhaps- John Lennon. We all know how Lennon’s story ended, but Nowhere Boy looks at the troubles in Lennon's late teens and story of how the Beatles came to be.

Withnail and I (1987)- This film about two unemployed actor's trip to the lake district was an amazing film debut for Richard E Grant. Filled with alcohol and substance abuse and plenty of musing about life, the friendship of the two is put to the test. Richard Griffiths portrayal of Withnail’s uncle Monty provides plenty of shenanigans for the duo to deal with.

In the name of Father (1993)- Quite a few movies have been made set in Northern Ireland, most commonly touching on the regions torrid recent past. In the name of the Father is a biographical film about Gerry Conlon, played fantastically by Daniel Day Lewis, who was wrongly accused of the IRA’s Guildford pub bombing.

Trainspotting (1996)- Danny Boyle’s black comedy about the drug culture of Edinburgh is a modern day classic. Ewan McGregor gives a standout performance as Renton in a film full of colourful characters. The American release reportedly required the actors to redub their lines so audiences could grasp their accents.

Billy Elliot (2000)- Stephen Daldry created a modern day musical classic, that has gone on to feature in the West End and Broadway. The story about a boy’s struggle to follow his dancing dreams and the turmoil it causes his family is a great feel good family film. This is another one actually set in a fictional location, Evrington, but clearly somewhere in the North East.

Little Voice (1998)- Set in Scarborough, Laura Hoff is a quiet working class girl with some major hidden talent. Jane Horrocks provides an amazing vocal performance, mimicking great singers of the past.

This is England (2006)- Shane Meadow’s This is England is a fascinating look at Midlands England in the 1980’s in the time of Thatcher. It explores the culture of skinheads, from music to their issues with nationalism. The film takes place in an unidentified town, but its quite clearly the midlands, and as it’s set by the sea, Grimsby would make sense.

The Full Monty (1997)- The Full Monty tells the story of 6 unemployed mates in Sheffield who decide to raise money by forming a male stripper group. This small time British film turned out to be quite the profitable international hit. The six lead cast members did in fact perform a 'full monty' in front of a cast of 400 extras.

Robin Hood (1938)- England’s greatest folk hero. Errol Flynn has to be the quintessential Robin Hood in a film scattered with numerous memorable scenes and moments. Hood’s showdown fight with sir Guy of Gisborne has to be one of the greatest sword fights in movie history.

Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009)- James Corden and Mathew Horne off the back of their success with Gavin and Stacey take their comedy duo talent to the big screen. It’s a goofy horror comedy set in the countryside of Norfolk. To be honest, this is by far the worst film in the list. It’s just films set in the east of England are rare to non-existent. Thankfully, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is on its way to remedy the situation- it’s not available anywhere on-demand just yet though.

Chariots of Fire (1981)- From the worst film on our list, to probably one of the best. Chariots of Fire is a historical drama about two British track athletes and their journey to compete at the 1924 Olympics. One of Britain's best, even winning an Oscar for best picture. The film is not set exclusively in Cambridge, but it's opening sequences take place at the famous University.

Cemetery Junction (2010)- Ricky Gervais directs and plays a small part in this coming of age film, set in his home town of Reading. It tells the story of Freddie and his friends formative years and life decisions.

So that concludes our road trip of the UK. Limiting ourselves to only one film for every location meant we missed out on a lot of great British films. Let us know which ones you would have included and any good films that represent parts of the UK we didn't get to!

Here's a google map you can edit too - together let's make a comprehensive guide. To edit it, click on the full screen button in the top right and then get adding your own movies using the marker tool.

by Matthew Taylor