Fraternising with the enemy

Saturday February 12th 2011

Charles Gant at Heat Magazine once referred to Ultra Culture as the ‘punk rock of movie blogs’ and I think you’ll agree it’s a fitting description. I mean, come on, what’s more punk than photoshopping sarcastic captions over pictures of James Bond and calling Yogi Bear a cunt? Nothing, that’s what.

However, for the sake of balance, I do like to align myself with the hopelessly conventional souls of ‘mainstream criticism’ every once in a while, just to make sure my title as the Sid Vicious of the blogosphere isn’t being threatened. With that in mind, I trotted off to the BFI Southbank on Thursday night for the 31st London Critics’ Circle Film Awards, otherwise known as Not The Baftas.

The place was absolutely rammed with the UK’s critical elite: Peter Bradshaw, Robbie Collin, Jason Solomons, the list goes on. Thank God a bomb didn’t go off or movie posters across the British Isles would’ve been left entirely devoid of stars. In fact, such was the calibre of attendance that at one point I was heard to remark (in my inimitably droll manner) that we would soon reach ‘critical mass’. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that it went over very, very well.

Moët were once again a main sponsor, so the place was absolutely flooded with miniature champagne bottles. Here’s a picture of Kim Newman holding one:

Thanks for that, Kim.

We made sure to stockpile a fair few before the 2hr+ ceremony began. And begin it finally did at about 8pm, with a little help from an extended montage of clips from the nominated films. Among them, absolute stinker Barney’s Version, presented in a mindlessly inaccurate aspect ratio. I didn’t even know it was possible for Paul Giamatti to get any wider. AM I RIGHT? AM I RIGHT?

It turned out to be a remarkably bouncy affair, with host Jason Solomons doing top notch work alongside a range of notable critics. Even the celebrity quotient was pretty high, with Aaron Sorkin, Colin Firth and Lesley Manville delivering some of the night’s best acceptance speeches.

Here’s a photo I took of Firth:

It’s easy to see why I won that Blog of the Year award.

Rounding off the show with a special award for Kristen Scott Thomas, the drinking then continued at the BFI’s riverside bar. Obviously, critics were scrambling over one another to get at the ‘talent’, most of whom sensibly headed off pretty early. And when we eventually did the same, we were treated to what I can only describe as A Very Good Goodie Bag. Peep this:

If anyone wants a copy of The Disappearance of Alice Creed, just let me know.