Friday, 31 July 2009

Out this week (31/07/09)

This July has been a fantastic month for films, with some superb and provocative titles seeing the inside of cinemas. It's a shame therefore that the last week is - well, not bad but underwhelming. There are a few wide releases that will no doubt do well financially but little to really spark any creative interest. I'm picking Coco Before Chanel as the film of the week mainly because of the pretty dresses, and because I quite like Audrey Tatou.

Coco Before Chanel

Needless to say the main reason for seeing this, the first of two Coco Chanel biopics due to come out this year, is to see the early designs mocked up and being worn. Not to mention Audrey Tatou and Alessandro Nivola are quite pretty to look at, too.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●○○○○○

Crossing Over

Originally part of my top 20 for 2009 the reviews and comments about the Harrison Ford starring immigration film hasn't been good. Might still see it, but won't be travelling far for the opportunity.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●○○○○○○


Inexplicably this mish mash of animatronic guinea pigs, with a sideline of CIA operations and Bill Nighy planning to take over the world knocked Harry Potter 6 off the box office number 1 in the States. Will it do the same over here? Probably not - there's a lot of competition this week.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●○○○○○○

Land of the Lost

Although to describe this Will Ferrell turkey as competition seems very generous. All the reviews say the film struggles to find the right tone - too raunchy for children, too cheesy for adults and perhaps too reverential of it's source for everyone. Better luck next time Anna Friel.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○

Love Aaj Kal

Imagine a world where Romeo and Juliet decided that, perhaps the parent's objections were quite reasonable and they shouldn't marry/enter into a double suicide pact. That seems to be the gist of this UK set Bollywood film as the star-crossed lovers agree that fighting against the system isn't worth it. Sounds flat to me.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○

Mad, Sad and Bad

Luton-set film about the unique perspective of ethnically diverse brothers and sisters in a multi-racial community. That's right, it's set in Luton. I knew you'd be interested in that.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○


Written, directed and starring a trio of French film makes, who tend to only work together and cast the same people. About a couple of teachers who long to rumba together. Trailer contained one very funny joke.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●○○○○○○○

Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

Completely unnecessary remake of the week. With John Travolta, looking like a Village People reject (not good when the papers are full of repeated rumours about his sexuality), hijacking a train which slubby Denzel Washington just wants to ensure runs on time. Tony Scott's kinetic, jittery direction just about relieves the film of any tension or excitement. Thanks for that.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●○○○○○○○


Don Murray

Happy Birthday to

Don Murray

80 today

That's right, it's Peggy Sue's dad passing a milestone. He's been retired for 7 years, but has been persuaded to come out for a Val Kilmer Western. Could be interesting.


Thursday, 30 July 2009


2009. Dir: Lars von Trier. Starring: Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. ●●●●○

I don't normally pay too much attention to other cinema goers, the films I go to see are either too mainstream (and therefore the audience too numerous to get an idea of them) or seem to be a fairly even mix of people. For Antichrist this was not the case. For one thing there were very few groups, most of the audience arrived and left the auditorium as singletons (myself included). The audience was also over-whelming male. Only 13% of the punters were female, an incredibly small percentage, and apparently that was close to the national average. I say this only as an interesting side point. I don't believe the film was excessively violent, or that it's a reflection of von Trier's misogynistic subconscious. Merely that the press furore that has attached itself to the film has attracted many more men than women to see it.

The story is relatively simple, so simple it could be the basis for any number of standard horror movies. Couple lose their son in freak accident, suffer immense guilt, go to summer home to recuperate, she goes a bit crazy. In the hands of Rob Zombie or Eli Roth the violence (screws through the leg, fox intestines) would still be the same, albeit with less obvious sexual activity, but the build of tension would not.

That opening scene, Dafoe and Gainsbourg having explicit sex in the shower whilst their boy tries to catch snowflakes is beautifully filmed. A touch cliched perhaps with the black and white palate, but effective nonetheless.

Dafoe's therapist then ignores the cardinal rule of never treating your family and sets about helping Gainsbourg out of her deep depression. The sessions that follow are painful, both in the way that Charlotte exhibits physical symptoms of anxiety, but also in the emotional intensity of the actors. It is during these scenes that the film really soars.

During the third act, once they decide to meet Gainsbourg's demons at 'Eden", the Grand Guignol begins in earnest. From talking foxes to female circumcision, the extremes are huge. And whilst the violence seems over the top it never appears to be gratuitous, and more importantly it's never celebrated. Each blow revolted me - far from the excitement that the injuries of Saw seems to celebrate. And the violence also seemed difficult to do. One of the characters is asphyxiated; it appears very real, and like it was taking the correct amount of time and effort. Horrifying but you couldn't take your eyes away.

Both of the actors give 100% into their performances, which seem wholely dedicated and effective.

On the technical side the stand out id Anthony Dod Mantle's cinematography. From the gorgeous opening to the mist in the trees every frame is filled and balanced perfectly. If Slumdog Millionaire wasn't enough to let us know how good his talents are, then Antichirst seals the deal on his genius.

Overall I was more interested in the act of dealing with grief rather than the fanciful witchcraft related elements, so I think the film would have pleased me more if it stayed in the city, but a fascinating picture nonetheless.


Running: Week 8, Day 4, Run 3

Back on the (very wet) road for todays run.

9.8 km in 54 minutes. 10.8 kmph, whihc is at least in between the spread of speeds I might have being doing yesterday.


Laurence Fishburne

Happy Birthday to

Laurence Fishburne

48 today

Of all the projects (8, according to IMDb) Laurence is working on it's the one's I think I'm least likely to be able to see that I'm most interested in. Black Water Transit is the Hurricane Katrina inspired thriller from the controversial director Tony Kaye - somehow I doubt it'll ever see the inside of a cinema. And 4Chosen has already been pushed back over two years in production. I just can't bring myself to feeling excited about Armoured.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Running: Week 8, Day 3, Run 2

Or, the difference between treadmills and Nike+. I set up he treadmill at 0.5% incline and set off at the sma etime as I started the iPod. When the iPod told me it was 6 miles I looked at the treadmill distance measure. 6.68 miles.

So depending on which you believe I ran for 55 minutes and achieve an average pace of somewhere between 6.5 mph (10.5 kmph) and 7.3 mph (11.6 kmph) which is quite a difference.

Hopefully the boiler will be fixed tonight and I'll be back on the road with much more continuity tomorrow.


Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Running: Week 8, Day 2, Run 1

Only 6 weeks and 5 days to go until the Nottingham Marathon. I'm just beginning to get a tiny bit scared aout that sort of distance. It's certainly a big run.

The boiler is being replaced so today rather than run in the streets I went to the local pool and gym and used a treadmill (which then meant I could use the showers). If you can believe the distance on treadmills this is what I did:

5.5 km in 30 minutes, um that's 11.1 kmph.

That was on a hill programme so I don't feel too embarassed. Tomorrow might be at the gym again, but I'll put on the Nike+ and compare the distances.


Monday, 27 July 2009

Personal News (26/07/09)

Another week gone by, another few days of thinkig about proper acting work. I wasn't able to attend the audition last week - to be honest the costs of being in a show in Birmingham seemed to outweigh the benefits at this point, however I was still involved in the filming over the weekend.

Cowboys is a fascinating short film from Matthew Murdoch, about a group of lads - each with their respective relationship issues who are involved in a near accident. I played the fantastically monikered "Idiot driver". No lines, just some close-ups as I get verbally abused and a little stunt driving.

One of the actors doing the abusing was Robert Kazinsky, who played Sean Slater in the UK TV drama Eastenders. In fact he's so famous when we had finished (in the quiet Wiltshire farm land we were filming in) a group of giggling teenage girls came to accost him for an autograph.

The man himself.

I have to say that driving down the road with him giving me every hand gesture under the sun whilst tailgating and trying to overtake in a classic white van I was very intimidated. Didn't have to do any acting at all - it was great.

I'm about to give a telephone audition for Ibsen's Wild Duck - wish me luck...

OK, that's done. Trickiy thing, doing a telephone audition. Especially with no feedback. I should find out whether I got it later this week, so expect an update on Sunday.


Sunday, 26 July 2009

Kevin Spacey

Happy Birthday to

Kevin Spacey

50 today

Kevin had been dedicating himself to the National over the last few years (probably a good job considering the dross he was doing at the cinema) but a few independent ventures have tempting him back - he was the computer voice in Moon, a celebrity psychoanalyst in Shrink and joins the ensemble in The Men who Stare at Goats. Maybe he's building up to another knock out performance like his late 90's run.


Running: Week 7, Day 7, Run 5

Longer run today, longer than I was intending in fact. Not overly pleased wioth the time - would have likes to have been faster in the first 6-7 km, but it is what it is.

20.2 km in 1 hour 57 minutes. 10.4 kmph.


Saturday, 25 July 2009

Film News (25/07/09)

The world is going crazy, there's so much news and previews it's enough to make your head spin. That's right it's Comic-Con, long since evolved from the origins of San Diego comic book geeks to packing in the screaming Twilight geeks. Whether it works as somewhere to showcase footage or to pump the audiences is another question, but whilst the stars and studios continue to swarm there the news will eventually bubble out. And for the non-Comic-Con news there's an interesting recurring theme of indecision but first:

Batman 3, or is it 7, or 8?

It's no surprise that after the astonishing success of The Dark Knight that a sequel would be made, although the proposed direction of Nolan's new/old trilogy may well have been massively altered by the untimely death of Joker Heath Ledger. However Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon) has let it slip - and I'll let you believe it wasn't planned if you want to - that filming starts next spring for a 2011 release. I personally think that 2011 is already a bit crowded with Spider-Man 4, Green Lantern and Thor but I expect Warner Bros know what their doing.


In our first indecisive director news David Cronenberg is developing Don DeLillo's novel about a multi-millionaire who starts hemorrhaging cash during a stock market rash and must dash across Manhattan to stop it. Whether this will be closer to Wall Street or Falling Down remains to be seen. Already this year Cronenberg has talked about The Matarese Circle with Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise, as well as a Eastern Promises sequel, so goodness knows which of the projects he'll run with first.

The Green Hornet

Stephen Chow has finally dropped out of The Green Hornet completely, leaving a Cato sized hole in the cast of this 2010 comic book adaptation. They're still planning on lensing later in the summer, and have even confirmed Nic Cage as the bad guy and Cameron Diaz as a love interest so expect a new martial-arts master to be installed soon.

Master and Commander 2

Master and Commader: Far Side of the World was a superb, film. Rightly selected by the Academy for a best picture nod, how it didn't get some notice for Russel Crowe is beyond me. After umming and ahhing for some time Crowe is interesting in getting back to the high seas, with a script nearing completeion. Let's hope that the notoriously picky Peter Weir, who directed the original and has already stated he thinks a sequel is unlikely, can be persuaded to helm (ho ho) it.


Morgan Freeman has joined Bruce Willis in the comic book adaptation Red. Willis plays a black ops agent who returns to take on a high tech killer. Whether Freeman will be a collegue, a scheming politico or the killer himself remains to be seen.


Peter Jackson has been waxing lyrical about a number of projects he has involvement in at Comic-Con, but aside from Tintin, Lovely Bones and District 9 he had a brief synopsis about what is likely to be his next film to direct. It's set during the Napoleonic Wars, chronicling the bizzarely over-looked (cinematically) period in European history. Oh, and there will be dragons. I don't know whether to be completely psyched or shocked in disbelief.

Three Little Words

James Mangold has another project that means a lot to him, so much so that he wants to direct. It's not Wichita, or his Legal thriller, or Juliet, or Cyclops, but a totally new project based on one of these child abuse biographies that are clogging up book shops. By all means try holding your breath until James picks another film he wants to work on. It won't be that long.


The film adapataion of the popular World of Warcraft computer game has moved one step closer by appointing Sam Raimi as director. It's a complex internet community roleplay adventure so how that will translate into a three act structure is a mystery. Could be beautiful to look at, could be atrocious to watch!

Untitled Quentin Tarantino Western

Tarantino is another director who likes to keep ua all guessing what his next picture will be - after all Inglorious Basterds was first mooted some ten years ago. So at the UK premier of Basterds he tipped that his next picture will be a Western. I personally feel that its the sort of thing that Quentin could do very well if he tries to avoid all his stylistic twitches, after all what was Reservoir Dogs but a 90 minute Mexican stand off, and Kill Bill borrowed heavily from Western sensibilities.

Box Office News

Release Date News

The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus - Falling back a week is Terry Gilliam's latest starring Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and Heath Ledger as different versions of Heath Ledger. Artistically this looks like pure Gilliam, but it's fascinating to try to estimate how it will do financially. Make a deal with the devil on 16 October 2009.

Taking Woodstock - The Woodstock film, which only includes Woodstock as a backdrop to one families development in the late 60's, has also shifted back a week into the incredibly crowded November. Honestly - you won't be able to turn around for decent films in November. Grow your hair and put some flowers in it on 6 November 2009.

A Serious Man - The Coen Brothers have been keeping their latest film carefully under wraps with no shots or trailers yet. It's a dark comedy so it's hard to know which of their eclectic back catalogue to except it will emanate, especially as there doesn't seem to be an excessive body count this time round. Sleep on your brother-in-laws sofa on 20 November 2009.

Invictus - Whether this is a complete Nelson Mandela biopic, or whether it solely focuses on the Rugby World Cup, you can guarantee that Clint and Morgan will be getting Oscar nods for their efforts. Catch an odd-shaped ball on 05 February 2010.

Valentine's Day - In the least surprising release date news of the year it's been announced that the mishmash of intertwining love stories set around Valentines will open around Valentines. Smooch on the back row on 12 February 2009.

Alice in Wonderland - The teaser trailer came out this week, complete with angry red queen, soporific white queen, scary Cheshire Cat grin and what is set to be an immensely quotable "Alice! You're terribly late, you know. Naughty." from Depp's Mad Hatter. Go through the looking glass on 05 March 2010.

The Green Hornet - It seems impossible that this light comic adaptation will be finished in less than a year, considering the casting news above, but the gods of release dates are spoken. Have your sidekick do a kung fu chop on 23 July 2010.

Inception - Christopher Nolan is floating on a tide of good will right now following the monster returns for The Dark Knight, whether the tills will ring as much for a original property remains to be seen. Escape the barriers of your mind on 13 August 2010.

The Last Airbender - I don't think putting this against Inception is a good idea (even if there's is little crossover appeal), so expect another shift later in the year. For now try to control the elements on 13 August 2010.

Box Office Report

There's no surprise that Transformers has confidently taken the top spot over the June openers, as predicted right here (no points for that I know). It's bounded straight up to the second highest grossing film in the UK this year; although a certain boy wizard will be overtaking it before it surpasses Slumdog Millionaire. The rest of the top five are a mixed bag with a couple of comedies, an underwhelming Terminator film and a heartwarming tale about terminal cancer. We have very odd tastes here in the UK. Naturally I neither saw, nor recommended any of these films.

1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
2. The Hangover
3. Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins
4. My Sister's Keeper
5. Year One


Running: Week 7, Day 6, Run 4

I took the easy(er) option today and just went for a short jog. Expect a longer run after tomorrows filming.

4.8 km in 25 minutes. A not unimpressive 11.5 kmph.


Friday, 24 July 2009

Out this Week (24/07/09)

Whilst I'm usually a bit of a fan of the arthouse circuit it's extremely rare for the films to break out of the ghetto and receive widespread commentary. Lars von Trier has managed it with Antichrist. Ever since it premiered in Cannes, with Lars' typically understated press statements, it's been dividing audiences and critical opinion. It is unsurprising that it comes out as the film of the week. Nothing can come close to the anticipation of a film like this.


This is what the hype's all about. He and She lose thei only son in a tragic accident which he is able to move on from but she blames herself. They go to "eden", their cabin in the woods for some therapy. It's ends up being not the sort of therapy they had originally planned.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●●●○○○

Just another Love Story

Plot seems to start with a While you were Sleeping vibe, with Anders W. Berthelsen visiting the girl he ran over and put into a coma, and then being mistaken for her lover. Except he then starts to take the role too seriously, finding out a lot of weird things about her missing partner.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○


British Asian movie starting with a letter to God asking for answers. When the letter is seen by a generous hearted postman the actions he takes, albeit a small and simple offering of kindness, are the catalyst for great changes in our protagonists life.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○

Modhi Vilayadu

I have absolutely nothing on this film. A cast that I can't find any other details on and no director. I can tell you it's from a prominent Bollywood distributer and it's a drama.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○

The Proposal

Sandra Bullock returns to rom-coms for the first time in 5 years with this opposites attract love story. When her high-powered Canadian executive forces her US assistant to marry her so she isn't deported he has to take her to the backwoods family in order to fool immigration. Don't expect any originality, but if you wants sizzling chemistry and Ryan Reynolds in the buff then this is the film for you.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●○○○○○○○


True story about a black skinned girl born to white parents in Apartheid era South Africa. Should be worth seeing for the performances (Sophie Okonedo and Sam Neill head the cast) as well as the politics of the time. Could become a little preachy.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●○○○○○


Running: Week 7, Day 5, Run 3

Shorter, but with a good overall pace. I'm doing a ten miler over the weekend - not sure whether to do it on Saturday (I really should rest) or Sunday (I'm filming will I get the opportunity?) - any ideas?

8.2 km in 43 minutes. That's 11.3 kmph.


Chris Sarandon

Happy Birthday to

Chris Sarandon

67 today

Perhaps best remembered as Susan's first husband, Chris proved his acting chops in the 70's as Al Pacino's conflicted lover in Dog Day Afternoon. Remember his "I couldn't explain why I did the things I did. So I went to this psychiatrist who explained to me I was a woman in a man's body." Priceless. I must watch that film again.


Thursday, 23 July 2009

Running: Week 7, Day 4, Run 2

A bit stop starty this morning as I tried to push myself for a mile, followed by a bit of a cool down a few times.

Overall 9.5 km in 52 minutes. Which equates to an average of 11 kmph.


Woody Harrelson

Happy Birthday to

Woody Harrelson

48 today

I'm not sure about you, but I was a little surprised to hear Woody's only 48. Seems like he should be a bit older. Anyway the quintessential free-spirit's birthday is today, so I think we should all get naked and smoke some weed to celebrate.


Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Frozen River

2008. Dir: Courtney Hunt. Starring: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott, Michael O'Keefe and Mark Boone Junior. ●●●○○

I look up at the rating and I now feel like I'm being unduly harsh. That the performances and the set design and the editing and even the script were so full of realistic and beautiful nuances that it deserves a 4 blob score. However I have marke dit down because as a thriller, which is what Courtney Hunt has stated it is, I feel it failed.

The story follows an unlikely alliance between two women struggling to make ends meet in upstate New York. Ray's (Leo) husband has left her and taken the deposit for a new trailer days before Christmas, Lila (Upham) is living on the margins of the Mohawk reservation desperately hoping to see her daughter again. Thrown together by circumstances the women transport illegal immigrants through the reservation from Canada to the US.

They learn to trust each other (against their own judgements) as they build up the capital to change their lives forever. The theme of what it means to be a mother and the strength of that bond is repeated during the film, including a touching moment towards the end of the second act when they help another woman look for her daughter.

Unfortunately that's not enough to stop the plot from derailing. A desperate last job, bullets whizzing, car chases over the eponymous waterways and a stand off at the edges of the reservation all feel like they've been forced into the screenplay. The tension from the relationship alone would have been enough to make it work without the levels of excess displayed.

The acting is excellent throughout, especially from the two leads who both create very believable three dimensional women. James Reilly as Ray's youngest son was also a lot of fun, performing at just the right level (many child actors would have over egged it).

The depiction of the level of income Ray has was also deftly handled, means of popcorn and Tang seemed real, the bathroom was suitably grotty and nothing within her trailer of their limited possesions seemed out of place.

Writer-director Courtney Hunt has done a good job for a first feature, and if she tightens up the next script and focuses on making a character piece rather than a thriller with characters then I expect it will be excellent.


Running: Week 7, Day 3, Run 1

I know by this time in the week this should have bene my second run. But I'm a lazy piglet and it was raining yesterday...

9.7 km in 54 minutes. 10.9 kmph (I do have a sore back, though).


Albert Brooks

Happy Birthday to

Albert Brooks

62 today

Brooks' film career was never, looking back, as exciting or interesting as you think it was. That is to say there are loads of great films he appeared in (Taxi Driver, Broadcast News, Out of Sight), but there have been long gaps between them. Since Losing Nemo he's pretty much been sticking to TV. But perhaps there's another great performance in him and he's just waiting for the right script. What do you think?


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Tuesday Trailers - G.I. Joe

That's right, I've run out of trailers for films that I actually want to see during August so I'm trying vainly to predict what the cinema-going public will be flocking to. However unlike June and July there are no obvious choices like Transformers and Harry Potter. The big releases are: GI Joe, The Ugly Truth, The Time Traveler's Wife, Imagine That, Funny People and The Final Destination. How can you possible imagine any of those will do particularly well over. I'm guessing Joe, with it's extremely unreal CGI and faintly comic storyline may the breakthrough here.

Sorry, but it opens on 7 August 2009.

Oh, and if you think I'm wrong by all means let me know which film you think will take the title.


Monday, 20 July 2009

Personal News (19/07/09)

Things have been somewhat quiet on the personal front since Lifelong Yearning and making the temporary move down south. I have been struggling to get any work - acting or otherwise.

I was employed over the weekend though, as part of The Dalek Experience, run by Cobra Events. The company is based in Eastbourne, but they travel all round the country doing corporate events of all descriptions. Over the weekend I was a Dalek in Bournemouth town centre, basically pushing myself around in a wheelchair and threatening to "exterminate" little children. It was great.

(Um, not actually me in this one.)

Next Sunday I'm making a short film as well. Cowboys is being directed by Matt Murdoch, who's done some actually quite good and successful work, so I'm quite pleased to be getting a role. Even if it's non-speaking.

Finally I have an audition on Wednesday, but I'll let you know more about that if I get it.


Running: Week 6, Day 7, Run 5

I wasn't able to post yesterdays run when it happened - more on that later - but the particulars were as follows:

10.1 km in 56 minutes. Or 10.8 kmph.


Saturday, 18 July 2009

Film News (18/07/09)

After a couple of very quiet weeks we've been inundated with news (albeit mainly casting decisions this week) some of which have really made me shift my opinions about some upcoming films. There's even some children's franchises that I'm vaguely interested in following this week. I think the heat must be getting to me.

Banking on Mr. Toad

The Wind in the Willows was my favourite book growing up, I think I must have read it about a hundred times during my Primary school years. There have been a number of adaptations of the novel, but this weeks sees the news of a biopic about the author Kenneth Grahame going into production. Ioan Grufford will play the writer, with Samantha Morton rumoured to be in talks for his supportive wife. The film will focus in part on the writing but also the relationship between Grahame and his autistic son in an age where autism wasn't understood.

It's going to be filmed with a mixture of live action and animation, like Miss Potter. Yes, there are alarm bells going off for me too, fingers crossed that they don't mess this up.

Happy Feet 2

This comes as a surprise to exactly no-one but Warner Bros. are currently preparing a sequel to the 2006 smash-hit animation Happy Feet. The original, which started as a cute story about a penguin learning to dance, was in reality a deeply scary film with warnings about the cruelty of humans and the effects of pollution. Can't wait to see what the follow-up has to offer.

Indian Summer

Back in April Joe Wright announced his next project would be Indian Summer, about the love affair between Lady Mountbatten and Nehru. At the time there were whispered rumours he was courting Cate Blanchett, and this week she finally signed the contract. It's the sort of brittle aristo she can do in her sleep. The other two sides of the triangle are yet to be cast - I'll keep you updated.

Septimus Heap: Magyk

Bad news for Harry Potter fans, firstly there are now only 2 films (from one book) remaining and secondly, and perhaps more shocking, a new boy wizard is priming to take your place. Septimus Heap: Magyk (based on the first novel by Angie Sage, from a series of five so far) is the seventh son of a seventh son, sadly mixed up with a girl at birth. Not sure how that happens. The books have sold in their millions so this could be a major franchise in the making.


So far Kenneth Branagh has astounded us all by casting virtual unknowns (Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston) and his best mates (Brian Blessed) in his first stab at a comic book adaptation. However this week Natalie Portman has been announced as the love interest. That's right, a real star, who has experience in big film releases. I'm still not to sure what to think about Thor, but I'm glad there's at least one star in it (apart from Brian "Gordon's alive" Blessed, of course).

World War Z

Matthew Michael Carnahan, hot from the State of Play screenplay, has been drafted in to polish up World War Z, based on the hilarious novel by Max Brooks. The book uses interviews with survivors and first hand testimony to relate the rise of the zombies and the international resistance to the threat. Apparently the first draft of the script largely dispensed with the style and just focused on the events. Hopefully Carnahan will redress that. I'm sure a documentary style movie about a Zombie apocalypse will be far more interesting and innovative.


Elizabeth McGovern

Happy Birthday to

Elizabeth McGovern

48 today

Can you believe this quintessential American actress, born in Illinois, starred in Ordinary People, Ragtime and Once Upon a Time in America, and now live here in the UK. Funny how things turn out.


Running: Week 6, Day 6, Run 4

Short quick burst this morning (don't want to overdo it after Thursday).

4.9 km in 27 minutes. Or 11 kmph.


Friday, 17 July 2009

Out this week (17/07/09)

What an amazing week. Honestly I don't we've had such a good selection of films since January and the "prestige" season, there are 5 films that could in other weeks have come out as pick of the week. Including this weeks big cinematic release (something to do with a boy wizard), however I'm going for Frozen River as the top choice.

Frozen River

We've waited a year for this kitchen sink drama to make it over to the UK cinemas. Starring Melissa Leo and Misty Upham as two women forced to get involved with illegal immigration in order to support their families, it had lots of critical support back in 2008. Spain is the only other major territory to have waited so long to see it.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●●●●○○

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I expect you've heard about this one. Jim Broadbent joins the cast of outstanding Brit thesps in episode 6 of the Harry Potter franchise. Expect it to be both darker and funnier as our heroes struggle with their hormones and another major character bites the dust.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●●○○○○

The Informers

It disappeared in a limited release in the states, but this multi charcter drama from the pen of Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) looks quite interesting. With characters as diverse as Newscasters, ex-cons, party girls and vampires it could be a fascinating mix.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●○○○○○


There's laughs a-plenty in this romantic comedy from India about a young singer finding his distinctive voice, falling in love and rescuing his sister's honour. What a man.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○


The second of this weeks Bollywood releases is harder to find a synopsis. Essentially it's about two brothers who grow up following very different paths. And it stars Jackie Shroff (presumably as their father) who also had a major role in the massively popular Devdas.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○


Irish drama about two teenagers running away from home and finding magic and terror in the streets of Dublin with the margins of society. Bizarrely it's set during Christmas so I'm not completely sure why it's being released in July.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●○○○○○


Duncan Jones reinvigorates the sci-fi format with this thinkpiece set on the Moon. Sam Rockwell gives a bravura performance as the lone astronaut/miner on the base slowly getting to grips with issues such as isolation, cloning and what it is to be human.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●●○○○○

Wide Open Spaces

If you had ever wondered what had happened to Ardal O'Hanlon (Father Dougal in the superb Channel 4 comedy Father Ted) then look no further than this comedy about two slackers building a potato famine theme park in a remote part of Ireland. Of course it's possible that this is a documentary showing how low some actors have to go when the parts dry up.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●○○○○○○○


Thursday, 16 July 2009


2008. Dir: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Starring: Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino, Andre Holland, Anne Whitney and Ellary Porterfield. ●●●●○

Sports movies are quite difficult to get right. There is a risk that it will be pitched (excuse me) to the fans of the sport only, and that the movie will feel impenetrable to the viewers who are not familiar with the game. Suger opens in a Baseball training camp in the Dominican Republic where we are introduced to our hero Miguel "Sugar" Santos (Soto). Immediately I was afraid that this would not be the movie for me, the credits had hardly begun when they were taliking about fly curves etc. However within a couple of scenes you realise there is an eqilibrium, Baseball is merely the front for this interesting tale about a man following a path that may not be right or best for him, but following it because he has no choice.

During a weekend off from training Sugar returns to his poverty stricken family, immediatley we are aware that the only way out is through baseball, and that his family have begun to see Sugar as their meal ticket. Listen to the conversations between him and his mother throughout the film. Her first question to him is nearly always the same, until the last time when it is clear she has someone else on her mind.

Sugar is selected by Kansas City to join their summer camp, and from there to join their affiliated AAA league team in Indiana. Along the way we see many of his friends fall by the wayside, due to injury or just not coming up to the high standards required (both on and off the diamond). To the credit of writer-directors Boden and Fleck we never feel like the points being made in the section are laboured. The differences between the American college educated players and the Dominican boys are deftly drawn, the sense of being a product for the team is hinted at but wisely not addressed head on and the shifting emotions of Sugar as he deals with early success, injury and jealousy of the other players is deftly handled.

Only the performance enhancing drugs scene comes off as cliched, especially in the way it's filmed.

In the final act the film goes off in a completed unexpected way, unexpected for the audience as much as it is for most of the characters. There have been some debates on whether this works, however I feel it's true the the character and his journey in a way that the alternative would not be.

Most of the players, including Sugar and his mentor Jorge Ramirez (Rufino) are non-professional actors, but the performances hold up well. Both of these two could have careers if they tried and I would especially like to see Rufino try his hand at more acting work.

Technically the film is well put together, the highlight being the location work, where the building and locales used for each scene seem to fit the story at that point.

Overall this is a fine film, well made, that skillfully avoids the pitfalls that other Baseball movies may present, whilst giving us a real insight into the way professional overseas players are groomed and used by the major teams.


Running: Week 6, Day 4, Run 3

Now the trick to training for a Marathon is not just to worry about the speed on short distances but also to build up the long distance capacity. With that in mind this morning I went out for a long run (at least as long as I've done in a while.

15 miles in 2 hours 24 minutes. That's an average of just 10.1 kmph, or if we extrapolate that to a full marathon distance it will take me 4 hours 12 minutes. I want to do in in less than 4 hours 6 minutes, so I need to increase my average speed to just 10.3 kmph (not even 2 %).

So close.


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Running: Week 6, Day 3, Run 2

I tried a little bit of fartlek today, 12 minute warm up followed by ten sets of one minute fast, two minutes cool down, then jog back home.

Overall 9.8 km in 51 minutes or 11.4 kmph. If only I could maintain that sort of speed when I'm not pushing myself.


Forest Whitaker

Happy Birthday to

Forest Whitaker

48 today

Forest has been a long time hero of mine ever since he first caught my eye in Good Morning Vietnam. A consumate character actor, with a fascianting back catalogue. Although I'd have to argue he won the Oscar 7 years later than he should have done (Ghost Dog). Coming soon are the voice gig in Where the Wild Things Are and helping the wheelchair bound Renee Zellweger in My Own Love Song.


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Tuesday Trailers - Broken Embraces

I promised you another Auteur's trailer this week, and frankly who could be more auteurish than Almodovar. From the moment the trailer begins the vivid colours and use of reflections/obscured images we know it's one of his films; of course everyone looks incredibly sensous as well which is also a given for Almodovar. Embraces teams him up with Penelope Cruz for the fourth time, so expect more of the same sizzle on screen that we saw in Volver, All about my Mother and Live Flesh.

Broken Embraces is released on 28 August 2009.


Running: Week 6, Day 2, Run 1

Another 6 miler, you'd think I would be improving by now.

9.8 km in 54 minutes. 11 kmph.

You'd be wrong...


Nancy Olson

Happy Birthday to

Nancy Olson

81 today

Luminous in Sunset Boulevard Nancy's career never took off the way it should have done, mainly due to her marriage to Alan Jay Lerner and her determination to raising her family right before her career. It's notable and commendable, but one can't help wondering what might have been.


Monday, 13 July 2009

Robert Forster

Happy Birthday to

Robert Forster

68 today

Forster boths confirms and shatters the Quentin Tarantino effect. In 1997 Tarantino rescued him from career obscurity with a plum role in Jackie Brown. The performance was enough to garner a Academy Award nod. However rather than a revival into the mainstream Forster has managed to pick poor project after another, proving why his career was where it was in the first place. I think he'd better give Quentin a quick call.


Saturday, 11 July 2009

Film News (11/07/09)

It's another slow news week, that's 2 in a row. I hope it picks up soon otherwise I'm going to have to start reporting on the endless rounds of comic book castings, or the lurid personal lives of dead celebrities. Anyway to the news:

High Alert

Octogenarian film-maker Norman Jewison is to return to the directors chair for the first time since 2003's The Statement. High Alert is said to be a comedy about panic in the threat of war, and will almost be a rutrn to the themes in his first film: The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming. It'll be interesting to see what laughs can be had out of the situation post Iraq.

Lost Symbol

More details are beginning to spill about Dan Brown's 3rd Robert Langdon adventure. It's set exclusively in Washington and centres around the formation of the Masons. Whilst funny handshakes and the thought of another bad haircut sitting atop of Tom Hanks might put you off, the $470m Worldwide gross of Angels and Demons pretty much guarantess this hitting cinemas sometime in the next 3 years.


Friday, 10 July 2009

Out this week (10/07/09)

Slightly more films than last week, even if you include the one I missed which is at the bottom of this post. Saying that, there are no releases to really jump up and down about, and the winner is only doing so well because the excitometer runs on a formula and by rights it should be a good film, with some decent reviews. So go to the cinema and check out The Private Lives of Pippa Lee to see the stellar cast, just don't expect to be amazed by it.


It's hard to have missed Sacha Baron Cohen playing dress up on the Red Carpets of the world over the last month or so. I'm not sure whether his Gay Austrian Fashionista follow-up to Borat will have as much to say about the state of prejudice in America, or whether the jokes will be more on Bruno, and by extension all gay men, than the "guests".

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●○○○○○○

Cloud 9

If watching septuagenarians bumping uglies is your sort of thing then this is the film for you. Ursula Werner is torn between her husband and her lover in the German drama.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●○○○○○○○

Fired Up

Teen comedies don't do it for me generally, but this with it's plot revolving around 2 boys going to cheer leading camp in order to pull girls is not only showing a dearth of ideas in the genre, but also appears to have no jokes. Watch the trailer if you don't believe me.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●○○○○○○○○○


Ichi is a blind sharmisen player. Are you now expected a sad tale about a girl begging in the back streets of Japan and being ostracised by society - think again she's also a kick-ass sword fighter. Woo.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○

Private Lives of Pippa Lee

I'm not really as confident with the quality of this female mid-life crisis movie as a 7 blob rating indicates, but with a cast led by Robin Wright Penn and supported by Alan Arkin, Winona Ryder, Maria Bello, Shirley Knight, Julianne Moore, Monica Belucci and Keanu Reeves has to be worth seeing for the quality thesping. By the way have you noticed how Keanu is a much more believable love interest when he's wooing an older woman?

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●●●○○○


Bollywood conman comedy, with most of the caper taking place around a film set. Anil "Who wants to be a Millin-eer" Kapoor produces.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○

35 Shots of Rum

Claire Denis (Beau Travail, S'en fout la Mort) is one of the most exciting European directors working today, and this father-daughter relationship drama looks to be continuing that. It's had some excellent reviews and should be worth a look.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●○○○○○

Red Mist

Hospital set horror movie that opened last weekend, but I completely missed it. The soul of a vengeful coma patient is able (through some miraculous wonder drug) to jump from person to person putting a plan of revenge against the uncaring medical staff into action.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○

Recap Ivedik 2

If you think it's bad that I didn't post about a obscure horror last week, that try to look away as I mention this Turkish offering that came out in February, and apparently has taken over £100k (if you believe BoxOfficeMojo). When you consider all the reviews I can find about the extended TV sketch are really harsh that's quite an achievement.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○


Thursday, 9 July 2009

Running: Week 5, Day 4, Run 3

Went out later in the day than I normally would, so interesting to see how that affects my average speed:

8.1 km in 44 minutes, or 10.9 kmph. Not great, but not terribly embarassing.


Chris Cooper

Happy Birthday to

Chris Cooper

58 today

With apologies for being a bit late in the day. I'm afraid I often pass over Chris Cooper due to him sharing a name with an old friend of mine and my friends face comes up in my head. This is tragic because not only is he a person in his own right he's a hugely expressive and competent actor. Coming soon for him are the short collection New York, I Love You and Julie Taymor's return to Shakespeare with The Tempest. Both should be worth watching, even if the second proves to be a little barmy.

I also heard a rumour some months ago that Cooper had replaced Paul Dano in voicing one of the Wild Things. I've not seen any evidence though (or even a change in imdb) so I guess we'll just have to wait and see on that.


Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Public Enemies

2009. Dir: Michael Mann. Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup and Stephen Dorff. ●●●●○

The future is here. Forget about James Cameron, Pixar and the whole 3D gimmick, Michael Mann is ushering in the greatest change to cinema since the creation of widescreen. The future (even when it's the past) is digital. And it's crisp and beautiful.

So, I went to see Mann's latest on Friday, and spent the weekend considering the film and how it affected me. Plotwise there is little I can tell you that you can't find out from Wikipedia. Johnny Depp plays John Dillinger, the folk hero like American bank robber from the 30's, Marion Cotillard the coat-check girl he falls for and Christian Bale the G-Man chasing him down.

But the story, and it's inevitable end, is scarcely the point. Mann excels at showing the relationship between the criminal and the cop, at highlighting the differences and similarities between the two. In Heat we understand the dedication that both sides have to their profession, in Collateral we sympathise for both Tom Cruise's hired killer as well as the dogged cops frantically trying to stop him.

The film certainly doesn't disappoint here, we see how Dillinger and Purvis are both driven and exacting men. They both understand the importance of planning the job in detail, and choosing the right team. However we don't get under their skin in the way we have with Mann's back catalogue. The feds are essetially ciphers with no back story or emotions. Dillinger fares better with some interesting insights into his brushes with fame, and the moral exactitude he brings with him to his work; as opposed to the ambitious mafia and pshychopathic mobsters he mixes with. Depp works fine with what he has, the trademark half smile he carries giving the audience a taster of the depth of character, but it's only a start to understanding the man.

Instead it's up to Marion Cotillard (as Billie Frechette) to carry the acting honours. She beautifully conveys how out of depth she is with the world of gangsters and the variations in her attitude are perfect. Another stand out is Stephen Lang, as one of the seasoned Southern agents Purvis calls up. He manages to convey more depth with a look and a way of standing than Bale does throughout the film. I look forward to seeing more of him soon (he's in Avatar).

The screenplay is better with the action scenes. The robberies themselves may seem rushed and interchangeable, although I expect that's deliberate, but the Prison break at the beginning and the woodland shoot out are incredibly tense, and fully draw you into the action.

Kudos to Mann's direction for making these scenes really work.

Congratualtions are also due to the sound mixers, the gunfights sounded exceptionally real and dangerous (and the crowd scenes so alive with rhubarbing) that I was hooked to every pindrop. I'm ashamed to say I completely forgot Elliott Goldenthal was scoring, so I don't expect it's one of his greatest efforts.

I started the review talking about the digital cinematography, and this for me is the highlight of the film. Mann has proved that hand-held camera techniques and up close digital filming can work in a period setting, and can be gorgeous. Every shot seems to be perfectly fit, every angle worked out. With digital film it feels different to the viewer, more immediate, more real. I love that.

Overall this is an incredibly film to watch and listen to. It's just a real shame I didn't feel more about the characters.


Running: Week 5, Day 3, Run 2

I love hills, I especially love running up and down hills in order to improve my hill running capabilities. More than anything I love running up an incline, turning round running down and repeating ten times.

(I hope that a hint of sarcasm was clear there.)

5.7 km in 33 minutes or 10.3 kmph (but I don't care because I was running up and down a hill).


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Trailers - Inglorious Basterds

In August 2 bona fide auteurs will be showing their latest visions to the British cinema going public. The first of which will be Tarantino with his World War 2 epic: Inglorious Basterds. I'm a huge fan of Quentin, even when he misfires it's worth seeing, so I'll definitely be at the front of the queue when this comes out.

Join me next Tuesday for the second auteur...

Basterds opens on 21 August 2009.


Monday, 6 July 2009

Running: Week 5, Day 1, Run 1

Tried to better my performance from last Thursday today, and I'm pleased to say i just about made it:

9.7 km in 53 minutes or 11 kmph. So well on the way back to where I should be.


Ned Beatty

Happy Birthday to

Ned Beatty

72 today

Ned's been having a career resurgence recently. After years in the b-movie's he had a pivotal supporting role in The Walker, Charlie Wilson's War and In the Electric Mist (which we're still waiting to hear if it goes straight to DVD here in the UK). Coming soon will be a role in Michael Winterbottom's latest with Casey Affleck and Jessica Biel.


Sunday, 5 July 2009

Personal News (05/07/09)

I didn't post last Sunday, as we were still finishing off the run (and I had a very heavy night on the Saturday), but Lifelong Yearning was a tremendous critical success in London. It was regularly described as one of the fuinniest shows the venue had ever seen.

However we still couldn't drive enough audiences to come and see the show to make a profit. It's hard to think what else we could have done - press releases were sent to all the free papers, fliers in all the local hotels, I walked through central London with the poster on my back. Any suggestions, please let me know so we can look at better ways going forward.

I'm at a bit of a loose end now, having moved in with my parents until Of Mice and Men, so looking for work again. If anyone knows of anything in the West of England please let me know - I'm fairly versatile. (And hopefully not sounding too desperate). I have been appying for stuff, but no joy so far.

I've also received a copy of Deep Self the short I film I did back in April. I would love to post it here, however there is quite a prominent shot of "little Ben" and I'm not sure that's suitable for a general blog like this.


Running: Week 4, Day 7, Run 3

I want to know why I'm slower here in the West Country than I was in Birmingham or London - any suggestions please feel free to feedback.

10 km in 58 minutes or 10.4 kmph.


Shirley Knight

Happy Birthday to

Shirley Knight

73 today

Shirley won her second oscar nomination for falling for Paul Newman in Sweet Bird of Youth. Not much of an acting challenge was it?


Saturday, 4 July 2009

Film News (04/07/09)

It's such an empty week for news, I'm really struggling to fill a column. Really the whole of Hollywood must book the week before Independence day off and not bother with any press releases. So excuse me, if I'm making mountains out of molehills, or elevating the sort of story I'd usually ignore completely.


Steven Soderbergh's baseball flick was all set to start lensing last Monday when out of the blue the studio pulled the production, citing some changes in the script and the general lack of profitability for either baseball pictures or Soderbergh.

Of course money comes and goes in Hollywood with many projects starting then falling by the wayside, but the curious element here is the lateness with which that decision was made. You would have thought that by the time the camera's were heating up it was probbly too late to change your mind. That's not to mention that really Soderbergh and Baseball have been profitable in the past (Ocean's Eleven = $183m, A League of their Own = $108m).

The studio also claim some direct to camera documentary interviews with the major players (from this true story) were not part of the original spec and may affect the sales. I'm not sure they would for the real baseball fans, who would probably love to see their stars on screen.

Of course now the whole projects in limbo, trying to find a new studio to finance, and Steven, star Brad Pitt and the other 200 people emplyed by the film will have to move on to other projects. Let's hope they can find a financier and we do get to hear about this interesting mesh of computer modelling and sports.

Woody Allen

Only an incredible half baked rumour, but hell let's run with it, it seems that Woody will be continuing with his international tour by visiting Paris in his next film. No, that's not Whatever Works currently showing the US when Woody proves he can only write for people in his own social groups, or the Untitled London film, due to start lensing any day now with Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin and Pauline Collins. Instead we're talking about the next film - the 2011 Woody Allen picture.

Don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure if he knows where that will be set yet, so expect this little story to disappear soon.

Oscar 2010

Now we're halfway through the year AMPAS have been dropping press releases all week talking about the 2010 ceremony.

The most shocking change has been the increase to 10 best picture nominees. Naturally the blogosphere has been all over this exciting development with 2010 prediction changes, and guesses to what other films would have been nominated in previous years. Of course we won't know what will happen until we get there, but it is comforting to know that the single transferable vote has not been lifted so there will still be some utterly bizarre entries at the year end.

Special awards have been moved to November, clearing them from the telecast. This seems like a shame, because who doesn't want to see an ageing Hollywood starlet showing how time can be cruel during the annual event. Plus the whole celebrating of charitable works and innovation should be considered an important part of what cinema is about. Boo to this idea.

Finally the doors have been opened for a 134 new members to join the AMPAS, some of whom are pretty obvious. Although none made me think - weren't they members already. Because I'm obsessed with acting here are the on screen performers who joined the list, with a selected filmography and in order that I think they deserve to be members:

Viola Davis : Doubt, Far From Heaven, Syriana, Traffic, Get Rich or Die Tryin, Kate & Leopold, Out of Sight, The Shrink is In, Solaris, World Trade Center

Amy Ryan : Gone Baby Gone, Capote, Changeling, You can Count on Me, Before the Devil Knows you're Dead, Dan in Real Life, War of the Worlds

Casey Affleck : The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Gone Baby Gone, Good Will Hunting, Gerry, Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Thirteen, Ocaen's Twelve, To Die For

Anne Hathaway : Rachel Getting Married, Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada, The Princess Diaries, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Michelle Williams : Brokeback Mountain, I'm Not There, Incendiary, Lassie, The Station Agent

Melissa Leo : Frozen River, 21 Grams, Righteous Kill

Taraji P. Henson : The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Hustle & Flow

Michael Shannon : Revolutionary Road, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Bug, Chain Reaction, 8 Mile, High Crimes, Lucky You, Tigerland, Vanilla Sky, World Trade Centre

Brendan Gleeson : Cold Mountain, The Field, Gangs of New York, Artificial Intelligence: AI, Beowulf, Breakfast on Pluto, Butcher Boy, Far and Away, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Into the West, Kingdom of Heaven, Michael Collins, My Life so Far, Troy, The Village

Eddie Marsan : Gangs of New York, 21 Grams, Vera Drake, B. Monkey, Happy-Go-Lucky, Miami Vice

Jeffrey Wright : Ali, Syriana, Basquiat, Celebrity, Critical Care, Faithful, Lady in the Water, The Manchurian Candidate, Presumed Innocent, Quantum of Solace, Ride with the Devil, W.

James Franco : Milk, In the Valley of Elah, City by the Sea, The Company, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3

Emily Blunt : Charlie Wilson's War, The Devil Wears Prada, Dan in Real Life

Emile Hirsch : Into the Wild, Milk, Lords of Dogtown

James McAvoy : Atonement, The Last King of Scotland

Jane Lynch : The Fugitive, Collateral Damage, Vice Versa, What Planet are you From?

Michael Cera : Juno, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Frequency

Paul Rudd : The Cider House Rules, The Object of my Affection, Romeo + Juliet

Hugh Jackman : Australia, The Fountain, Happy Feet, Kate & Leopold, The Prestige, Scoop, X-Men, X2

Seth Rogen : Look - I know he's a bit of an it man with many top selling films over the last couple of years, but I can't for the life of me string them together with any sort of justice to the others. By far the least deserving of all the actors invited to join this year.


Running: Week 4, Day 6, Run 2

After Thursday's snail-like pace I wanted to go out this morning with a bit of a spring in my step and try and go a lot faster than normal. Drumroll please ...

4.25 km in 22 minutes. Which equates to 11.7 kmph.

I'm OK with that.


Gloria Stuart

Happy Birthday to

Gloria Stuart

99 today

I don't expect you recognise the attractive 23 year old in the picture opposite, in fact you'll have to wait until the mid 90's before she becomes recognisable as the older Rose in Titanic. (and she doesn't look at all like Kate Winslet, does she?)


Friday, 3 July 2009

Out this Week (03/07/09)

Not even a competition for this weeks top film with the closest other entry getting less than half the blobs of the leader. That leader, unsurprisingly, is Michael Mann's latest foray into crime: Public Enemies.

Embodiment of Evil

It's been 41 years since the last episode in this sadistic gravedigger series, however there's been no reimagining, simply a long prison sentence with the same actor-director taking the lead. Follow Ze as he cuts up the poor and dispossed of Sao Paulo!

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●○○○○○○○

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

OK, it's not art, and it won't have the complex storytelling techniques of the Pixar animations, but I do have a soft spot for the Ice Age films. The trailer promises more of the same buddy picture jokes, with some highly suspect evolution jumping hook. Expect everything Scrat does to be hilarious.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●○○○○○○

Kambakkt Ishq

The producers have worked a lot to promote this Akshay Kumar starring romance, with onset blogs and tie in (free) computer games. With it's Hollywood locations as well, this could be the best way to give Bollywood a taster.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●○○○○○○○

Public Enemies

Or at least it would if I wasn't going to see this. Johnny Depp and Christian Bale face off in the taut action thriller from Micheal Mann, about the hero bank robbers from the 1930's and the creation of the FBI to thwart them. Their time was short and exciting. Can't wait to see how it's turned out.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●●●●●●●○

S. Darko

Most pointless sequel of the year award (possibly) goes to Donnie's sister, who manages to get caught in a wormhole similar to that of her depressed older brother. Expect all the angst and resonance to be sucked out of this, leaving just a hollow core with a twisty non-sensical plot. Even Frank couldn't be persuaded to return.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○


Tom Cruise

Happy Birthday to

Tom Cruise

47 today

Congratulations to Tom, not just for the birthday but for being the first actor to get written up with a birthday for the second time on this blog. I expect he's feeling truly honoured right now. Since last year he's had a scene stealing cameo in Tropic Thunder and tried to off Hitler in Valkyrie, both of which have gone a long way to restore his reputation. Supposedly Wichita (romantic comedy with Cameron Diaz) is his next project, but I think I'd rather see him working with Cronenburg on The Matarese Circle.


Thursday, 2 July 2009

Running: Week 4, Day 4, Run 1

I should never take any time off during a training programme - even if I am terribly hung over or moving house...

9.8 km in 55 minutes, which equates to just 10.6 kmph. This was a full 21 seconds per km slower than last Thursday. Embarassing.


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Leslie Caron

Happy Birthday to

Leslie Caron

78 today

You may have retired, Leslie, but we'll always have your beautiful steps in Gigi and An American in Paris to remind us of you.