Today's Joanna Page

Today’s Joanna Page: Bye Bye Harry

 

Today’s Joanna Page is Bye Bye Harry, a British road movie released in 2006, of which she was the star, and that you will never have seen. Ever. Until now.

We’ve been jumping all over the place chronologically, here, so let’s recap the inexorable career rise of Ms Joanna Page. After leaving RADA in 1999, she went straight to the National Theatre for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. She continued to do well in the theatre, with roles in a series of medieval mystery plays, The Mysteries, As You Like It, What the Butler Saw, Aladdin, Doomsday, Camera Obscura, and Billy Liar (with Ralph Little), among others.

The world of film beckoned, too, with bit parts in Miss Julie and This Year’s Love, and larger parts in From Hell, Very Annie Mary, Love Actually, and Gideon’s Daughter.

And on tele, there were important roles in David Copperfield, The Cazalets, The Lost World, Ready When You Are Mr McGill, Making Waves, Mine All Mine and To The Ends of the Earth. She even found time to fit in a few radio plays and a music video in all that, too.

So by 2005/6, a starring role in a movie looked inevitable. Indeed, in his review of The Mysteries for The Independent, right at the start of her career, Robert Butler prophetically wrote, "As Eve, Joanna Page looks as if (now she’s eaten that apple) she will be the love-interest in a movie very soon."

And then it arrived: No Snow which soon became Bye Bye Harry. She’s the female lead – arguably the lead. It’s a British road movie, a ‘dark’ rom-com by experienced comedy writer Graham Alborough . It’s got noted director Robert Young at its helm. It’s got two of the country’s biggest rock stars in supporting roles. And when it was released, it featured at the country’s leading film festival. 

So why haven’t you heard of it until now? And why had you probably not heard of Joanna Page until Gavin & Stacey?

Problem is, I’ve been linguistically tricky. See, although I said it was a British road movie – and indeed it is, according to the British Council – I pulled a fast one. The bulk of the financing came from Germany and Slovakia. When I said "the country", the country I actually meant was Germany, the rock stars I mentioned were Bela B Felsenheimer and Til Schweiger (very big in Germany), and the film festival I mentioned was the Berlin film festival. 

And it’s never been released anywhere else. Not France, not Belgium, not the Netherlands. It’s certainly never been shown in Britain. And although you could get a version dubbed into German on rental in Germany, you couldn’t get the original English language version until two weeks ago – on import from Amazon.de

So without fear of contradiction, may I present for your delight the very first, most comprehensive, most definitive and probably very last English language review of Bye Bye Harry aka Liebling, wir graben Harry aus.

Continue reading “Today’s Joanna Page: Bye Bye Harry”

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Today's Joanna Page

Today’s Joanna Page: Love Actually

Joanna Page as Judy in Love Actually

Today’s Joanna Page is Richard Curtis’s Love Actually.

Curtis has dominated British comedy, whether it’s been on television or in the cinemas, for nearly three decades now. Following an early stint writing for Not the Nine O’Clock News in the 70s, he started to bestride us like a laughing, Islington-loving colossus the following decade with The Black Adder, its three sequel series and a couple of one-off spin-offs. Within a few years, he became the moving force behind Comic Relief and managed to notch up a couple of movies, including The Tall Guy, starring Jeff Goldblum and Emma Thompson.

In the 90s, he stormed through again, first unleashing Mr Bean on us all, before choosing to take over the world and introduce Hugh Grant to us all with Four Weddings and a Funeral. He went on to write Notting Hill and the screenplay for Bridget Jones’s Diary. He also spent 13 years laughing at country folk for the mysteriously successful The Vicar of Dibley.

Love Actually, released in 2003, was his first attempt at directing a movie. It’s kind of a composite rom com version of Crash (or a sicklier version of This Year’s Love, which also featured Jo Page) in which just about every possible facet of love is explored through the inter-connected lives of various people around the world. With an incredible cast of stars, it is occasionally touching, sometimes funny, and usually irritating. But it has Joanna Page in it – provided you don’t buy the censored DVD – so we’ll forgive it.

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US TV

Review: Sex and the City

Sex and the City

It’s here. It’s here! After all that waiting, it’s finally here.

Much like the January sales, there are strategies to be used when you’re going to watch something as anticipated as Sex and the City: the movie. Either you wait all night camped outside and then be the first in before everyone else, or you wait until everyone has been crushed under foot and enter at your leisure afterwards.

Which is why I’m sauntering in with a review of Sex and the City over a week after it opened.

What do you mean I shouldn’t be watching this cos I’m a bloke? Watching movies about women is ‘so gay’? Do you want to have a think about that?

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Today's Joanna Page

Today’s Joanna Page: From Hell

 

Today’s Joanna Page is From Hell, an impressively unpleasant and bad film, which is odd*, given that it was based on a graphic novel by the lovely Alan Moore, stars the equally lovely Johnny Depp and features the very lovely indeed Joanna Page. She plays a former prostitute trying to turn good for the sake of her baby. Which is… nice? Sigh. Where’s Andrea Dworkin when you need her?

* Okay, it’s about Jack the Ripper, so that should have been a clue. What’s the fascination there, by the way? We’re talking about a bloke who was really nasty to women. I’m not really sure he’s worth dwelling on unless you’re a criminal psychologist or a historian…

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Film reviews

Review: Leatherheads



There’s a certain amount of false advertising in the trailers for Leatherheads, the new George Clooney/Renée Zellweger movie set in the early days of professional American football. The trailers suggest it’s a rom-com. Yet there’s not much romance and there’s not much comedy.

It has its moments, don’t get me wrong, but ultimately this is a drama, with a touch of comedy and a touch of romance. And it’s a reasonably worthwhile drama, because even if the subject matter isn’t all that interesting, especially for a UK audience, the style of the film and its ‘homage-matter’ will appeal to anyone who’s ever watched an old black and white movie.

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