Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Tetro

2009. Dir: Francis Ford Coppola. Starring: Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich, Maribel Verdú, Silvia Pérez and Rodrigo de la Serna. ●●●●○



At the heart of Francis Ford Coppola's latest film is the nature of the relationships between fathers and sons and brothers and brothers; the concept that as men we are constantly fighting for our place within the familial hierachy ensuring our alpha male position, or at least our close proximity to the alpha-male. Like the paternal influence in The Godfather the more the titular Tetro (Gallo) and his younger sibling Bennie (Ehrenreich) try to escape the pervasive influence of their tyrannical conducter father (Klaus Maria Brandauer) the more they become reflexions of him.



It is a long way from his genius run in the 1970's (2 Godfathers, a conversation and a trip to 'Nam) this film is a return to high quality melodrama that we missed in the workmanlike 90's and the muddled Youth without Youth. I believe I use the term melodrama correctly, without giving too much away the plot is as follows:

Bennie, a short version of Benjamin, biblical reference fans, the innocent youngest son and brother has run away from his military boarding school, got a job as a busboy on a liner (all resplendent in a pressed white uniform) and sailed to Buenos Aires to reunite himself with Tetro, formerly Angelo. Whilst Tetro is hostile to Bennie's presence his partner Miranda (Verdu) is welcolming and patient to both of their points of view.

It soon transpires that Tetro, who originally left the family home on a writing sabbatical, has failed to complete any of his works, suffered from a mental breakdown and now spends his time lighting avant-garde stripshows at the local theatre. Bennie attempting to ingratiate himself completes the play from Tero's scribblings, which are naturally a version of his realionship with his father, and eventually all the secrets the family has sought to hide are dragged out at a theatre festival and a funeral, with at least one of those scenes being unnecssary.

All three of the leads give superb performances. Gallo perfectly nails the unpredictability and inner conflict of the eponymous hero and Ehrenreich proves himself in the audience surrogate role as much a voyeur of the action as a participant. Verdu builds on her reputation from Pan's Labyrinth as the outsider, knowing exactly when to emote and when to just observe.

Brandauer is also chilling in his few scenes, his line on the beach "There is room for just one genius in this family" was so oily delivered I wanted to jump up and punch him. His presence in the film was even more foreboding for the limited screentime, any more and we might have got wise to the lecherous egotist and seen him as more clownish than domineering.

The melodramatic tendencies of the script were a minor turn-off and not helped by the telegraphing of major plot developments in early scenes (what did Brandauer just say? why does he not like her dancing with anyone watching? which parts in the therapy sessions are truths and which are lies? - answer these and you'll know the ending.) That said the comic breaks including the scenes of Faustus and the hotel room are deliciousy bawdy.

Coppola is clearly a better director than he is scriptwriter, the pace was elegant for the first third as we were introduced to the scene but following the initial disagreements between the brothers and the motorbike accident (I won't tell you when it comes or who is involved but it's exceptionally well edited with a it's-all-OK...OMG-moment that will have you jumping out of your seat) it speeds up until the closing scenes getting more wound up and fraught, perfectly reflecting Tetro's state of mind.

I would also like to compliment the cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. Every shot was incredibly composed, with the decision to shoot mostly in black and white (using colour for the flashbacks and an overdone technicolour effect for the dance sequences - yes there are dance sequences ancilliary to the story) being a moment of true inspiration. Indeed it's worth catching this film for the composition alone.

Overall I would say that whilst Tetro is certainly of it's medium and stuck with many of the flaws of melodrama it is still a fantastic example of that genre and I highly recommend it.

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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Tuesday Trailers - Toy Story 3

Well, I've ummed and ahhed about this, tried hard to stick to my guns and only show one trailer (for Inception) during June, but it's really hard to argue wit th cinematic juggernaut that is the latest Toy Story sequel. It's taken a massive $225m over the first couple of weekends in the US, as well as notching up flawless reviews and near rabid fan support. It would be rude therefore if I didn't show it here. That said, I haven't decided if I'll go yet.



Toy Story 3 opens on 23 July 2010.

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Leslie Browne


Happy Birthday to

Leslie Browne

53 today


I won't pretend I know anything about ballet, in fact I only know of Ms Browne because of her oscar nominated role in The Turning Point, however I understand she is a superb performer. I could only find one clip on youtube, but she's one of the four Jewels in this piece from Sleeping Beauty. Enjoy.

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Monday, 28 June 2010

Kathy Bates


Happy Birthday to

Kathy Bates

62 today


It's hard to believe now but there was a time when Kathy was being passed over time and time again when her stage performances were being developed for the big screen. Sissy Spacek and Michelle Pfeiffer both got the chance to steal her roles. Luckily she was cast as Annie Wilkes in Misery which led to the first her Oscar nods and began her high profile career. Her last film was Valentine's Day but I won't hold that against her if the France set Woody Allen pic Midnight in Paris turns out to be at all good.

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Sunday, 27 June 2010

Personal News - 27/06/10

Not much new to say today, so I'll keep it brief. Rehearsals are going well for "Baby Jesus Freak". Nothing else on the agenda as there's only a month before my Corporate contract starts.

Um... that's all.

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Saturday, 26 June 2010

Will Someone, please, give Meryl an Oscar? (Film News - 26/06/10)

This week has been incredible, everywhere you look there have been fascinating projects appearing out of nowhere, so much so that until the great Meryl's next project was announced I just didn't know what to lead with. On top of that we've got some updated releases and the Academy have broadcast their latest inductees. So, without further ado lets dig in.

Great Hope Springs

The never ending talent that is Meryl Streep has finally picked her next project, a full six months after gracing our screens in It's Complicated. What's more it looks like it might just get here some awards attention - at least that's what a million bloggers are collectively sighing. The film will trace a couple (her and Jeff Bridges) as they spend a weekend with a relationship counsellor (yet to be cast). Depending on which rumour you read Jessie Nelson (I am Sam) or Mike Nichols (loads of great movies) will be in the directors chair.

Obviously I'm thrilled to see Meryl back on the job, and I am sure this will be a quality film, but the oscar hype that surrounds her mere casting is a little too much - and I realise I'm being deeply hypocritical when I say this. Lets face it Meryl already has two Academy Awards - more than about 8 Billion people - and she has a record for acting nominations that will probably never be broken. Many of these nods may not have been in the crowd of best performances that year which means Meryl is simply filling up ballot papers on some occasions. Of course I love watching her act but I will confess that sometimes what we love is watching her act and most of the time she is unafraid of letting us know she is acting.

Can't we just let her make the film, and enjoy it or not based on our opinions of the film itself and not hyping up some wholly arbitrary awards system, which Meryl herself doesn't seem that focused on?

That's come out a lot rantier than I expected. I just hope I enjoy the movie when it eventually comes out.

Meryl, on an Oscar red carpet.

Read on for distracted physicists, school bullies, gangsters, robots, lots of sex, a mystery and a few animals. Now combine that to make the perfect movie.



As She Climbed Across the Table

I suppose it's happened to everyone. You work with someone every day and slowly you develop a tiny crush, an element of attraction - only they are so focused on the job that they fail to notice you. Of course it's one thing when relentless sales targets and workplace geography are the main barriers, quite another if the object of your affection has a greater affinity to the Black Hole she's studying. Yes, this metaphysical love triangle pits the hero against super dense matter. Sounds great. Based on the novel by Jonathan Letham, right.

Elliot Allagash

Will Jason Reitman be going back to school, and aiming even younger than Juno with his next film? It's quite possible following the news that he's optioned Simon Rich (of SNL) debut novel. It's about how money can buy you happiness (or at least protect you from being unpopular) in the private education sector. Oh, satire, eh?

Pretty Boy Floyd

You remember the super short scene in Micheal Mann's Public Enemies where Channing Tatum got shot in the back whilst running through an orchard (oops, spoilers for this film, Public Enemies and early 20th Century American history) well he was playing the legendary bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd (right, and not rally that pretty), and it's that legend's turn to has a biopic all about him. I wonder how it's going to end?

Rock 'em, Sock 'em Robots

Does anyone know what these are? (Original product on the left and I don't come close to recognising them) Or why they want to make a movie out of them? (Other than to boost the merchandise line that is.) I'm only including them here because I do quite like the title.

360

One for the adults here. Arthur Schnitzler's 1900 play, "Riegart", caused a great deal of scandal on it's release due to it's frank look at sexual relationships between class and social groupings. Whilst any dissection of those themes these days is highly unlikely to shock anyone it will certainly be interesting to see what has and hasn't changed in this field. The modern adaptation has been written by Peter Morgan and is set to be directed by Fernando Meirelles.

Untitled M. Night Shyamalan Project

You can tell M. Night's The Last Airbender (left) is about to hit cinemas because he's already showing his latest script about town. Oddly there's no talk about it being a sequel so I guess the tracking isn't very good. What we do know, and bearing in mind his scripts are more closely guarded than George Osbourne's budget plans, indicates a Taken like premise with supernatural elements. Bruce Willis, Gwynneth Paltrow and Bradley Cooper are interested in roles.

We Bought a Zoo

Cameron Crowe's next movie could well have the ubiquitous Matt Damon as Guardian columnist Benjamin Mee who, as the title suggests, bought a failing zoo in an attempt to revive it and ensure the safety of the animals. In spite of it being a true story (the wildlife park in Dartmoor is the real star) I have no idea what happens. I'm avoiding wikipedia for the next 18 months.

New Academy members

AMPAS have this week announced their latest inductees and as usual it's a fascinating list, as well as recent winners and nominees there are the usual mix of what really's and weren't they a member already's. Because I'm an actor I'm going to list those new to that branch and highlight some films that may have had a factor in their inclusion (going from the best choice, in my humble opinion, to the worst):

Mo'Nique - Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire and Shadowboxer

Christoph Waltz - Inglorious Basterds

Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker, The Assassasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, North Country and Lords of Dogtown

Vera Famiga - Up in the Air, The Departed, Breaking and Entering, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Manchurian Candidate, Nothing but the Truth, Running Scared and The Vintner's Luck

Saoirse Ronan - Atonement, The lovely Bones and Death Defying Acts

Carey Mulligan - An Education, Pride and Prejudice, And When did you last see your Father, Brothers and Public Enemies

Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air and Twilight

Gabourey Sidibe - Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire

Tobin Bell - The Firm, Goodfellas, In the Line of Fire, Mississippi Burning, Tootsie, The Verdict, An Innocent Man, Loose Cannons and The Quick and the Dead

George Wyner - All the President's Men, Lady sings the Blues, My Favourite Year, To be or Not to be, The Bad News Bears Go to Japan, The Devil's Advocate, The Long Goodbye, The Postman, A Serious Man, Spaceballs, The Taking of Beverley Hills and Who's Life is it anyway?

Peter Sarsgaard - Boy's Don't Cry, Dead Man Walking, An Education, Kinsey, In the Electric Chair, Jarhead, K19: The Widowmaker and The Skeleton Key

LaTanya Richardson Jackson - Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Lorenzo's Oil, Malcolm X, The Fighting Temptations, Lone Star, Sleepless in Seattle and When a Man loves a Woman

Shaun Toub - Charlie Wilson's War, Crash, The Kite Runner, The Nativity Story and Out to Sea

James Gandolfini - A Civil Action, All the Kings Men, Angie, 8MM, Fallen, The Juror, The Last Castle, The Man who Wasn't There, The Mexican, Mr. Wonderful, Money for Nothing, Night Falls on Manhattan, The Stranger among Us and Where the Wild Things Are

Sam Robards - American Beauty, Artificial Intelligence: A.I., Bird, Bright Lights Big City, Casualties of War, Che: Part 1, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Not Quite Paradise, Pret-a-Porter and Tempest

Miguel Ferrer - Traffic, Another Stakeout, The Assassin, Cigarettes and Coffee, The Guardian, The Manchurian Candidate, Silver City, Sunshine State and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Peter Riegart - Traffic, Chilly Scenes of Winter, City Girl and Crossing Delancey

Zoe Saldana - Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Avatar, Centre Stage and The Terminal

Adam Sandler - Mixed Nuts, Punch-Drunk Love and Spanglish

Ryan Reynolds - and every year there's one actor selected that I just don't understand. Sure hes cute, and maybe there are signs of talent underneath the six pack, but I don't think he deserves this just yet. The challenge out to Ryan now is to prove me wrong.

Release Date News

The Town - It's essentially a month of minor shuffles in terms of box office release dates, and the only film coming forward is this Bank Robber drama. Don't get held up on 24 September 2010.

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps - Another week's delay before we see Olive Stone's Financial skullduggery sequel, but I suppose if you've waited 23 years a few more weeks won't matter. Bring out the shoulderpads and big hair on 08 October 2010.

The Debt - Still no publicity for this Isreali thriller remake which is a tiny bit concerning to anyone hoping to see it, but maybe Helen Mirren's been too busy bathing for Love Ranch. Flash back to when you worked with Sam Worthington on 29 October 2010.

Eagle of the Ninth - Centurion has already hit the 2010 quota for slaughtered Roman legions, so Kevin MacDonald's literary adaptation has postponed a year. Echo through eternity on 25 February 2011.

Hanna - Will this be a more serious look at the character traits of Hit Girl, with Saoirse Ronan as a teenager brough up to be an ultimate killing machine. Bring up an assassin on 29 April 2011.

We Bought a Zoo - IMDb doesn't yet list it in Pre-production, the lead actor is still in negotiations (see above) but that doesn't stop Cameron Crowe from fixing a release date - I full expect it to change. Manage your menagerie on 08 October 2010.


You see I get my own back on Ryan by glorifying him as simply a sexual object. Take that Reynolds.

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Eleanor Parker


Happy Birthday to

Eleanor Parker

88 today


She might be predominantly remembered for the Baroness (boo hiss) in The Sound of Music but it's worth remembering Ms Parker was a versatile leading lady in the 50's picking up 3 Academy Awards nominations. Saying that it is the Baroness that sticks in the mind, and tell me have you noticed her eyebrows in the scene where she tells Maria to go - they are acting all of their own volition it's a joy to watch.

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Friday, 25 June 2010

The Old Masters return (out this week - 25/06/10)

It's another weak week of film releases as the World Cup continues for England (just about), and congratulations to the U.S. readers for also surviving the Group stages. I have no doubts that Russell Brand will propel him movie to the top of the box office charts, and I only hope he's a less irritating actor than he is a TV presenter/stand-up comic. On the more arty front there are two auteur's synonymous with the 70's who are battling for my endorsement, even though a blogger I trust has panned them both in the comments here, I'm going to pick Tetro as the film of the week.




The Collector

When watching Home Alone I expect you thought that the scenes of slapstick violence meted on the burglars was both justified and hilarious. This film riffs on those elements only using the medium of horror. From the writers (hmm) of Saw IV, V, VI and VII.

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



Get Him to the Greek

I have a small problem in recommending this film, partly because Brand irritates me and partly because I haven't seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, from which the character is spun. Mostly it's because I've heard the majority of the trailer isn't in the film.... I mean really what is the point of a trailer if it doesn't show you stuff from the film. Big mistake.

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

Tetro

Francis Ford Coppola's second personal project, the first being 2007's Youth without Youth which in turn was preceded by a 7 year hiatus, follows two brothers (Vincent Gallo and Alden Ehrenreich) coming to terms with their destructive relationship with their conductor father (Klaus Maria Brandauer).

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

Villa Amalia

Isabelle Huppert reunites with director Benoît Jacquot for the fifth time, in this story of a pianist (careful) who abandons her life after her partner kisses another woman.

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

Whatever Works

Woody Allens output continues to be only sporadically entertaining with his first New York movie for 5 years. Larry David fills the Woody role, Evan Rachel Wood (40 years his junior) plays the love interest and the cast is filled by the usual group of stereotypical New Yorkers.

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

When in Rome

I actually quite like the look of this rom-com. Sure I suspect it'll be cheesy and forgettable but the premise of boys being put under a spell when their coins are taken from the Fountain of Love is quite cut, especially when they get as smitten as they are in the trailer, and when one of them is Danny DeVito. Anjelica Huston also gets a role as Kristen Bell's boss so there's a reason for going.

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

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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Wild Target

2010. Dir: Jonathan Lynn. Starring: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett and Eileen Atkins. ●●●○○



To say that I enjoyed Wild Target, whilst true, seemes to be missing the point. I laughed a few times, didn't feel my money was wasted and liked the feel of the film. Here we are a few days later though and it's already slipping from my mind, the plot and characters were paper thin and the energy was patchy and I can't help but feel that for it to really work I should have laughed more.

In the film Bill Nighy plays Victor Maynard, the creme de la creme of assassins, able to practise his French verbs whilst completing each of his assignments. After a art scam involving a hammy Rupert Everett he is called to deal with the scammer Emily Blunt. Naturally (this being a film about hit men) he can't do it, which leads to them going on the lam with slacker Rupert Grint whilst being chased by Everett, rival Martin Freeman and Nighy's psychotic mother Eileen Atkins.



Experienced comic performers Nighy and Blunt are on top form here, with the formers clownish double takes and the latters ability to look vulnerable and dangerous simultaneously (usually whilst tottering around in heels) both eleicited some giggles. In fact the film works best in some of the wordless scenes - such as Blunt going to the National Gallery and Nighy first tailing his planned victim.

It seems a shame therefore that we couldn't have more of these silent comic esque capers as once the dialogue came in it wasn't nearly as sucessful. The script was by Lucinda Coxon (of The Heart of Me fame - not a comedy) and up next is The Danish Girl, which I suspect is on the serious side so maybe this just isn't her forte. If I seem harsh there were some good jokes, but they were exactly that and often quite laboured.

Or two main protagonists are joined by Rupert Grint (on holiday from Hogwarts, obviously) who is as much of a macguffin in the plot as the forged Rembrandt. He does surprisingly well as the homeless dopehead with a surprising instinct for the assassins arts with his completely naiveity and boyishness shining through but there's really nowhere for the character to go. Part apprentice to Nighy and part obstacle in the ineitable affair between the others once those situations are introduced the film doesn't really know where to put him.

Jonathan Lynn is a steady hand behnd the camera, as shown by his handling of the silent elements above, but this is a long way from his best work - you remember cracking up to Clue? (Although it is significantly better than The Fighting Temptations or Sgt Bilko)

To conclude this is a reasonably diverting piece and quietly entertaining, with some funny moments, but nothing to write home about. Oh, and the last joke (involving the pink cat in the poster) really isn't funny.

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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Michael Lerner


Happy Birthday to

Michael Lerner

69 today


I had hoped to get hold of a pic of Michael's Solomon Schlutz from A Serious Man but given his very brief screetime (he walks in with legal documents, coughs and dies) there aren't many shots online. So here's on from his more famous Coen brothers gig: Barton Fink. By the way did you know he's in the Atlas Shrugged adaptation currently being filmed - I say this because I didn't know and he's easily the most famous cast member.

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Monday, 21 June 2010

Juliette Lewis


Happy Birthday to

Juliette Lewis

37 today


Juliette has been going through a very rough patch, pretty much since the end of the 1990's, only enlivened by the odd great supporting role, like in Whip It earlier this year. Coming up she has two high profile comedies (supporting Jennifer Aniston and Robert Downey Jnr respectively) and the wrongful imprisonment drama Conviction, the trailer ofr which was released this week. I can't say any of these projects inspire me but if they help to bring Juliette back into the public concious then that's got to be a good thing.

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Sunday, 20 June 2010

No Courtroom Dramas Here (Film News - 19/06/10)

A day late on the movie news, very poor show, and I don't even have an adequate excuse - I do have a feeble one though ... I was cleaning the house in the morning, then I had a rehearsal in the afternoon and then went for a few cast bonding drinks and by the time I got home I was only good for sticking a pizza in the oven and watching repeats of "QI". Anyway it's been as action packed a news week as last weeks was feeble and forgettable. We've got vague rumours, casting news and stories of films in the can that we previously knew nothing about. SO much in fact that the story I was going to lead with back in the first half of week I've effectively dropped, it ties in with this week's title and the odd litigation cases surrounding the still unseen Black Water Transit and the James Ivory's latest City of your Final Destination both of which still look exceedingly unlikely to hit UK cinemas.

Legends

I'm going to start with positive proof of my theory from a few weeks ago that fairy tales are the new big idea in Hollywood with the news that the graphic novel Legends is being adapted for the big screen. The story takes those classic Grimm characters - Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretal etc. - and reinvents them as mercenaries and serial killers having to work together to defeat an unkown foe.


The cover art looks suitably kiddie friendly.

I have very serious doubts about whether this sort of idea can actually work - partly because this sounds like The League of Extraordinary Gentleman in a medievil forest - but also because I can't imagine how the studios will market the projects. They will have to be kids films - will many adults want to see films with children's character protagonists? - and therefore there will be artificial limits put on the 'darkness' of the film adapatations (I question this because young children love being terrified so a certain amount of thrills will probably work in it's favour). This combination will probably make for the worst possible result; a film that tries so desperately to subvert the genre yet panders to test screening opinions of what children want to see.


Read on for lost wizards, some mush for Father's day, housebreaking, animals at war, Albanian blood feuds and two more scripts that Ridley Scott's read.



Oz: the Great and Powerful

With Sam Mendes seeming to be undecided about his next project the Wizard of Oz origin story has had to pass to new hands and it's now to be directed by Sam Raimi. It's probably a much better choice in terms of the look and feel of the project, Raimi has proved time and time again that he knows how to handle the action pieces that should fill at least the first half of this extravaganza.

Tom's Dad

Perfectly timed so I could mention it on Father's Day is Patrick Demsey's (left)latest vehicle, where he will play a 1960's vaudeville star who's career is stuttering to a halt when his young son comes looking for him. No idea when or if this will kick off, but I imagine the response to Sofia Coppola's Somewhere wich appears to use familiar territory will be a big decider.

Trespass

Joel Schumacher to direct Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman in a blend of Panic Room and Funny Games. It's either going to be brilliant or appalling and I can't wait to find out which one.

War Horse

Steven Spielberg must be serious about making War Horse his next project (book cover on the right) as not only is there a US release date pencilled in for next August, but he's also gone and announced a full international cast. RSC and National alumi Jeremy Irvine takes the lead (th boy who owns the horse, not the horse itself) and will be joined by a host of quality actors including Emily Watson, Stephen Graham, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan and Niels Arestrup. It's definitely moving up my list of films to look out for with that sort of cast.

Joshua Marston's Untitled Albanian Picture

Joshua Marston burst onto the American indie scene in 2004 with his sublime drug mule portrait Maria Full of Grace. Since then he's been working mainly in television with a well received segment in New York, I Love You being his only foray back into the cinemas (not that I'd know it still hasn't been released over here!) Apparently he's not just been working out what to do next. In a complete surprise he's just wrapped filming an Albanian set drama with a mostly non-professional cast. It's about a family that get dragged into a blood feud casusing all the men to put themselves under house arrest and the women must become predominant breadwinners. Based on cultural events that still affect communities in Eastern Europe the film will explore the shift in the relationship between the family, concentrating on how the power shifts to the women in this situation. Sounds challenging but certainly worth the wait.

Forever War/Yet another Ridley Scott untitled project

So Sir Ridley has two Alien prequels, the Monopoly film, Huxley's Brave New World, a one film version of Red Riding, The Passage and a Gucci family biopic all on his shelf. You'd think he'd stop reading things, wouldn't you? Apparently not, in an interview during the LA Times sponsored Hero Complex film festival (you honestly couldn't have made that up) he announced he was also working on a big screen adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s Forever War - a seminal Sci-Fi novel and anti-war (especially Vietnam) treatise - and that Larry McMurtry (Hud, Brokeback Mountain) has a Western in it's final stages of writing for him. Both of these sound like films that should be seen but honestly Ridley give some of these projects up - there are plenty of qualified and capabl directors out there who could do these stories (all 9 of them) justice.


Two book covers and one graphic novel cover in one article, you can tell I'm still a bit hung over.

Ronald Neame 1911-2010

I just want to close with a brief memory of British director Ronald Neame, who passed away on Wednesday aged 99. His filmography includes diverse and substantial critical and commercial hits such as Tunes of Glory, The Poseidon Adventure and, my personal favourite, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.



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Olympia Dukakis


Happy Birthday to

Olympia Dukakis

79 today


I'm probably a bit weird but I have a little movie crush on Olympia. I know the 40 year age gap may be an issue, and frankly she's not my normal type, but she's got one of the sexiest voices in Hollywood. Just listen to Steel Magnolias with the picture turned off and I'll bet it's Dukakis as Clairee that you'll b drawn to by the end.



P.S. It's also the 2nd Birthday of the Runs like a gay blog. Happy Birthday to us. I wonder if anyone reads this bit...

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Saturday, 19 June 2010

Kathleen Turner


Happy Birthday to

Kathleen Turner

56 today


A versatile and talented star Turner has been lauded for her work on both the stage and the big screen, although these days she tends to perform less - her last film performance was in 2008's Marley & Me. In spite of all this I almost went for a picture of Jessica Rabbit...

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Friday, 18 June 2010

Charity Begins at the Cinema (Out this week - 18/05/10)

Last week the lack of big ticket releases and World Cup fever kept Sex and the City 2 on top of the UK box office charts for the third week running. I'd like to say there'll be a strong challenger this week but I just don't think that's likely in one of the least interesting release dates since the beginning of the year. Maybe the double screening of hit men comedies will manage to budge the New York foursome? In terms of likely quality I would have to present Please Give as the film of the week.



Ajami

Both highly acclaimed on the festival circuit and in the US, where it was nominated for the best foreign language picture in 2010, this joint Israeli Palestinian venture about small scale drug dealers is slipping out in a very limited release. I hope it finds an audience if even it isn't showing anywhere close.

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



Hierro

This Spanish horror starts like a Flightplan rip-off with Maria's son disappearing on the ferry to El Hierro island. Instead of trying to investigate the thriller elements it then segues into familiar horror abduction territory and scary visions.

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

Killers

The first of the pair of assassin comedies stars Ashton Kutcher as a CIA sponsored killer who retires from the game and marries Katherine Heigl. Obviously his work comes looking for him. The best gags are in the trailer. No, really, they're the best gags.

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

MacGruber

I did think that maybe I wasn't interested in this SNL adaptation because over here we don't have the show so there is no built in expectation and because the property is spoofs is barely a memory. The least successful wide opening in the US box office history tells me that it's an international sense of apathy.

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

Our Family Wedding

Yet another woeful looking American comedies. This time it's America Ferrera and Lance Gross getting married whilst their different cultural backgrounds tear apart the in-laws. Saved from a humiliating one blob of anticipation because Forest Whitaker is in it.

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

Please Give

Nicole Holofcener adds to her rich back catalogue of films that concern women as real people front and centre, as well as re-teaming with her lucky charm Catherine Keener. This one dissects upper middle calls attitudes to charity and guilt.

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

Raavan

Everywhere I see this movie I see the tagline TEN HEADS,TEN MINDS,A HUNDRED VOICES ONE MAN - Did such a man ever exist? Tragically there is no ten headed man in the trailer. I would probably ask for my money back if I went.


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Trash Humpers

Harmony Korine's latest is filmed with camcorders, features actors covered in latex to appear elderly, and has been described as a dystopian nightmare. It also features trash humping. I don't think Ill be going.

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Wild Grass

Renowned French auteur Alain Resnais creates a very unlikely romance in this darkly comic exploration of two lonely souls united by a crime and kept together by obsession. Certainly worth a look.

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Wild Target

The British equivalent of Killers, this time with Bill Nighy as the hit man who can't quite bring himself to kill Emily Blunt. Rupert Grint and a score of British character actors tag along. Best jokes are probably in the trailer in this one too.

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

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Carol Kane


Happy Birthday to

Carol Kane

58 today


These days Carol is always turning up in movies thank frankly she's too good for - Four Christmases, The Bounty Hunter - it seems those heady days when she had small but impactful roles in Annie Hall and Dog Day Afternoon are well gone. For crying out loud she got an oscar nod for Hester Street someone give her a decent part.

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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Thomas Haden Church


Happy Birthday to

Thomas Haden Church

50 today


After years of struggling on the sidelines, anyone remember him in "Wings" or George of the Jungle?, Church finally made some serious impact in 2004's Sideways as a serial womanising TV star on a batchelor trip with is alcoholic ex roomie. Since then he has clearly been taking all those big gigs he couldn't have been auditioned for in the wilderness years, like the Sandman in Spider-man 3, right, and the upcoming John Carter of Mars. Good luck to him I say, these roles won't be there forever, just don't spread yourself too thin.

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Brooklyn's Finest

2009. Dir: Antoine Fuqua. Starring: Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes and Vincent D'Onofrio. ●●●○○



Solidly gripping Brooklyn's Finest is a clear film de Antoine Fuqua displaying all the macho posturing, bling and shots of the sun that you expect from him. However it comes short of the sum of it's parts and the chain of coincidences seems forced and - just a little - incoherent.

We start with three convenient cliched cop characters; a disolusioned alcoholic bobby-on-the-beat about to retire (Gere), a family man being dragged into corruption to have a chance to support his brood (Hawke) and an undercover agent who's so far in his loyalties are in question (Cheadle). By using these familiar settings Fuqua is trying to both shortcut the introduction to these stereotypes and introduce an overriding operatic arch to their variations.



That it doesn't work is perhaps because whilst we know every beat of the characters he still feels the need to introduce routin and charcter for the first half of the film, thereby rushing the drag toward the climax. In this way we believe the motivations of the lead trio because they tell us that it's so and not because we've organically come to understand their feelings.

Of the three storylines the one that suffers the most is loner Richard Gere who doesn't quite have the gravitas to fill the role, and we are left slightly confused as to why after dodging the police work for many years he gets involved with the final crescendo of violence. Don Cheadle does an excellent job in his third, ably matched by Wesley Snipes as the drug dealer he can't allow himself to betray.

But it's Ethan Hawke who does the best in his role, reunited with his Training Day director, essentially playing the moment between when that character tips into Denzel Washington's and lets the desperation and catholic guilt flow through him. There's a very nicely shot scene in a confessional (it's in the trailer and works better in context) with Hawke railing against God's impotence.

Brian F O'Byrne (Million Dollar Baby, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead) is also convincing as Hawke's conscience, a fellow drugs officer trying to keep him on the straight and narrow.

You'll notice we've only mentioned the male actors, this is because Fuqua can only direct women in how they are connected to the men, as wives and whores. Even Ellen Barkin as Cheadle FBI superior is really just a man with a skirt, with every edge of femininity erased from her - either by the job or by the screenwriters. The message of this is clear; out on the streets women either need rescuing or protecting or they're not really women.

The technical aspects are fine, and Fuqua is obviously comfortable with the hip hop and drug ridden streets that he invokes with the movie.

Overall I would say this picture over does the exposition and rushes into the climax, it's fairly watchable but definitely worth waiting until it comes out on DVD for a beer and a pizza on a quiet Friday night.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Helen Hunt


Happy Birthday to

Helen Hunt

47 today


I really don't know what to say about Helen, I'm sure she's a lovely person but I'm at a complete loss. If I mention her Academy Award I'll come across all snarky, I talked about her Twister performance last year so that's out. There's nothing in the pipeline that looks even remotely watchable. If she didn't come across as so human and real (just look at her personal quotes on IMDb) then I probably would have just let her birthday slip by unnoticed.

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Sunday, 13 June 2010

Personal News (13/06/10)

This week I have had a very nice lesson in not lowering my expectations. Over the last couple of weeks I have had a couple of auditions that I was disappointed with - however it turns out that I need not have been.

I have been offered a five month contract with Theatre&, to start in August, and I've also got a role in Baby Jesus Freak; the play I was not invited back for a second audition for last week. In it I will be playing a Priest and a Counsellor. Rehearsals start tomorrow night.

Overall I've been pretty overjoyed.

(Still no Normal Heart news though!)

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Saturday, 12 June 2010

More Vampires Anyone? (Film News 12/06/10)

I don't know what happened this week. I mean we've had slow news days before but this is ridiculous: I'm having to open with a Bram Stoker rip-off and fill with wrestler pictures and rehashes of news that's over a year old. It's enough to make you want to write up about half whispered casting rumours and Brett Ratner's upcoming slate... Not that I will. Memo to the Hollywood PR people - start writing interesting stories we're desperate out here.

Fangland

Anyone remember when John Carpenter was a prolific and relevant horror/action maestro? I know it's a stretch but back in the late 70's/early 80's he was cranking out genre masterpiece after genre masterpiece. What home midnight movie marathon (for people of my generation) would be complete without Halloween, The Thing, The Fog or They Live, the 90's though were unkind to Carpenter with sucessive films both flopping commercially and being less satisfying artistically culminating in 2001's Ghosts of Mars. After the last nine years off John is back, first with The Ward which is due for release this year, but now with Fangland - a modern remake of Bram Stoker's classic Dracula.

The adapatation of John Mark's novel following news reporter Evangeline Harker (set to be played by Hilary Swank!) as she sets for Rumania looking for a local crime kingpin. Guess what she finds.

I'm hoping for a return to the classic early movies with this, and with Vampires currently in vogue it should reap some nice box office for him.

(Audio versions of the book are also available)

Note I managed to write that whole segment without referring to th confirmation that Breaking Dawn will be split into two films in order to fleece the teenage fans out of twice as much of their pocket money. (Oops).

Read on for paranoid South African actresses and big chested "athletes".



The Chaperone


I will confess I know absolutely nothing about professional wrestling, other than from watching The Wrestler, and I can't say I've ever been that interested in watching a movie featuring a wrestler before, but as I said earlier we are really struggling for news this week so here goes. Paul "Triple H" Levesque is making his lead film debut with The Chaperone: "a getaway driver for a crew of bank robbers who is determined to go straight and be the best parent he can be to his daughter." Doesn't that sound like a barrel of laughs.

I'm not really sure what Triple H stands for, but I'm guessing it's his bra size.

Fury Road

I thought Charlize Theron was out of the Mad Max remake, given she'd dropped off the IMDb page, but apparently not as she's been talking about the role just this week. Although she hasn't been saying anything specific because she's worried the production company are spying on her to make sure she doesn't spill the beans. It sounds like she has nothing to say because she's not actually in it - that's right you heard it here first - Charlize Theron is making stuff up at interviews. Oh, and all this is just an excuse to bring in Tina Turner singing We Don't Need another Hero from the last Mad Max movie.



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Friday, 11 June 2010

Doomed Cop Sweepstakes (Out this week 11/06/10)

That's right, I have changed the name of the Friday post, for the time-being I will be trying to make jokey titles that relate to the top film with the main aim of making my blogs more exciting - I'm always the first to admit I stick to formula too much here. What do you think - will it work or will I be back to "Out this Week" by the end of July? Talking about exciting most people here in the UK will be spending the weekend anticipating England's first World Cup match - will the US audience be as involved, do you know? Therefore this weeks slate isn't particularly rich, instead concentrating on mid chart players who were never going to set the box office alight. That said film of the week is Brooklyn's Finest.



Black Death

Nine years ago Sean Bean (should that be pronounced Shawn Born or Seen Been?) had the biggest hit with his career with Lord of the Rings, well he's back in medieval armour on a quest, this time to find out how a village is avoiding the bubonic plague. I'm doubting it will be as successful.

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Brooklyn's Finest

To explain the post title - Brooklyn's Finest brings together a large cast of great character actors (Cheadle, Gere, Snipes, Hawkes, D'Onofrio, Patton, Barkin...) in a Antoine Fuqua directed piece about corrupt, suicidal and undercover cops. Not all of them will make it to the end credits. I'm just trying to guess who.

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Greenberg

Noah Baumbach's last two films (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding) have involved self obsessed characters dealing with difficult but commonplace situations, and don't expect his latest to be much different. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it, and Greta Gerwig is supposed to be brilliant.

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Letters to Juliet

Whilst this film may have massive plot holes, who could possibly leave Gael Garcia Bernal for Christopher Egan, but it's done surprisingly well in the States will atypically low drop off rates. Frankly Vanessa Redgrave's the only draw for me, but you could do worse given the genre.

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Panjaban

Delayed from two weeks ago this was my blurb then, and it hasn't changed: No link on imdb for this Punjab romantic comedy with two sisters learning about life and love in different ways. I don't know it's a romantic comedy, but there's lots of pretty eyes in the trailer and some scenes that must be shot as comedy.

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Women without Men

Shirin Neshat's slow exquisite drama about four diverse Iranian women finding solace and companionship against the backdrop of 1953's CIA backed coup was not only highly praised on the festival circuit last year, but also acts as a timely reminder of the artistry that has traditionally flourished in the region, and we hope that whatever the long term effects of the recent sanctions from the UN that peace and the freedom to make art will be respected in Iran.

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

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Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Natalie Portman


Happy Birthday to

Natalie Portman

29 today


When I do these birthdays each day I usually amazed at how old pople are, but with Natalie I'm amazed at how young she is. She seems to have been around, as a major film star, forever. In fact her breakthrough, Leon, was in 1994 which was followed by some great supporting turns (Beautiful Girls, Mars Attacks) in 1996 then a three year gap before the Star Wars prequels exploded onto our screens. Since then she's kept active with a nice balance of high profile and more serious fare. I'm still hoping to see her in New York, I Love You - should it ever open - and in the next twelve months we should see her extremes in comic-book adap Thor and ballerina thriller Black Swan.

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Monday, 7 June 2010

Liam Neeson


Happy Birthday to

Liam Neeson

58 today


You've got to admire Neeson. Not just for his braod talent, but for his seeming inability to say no. Over the last year it seems he's gone for any old script that's landed on his desk, including Box Office behemoths like Clash of the Titans and next weeks The A-Team. Both of which look utterly avoidable. I am looking forward to the following trivumulate though: French re-make The Next Three Days, kids adventure The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and civil rights pic Selma.

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Sunday, 6 June 2010

Personal News (06/06/10)

The dearth of news this week is something. I honestly thought on Wednesday that I would have nothing to say at all, what with "The Normal Heart" second audition still drifting away in the future.

However I got an e-mail on Thursday inviting me to an audition for "Baby Jesus Freak", a new play by Ian Winterton. What I've read so far is really good, with the relationship between 2 brothers brought up in a religious household and dealing with their parents death and a love triangle developing is really well conceived and feels utterly beleiveable when reading it.

I went to the audition this afternoon, and the director said we would know this evening if we're up for a second audition or not. I guess they'll definitely be more to report back next week.

Addendum: Got the e-mail this morning (07/06/10, 07:00), thanks but no thanks. Oh well, maybe next time, and i's still a great script.

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Paul Giamatti


Happy Birthday to

Paul Giamatti

43 today


Paul comes from very good stock, being the son of the late Yale President Bart Giamatti (I'm guessing the President is a similar position to the vice-chacellors at British Universities) and obtained a masters degree in fine arts from the college. Lots of projects coming up but I'm most interested in college wrestling comedy Win Win.

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Saturday, 5 June 2010

Film News (05/06/10)

There's been a (middle) earth shattering piece of news this week which has certainly dominated the headlines of the websites I usually catch up my gossip from, so I'll be starting with that and what it may mean, but after the jump you'll see it wasn't the only thing that happened. Although I'll confess none of the other film stories have been quite as interesting.

The Hobbit

Guillermo Del Toro, the visionary director of Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy, has stood down from the Lord of the Rings prequel. In a statement posted on the fansite The One Ring Guillermo starts with "In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming “The Hobbit,” I am faced with the hardest decision of my life. After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures."

Naturally I feel for the choice that Guillermo has had to make, but I fully respect his decision and his artistic and personal integrity remains intact. Obviously it seems that the continued delays and financial problems within MGM will have long reaching consequences. First Bond falls and now the planned 2012 film will almost certainly see protracted delays. The question now is who will step up to direct, with so much work already have been done which director will be able to handle such a massive enterprise yet still be able to put their own stamp on the property. The obvious choice, writer and producer Peter Jackson, has stated he would direct the film if no-one else will but he also has a contracted Tintin movie in his schedule and I'm not sure that "alright, I'll do it" attitude is what's needed for the project.


This is a hobbit hole, an already envisioned by Peter Jackson and WETA, note whoever takes on the project most of the designs will already be done.

It's not, by the way, a story that I necessarily believe needs telling (and it certainly doesn't need to be split over 2 movies) but I won't deny I will be queueing up for tickets if it ever makes it to cinemas whoever has been behind the camera.

Read on for Brits on holiday, buddy comedy re runs, a virginal couple learning what it all means, a hip hop biopic, the latest productions to get underway according to IMDb and we say goodbye to a very special counter-culture icon.



Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Can you imagine a film that brings together British acting icons like Peter O'Toole, Judi Dench, Julie Christie and Tom Wilkinson then throws them all together in a Nursing home on the other side of the World? That's the premise of Fox Searchlight latest development, based on the novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach. When an entrepreneurial Bangalore resident, set to be played by Dev Patel, opens a hotel for elderly Brits to spend their last years in - sounds a touch like Empire nostalgia but I'll let that pass - he gets more than he bargained for. Expect the residents and staff alike to make friends, overcome prejudices and learn valuable lessons about life and death.

Midnight Run 2

In the loose genre of mismatched buddy comedies one of the highlights is 1988's comic gem Midnight Run. A sequel has been on the cards for some time, but this week we came the closest we have done so far to hearing Charles Grodin, the originals mob accountant on the run, will be joining Robert De Niro in it. I hope so. I'm not sure the concept would work without both of the main parties, and it needs to work to get the foul taste of the last Bounty Hunter comedy out of our mouths..

On Chesil Beach

With the critical and commercial film success of Ian McEwen's novels Enduring Love and Atonement it's a wonder Hollywood hasn't jumped all over his back catalogue. Maybe it starts here with Sam Mendes announcing his intention to film On Chesil Beach, McEwen's novel (left) about a pair of repressed virgins trying and failing to make love for the first time in 1960's Britain. I'm not sure where the novel goes with that, Amazon warns of doubts and recriminations, but it will certainly be an interesting counterpoint to Mendes' Revolutionary Road.

Tupac

Did you think that 2009's Notorious, the biopic of East Coast rapper Notorious B.I.G, came short on the feud between rival labels that left him and Tupac Shakur both dead? Well prepare to be disappointed again as Tupac's side of the relationship in under covered in his biopic. I could be wrong but I imagine that whilst this may be the most intriguing part of their careers the writes and producers will feel it's mud that's best not scrapped.

Dennis Hopper

This week we learnt of the unsurprising but still shocking passing of one of cinema's most prolific and out-spoken talents. As an actor he was forthright and showy stealing scenes from much bigger stars and he was an amazingly accomplished photographer and painter, but it's as a director that I will remember him most. In 1969, with the release of the seminal Easy Rider, he brought the counter culture into the mainstream acknowledging it's upcoming failures and single-handedly changed the American Indie Movie making scene forever. Without Hopper paving the way we would not have the variety and accessibility of cinema we have today and for that we truly salute his achievements.


Dennis Hopper, 1936-2010

Production News

I've been peeking on IMDb again, trying to see what new pictures have stepped up a gear in production. I have to say it is a bit of a losing battle as for every new film I want to see we do lose a couple, maybe they're cancelled or postponed or drift straight to DVD, but I dare say some of these movies listed below will make it to a cinema near you.

This month has seen production start on a large number of projects I've already highlighted in the news section. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with it's continuous stream of casting rumours (Daniel Craig being the latest); Jane Fonda's latest comeback movie Peace, Love and Understanding; Lone Schefig's One Day; fish out of water satire Salmon Fishing in the Yemen; biopics of Marilyn Monroe (Blonde) and Sam Childers (Machine Gun Preacher); portmanteau movie Shanghai, I Love You; two polar opposite sci-fi properties Paani, about a future with no water, and Keanu Reeves getting lonely in space for Passengers; and Pedro Almodovar's horror film The Skin I Live In.

As usual though there are a few films that have sneaked into production with me knowing absolutely nothing about them. It's rare that I would consider these ones to be good - after all there's probably a reason the studios aren't advertising - but there's certainly a lot of fun trying to work out how bad they're going to be.

Toad Trip - live action fairytales are suddenly popular with Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood and Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Killer leading the way so it seems plausible that a Frog Prince would be greenlit. Although you'd have thought this would be too close to the same ground that was covered in Disney's The Princess and the Frog, and that punny title really has to go.

El Lector - indie director Victor Nunez cranks out a film every few years that's warmly received, his most famous being 1997's Ulee's Gold which earned Peter Fonda a Best Actor Academy Award nomination. His last was Spoken Word, starring Kuno Becker as a street poet, which disappeared without trace following it's debut at the Toronto film Festival. Nevertheless I'm still keen to see his latest work, the title of which translates to The Reader, and may relate to monastic orders.

No Man's Land - it's probably a bit harsh putting Sam Raimi's most recent picture in this section, but I really can't remember seeing any details about it before. It looks like it might be a remake of countless movies about people in a waiting room between death and the next life. As a concept it could be as intellectually challenging as Sartre's No Exit or as pulpy as a Hammer horror - with Raimi I'm hoping for the former and expecting the latter.


I doubt this picture, which comes up when you search for God's waiting room on Google, is relevant, but I do like it with thanks to the source.

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Mark Wahlberg


Happy Birthday to

Mark Wahlberg

39 today


I can't say I reallt rate Mark as an actor, sure he's done some fine work in Boogie Nights and The Departed but you have to admit they were boh from phenominal directors at the top of their game, outside of those he's not been all that (see The Truth about Charlie or The Happening or Planet of the Apes - or better still don't). However in spite of that I must give credit where it's due and Marky Mark was a... how do I put this... huge inspiration during my teenage years. He still hugely inspiring for me today - like his scenes in Date Night (right) - very inspirational.

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Friday, 4 June 2010

Out this week (04/06/10)

Unbelievably, out of nowhere, this is a really exciting week. Honestly the overall standard of releases is really quite good, and I didn't see it coming. If you ignore the first film (so I list alphabetically, who can blame me) and read the rest of the post you'll find thrillers, comedies and dramas. I've been trying to second guess which film will be the box office champ and frankly I'm stumped - feel free to guess in the comments but the film of the week, and there must be a choice for film of the week, goes to The Brothers Bloom.



Bear

As the trailer starts we're told that Grizzly bears, the largest land mammal in North America, will attack when it's territory is being invaded. Then four annoying looking late 20's start screaming and panicking. I don't think the bear just wants a cuddle.

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Brothers Bloom

Rian Johnson's follow-up to the amazing neo-noir Brick is a far less sober affair, with con-artist brothers Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo trying to pull the wool over Rachel Weisz's eyes, only to find the set-up is a little too close to believable. Also starring Rinku Kikuchi and Maximillian Schell.

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Death at a Funeral

You might ask what the point of remaking the middling Frank Oz comedy from just 3 years ago is? Could it be because you can take the exact same story with a cast of African-American stars and make it more profitable? The US box office receipts may not totally agree with that but I sniggered during the trailer so that's something.

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4.3.2.1

Noel Clarke has made a couple of very successful, very respected struggling British youth movies, where the mostly male characters are surrounded by escalating violence and sink estates. Here he's trying to appeal to the ladies with four leading female protagonists, with the underwear fetishes and obligatory lesbianism in the trailer I suspect it'll be the lads that go for it in a big way.

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Girl on the Train

Respected French drama about a girl who reports a fictitious anti-Semitic attack on a train and how her life is transformed. Catherine Deneuve plays her torn mother who know the truth.

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Kicks

As a Liverpool football star is about to leave for Real Madrid two obsessive female fans bump into him one night and invite him home to say goodbye. There are pluses and minuses to their way of saying it. Odd timing as Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez leaves the city today - unlikely the same will happen to him.

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The Killer inside Me

Michael Winterbottom's latest movie may be generating headlines for the alleged misogyny and uncomfortable violence it's fair to say there are few directors who could craft such a beautiful looking movie from it's pulpy source. Casey Affleck is perfectly cast as the serial killing deputy with Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba as two of his victims.

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

Rajneeti

Bollywood epic surrounding a major political election (oddly I'd jump at this if it were English language) with a selection of unlikely candidates fighting for public support. Inspired by the Mahabharata, one of the major sanskrit epics of Ancient India.

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

She's out of my League

Jay Baruchel, who you probably don't remember being in a bunch of films, gurns his way through this film with the tag line: How does a guy, who's a 5, keep a girl, who's a 10? How will this sell any tickets.

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

Shrink

Kevin Spacey, oh how we've missed you from serious films, play a celebrity psychiatrist on the verge of an emotional and physical breakdown. The trailer is stuffed with cliches, but it looks smart and pacey enough to get away with it. Celebrity cameos include Robin Williams, Robert Loggia and Saffron Burrows.

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

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Bruce Dern


Happy Birthday to

Bruce Dern

74 today


I don't know why Bruce isn't talked about more when discussed groundbreaking performers of the 70's. He gave a superb supporting performances in both Coming Home, as the least likeable character but the one that loses the most, and insightful sci-fi Silent Running, right. I certainly won't forget, this one's for you Bruce.

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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Sally Kellerman


Happy Birthday to

Sally Kellerman

73 today


I don't mean to come across as bitchy, but whilst Sally is more than willing to act to her age - remeber her in the Boynton Beach Bereavement Club a couple of years ago when she moved into a retirement home and got all the men hot under the collar? - but why can't she look her age? Honestly I've rarely seen a face so at odds with the hands.

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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tuesday Trailers - Inception

Today is the first of June, so we move gently into the realm of July trailers. Oh, and it's a doozy to start with, a twisty turny assault on our senses, a trailer that makes us doubt the truth and logic of every frame, it's also a nice follow on to the last couple of birthdays. However it comes at a price. I really want to see Inception, but it is worth noting that there is nothing else I want to see at cinemas throughout July; this may change, I'm always double checking release dates, but at the moment Inception stands as a shining beacon of qulity cinema in amongst the utter dreck that will be cluttering the multiplex. I mean, do you expect me to go to The Karate Kid, Predators, Shrek Forever After or Twilight: Eclipse? So Tuesday trailers is going into hibernation until this unfortunate drought has disipated. Do let me know if there's a trailer you'd like though...




Inception is released on July 16 2010.

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Morgan Freeman


Happy Birthday to

Morgan Freeman

73 today


Morgan's in a very special place in his career, venerable, sage-like, when a wise and authoritative role comes along he's pretty much the first person you think of. Such as last year when he was so obviously going to get an Oscar nod for Invictus we all could've put money on it several years before. He's a lucky man to be able to get automatic praise like that (I snark, as I have yet to catch up with the film). Next up is the third of Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise due in 2012 when he will return to the wise sage-like Lucius Fox.

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