Sunday, 31 October 2010

Stephen Rea


Happy Birthday to

Stephen Rea

64 today


Irish actor of stage and screen best known for his collaborations with Neil Jordan, especially the "reveal" scene in The Crying Game. Nothing on the horizon that interests me, but he did have a nice role as a supportive, sardonic Priest in this years Ondine if you haven't yet seen it.

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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Did George Lucas Murder my Childhood? (Film News - 30/10/10)

I've been catching up properly with the news since last week's minor update, unsurprisingly there's been loads of stuff out there with some amazing looking projects on the way, as well as some stories which are just a tiny bit more depressing. There's also a short update on the latest box office release dates, so here goes:

Star Wars 7 (and 8 and 9)

The title is obviously reaching for controversy, and this first story may just tip into caricature, but like many nerds on the net part of childhood and indeed my love of cinema is defined by George Lucas' 1977 masterpiece. Like many fans I went to see the prequel trilogy and was largely disappointed by the continuous milking of this particular cash cow.

That said the films have been OK. Whatever your gripes about the cardboard characterisations and the overdose of CGI, and certainly accepting they're lesser than the original trilogy, they were fairly enjoyable romps. In many ways I am therefore a milder version of some fans which berate the prequels as an insult to their childhood in that I would better classify them as a unnecessary afterthought.

The latest news from Lucasfilm is an inevitable 3D conversion of the 6 films already out there, so far so blah, I don't think it's terribly necessary but if George needs a few more Millions I can't say I blame him. What is interesting is that it's possible that a third trilogy is being prepped to follow these 3D conversions (potentially starting in 2018 ish) which harks back to the old rumour that Star Wars was originally conceived as a nine movie series with the third set concerning the rise of the Jedi following the destruction of the Empire.

Darth Vadar makes his very first appearance in 1977, unlikely to make it to the next trilogies.

I would personally rather see Lucas try something else, something closer to his heart rather than his wallet, but I have no doubts that if another Star Wars live action film was ever made I would be at the front of the queue to see it. What about you? Should George ever be allowed near a camera again or are his crimes too horrific for redemption?

Read on for more sci-fi sequels, 1970's pop groups, prison dramas, cyborgs, archers, zombies, prostitutes and the horror of Val Kilmer.



Avatar 2/3

Jim Cameron, happy to stick with his latest money making scheme, is proud to present a second and third visit to Avatar which will hit our screens in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Whilst I have no doubts about the quality of the green screen action which will obviously continue to blow us away I am concerned that he's giving himself very little time to write a decent script.

Bee Gees Biopic

Everyone's favourite disco singing brothers from the Isle of Man are potentially going to be featured in a warts and all biopic about the rise to fame in the 1970's. Culminating in their hugely successful soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever.

OK, OK, so this "story" originally appeared in the Daily Mail so I very much doubt that it's real but it is an excuse to have a musical interlude. Hit it boys:



Cell 211

Paul Haggis has obviously enjoyed the process of making prison-break movie Next Three Days with Russell Crowe. We know this because he's already been linked with another prison set thriller, also for him to adapt from a European original (albeit Spanish this time not French). Celda 211 was an Goya award winning 2009 production directed by Daniel Monzon which concerns a prison guard who gets involved with a riot on his first day in a new penitentiary. Sounds juicy enough to gets some great talent involved in the main role at least.

Machine Man

We haven't had any new Darren Aronofsky news in almost days so I was far from shocked to hear about another project that's passing by his desk. Although it's not too far from another film he was going to make, the aborted Robocop, this story (adapted from Max Barry's novel) concerns an engineer who "upgrades" his own body with titanium and then becomes the target for criminals. Darren must've been really desperate to watch Robocop.

Agincourt/Big Tuna

Michael Mann's last two movies (Miami Vice and Public Enemies) both underperformed in cinemas so it was hardly surprising to see him retreat back to TV movies for his next project. But now "Luck" is finished Mann is itching to return to the multiplex. Two of the options announced this week are an in depth look at the pivotal Battle of Agincourt between England and France in the 15th Century (famous for it's victory through the quality of the English archers, right) and a biopic of Chicago crime boss Tony Accardo. I like to see my favourite directors branch out into different things so I'm hoping Mann plumps for Agincourt (which is based on the novel by Bernard Cornwell), and Mann's proved he has an eye for period action with Last of the Mohicans so we know he can handle this.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

I'm not sure how this bizarre Jane Austen spoof has managed to become a publishing sensation (cover right) although I deeply suspect it's just a passing fad. However the success has inevitably led to a big screen adaptation. So far we've seen a bit of a revolving door on the casting but it's looking like Scarlett Johannson, Bradley Cooper and Tilda Swinton (Yay!) are tipped to star in the final movie. Whilst I am sure this won't be a great movie there's something so deliciously car crash about it that's making me interested.

Squirrel to the Nuts

Peter Bogdanovich has been MIA for nearly ten years now, since his Hearst/Chaplin picture The Cat's Meow - criminally underrated at the time - but it looks like his most recognisable disciples are planning to push him into another movie. Noah Baumbach and Wes Anderson are producing his latest picture which is reportedly a screwball comedy along the lines of What's Up Doc which connects a hooker, theatre director and a private detective. This is almost certainly the closest to art-house I'm bringing up this week so hopefully Peter will finish it through and we'll get a chance to see something a little different.

Twixt Now and Sunrise

Since returning to movie making Francis Ford Coppola has made a couple of personal projects with differing results (Tetro was excellent, Youth without Youth less so) so it's a little surprise to see he's taking up horror/thriller picture. Val Kilmer will star as a Stephen King like horror writer who finds the events from his latest novel start to segue into reality. Coppola has a unique visual eye so expect this to be sumptuous even if the plot sounds horribly familiar.

The last time Coppola tried horror it was with the beautiful, if confused, Bram Stoker's Dracula (above).

Casting News

I'm only going to mention one film here and not so much for the extensive rumour mill surrounding the casting - literally every hot-right-now actress under 35 with any intellectual back catalogue has been listed - but also because of the plot details which may or may not have been leaked. The Alien Prequel may well have Noomi Rapace, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Abbie Cornish, Lance Henrikson and James Franco. Or more likely none of them will end up in it but there you go. The leaked plot details - which could well be fake - involve the space jockey(s) using mind control to attempt to breed humans. Sounds interesting except that the two victims happen to both be men. So this might push the boundaries of rape on screen, or it might just be about a heterosexual man's irrational fear of anal sex. I don't expect this plot detail to make it to the final film - let's see.

Release Dates


My Soul to Take - Wes Craven's latest horror movie, the one that isn't Scream 4, has inexplicable moved back one week in January - given that it's bombed in the US look out for later shifts. Run away from a deranged killer on 21 January 2011.

Biutiful - The festival sensation has polarised audiences at it's every showing with it's utter bleakness being either a major selling point or a shocking turn off but veryone agrees Javier Bardem gives a sensational central performance. Seek out police corruption on 28 January 2011.

That's it: four weeks since our last update and only 2 release schedules have changed at all which is a testament to how quiet things are as we head into the awards season. Except there has been some bad news. Flipped, the coming of age movie from Rob Reiner has disappeared from the schedules just two weeks before it was due to be released. I'm very disappointed as it looked quite watchable. Maybe it will come back in time.

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Friday, 29 October 2010

What is Family (Out this week - 29/10/10)

Soft release week with only 6 new titles hitting screens over the weekend, and oddly only two (maybe three) are horror movies even though Hallowe'en is upon us. I fully expect one of the scarier options to take the box office champ status but the film of the week has to be Lisa Cholodenko's modern family drama The Kids are All Right.



Burke and Hare

In spite of having a stellar cast of British comedic talent, led by Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis and Tom Wilkinson, John Landis' horror comedy about the eponymous serial killers suppling the medical trade with cadavers looks awfully short on laughs.

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



The Hunter

Iranian cinema continues with it's mini renaissance with this revenge drama set against the Tehran riots of 2009. When a devoted father (and part-time hunter) loses his wife and daughter in a gun battle he turns against all police in a quest for vengeance.

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

Involuntary

Swedish hyperlink drama which involves drunk teens on a night out, firework lighting pensioners and a coach driver who refuses to leave a layby until someone admits to damaging the upholstery. Bizarre and mesmerising - not sure what it is leading up to.

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

The Kids are All Right

Somewhat ambiguous title (all right, not alright) indicates what sort of family drama about the children of a lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) who contact their sperm donating father (Mark Ruffalo). Superb performances all round and almost certain t pick up some acting nominations come Oscar time.

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

Saw VII 3D

And the Saw series continues with Jigsaw creating ever more bizarre methods for killing not quite innocent civilians. I still haven't watched any of these but I'm giving this a 4 blob rating as it promises to be the last.

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

Spiderhole

Brit horror that takes the old cliche of teenagers breaking into an abandoned house only to find a malevolent presence inside. Noe of the cast appear even slightly likeable so the killer is welcome to them.

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

And in the excitement of last week I missed the following three films - none of which come close to challenging the film of the week.

Cehennam 3D

Turkey gets an early entry in the 3D horror sub-genre with this gorefest. Probably a little less scary than most Turkish comedies.

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

Hisss

Jennifer Lynch (daughter of David) has made another frightful mess with this US/Bollywood collaboration about a high priestess able to commune with serpents and
change her form. Seemingly partly inspired by the Sigourney Weaver Orange ad.

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

Jhootha Hi Sahi

Bollywood romance mainly set in a London bookshop. Has had some positive notices, even if it has nothing close to originality.

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

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Richard Dreyfuss


Happy Birthday to

Richard Dreyfuss

63 today


I would say the mash scultor Dreyfuss is having a great year financially with fun cameos in both Piranha and last weeks Red. Nothing in the pipeline looks anything near as much fun though.

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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Julia Roberts


Hapy Birthday to

Julia Roberts

43 today


Does Julia have the most recogniseable smile in Hollywood? I would've thought so, but I'm sure it's status is fading. Whilst her last few films have done reasonable box office it's fair to say there's nowhere near the love for her recent work as there was for Pretty Woman, say. Comeon Julia, I believe in you.

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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Ruby Dee


Happy Birthday to

Ruby Dee

86 today


Actress and Civil rights campaigner Dee only recently got Oscar love from her feisty turn as Denzel Washington's mum in 2007's American Gangster, but frankly they missed a trick by ignoring her and her late husband Ossie Davis in Spike Lee's masterpiece Do the Right Thing.

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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Tuesday Trailers - Somewhere

Ever since Sofia Coppola annouced her next movie would be set in the L.A. infamous Chateau Marmont hotel it's been dogged with accusations that it will skirt to close to the feel of her 2003 smash Lost in Translation. That said a surprising Golion Lion win at Venice seems to indicate that any initial resemblence of plotlines is irrelvant when you are doing it so well.



Somewhere is released on 10 December 2010.

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Bob Hoskins


Happy Birthday to

Bob Hoskins

68 today


Born during the Blitz Bob's entire career is based on his extraordinary barrel boy physique and accent, perfectly encasulating the feel of working class London. Recently shone in Made in Dagenham but I'd like to refer American readers to The Street where Hoskins played pub Landlord Paddy Gargan in the third series. Probably the best British TV drama during it's three year run the episode focussed on Hoskins, riffing as it did on High Noon, was superb and you should look it up.

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Sunday, 24 October 2010

F. Murray Abraham


Happy Birthday to

F. Murray Abraham

71 today


In the DVD commentry for 1984's Oscar winning Amadeus director Milos Forman famously said he cast F. Murray in the role of the bitter and jealous composer Salieri as he recognised the character within the actor. Ouch! I'm sure Abraham would have loved to have prove him wrong, but alas there hasn't been a great deal of quality in his subsequent films.

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Saturday, 23 October 2010

It's not the Happening (Film News - 23/10/10)

I have done provisional posts for "out this week" before, second guessing critical reactions to films not yet released, but this is a first time provisional news post. This weekend I am unable to reach a computer for longer than an hour (a big thanks to Kirklees Library service even for that opportunity) so I have looked up the stories on my crappy mobile and written my post in long hand with the hope of typing it up before the hour dealine is over. It's honestly like watching the closing sequence of a Bond movie here in the Library. Wish me luck:

Day of the Triffids

John Wyndham's classic apocalytic sci-fi novel about a meteor shower that blinds the World and the strange carnivorous plants that take over at the top of the food chain is not as cinematic as you might immediately suppose. There have been a number of noble efforts to adapt the project over the years including a recent BBC miniseries but thay have all failed to highlight the horror implicit in man-eating shrubs from which we are unable to defend ourselves. In most cases the main let down has been the animatronics and puppetry of the Triffids themsleves.

Step forward Sam Raimi, the producer/director responsible for making trees scary in the Evil Dead trilogy, to work his magic. Unfortunatley whilst I love Raimi's excellent comic-horror hybrids (the aforementioned trilogy and Drag me to Hell come to mind) I persoanlly believe the parable in Triffids only works if the terror is undiluted. As viewers of The Happening will attest it's hard to believe flora fighting back, and to suggest that mankinds grip on planetary domination is weak and fleeting will be tough where there are lashings of gory guffaws.

Can Raimi adequately turn off the comedy of will this just be another disappointing adaptation? Are the plants really just watching and waiting forour downfall? Let me know in the comments.

Read on for Affleck's choice, the end of humanity and MacGuffins galore.



Replay/Trade

The offers for Ben Affleck continue to mount up following the critical and commercial success of The Town. The latest two projects pitched to the writer/director are Replay, where a 40 year old gets to go back in time to 18 and relive his adult life (this sounds suspiciously like that awful Zac Efron vehicle 17 again to me), or Trade, which is based on a wife-swapping arrangement in professional baseball. On a side note isn't it odd how baseball and sex are always interlinked in a negative manner? Personally I'd rather see Affleck swinging his bat so I'm voting for Trade (I'm so very sorry for that image).

One Thousand A.E.

You would've thought that M. Night Shyamalan had been banned from the making movies given the relentless stream of abuse abuse heaped upon him on the internet. He's more reviled than even Uwe Boll and Brett Ratner (possibly because he once had so much promise). However The last Airbender took a credible $130m in the US domestic box office and it seems studios are still willing to let him handle a megaphone. Next up is this sci-fi epic set to star Jaden Smith (son of Will, and freash off The Karate Kid which passed $160m). Unsurprisingly we know nothing about the plot but rumours are rife that the AE of the title refers to After Earth. Although I personally suspect that a community of religious nutters have locked themsleves in a spaceship and told their kids about the end of the world even though their still all in a industrial estate in Slough. Nice (originalish) third act twist or what?

The Thin Man

The 1934 original is a classic screwball whodunnit with alcoholic well-to-do detective duo Nick and Nora Charles (played to perfection by William Powell and Myrna Loy) trying to find the eponymous missing scientist whilst mixing martinis and waliking their adorable Fox Terrier. The crime itself is such a periphery incident to watching the leads it can hardly be called a mystery but it does at least move the plot forward.

The original is a delightful cocktail so I struggle to see why Johnny Depp is so keen to update the project (with Rob Marshall at the helm), especially given how dipsomania is more frowned upon now than back in the gin swigging thirties. Saying that I can see how the idea of playing a playful drunk would appeal to the man behind Captain Jack.

Overall this might be worth watching but it could be a horrific travesty. Keep an eye what happens next.

Casting News

There may have been more castings bandied aroung this week but the only one that caught my eye is the replacement of Matt Dillon with John C. Reilly in Roman Polanski's God of Carnage. Reilly will play Jodie Foster's hubby with Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz as the other couple in this stage to screen adaptation about parental grouping defending their children fighting and ending up emulating their petty motives. Sounds absolutely unmissable to me.

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Friday, 22 October 2010

Penpals Forever (Out this week - 22/10/10)

Last weeks situation is about as far from this week as you could imagine - previously we had a small number of releases with a very clear film of the week, now we're facing an onslaught of movies with nothing standing out but lots in contention for the coveted title. Part of the reason for that is half-term so with all the little kiddiewinks taking a break from studies it's no wonder the studios are pushing out a variety of animation and teen-friendly products. Anyone's guess who's going to lead the box office, but my choice is Mary and Max.



Africa United

Not exactly timely release for this football World cup inspired road movie, as four Rwandan teens must make their way across the continent in order to use their cup final tickets. Interesting view of the cultural impact of sport in a fascinating and diverse continent.

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



Alpha and Omega

Our first animated movie for the half term is the least inspired looking with two wolves separated from the pack and on the quest to return to their families. Dannis Hopper gives his last performance in a supporting role.

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

The Arbor

Award-winning Bradford born playwright Andrea Dunbar had her first play produced at 19 but was dead from alcohol consumption within 10 years having written some of the most provocative plays about Thatcherite Britain. This part-documentary/part-verbatim theatre looks at the experiences of her mixed race daughter.

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

Carlos

It'sthe shortened version (only 2.5 hours) of Olivier Assayas' mini-series about the infamous Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal. Whilst I hear incredible things about the quality of the work, I suspect a more fulfilling experience would be to rent the full works and watch the whole 6 hours.

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

Easy A

Emma Stone shines as a high school teen who allows the rumours of her promiscuity to reign in order to protect a friend - rather then shy away from the accusations she embraces the limelight. Could be this years Mean Girls. Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson and Thomas Haden Church bolster the adult talent.

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

Legend of the Guradians

Anthropomorthism has been a staple of animation and fantasy storytelling for gnerations. So here is the natural amalgamation with a Lord of the Ring type fable as played out by owls. Classy Anglo-Australian cast led by Hugo Weaving, Helen Mirren and Geoffrey Rush.

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

Mary and Max

Less bombastic animation can be found in this stop-motion picture tracing the relationship between a shy Aussie teenager and her Asperger's suffering penpal in New York. Absolutely unique visual storytelling. Toni Collette and Philip Seymour Hoffman are the writing leads.

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

Paranormal Activity 2

The first Paranormal Activity was a smash-hit sleeper, taking an original idea, a small budget and clever clever sound design to create a scary phenomenon. This is the highly unnecessary sequel. Watch it if you dare.

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

Ramona and Beezus

Apparantly massively popular as young teen fiction characters with a heavy duty range of books, nevertheless the trailer looks remarkably full of bathos and utterly missable.

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

Red

This action comedy looks like great value as retired (and extremely dangerous) CIA agents Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman must find out who trying to assasinate them. Ernest Borgnine and Richard Dreyfuss are also on hand in one of the oldest cast lists of all time.

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

Stoning of Soraya M

Shoreh Aghdashloo stars as a woman fighting against gender intolerance in Iran, especially the barbaric punishment met out on a the titular character after having been accused of adultery.

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

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Catherine Deneuve


Happy Birthday to

Catherine Deneuve

67 today


Iconic French Diva known for her many lovers, her impeccable style as well as her superb performances. Good notices from the festival crowd for her upcoming Potiche, right, look out for that red tracksuit to be labelled stylish soon.

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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Social Network

2010. Dir: David Fincher. Starring: Jessie Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara and Armie Hammer. ●●●●●



One of reasons I love film is that as a medium it is as constantly surprising as it is beautiful, for every film you plan to see that comes up short there's another that blows you away unexpectedly. At the beginning of the year in my countdown for most anticipated movies for 2010 I included Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Robin Hood and Knight and Day, I did not include The Social Network. Shame on me.



Ostensibly David Finchers 8th feature is about the creation of The (a preposition later dropped) Facebook by Harvard computer programmer (or "nerd" if you will) Mark Zuckenberg, and the subsequent lawsuits concerning the intellectual property and market share of the site. Indeed plotwise that is just about it, we see in the film extremely well put together moments of coding which remain interesting to all audience members and we flash between the events involved in the creation of the website and the depositions from the two main lawsuits.

This is window dressing though to the themes of the picture, Aaron Sorkin's script does a fine job of highlighting the cut throat nature of all business ventures, including the playground mentality that pervades into these young men's minds (and they are almost exclusively men) and the loneliness that must come with power and entrepreneurial success. Zuckenberg, in actions that reflect the tragic inevitability of Shakespearean plotting, must cut off all his friends and acquaintances for the good of the company. It is the flaws in his character that make this a necessity, and these flaws speak out as a metaphor for our time.

Praise be then to Jesse Eisenberg who never misses a note as Zuckenberg. He outwardly projects a neurotic blank, a man who's unlimited data processing is only matched by the dearth of emotional intelligence. The quips and comments he makes flow effortlessly from him whilst damaging those around who expect more. Eisenberg has immediately jumped into my radar and I very much hope the Academy recognise his Sterling work.

The supporting cast are excellent throughout, not one performance seems out of place, but most notable - purely in terms of screen time - are Andrew Garfield's Eduardo Saverin (the money behind the original project) all puppy dog eyes and enthusiasm, Justin Timberlake as Napster founder Sean Parker who's experience, hustling and savvy bring in the audience as well as Eisenberg naif and Armie Hamer as the both Winklevoss twins (of Winklevi if you will), mad possible through Fincher's habit of creating small but resonant visual effects, representing the American elite, athletic, monied and bright enough to have a future without Facebook. Each of these characters, like Caesar's conspirators, will provide different challenges to Zuckenberg's ultimate goal and like Caesar he must betray them or find himself betrayed.

Fincher and Sorkin make a fascinating director and writing pair, as unlikely to succeed as you could imagine and yet here create one of cinema's modern masterpieces here on the celluloid. By turns comic (I laughed out loud several times), breathtaking and pompously serious the shots, and James Cronnweth's murky cinematography with it, always underlines the action and theme. Trent Reznor also surprises with a original and pulsing score.

I hope I have conveyed my personal feelings about this film, but in case I haven't, in no uncertain terms, it is a must see. Definitely the best film I've seen in cinemas in a long time.

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Viggo Mortensen


Happy Birthday to

Viggo Mortensen

52 today


As I was choosing a picture for Viggo I was struck by how little he looks like himslef, or how little he looks like we think he looks like when he's not in the iconic Aragon role from Lord of the Rings. The talented and multi-ligual Viggo has a uniquely serene screen presence which has served him well over the years and should be a great fit for his Sigmund Freud in next years A Dangerous Method (his third collaboration with Canadian director David Cronenburg). He will also be seen in the upcoming On the Road adaptation.

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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tuesday Trailers - The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Disney have a habit of removing trailers as soon as you try to embed them so I don't fully expect this to work (but please do comment anyway). I haven't seen Prince Caspian and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was surprisingly dull. That said I loved the book so I'll definitely be catching up on this installment of C.S. Lewis' childrens series.



The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is released on 10 December 2010.

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Juanita Moore


Happy Birthday to

Juanita Moore

88 today


Now retired from acting, but still heavily involved with the touring circuit, Juanita entered the business at an exciting time for African American stars, from being typecast as domestic servants (see her oscar nommed turn in Douglas Sirk's Imitation of Life) through to the black political movies from the 1970's Moore was in there all the way.

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Sunday, 17 October 2010

Infamy, Infamy, they've all got it infamy! (Film News - 16/10/10)

Yes, that's a quote from my favourite movie about the Queen of the Nile. He says, slightly spoiling the headline story for this weeks news. Maybe that in itself is a big surprise, after all I'm bypassing the biggest Hollywwod annoucement this week - you know the one about a certain red caped Krytonite. There's just something about the combination of Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder that just makes me worry it's going to be incredibly po-faced. Anyway on to the news that really got me salivating:

Cleopatra

The news that Anjelina Jolie was interested in playing Ancient Egypt's most notorious and written about leader in the big screen adaptation of Stacy Schiff biography has been bouncing about for weeks. Frankly I can't imagine any modern star more suited to the suited to the coveted role.

That said filming her story has always been fraught with difficulties. Both of the most well known versions, the 1934 take with Claudette Colbert and Elizabeth Taylor (below) in 1963, ran over the shooting schedule and over budget nearly taking down the studios with them. So naturally Sony and uber-producer Scott Rudin have been wary about giving the final greenlight, putting the right production team and director in place will be vital to ensure this version doesn't suffer from the same curse.


This week it surfaced that they've called in James Cameron to helm the project. No stranger to massive budgets Cameron also has a unique track record of box office success. Avatar and Titanic both currently sit atop record breaking box office hauls. And as the first draft of the script is being written by Brian Helgeland this might be a Cameron movie that desn't suffer from horrendous dialogue. Result all round.

Read on for mysterious spacecraft, wayward parents and more casting rumours.



Rendezvous with Rama

For those of you who thought that Morgan Freeman's planned foray into sci-fi with Arthur C. Clarke's groundbreaking novel (left) about the ethical and spiritual possibilities following contact with another intergallactic civilisation might just have disappeared, fear not. Whilst pushing Red this week to MTV viewers Freeman let it slip that the big screen version set to be directed by David Fincher is still in the works and may come sooner than we think. It's an extremely amibitious project and if it does happen I'll be as pleased as anyone else, but they'd better get on with it otherwise Freeman will be forced to join his Red character in retirement and this is not a (space)boat he wants to miss.

Casting News

Natalie Portman is getting some serious ink about a possible role in Ridley Scott's Alien prequel, joining Noomi Rapace. I was rather hoping this film would focus on the space jockey and dispense of human characters so I can't say I'm stoked, especially given the sci-fi baggage Portman brings with her.

Alan Arkin will adjust badly to his wife's passing in Buttercup as neurotic Jennifer Aniston's widowed and irresponsible father learning to cope with a life on his own. Sounds like there could be tears and laughs in equal measure.

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Saturday, 16 October 2010

So many friends, so few movies (Out this week - 15/10/10)

It is both an unusually quiet week this week with just five new films opening in the UK, that's the lowest since Robin Hood opened against 4 acclaimed foreign language pics in May. This time we're don't have such an interesting back up to the main event, with two half-arsed Bollywood entries, a ho-hum looking animation and a rotting pile of garbage - more on that later. Film of the week, with no reservations at all though, is The Social Network.



Aakrosh

Solid looking Bollywood police procedural which has clearly learnt from the techniques of the Bourne trilogy whilst developing a cast based investigation wich is truly Indian.

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



Despicable Me

The minions are clearly the one to watch in this feature length animation from Universal. A Supervillian, played with gusto by Steve Carell, with his army of artificial assistants must recruit three young kids to help with the plan to steal the moon. Looks like silly saccharine stuff, but Julie Andrews plays his mother so I'm giving it a bit of a pass.

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Knock Out

It's the Bollywoodversion of Phone Booth, although the trailer promises a little more action outide of the titular location and the hit man get a face (Sanjay Dutt's face no less) to go with the overcooked dialogue.

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Social Network

Proving you should never judge a book by it's cover back at the beginning of the year I wasn't anticipating David Fincher's Facebook movie, now the critical reception from the US is deafening all my doubts. Virtually on to the cinema now.

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Vampires Suck

I'm not sure how writer directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Setzer keep getting the bugets to make these riseable spoofs of modern pop culture, this time focussing on the Twilight series. You really have to wonder what sort of justice is there in the world where this drivel can take $36m in the US box office (16% more than Scott Pilgrim).

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And missing from last weeks release roundup is:

Freight

Cheap and nasty looking British crime film, led by two ex-Eastenders, with a smattering of cage fighting, strip clubs and badly accented Russian mafia types. Too bad for direct to video if you ask me.

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Tim Robbins


Happy Birthday to

Tim Robbins

52 today


Actor/Director Robbins is as well known for his left leaning politics and his long-term (now finished) relationship with Susan Sarandon. He came from an avant-garde theatre background, delightfully unexpected given the grounding he gives his characters on screen. Will next be seen in The Green Lantern comic book adaptation.

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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

2010. Dir: Oliver Stone. Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan and Eli Wallach. ●●○○○



When the producers first considering a belated sequel to 1987's Wall Street the probably envisioned a searing look at both the insatiable greed and the obscene politics that created the financial meltdown of 2008. By resurrecting the anti-hero of the previous film - yuppie iconoclast Gordon Gekko as performed to oscar winning effect by Michael Douglas - they had a ready made sneering villain all they needed was Oliver Stone to bring back his righteous anger. Unfortunately Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff's screenplay humanises Gekko and muzzles Stone leaving Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps a pale (even dull) imitation of it's predecessor.



As in 1987 the plot follows a young man torn between father figures. In 1987 it was Charlie Sheen (who has a fun cameo with a bitter aftertaste) who couldn't decide between following his father's (literally it's Martin) airline mechanic or Gekko's example of insider trading. Here it's Shia LaBeouf tossing his loyalties between old school trader Frank Langella, corporate shark Josh Brolin, fusion physicist Austin Pendleton and Douglas. However where Sheen could show the struggle and the script clearly delineated the two opposing forces here all of the potential father figures come with the same set of pros and cons and LaBeouf is unable to present the emotional burden placed upon him.

Shia's failure to convince with each of these relationships, as well as the ones with his mother (Susan Sarandon) or leftwing blogger girlfriend (Carey Mulligan) is a major issue with the movie. I honestly don't know why LaBeouf keeps getting high profile roles with quality directors; when did he put in a good performance? Personally I'd say he was quite good in 2003's Holes but it's been decidedly downhill since then.

This isn't the only problem. One of the main reasons that Gekko worked so well in the original was because whilst he was a gloriously quotable bastard there was a clear legal line he stepped over when insider trading. The most recent crash was perfectly legal if morally dubious so the badguys, mainly the superbly oily Josh Brolin but also his mentor Eli Wallach grunting and whistling through his lines with aplomb, are repugnant but have to resort to same crimes as Gekko in order to be punished.

The script even sits back from fully condemning Wall Street, clearing pointing out it doesn't fully understand all the concepts involved with these high end debt products but regularly reminding them of the values involved.

Most distressingly Gekko is given a heart. The plot contrives to make Carey Mulligan Gekko's estranged daughter (there's also a son who committed suicide!) so there's plenty of making up for Gordon to do, whilst he's still double dealing on all of the other characters. The final scene in particular (there are others but thy aren't always what they seem) involves Douglas making a number concessions to the character, and there are many occasions when Gekko insists he's human.

The film isn't all bad - Douglas does remind us how good his performance was in the original and the costumes are gorgeous and obscene. Director Oliver Stone does his best with the flat script using splitscreen and CGI to jazz up the trading a the use of Goya's Saturn devouring his Son is exemplary but the blunt visual motifs usually fail bubbles and dominoes among them.

Overall I would say this is a film worth missing. Just rent out the original for a far more invigorating look at the wolves in our financial services industry.

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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Tuesday Trailers - Miral

Julian Schnabels latest film is apparently the most straight forward of his pictures, taking a look at the Isreali/Palestinian conflict through the eyes of a girl in a Jersalem orphanage. Hiam Abbas is the headmistress, Freida Pint plays the girl as a grown up. Reviews from the festivals haven't been great, but it's rare to see a film tackle this subject from the outside so I'll certainly be going.



Miral opens on 03 December 2010.

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Monday, 11 October 2010

Joan Cusack


Happy Birthday to

Joan Cusack

48 today


There was a time when you could count on Joan (sister of John) for classy comedic supporting in quality products, now unfortunately she works mainly in animation and when she does make a live-action return the choices are less good - My Sister's Keeper, Confessions of a Shopoholic anyone?

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Sunday, 10 October 2010

It all comes back to me now (Film News - 09/10/10)

It's all virtually back to normal now. I've been able to look up the news for three weeks in a row and the total stories for this week are manageable - even if it's still been on the busy side. There's been some interesting revelations this week although it's been mainly casting news on projects I've already mentioned. If you don't mind I will continue to use the format of a casting news section after the new projects underway.

The Bourne Legacy

The most celebrated story of the week was the news that the most interesting and successful action series in many years, the one that effectively reinvigorated Bond and rewrote the book on spy thrillers, is not finished. Yes Bourne is back with The Legacy currently being prepped for a 2012 release.

In the past the star Matt Damon has very clearly stated that he wouldn't go back to the franchise unless Paul Greengrass (director of Supremacy and Ultimatum) was on board. Obviously that would be a major loss to the series. It's hard to imagine anyone else playing Bourne and Greengrass has made a unique stamp on his films with the handheld cinematography and closeness to the brutal action. That said the man behind the camera will be Bourne writer Tony Gilroy and Damon is beginning to falter on the issue.

What say you? I love Gilroy's output as a director and would be delighted to see him taking on this project, but that said - in spite of the ambiguity of the title - I see little point on carrying on without Damon (below - see what I did two pics of Matt in one week).


I've just read that Gilroy's firmly stated Damon won't be returning as Bourne. Very upset. Please feel free to comment.

Read on for murders in the Holy land and loads of casting news...



Dimiter

So William Peter Blatty's latest novel (left), about a extraordinary US agent who stumbles across a mystery whilst escaping through Jerusalem, is currently undergoing a big screen rewrite. No surprise there Blatty's work, which touches on the supernatural, touches both the horror and action thriller genres with a touch of cop procedural thrown in too. What is exciting is that William Friedkin is in talks to direct. That's the same combination behind The Exorcist, and if this comes even close to hitting the zeitgeist in the way that collaboration did look out for a box office winner with some shockingly good performances.

Casting News

And here we go with the latest rumours for the actors.

Retirement dramedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has started filming and among the geriatric cast are Oscar winners Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and nominee Tom Wilkinson.

Thomas Haden Church, who's having a great week, has signed up for Killer Joe and We Bought a Zoo both in unnamed parts. In that second project he's also joining the recently announced Matt Damon and Amy Adams.

Brad Pitt and Anjelina Jolie are rumoured to be co-starring again in Darren Aronofsky's The Tiger, of course that's dependent on whether Aronofsky will take any of the other myriad offers being presented to him right now.

And finally the latest names to be attached to Katheryn Bigelow's Hurt Locker follow-up Triple Frontier are Johnny Depp and Tom Hanks, it's not clear if these are additions or replacements to the earlier rumours of Will Smith, Javier Bardem and Sean Penn but just imagine the five of those sharing screen time...

She'll have her hands full that's for sure.

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Saturday, 9 October 2010

Is Greed Good (Out this week - 08/10/10)

Surprisingly quiet week with just 7 films jostling it out for the top spot. It's highly likely that the return of Gordon Gekko will take the lead, even though it's far from the best reviewed of the releases and there is plenty of counter programming going on. My film of the week is actually reflecting the box office though and remains Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps



Crook: It's good to be Bad

From the producers and director of Raaz: The mystery continues comes another colon using Bollywood drama, this time about a crime spree in Australia and it's racism hating anti-hero.

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Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud

It's crunch time for Zac Efron in this sappy and dull looking drama. Will he be able to get over the death of his brother in a car accident? Will he join the "sailor girl" in her round the world trip? Will the target teen audiences actually show up? Will they know that the adul actors Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta used to do much better films? So many questions...

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Jackboots on Whitehall

Odd looking mix of Team America, Inglourious Basterds and the Carry On series with puppet nazi's invading a model London leading to a resistance army led by plucky Ewan MacGregor having to fight back. Tom Wilkinson co-stars.

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Life as we Know it

Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel go on a disaterous date then find out they have joint custody of their best friends child. Of course they fall in love, of course they learn the hard way about parenthood. Of course this looks like a colossal waste of money.

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Mr. Nice

The true story of welsh pot smuggler Howard Marks is brought to the screen in this light hearted and knowing picture based on the protagonists bestselling memoirs. Rhys Ifans (in reality a close friend of Marks) plays the titular anti-hero and Chloe Sevigny his long-suffering wife.

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A Town Called Panic

Oddly the best reviewed movie this week is this surreal animation from Belgium with a plastic Cowboy and Indian investigating the mystery behind their stolen walls. From the makes of the Cravendale adverts.

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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Oliver Stone is back with Michael Douglas reprising his iconic Oscar winning role. I've already seen the film - review coming on Wednesday - and whilst it may not live up to the hype you can't deny we've all been waiting for this sequel for a long time.

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Friday, 8 October 2010

Matt Damon


Happy Birthday to

Matt Damon

40 today


There are few actors today who are consistent and hard working as Bostonian Damon. Frankly he is a delight to watch even in the most stodgy of films. I'm currently looking forward to five films that he's signed up to. Eastwood's Hereafter as a retired medium, playing a cowboy in True Grit, as a dancing penguin (probably) in Happy Feet 2, reuniting with Steven Soderbergh for Contagion and - should it ever be seen - there's also a role in Kenneth Lonergan's much delayed Margaret.

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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Town

2010. Dir: Ben Affleck. Starring: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively. ●●●●○



I shall start this review with a small confession. Earlier this year I read an American blog that noted the US cinematic release of the Red Riding trilogy had subtitles for the audience who couldn't decipher Yorkshire accents. I laughed at the time but now I have to confess there were moments in Ben Affleck's stunning The Town where subtitles for the Boston accents would have been useful. Not that understanding the intention of the scenes is at all hard, the actors providing enough non-verbal communication to fully compensate for any difficulties in the language.



The cliche ridden plot concerns a highly efficient quartet of Charlestown, Boston based bank robbers led by actor/director Ben Affleck and the FBI squad intent on bringing them down as personified by Jon Hamm. Over the course of three robberies the heat increases on our criminal heroes, not least due to the hot-headed Jeremy Renner, the kidnap of Bank manager Rebecca Hall during the initial robbery and the subsequent attempts by Affleck to pacify the situation by falling for Hall.

The qualities of the film though do not lie in the plot, if anything Affleck fully embraces and glorifies even the most obvious tropes, but in the excution. Each of the robberies highlights a different aspect of the genre from the meticulous planning of the first, the fanatastic car chase of the second and the thunderous Michael Mann inspired shootout in the final act.

Affleck handles the action in these scenes very well, proving he was paying attention during the less distinguished moments of his acting career. He can also handle the more sombre scenes, the prison scene with his father, as played by Chris Cooper, and the tense conversations with kingpin florist Pete Postlethwaite perfectly counterbalance the action. There is also an underlying sense of uncomfortableness in the scenes between Afflek and Hall, highlighting the vague sense of recognition from their first encounter. On a side note I can imagine Afflecks speech about his mother easily becoming an audition favourite in years to come.

The writing, especially for the working class characters, is excellently observed and most of the actors bring their bes work to the screen. I was especially impressed by the bristling energy of Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively's good time girl also stood out.

The film was less comfortable with the police procedural side, the criminals were just far more entertaining and - frankly - too good at their job to give the FBI characters much to work on.

Some of the visual tics Affleck relies on were a little tired and ths didn't have quite the same impact as his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone however this does underlinewhat an interesting talent he has and I will certainly beinterestedin seeing the next project he signs up for.

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Elisabeth Shue


Happy Birthday to

Elisabeth Shue

47 today


It was always going to b a hard act to follow, so I imagine part of the reason for lowering the age of the protagonists in the Karate Kid remake was to avoid comparisons for the girl against Shue perfect performance as the object of many teenage desires.

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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Tuesday Trailers - Flipped

They don't make films like this anymore. OK, that's a bit of a hoary cliche but I think it may just be the case with Rob Reiner's latest look at small town Americana in the 1950's and the awakening of love between two teenagers living in the same neighbourhood. The trailer looks like it has a dreamy youthful feel, and the soundtrack (whilst utterly obvious) is charming.



Flipped is released on 12 November 2010.

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Diane Cilento


Happy Birthday to

Diane Cilento

77 today


Diane's career is probably best remembered in the way she's a footnote in cinematic history. Both as the ex Mrs Sean Connery during the early Bond years and for being one of the record breaking set of three supporting actresses oscar nominated for Tom Jones in 1964.

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Monday, 4 October 2010

Christoph Waltz


Happy Birthday to

Christoph Waltz

54 today


Christoph managed to waltz (sorry) out of nowhere last year to steal Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds from his more well known co-stars and nab an oscar for his multi-faceted multi-lingual performance as Col. Hans Landa, The Jew Hunter. Since then he's been signing up for an interesting mix of Hollywood projects, including villian roles in The Green Hornet and major stage adaptation God of Carnage.

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Sunday, 3 October 2010

Recovery time (Film News - 02/10/10)

It has been an extraordinarily busy week for news. If I were to be perfectly honest with you I thought that missing the release schedules last week and postponing to today would be easy as a single week of headlines in the back end of September wouldn't cause too much to wade through. How wrong can I be. We've got additional casting news, some long dead projects getting resurrected, some very interesting rumours circulating and the odd new story bubbling up. Let's not delay:

My Stroke of Insight

Gone are the days when rehabilitation from life threatening illnesses was the domain of made for television movies. Aleandro Amenabar and Julian Schabel have added an arthouse sensibility to the subject which allowed The Sea Inside and The Divingbell and the Butterfly to break out from the traditional format of these subjects. As both of these movies flirted with awards but didn't quite breakout it was only a matter of time before an American protagonist would be inserted into a US version.

So when a film adaptation of Jo Bolte Taylor's memoir about recovering from a stroke, and the additional understanding she could use (being a bona fide neuro-anatomist), was in the works with Jodie Foster potentially up for the lead role I was super excited.

Unfortunately the man behind the camera will be saccharine magnet Ron Howard. Now don't get me wrong there are some films Howard's made which have reasonably enjoyable (see Parenthood or Apollo 13) but generally he's a bit of a hack with a penchant for making people cry. Obviously if the films made I will still go see it, and in spite of my concerns I expect Foster to run off with her third Oscar, but I am deeply fearful of the overall quality of the piece.


Read on for comic books, aliens, cops, cowboys, time travel and maybe a classic novel. Plus the latest production and release date news.



Darren Aronofsky's choice - Superman or Preacher

The Black Swan director has never had it so good. Just over a month ago it was announced that he was in the running for the directorial gig for Wolverine 2 this week there have been further rumours about the Superman reboot and the off-kilter graphic novel about God giving up on His job. Naturally he won't be making all of these movies, possibly he won't hem any of them but it's certainly upping his personal cachet given how many major blockbusters are considering his talent.

Of the three I would hope Darren would go for Preacher (left), as the less well known property and the most morally ambiguous there will be plenty more scope for playing with the genre and freedom to make the film he wants.

EDF

Sam Raimi is still amazingly quiet, over a year has passed since Drag me to Hell and several months since the Spiderman rug was yanked from under his feet. But it looks like he may have been working on an Alien invasion pic writ en by Andrew Marlowe (Air Force One). The plot sounds awfully derivative of all movies of this type as well as general war films, with the invasion sparking off with a small advance attack then a bigger onslaught identified, nevertheless this is the sort of diverting fun that could do extremely well at the multiplex.

The Great Gatsby

At the premier for Social Network Baz Luhrmann happened to be chatting to the assembled press when he let it slip the big screen version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's generation defining novel (left) may still be on track, with Leonardo DiCaprio among the rumoured cast. I confess I only know the novel by reputation, but it's hard to argue with that combination of star and director.

Not that it's written in stone just yet though, Baz also confided he's torn between Gatsby and an unnamed musical set in New York. Interesting. We should have a final decision in the next couple of weeks.

The Lone Ranger

No, the big screen adaptation of televisions most famous cowboy, his horse Silver and native American companion Tonto (see left) hasn't disappeared forever. Michael Bay has resurrected the project (shivers going down everyone spine) and it still might make a 2012 release with Johnny Depp in one of the key roles.

Tales from the Gangster Squad

Ben Affleck is suddenly a wanted man. Whilst I may consider his latest film, The Town, as a minor step back from the masterful Gone Baby Gone the combination of critical and box office success has meant his reputation as a director has never been higher. Step forward the opportunity to make a 1940's LA based movie about the cops chasing after public enemy number one Mickey Cohen. It's familiar territory even if journo Paul Lieberman's source material is uniquely positioned to separate the legend from the truth. This could end up being a perfect LA counterpoint to The Untouchables, which would make me very happy indeed.

Timeless

Robert Zemeckis may be hard a work on The Yellow Submarine but that hasn't stopped him considering what his next move will be, and surprisingly it's a return to live action. As well as being a movie about time travel, a subject he captured wonderfully in the Back to the Future trilogy. We don't have any other details at the moment, but as soon as I hear more you'll be the first to know.

Obituaries

It's been a sad week for Hollywood, as we saw the passing of actors Tony Curtis and Gloria Stuart and editor Sally Menke all of whom will be sorely missed. However I would like to say a couple of words about director Arthur Penn who also left us on Tuesday.

I can't say that I was a big fan of Penn's work, many of his films struck me as histrionic and confused, that said it is difficult to argue with his legacy. Bonnie and Clyde revolutionised cinema, introducing audiences to the coolness of criminal behaviour and the unremitting violence that results. This week I saw Ben Affleck's The Town and I think it's fair to say that without Penn's earlier work films like that simply would not exist. Let us raise a glass to Arthur Penn and remember his legacy.

Casting News - Last week I added a casting news section purely because I was catching up on film stories this week I'm doing it because I've already had loads of articles and I just can't type anymore... So here are the latest casting rumours on films we've mentioned here at the blog before: Fernando Meirelles' 360 is coming on strong gaining Anthony Hopkins, Frances McDormand and Eminem to it's intersecting love stories. Lawrence Kasdan's Darling Companion has drafted in Diane Wiest and Sam Shepard to help search for the titular pooch, George Clooney is talking to Ryan Gosling for a role in his forthcoming Farragut North and Christopher Plummer may play the aging patriarch who sets off the plot in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Production News

Every month I trawl though old news stories to identify which rumours have become reality and whether anything I missed is suddenly underway, and every month I am pleasantly surprised by some of the revelations. This month we have a number of projects that looked - on imdb anyway - like they'd been abandoned or at least delayed indefinitely including Istvan Svabo's The Door (which is now filming), Singularity - a coma induced time travelling story, the zombie fantasy World War Z, Mad Max: Fury Road, Ang Lee's Life of Pi and the long gestating Pablo Escobar biopic. As well as that there are a number of films we've covered in the news sections which are in pre-production stages including LA cop drama Rampant, Lawrence Kasdan's Darling Companion, political expose Farragut North, creature feature Isopod, Matthew McConaughay as Killer Joe, 9/11 drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Roman Polanski's God of Carnage, sex comedy The Abstinence Teacher and Nicolas Sparks weepfest The Lucky One.

The following film has also appeared unannounced on David Finchers to do list:

Killer

Adapted from the graphic novel by Metz and with a 2013 production date I know very little about this latest addition to Fincher's schedule, although it would certainly indicate he may not be ready to sign on for the full Millennium trilogy.


Release Dates

Flipped - It may be a very simple looking coming of age fable, but director Rob Reiner has shown he understands this age group on many occasions. Fall in love for the first time on 12 November 2010.

Somewhere - Following the surprise win at Venice Sofia Coppola's LA set story of disaffected TV stars has been bumped up into this year. Wreck your hotel room on 10 December 2010.

Way Back - Drifting back a week is Peter Weir's refugee drama, frankly I'm surprised it's coming out at all the reception at Telluride was very good but there didn't seem to be much interest in distribution - keep your fingers crossed. Trek across the Himalayas on 31 December 2010.

My Soul to Take - We may all be concentrating on the fourth episode of the Scream franchise, but let's not forget that Wes Craven has squeezed out this horror in the meantime. Try to guess who will survive on 14 January 2011.

Morning Glory - The January schedules keep on drifting whilst the major prestige releases ensure they won't be fighting each other at the box office, although frankly I'm not sure whether this TV news comedy qualifies as prestige. Flick over to the BBC on 21 January 2011.

It's a kind of Funny Story - Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have certainly raised eyebrows with their unpredicatable follow-up to Sugar, festival reviews weren't brilliant. Check yourself in for a "rest" on 11 March 2011.

The Eagle - The adaptation of Rosemary Sutcliffe's classic novel suffered due to it's close plot ties with Neil Marshall's ultra Roman thriller Centurion and saw it's release fall back, it's now shifted once more to a more profitable looking slot. Find a missing army on 18 March 2011.

Thor - Clearly in blockbuster territory now with Kenneth Branagh's Marvel adaptation shifting into the same release date as Iron Man 2, and effectively kicking off the summer. Return to Valhalla on 29 April 2011.

War Horse - Spielberg now has two release dates for 2011, catching up I suppose on the three year gap since the last one, this is his serious film for the year. Become a hero in the trenches on 09 September 2011.

Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn - And this is the second one, likely to bring in much more money we just have to hope the 'berg gets the tone of Herge's original omic strips. Blister billions of blue barnacles on 28 October 2011.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - I'm not sure why the release dates for David Finchers english language remake of the Steig Larsson bestseller keep changing, but there seems to be some difficulty in deciding exactly when to release it. Be sexually ambiguous on 23 Decmber 2011.

Frankenweenie - I'm more intrigued than interested in Tim Burton's latest stop motion experiment, having not seen the original short, that said I'll definitely be there on opening night. Reanimate your puppy on 09 March 2012.

Some films though don't have such good news on release dates. Craig Brewer's Footloose remake and (most distrssingly) the short collection New York, I Love You have both had their releases pulled out from under them with no sign of a new date. Worse is Niki Caro's Angels and Wine adpatation The Vintner's Luck which went direct to DVD during September.

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Clive Owen


Happy Birthday to

Clive Owen

46 today


I don't care how sexy Clive looks holding a whisky glass, I still haven't forgiven him for the abomination that was The Boys are Back. Let's just hope the films he's currently working on aren't so bland.

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Saturday, 2 October 2010

We Want Sex (equality) - (Out this week 01/10/10)

Actually I'm in two minds about film of the week, I should go for the high concept thriller with Ryan Reynolds which looks excellent, or maybe the delightful hand drawn animation that surprised everyone. No, like a chump I'm settling for the British union comedy purely due to excessive buzz from across the water. Go see Made in Dagenham.



Bella

Winner of the People's choice awards at the Toronto film festival back in 2006 (proof that the people's choice doesn't necessarily mean anything) this is a slight looking look at the intersecting lives of a group of New Yorkers.

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



Buried

It's Ryan Reynolds in a coffin for 90 minutes. Certainly the concept sounds higher than thou, but it looks like the actual film has a fully rounded feel that overcomes it's gimmicky set up. Stephen Tobolowsky and Tess Harper are among those he calls for help.

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

Endhiran: The Robot

Plot description for this Bollywood entry is as follows: A gifted scientist constructs an equally gifted robot, who sets out into the world for the first time with some unexpected and mind-blowing consequences. Almost makes it seem worth watching.

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I spit on your Grave

Did the notorious video nasty concerning the rape and revenge of Jennifer Hills really need to be remade for a 2010 audience? Given the poster is playing up it's "unrated" then I expect it does.

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Little Big Soldier

Jackie Chan is back doing what he does best in this Chinese martial arts comic/drama. Watch his little soldier cature big soldier (and valuable hostage) Leehom Wang than transport him through bandit country. It's like a Chinese Midnight Run.

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Made in Dagenham

I've heard a lot of good things from the festival circuit about this Calender Girls/Norma Rae hybrid, but the British press have been surprisingly sniffy about the overall quality and the slightness of it's worldview. Slly Hawkins, Bob Hoskins and Miranda Richardson are among the faces you'll recognise.

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Poice, Adjective

Not your average police procedural drama from Romania. Essentially dealing with low level corruption, or at least bind eye tatics. Involves long sections of reading dictionaries. That said the reviews have been very positive and tell of how gripping the film is.

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Secret of Kells

October is goin to be a month of unusual animated projects, starting with this delightful had-drawn piece which surprised everyone with a animated oscar nomination last year. The story takes in magical books, monsters, monks and warriors so should be worth a peek.

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Takers

It's sat on the shelf desperate and alone for so long it's looking like a knock off of just about every film tren of 2010. That said it maaged the number 1 spot in the US so it can't be complete rubbish. Matt Dillon and Marianne Jean-Baptiste are probably the only cast members that might be a draw.

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Anjanna Anjaani

Bollywood picture delayed from last week - and I'm not putting it at the top two weeks running. Appears to involves a lot of bars from reading the cast list - including a gay bar and a stripper club.

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

And missed off last weeks releases:

Dragon Hunters

European answer to How to Train Your Dragon which follows two dragon hunters (natch) in an alternative Earth populated by people eating monsters. They're not very good at their job and really want to grow mussels (very French). Forest Whitaker heads the English language voice cast.

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

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Friday, 1 October 2010

Randy Quaid


Happy Birthday to

Randy Quaid

60 today


I realise there may be little perception in this statement, but Randy "where did it all go wrong"? Why has he been repeatedly involved in brushes with the law for burglary and non-payment of hotel bills? This is just bizarre...

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