Saturday, 26 May 2012

Following your own formula (Out this week - 25/05/12)

Very quiet this week, after five weeks of double figure releases we're down to just seven picks hitting the multiplexes (although if I'm perfectly honest only 3 of them are actually coming on strong with the other four all limited release foreign language choices). We're deep within the blockbuster season now, with all the necessary large scale counterprogramming that is such a part of the season. Mind you choosing the top film this week is hardly a stretch. There aren't many US auteurs as recognisable as Wes Anderson, every frame, every shot can instantly be categorised as part of his canon, and it's fair to say the style has it's fans and acolytes - note how last years Submarine was instantly compared to Anderson's work. Unsurprisingly then the runs like a gay film of the week is Moonrise Kingdom.

Last week The Dictator did indeed climb it's way to the top of the box office charts, taking nearly double Avenger Assemble in it's fourth weekend. Although both of these will drift downwards now, especially Sacha Baron Cohen's showcase which will, I expect, slip significantly leaving an easy win for Will Smith's return to the big screen with Men in Black 3.

Moonrise Kingdom

Anderson is an acquired taste, a director who splits audiences between those who can stomach his artificial and ordered universe and those who cannot. Personally I tend to err of the anti-side but I cannot deny the superb reviews and craftmanship involved so it's an easy pick for the top film. As ever the cast for this teenage love story is amazing with Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and a cameoing Harvey Keitel among the stars on board.

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Read on for a unique take on fairy tales, time travelling aliens and the ultimate in self help book adaptations.

There's an element of enforced quirk to the proceedings, but couldn't you just take any frame from this trailer and put it on your wall?

Tales of the Night

This French animation is both exceptionally simply and deliciously complex in it's central conceit of using traditional silhouette puppetry styles to illustrate original fairy stories. If I had kids this would what I would take to the cinema to see.

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Hommes Libres

The classic French resistance sub-genre gets a welcome twist highlighting Algerian immigrants in their fight to help defeat the Nazi's from within. Cultural and religiously clashes abound in the thriller trailer and any film that includes the combined talents of Tahar Rahim and Michael Lonsdale must be worth taking a punt on.

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Men in Black 3

Coming 10 years after a disappointing sequel amid horrendous production difficulties it comes as no surprise that early reviews of the third entry in the popular comedic alien franchise have been scathing. Based on Will Smith's very own time travel idea it's a chance to see whether his charisma and box office pulling power has been retained after nearly four years off. I certainly won't be heading out to see the finished product no matter how well it performs with the masses or how good Josh Brolin's impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones. Emma Thompson also stars.

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Gabbar Singh

Appearing on just two screens is this Teluga movie from India boasting a simple plot revolving around a cop, and thug with political ambitions and a pretty girl. Expect lots of action, the odd song and a predictable ending.

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What to Expect when You're Expecting

Hollywood has officially run out of ideas as evidenced by the bizarre choice to turn a how to guide about pregnancy into a hyperlink comedy (I expect all the stories end happily). The all-star cast is led by Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Lopez and Anna Kendrick, each of whom will take the money and run whilst the film flops at the box office.

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Rahe Chardi Kala Punjab Di

Punjabi melodrama about an adopted Muslim girl trying to reunite with her Sikh birth parents and all the emotional and religious baggage you'd expect from such a tumultuous set-up.

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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Dark Shadows

2012. Dir: Tim Burton. Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green and Bella Heathcote. ●●○○○

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the film-making process and I don't begrudge others for enjoying it, but just because there's lots of fun being had on screen doesn't mean the audience will have fun, in fact it's often the case that the more fun the cast and crew appear to be having the less fun the audience have. And there's a lot of fun being had on screen in Dark Shadows.

The film opens with a pointless scene setting flashback narrated by Johnny Depp's Barnabas Collins detailing the history of his relationship with witchcraft practising Angelique Bouchard, played by Eva Green. There's opulent architecture, triple murder and Collins transformed into a multi-knuckled blood-sucking vampire. Tedious and irrelevant the passage only seems to exist to attempt to cover over the gaping plot holes yet to come.

Fast forward 200 years to the mid 1970's and a mysterious stranger is heading to Collinsport, Maine, a young girl answering an newspaper notice for a Governess in the
dilapidated manor, a young girl with a surprising similarity to the ghostly ex-fiancee drifting around the cobwebbed corridors. Not least because both are played by Bella Heathcote. She meets the stern matriarch, Michelle Pfeiffer who remains far more dignified than this trash deserves, and is soon assisting alcoholic psychologist Helen Bonham Carter in the education of the youngest heir to the Collins dynasty.

But wait, where is the unsubtle presence of arch over-actor Depp? Never fear, he is soon to be released from his subterranean prison by an unwitting assortment of building engineers - although quite why they're digging the foundations for a MacDonalds so late at night isn't really answered - and before long he has returned to the family home and vows to restore the fortunes and dignity of the Collins estate.

What follows is approximately 90 minutes of repetitive fish out of water jokes - many of which were in the trailer - oodles of sexual chemistry between Depp and Green (although oddly none between Depp and Heathcote) and a final showdown between witches, vampires, ghosts and most preposterously werewolves. Note I am not saying werewolves are more preposterous than the other assorted monstrous characters however when a character comes on just to admit their Lycanthropic tendencies minutes before the end of the film when there's been no hint of it before smacks of writerly indulgence.

Depp adds another oddball character to his repertoire, neither good nor bad in the scheme of his past work, it is most definitely not in any way original. Whilst the supporting cast relish the opportunity to go for one-dimensional turns reflective of the soapy source material, wasting such diverse talents as Chloe Grace Moretz and Jackie Earle Haley. Only Green, displaying the sultry, slutty, animalism of the slighted femme fatale gives anything close to a performance worth remembering.

Regular Burton collaborators Rick Heinrichs (returning as Production designer after a 11 year absence) and Colleen Atwood (costuming for Tim for the 9th time) have done excellent work hear, mercilessly revealing the 1970's as the most garish an unappealing design decade of the 20th century, whilst staying true to the gothic roots you would expect for this haunted house melee. The design motifs are the stars here with the intricate Collinsport Mansion with it's nooks, crannies and secret passages as much a character as most of the performers. Unfortunately I can't help but wonder whether they've missed a trick here - if the aim of the movie was to replicate the cheap shonkiness of the original series which would explain the drab characterisations and left-field plotting - then why not play around with deliberately crass production design, the sort of wobbly walls and rubber effects that made Ed Wood so memorable.

It's hard to see what Burton is really trying to achieve with this homage to TV mediocrity. Is he celebrating it's joyous unprofessionalism or slyly satirising horror tropes? Either way this film fails to achieve those aims and I really can't recommend it for anyone.


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Kicking Ass Jakarta Style (Out this week - 18/05/12)

With 11 new releases this is a slightly quieter week than we've been having recently but still more than enough films to peruse and make a valid choice of what to watch, saying that nothing is really a must see (for me anyway) so the week as a whole is easily in the second tier of opening weekends. Whilst Julie Delphy has been doing a really good job of getting me interested in her film that last couple of weeks it should come a little surprise to anyone that one of the best reviewed action flicks of the last 10 years has found it's way to my recommendation. 2 hours of non-stop martial arts glory the Runs Like a Gay film of the week has to be The Raid.

Last week I was wrong to shocking levels, foolishly supposing Tim and Johnny could displace Avengers Assemble from the top of the UK box office charts. Needless to say not only did the poorly received TV adaptation (I'm even struggling to write my review) fail to do that it only managed third place behind American Reunion. This week only Sacha Baron Cohen has any chance of beating the superhero squad, and I'm inclined to ehink his British fans - this is his stomping ground after all - and the fact that Iron Man et al are on the fourth week of release will lead to The Dictator sneaking to the top. I won't be at all surprised if it fails to do so though.

The Raid

The critics have gone crazy over Gareth Evans (yes, he's Welsh) breakout feature starring martial arts star Iko Uwais leading a squad of highly trained elite swat team sent to take down a notorious drug lord in his commandeered tower block. Only hundreds of goons are awaiting them. Cue 2 hours of non-stop balletic action.

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Read on for two very different tourists in New York, feminist Arabic cinema and the answer to what's on the dark side of the moon.

I don't think the entire movie has much more dialogue than we see here in the trailer, but rest assured the fight choreography will blow your mind.

2 Days in New York

Yes, that is an exceptionally short trailer, but what I've really liked about teh advertising campaign for Julie Delphy's follow-up to her 2 Days in Paris is the mini-trailers which accentuate a single joke that play between other trailers here in the UK. Her and Chris Rock have been everywhere promoting the film, and they are both hilarious and vibrant interviewees, so this could do quite well in limited release.

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The Dictator

Sacha Baron Cohen, known for his absurd comic creations Borat and Bruno is now attempting to fit one directly into a narrative with General Aladeen a satirical reflection of recently toppled despots Gaddafi and Sadam Hussein, going to New York and then getting lost in the big streets. Ben Kingsley and John C. Reilly shamelessly mug for the additional cash.

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She Monkeys

Part sports drama (about dressage so far as I can ascertain) part coming of age story and part Lesbian thriller this tale of two teenage girls initiating a relationship whilst one gets drunk on the intoxicating feeling of control is bound to turn a few heads.

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The Source

For every sci-fi dud Luc Besson produces there's also a odd comedy/drama that deserves attention, such as this one, set in an un-named Arabic community where the Women go on a strike, withholding sexual favours, until their husbands pipe water into the village. From this distance it looks both touching and amusing so could well be worth seeking out.

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Amitabn Bachchan, who we forget in the West is the most famous film star in the World, is back as a shady underworld boss in this violent looking Bollywood actioner. The Department of the title is a additional, secretive wing of the police dedicated to crushing organised crime using any method.

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Even the Rain

Gael Garcia Bernal is in Bolivia making a film about Christopher Columbus and how he exploited the natives, whilst barely paying the extras at all. A documentary crew are following the film and get caught up in investigating how the Government are in turn exploiting the locals by privatising water supplies. Parallels can be drawn all over the place in this heavy handed but well-meaning piece.

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If I want to Whistle, I Whistle

Romanian co-production that should probably be getting more coverage than it is about a teenager in a youth offending unit who's fours years of good behaviour unravel in the last 10 days of his sentence. New inmates, family pressures and a sexy new intern all contribute to the escalating sense of a lack of control.

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Iron Sky

Nazi's have been hiding on the dark side of the moon since the close of the second World War in this Finish exploitation flick that started life as a bonkers teaser trailer premièred in Cannes five years ago. It probably isn't as good as the premise sounds, in spite of Udo Kier's presence, oddly it gets only a single day release (next Wednesday) here in the UK.

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I'm not sure, but I think this is a cross-dressing Malayalam comedy. Either that or it's an ugly female lead. Please don't hate me for that comment.

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Gory Birmingham based horror with a cast of unknowns and the odd celebrity cameo - hello Terry Christian - with a rock band out to make a ground-breaking pop video in an abandoned warehouse being terrorised by a dead star and Satan himself.

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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Foot fetishists heaven (Out this week - 11/05/12)

It's another close week with two movies vying for my attention for the top choice at British cinemas this weekend. In the blue corner is Tim Burton's sixth collaboration with Johnny Depp, the big screen tongue in cheek adaptation of a TV (not-quite-so) classic versus a European musical starring a bona fide legend. Not to mention the exploitation, mumblecore and arthouse fare snapping at the heels of my two top choices. In fact I'd go as far to say whilst this isn't a classic week of releases by any standard it's probably the most interesting and consistent line-up in over a month so definitely worth exploring the options available. For myself I am once again going to champion the film I won't see, showing in just 4 cinemas nationwide - the closest of which is 40 miles away - it's the Runs like a Gay film of the Week: The Beloved.

Last week Avengers Assemble held onto the top spot, slipping an impressive 49%, but surprisingly American Pie: Reunion took only 20% less which seems to indicate the superhero collective is eminently beatable this weekend, and Burton and Depp are in prime position to do this, given the general love out there for their work on both sides of the Atlantic. I expect Dark Shadows to be the number 1 film this weekend - should go and see it to help it on it's way.

The Beloved

Set partly in the late 60's and partly in the modern day - a curious trend for todays releases - this French musical stars Ludivine Sagnier and Catherine Deneuve as a shoe seller who dapples with prostitution and the romantic entanglements she gets into throughout her life.

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Read on for vampires, modern families and boobs as well as all of this weeks trailers. Go on - you know you want to take a peek.

These boots were made for walking, indeed.

Dark Shadows

Depp and Burton are clearly having a ball in part homage part fish out of water comedy that appears to revel in the poor production values of the original TV series, whilst somehow proving Burton is the most style concious director working today. Unsure of tone in the trailer I don't know how many will flock out but I do foresee a cult following of it's own in the future.

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Cafe de Flore

Jean-Marc Vallee's follow-up to the forgettable Young Victoria dissects the romantic construct of soul-mates around a modern day couple struggling in their marriage and a kids with Down's Syndrome in the 60's. Expect the two stories to intersect by the end.

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Jeff, Who lives at Home

The Duplass brothers are almost certainly the most well known graduates from the Mumblecore movement and with Jeff their virtually hitting the mainstream. Jason Segal is the titular Jeff, still living in his Mum (Susan Sarandon)'s basement and waiting for fate to lead him where to go with his life.

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Piranha 3DD

What 4 blobs for this piece of exploitation rubbish that I personally wouldn't go within 100 m of seeing? Well, yes, I realise I'm not the target audience but there are plenty of 15 year old boys who will love it, Kim Newman says it ain't bad, and the cameos include David Hasselhoff, Christopher Lloyd and Gary Busey!

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All in good Time

British comedy (based on Bill Naughton's The Family Way but with a change in the ethnicities) that exploits the obvious comedy of a pair of newlyweds living with the in-laws and how that affects the consummation (or lack thereof) of their marriage. Should please all audiences.

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Supposedly the fourth of Aleksandr Sukurov's films about powerful men turned to evil - although following Hitler, Stalin and HIrohito it's a departure because of both the fictional character and the setting of Geothe's classic. Bound to get the art-house crowd in a frenzy.

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How I Spent my Summer Vacation

Quick recap on Mel Gibson: still persona non-grata across most of the Western world, so much so that his latest has gone straight to video in the States under the title Get the Gringo. He can still open a film over here and this will probably crack the top ten thanks to a wisecracking trailer showing Gibbo still has the action chops in this film set almost exclusively in a massive Mexican prison.

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Mitsuko Delivers

Japanese movie about the power of positivity and how generally people are too nice, all seem through the prism of a eight and a half month pregnant girl. Which sounds sweet but hardly compelling.

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Charlie Casanova

Long-time Hollyoaks actor Emmett Scanlan finally sees the release of the film he made just before signing with the early evening soap. From the Irish upper classes his character starts to lie his life purely through chance (by picking cards) after the accidental death of girl in a hit and run accident.

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Kalakalappu @ Masala Cafe

Indeterminably long and uninvolving trailer for this latest Tamil language release of which I know nothing about except the trailer music sounds like it's been ripped from a mid 90's Nintendo game.

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Taur Mittran Di

Bollywood thriller about two friends who fall out, presumably over a girl, and then seem to want to kill each other. Seems quite dramatic but I don't know why this fairly high profile option doesn't have an IMDb page yet?

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Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Lucky One

2012. Dir: Scott Hicks. Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart and Jay R. Ferguson. ●●●○○

I imagine that most people who chose to see The Lucky One know exactly what they're getting into. The sun setting behind the lovers, the ripped rugged guy with airbrushed muscles, the delicate woman and most importantly the previous adaptations of the authors work in the top of the poster. Nicolas Sparks doesn't get a mention on the poster, but his stamp is all over it, in fact the phenomenal success of his previous movies that do get a plug (both Dear John and The Notebook took $80m in the States) guarantees the audience instantly recognise the genre and story beats set ahead of us.

For those of you who can't guess the plot Zac Efron is Iraq war veteran Logan who picked up a photo whilst on his first tour that saved his life. Without knowing the girl on it he carries it around like a good luck charm, and somehow it works, whilst many of his brothers-in-arms make the ultimate sacrifice. Following his return to civvy street he resolves to find her and before you know he's working part-time in Taylor Schilling's doggie hotel. Too shy to tell her the truth but far too hunky to rule out the inevitable romantic entanglements he soon becomes part of her extended family, losing at chess with her son Riley Thomas Stewart and learning sage advice from her earthy Grandmother Blythe Danner.

There is danger lurking though, Schilling's dangerously obsessive ex-husband Jay R. Ferguson, the town sheriff no less, is constantly threatening a custody case to prevent Schilling from getting on with her life. Also we're in a Nicolas Sparks film so you just know that some cast members won't make it to the final credits - and no I'm not spoiling it.

Now I absolutely hated Dear John so I did go into this Sparks follow-up with a sense of deep trepidation, but I was pleasantly surprised with the script this time round. Will Fetters, who's only other screenwriting credit is for Remember Me, keeps the cloying romanticism at bay. At the start Schilling is flinty and patronising whilst Efron is emotionally closed off and slightly creepy, the relationship that develops is built on shared experiences and sexual desire and not just some wishy washy concept of true love.

That's not to say it isn't still relentlessly bleak, the stench of death pervades every frame from the charged early battle scenes to the final reel shock loss (still no spoilers) even the multiple bereavements Schilling has suffered - both her parents and US Marine brother (now there's a clue) have passed away before we even meet her. There are moments when this works, the film hints at Efron's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in his relationship with his nephews and his long walk across America, and Schilling's breakdown in the garden (whilst appallingly filmed) is effective in showing her inability to deal with the grief. Potentially this could be hinting at the State's inability to deal with the emotional trauma of war, almost a teen friendly The Messenger, but the momentum is lost around half way through when the plot takes over from the characterisations.

Efron proves himself once again as a competent and rising actor, always magnetic yet never showy and whilst he doesn't have enough to do here my appetite has certainly been whetted for The Paperboy. I was also impressed by Stewart who stays just the right side of precocity and Danner's sardonic asides make her the MVP.

Less successful is Ferguson's Sheriff who's rollercoaster attachment to his ex is inconsistent serves only to create false tension - there's an utterly laughable scene with a gun. I think the film, the third act histrionics, the macguffin of the unmentioned photo would have had a much bigger impact if he was just a normal guy, suspicious of this stranger rather than an obvious villain.

Scott Hicks is the last director anyone would claim is an auteur yet the signatures of backlit by the sun heroes and lush vegetation that appear in The Boys are Back and Hearts in Atlantis have returned. And at least this is a much better film than those previous efforts.

In conclusion I wouldn't bother going to a cinema to see The Lucky One but I wouldn't turn the telly over either. Nice enough and the target audience, the Sparks fans, should go in droves.


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Albert Nobbs

2011. Dir: Rodrigo Garcia. Starring: Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Janet McTeer and Pauline Collins. ●●●●○

It's fairly common for me to disagree with the majority of critical and commercial response to movies, in fact on a regular basis I watch films hailed as the second coming only to walk away with a "huh?" and a shrug. Sometimes I just don't understand the fuss being made. Oddly though this usually only happens in one direction, I may detest a film everyone else loves but when a film is getting a mauling the best I can usually say is "it's not a complete disaster." However on watching Albert Nobbs I was shocked by the critical derision it have received on both sides of the Atlantic, what's more I don't really understand why, although I suspect it is in part due to the high expectations surrounding Glenn Close's very own passion project. Glenn first played the central role of a male impersonator off Broadway in 1982 and has been working on adapting George Moore's short story for over 20 years, and the sad truth is no matter how good you think the performance and the film is it wasn't worth a 20 year delay.

It's essentially the story of the emotional awakening of a repressed button upped butler who happens to be a woman. In 19th century Dublin with poor social mobility for men, let alone women, Nobbs has spent 20 years masquerading as a man in order to manage a dignified existence and save up to purchase a tobacconist. Her painful but safe life is disturbed when house painter Hubert Page (Janet McTeer) has to share Albert's room for the night and discovers Albert's secret. After a few hours of panic Hubert admits that she too is a woman, opening up a whole new world of emotional connection to Nobbs. Indeed the plan for the shop changes from being a one man show to a partnership as Alberts woo the impressionable young maid Helen (Mia Wasikowska).

Most of the characters are largely unlikeable, Nobbs is penny-pinching and emotionally insensitive, Helen is greedy and cheeky even Brendan Gleeson's Doctor is obsequious and a drunkard. Yet it is to the credit of everyone's performances that in spite of all that we care about the future of the characters.

Glenn in particular completely gets under the skin of Albert Nobbs, although frankly you'd expect that given the amount of time she's worked on the character, it's a totally committed performance as furtive and damaged as she is hopeful for the future, every moment of her history etched on her face, every decision the character makes reflected in her eyes. Janet McTeer is also masterful, less so for the emotionality her relative freeness and frankness leaves less to project from behind a mask, but physically she's perfect. There's a great scene where Close and McTeer put on dresses and take a walk along the beach, and they look like men in dresses, layers of performance which are incredible.

Wasikowska is less successful, her modern mannerisms difficult to get past, but she's the only cast member who seems out of place.

The script does a good job of highlighting the hypocrisies in Victorian society both in terms of class and gender, albeit mainly through the gossipy monologues from Pauline Collins' Hotelier. Where Jonathan Rhys Meyers aristocratic cameo is given free range to sleep with whomever he wants and Brendan Gleeson is conducting an illicit affair with one of the waitresses the merest suggestion of a scandal with Nobbs or Helen causes the eventual doom of their characters.

There are plenty of areas where the film gets things terribly wrong too. The pace is deadly slow - believe me I understand why many viewers consider the film to be dull and it is purely an actors love in - which has the doubled effect of confusing the timeline, about 18 months passes through the film, based on the seasons and certain plot points developing , but there's no depth to the time passing. The moments where Nobbs imagines the future of the shop cheapen both the idea and the film with the sub-standard graphics and finally the relentless gloom works against the viewer. Whilst I have no doubt that things were tough in the 1800's a glimmer of hope would have been nice (hopefully that's not too much of a spoiler).

I also loved Brian Byrne and Glenn Close's main theme Lay Your Head Down, both as performed by Sinead O'Connor in the end credits and as used in the narrative, it's a beautiful piece of music that deserved more attention at the end of last year.

This ranks low on the four blob films but I do believe it fully deserves that fourth blob and I would definitely recommend the movie to anyone.


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Ah, I remember it well (Out this week - 04/05/12)

We're still in double figures of new releases with 13 distinct features slipping into your local multiplex, although saying that I expect there are many of these films that won't be seen in any multiplexes as many of them will fit closer to the arthouse circuit fans. On the other hand there are no essential viewing experiences this weekend with a unlikely - for me anyway - competition for my recommendation between a Jason Statham crime thriller and an European adolescent romance. Of course you know me well enough to guess that I'll usually choose the more obscure film if it's a close run thing, so no prizes for guessing the runs like a gay film of the week is Goodbye First Love.

Last weekend Avengers Assemble was the unsurprising box office champion taking an impressive £15.8m, easily outperforming last weeks competition, every other comic book opening in UK history and the entire cinematic run of any of the "sort of" prequels that introduce it's major characters. Incidently out of every three people going to UK cinemas last weekend two of them went to see Avengers Assemble which is an extraordinary statistic any way you look at it. This weekend Iron Man et al will almost certainly retain the lead, not least because there's no "must see" release, but there could be a bit of a bun fight for second place. I'm tempted to predict Statham as an apology for not picking him for film of the week, but in all honesty I think American Pie: Reunion will just about sneak ahead of the other new releases.

Goodbye First Love

Exquisite study of teenage romances over ten years, with the feel of classic Truffant, from sophomore director Mia Hansen-Løve. The picture above shows our heroines very first love, and it's no spoiler to say it probably won't last until the end credits.

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Read on for a kidnapped mathematical prodigy, an oscar nominee and incest as a plot device as well as the low-down and trailers for all of this weeks releases.

I should warn you this trailer involves quite a bit of nudity fairly early on. I'm not a prude, I don't mind, but I think you should be aware of it.


Sometimes you're just in the mood for all out action extravaganza's and honestly Statham seems to to be the most consistent beat 'em up star working today. This looks like it might be a good call with it's mathematical prodigy and all out gang war, even if it's US performance was slightly under par. Chris Sarandon pops up as the maybe dodgy mayor of New York.

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Angel and Tony

It's good times for fans of French romances this week, with the film of the week and this slightly more mature offering about an ordinary looking fisherman finding an an enigmatic, sexually voracious woman through a personal ad. Probably Not as raunchy as that sounds.

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Barely getting any notices in spite of it's tricksy content and starry cast - Eva Green and current Doctor Who Matt Smith - this sci-fi tinted drama about a widow who gives birth to and raises a clone of her dead husband and the mixed romantic/maternal relationship that develops had some buzz critical buzz during it's production but that seems to have fizzled away with this fumbled release strategy. Shame.

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Hara-Kir Death of a Samurai

We don't get every Takashi Miike movie released in the UK, given his vast and diverse output that's probably not a huge surprise. So when we are lucky enough to see one in this country we should probably make the best of it. Here we have a revenge against corrupt feudal lords plot that allows Miike to indulge in all his fight choreography pursuits.

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Juan of the Dead

Curious looking Cuban zombie movie that clearly shares a love of slapstick as it's major influence Shaun of the Dead but with added socio-political jibes at the communist propanga machine in Cuba. And the joke about killing your loved ones is priceless.

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Monsieur Lazhar

Of course Philippe Falardeau's stage adaptation was never going to win the best foreign language movie oscar this year against the superb A Separation it still had plenty of fans in the Academy and among critics being considered as the biggest competition. It's essentially a look into the French Canadian education system and how an Algerian ex-pat changes the kids lives.

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Very violent looking Teluga movie with plenty of claret and over the top musical cues, although I suspect in it's entirity it's a lt tamer than it looks here. I know nothing of the plot - any Bollywood fans want to fill me in?

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Jannat 2

I'm guessing the two at the end of the title signifies this Bollywood arms dealer thriller is a sequel, although I can't for the life of me remember the first Jannat getting released. Looks like it might be OK, with some nice shots and realism in the fighting, so could be an entry to the sub-continents releases.

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The Lucky One

There are many reasons to want to avoid Zac Efron latest attempt to shift into proper grown up movies, it's directed by cheesemeister Scott Hicks (Boys are Back, Hearts in Atlantis) and is written by the ever predictable Nicolas Sparks. But that said I do like Efron, he comes across well in interviews and I really want him to succeed, so even though this looks utterly missable it will be the film that I see this weekend.

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Silent House

Another US horror remake of a mildly successful foreign language horror movie - in this case the identically named Uruguayan release from last year where the central conceit revolves around the whole film being shot in a single take - as as with others that try this I expect it to bomb no matter how good Elizabeth Olsen is in the central role.

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American Pie: Reunion

I actually saw the original American Pie in cinemas, and vaguely remember thinking it was OK but being a comedy not really my thing, so I certainly wouldn't be tempted by a sequel 13 years later no matter how good it looked. Unfortunately this sorry excuse for a trailer doesn't make it look good on any level. Probably best avoided.

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And finally if you're in the mood for some ultraviolence, London Council Estate style then this is the movie for you. Following the murder of his brother Martin Compston meets Piggy, a mysterious stranger who encourages him to meet out revenge on the killers, but at what cost to his soul and sanity you wonder?

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