Filmstalker's films for February 2011
I've just missed the start of February, but I'm here with the second of the month by month hits of what's arriving in British cinemas this year. As I said in last month's roundup, I usually do the year ahead but it can be totally out of date a few months in, so this seemed a much better option, month by month.
It's already started off well with a great release of The Fighter and there are some great films to come throughout the month from Brighton Rock and True Grit to Gnomeo & Juliet and The Beaver, a real spectrum of films this month and well worth a visit or two to the cinema.
Also worth remembering is that the Glasgow Film Festival is on very soon and you really should make a beeline for some of the great films on offer there this year, as well as the fact that Mark Millar is going to be there for a number of events and the GFF will be presenting a whole series of comic related events, including a visit from Dave Gibbons.
Get yourself over to the Glasgow Film Festival site and while you're at it follow them on Twitter or Facebook, however for now let's get back to the recommended releases for February, the films you really should be going to see.
I missed a preview of this the other day and I was pretty annoyed as I was really looking forward to it. Surprisingly not for the reasons that its getting praise heaped on it, the Christian Bale performance, but to see how Mark Wahlberg performs, I'm hoping well, and how the film turns out. The story behind the film is a great one, a real life Rocky if you like that presents the main character an even harder hill to climb. There's a lot of talent in front and behind of the camera, and the trailers have delivered a strong feeling for the film.
This is perhaps the film next to Avatar where I could truly see 3D being an added extra. Yes part of it is about the fact that James Cameron has been involved in the production of the film and how to use 3D, but the other part is that the film is about underwater cave diving and things going wrong, now why wouldn't that look great in 3D? We're talking less about things flying at the camera and more about amazing locations...I would hope. Richard Roxburgh and Ioan Gruffudd star in the film, and that's another good sign. This could turn out to be a fun and interesting adventure thriller.
Another preview I missed, but that's because the print was sent to the wrong cinema, and in a way I'm almost happy I did because the film looks harrowing. As my friend Louise said to me as we sat down to watch 127 Hours instead, it's not a happy story, the child dies at the start of the film and things just get worse from then on. It's a good summary of a film that looks emotionally harrowing and is going to leave you raw, but in a marketplace of unfeeling cinema, this one is going to make you feel something. This could be a great performance from Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, and one to define both their careers.
New York, I Love You
October 2009 was the first release of this film, and it's just now about to hit UK screens. Seems strange as it follows the damn good Paris Je t'aime (Filmstalker review) and is preceding the upcoming Paris I'll Kill You. The theme of the franchise is set to go on, but has New York, I Love You managed to capture the city, stories and performances as Paris Je t'aime did? I'm still keen to see despite the fact that the UK has been the last release in the long schedule that has been over a year. The idea of portraying short film stories connected by a city with writers and directors delivering their own personal takes is one worth watching, especially when there are so many big name actors involved and two director's names stick out, Mira Nair and Natalie Portman.
The remake of the film that is one of the defining points of Richard Attenborough's career as he played the dangerous character of Pinkie who is now to be played by Sam Riley and he's backed by John Hurt, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis out of CG and make-up, and more. What I particularly like, apart from all those names and the fact that Rowan Joffe has written this adaptation of the Graham Greene novel and directed the film, is that they've kept the same period setting for the story and not tried to bring it right to the current day. This will be a strong thriller and filled with great performances.
Everyone's raving about this new version of True Grit from the Coen Brothers and saying what a great performance that Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges have delivered, and Bridges has a lot to live up to playing the role that John Wayne made famous. Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper also star and all three raise the stakes even more. I'm desperate to see this even though I am a huge fan of the old westerns and of John Wayne.
Never Let Me Go
The story has me really intrigued, especially as it doesn't seem to rely on the obvious twist that a Hollywood film would. A great British cast with Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins and the not so British but still a great actor, Andrew Garfield. Mark Romanek directs the Alex Garland adapted screenplay from the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. It's going to be a heart wrenching story for sure and one to watch.
Gnomeo & Juliet
When I first heard about this film I was thinking it was going to be a complete joke, really. I mean the story of Romeo and Juliet set to Elton John music and...ermmm...garden gnomes. Yes, two groups of garden gnomes who come to life when the garden owners aren't looking are always fighting each other, and that's where the tragic story begins...and with Elton John singing.
And Soon the Darkness
Amber Heard, Karl Urban and Odette Yustman. Is that all that's standing out about this film? Well one of the girls goes missing on a bike trip in a remote part of Argentina and the other heads out to find her with a mysterious American who offers his help. Not sure this is really going to be any good, however there's plenty of eye candy for everyone of every ilk in there!
There are two great reasons for watching this, and none are the beaver. Jodie Foster is directing and starring and Mel Gibson is the lead, what's not to like? Oh come on now, forget that rubbish you're carrying, if you're going to have a go at Gibson's private life then you should be having equal anger towards Cruise, Downey Jr., Sheen, Travolta, Sutherland, and reams and reams of other actors. Watch the film for the story, the entertainment and the performances, the private life is something else entirely. You're cutting your nose off to spite your face especially with an excellent film such as this.
I've been waiting for this film since I first heard about it, the story of three Mossad agents who are tasked to kill a Nazi war criminal in 1965. Thirty years later someone claiming to be the Nazi has surfaced and the agents are re-activated to try and find out the truth and face what happened in the past. Sam Worthington might be the headline name on IMDB, but there's also Helen Mirren, the superb Ciarán Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Chastain and Marton Csokas. What about behind the film? Well there's Matthew Vaughn and Helen Mirren with John Madden directing, a great line-up for sure.
I have my reservations about this film, Seth Rogen directed by Greg Mottola are the two aspects that make me wonder if this Nick Frost and Simon Pegg film is going to be as hilarious as previous Frost-Pegg collaborations have been. Of course I'm hopeful, but there's a bit of a doubt in there and I do hope it's wrong, I really do. After all the idea of the two playing comic book fans heading to a convention via Area 51 only to bump into an escaped alien who wants to go on a road trip seems to have all the hallmarks of a wild comedy ride. Oh, and it's the valentines film to be seen seeing.
I Am Number Four
While there's an air of the teen science fiction fantasy about this, the trailers have certainly been interesting. A group of aliens arrive on Earth running from another alien race that are intent on destroying them. We follow a teenager called John Smith who has arrived at a new school, he's Number Four amongst the aliens, hiding amongst humans, and he's just discovered that the first three are all dead and the aliens are on his trail.
Anthony Hopkins is playing an old priest well versed in the art of exorcism who is tasked with training a young priest, played by Colin O'Donoghue, his talents, and it's directed by Mikael Håfström. However it's clear from the trailer that he's set to take his usual psychological thriller acting talents to the fore. It looks like it could deliver a good psychological horror and Hopkins could be on top form.
I've heard a lot about Animal Kingdom and I'm heading to the Glasgow Film Festival this year to see it. Guy Pearce stars in the film that sees a mother trying to keep her son from the family who are part of the criminal underworld in Melbourne. When she dies he has no choice but to turn to the family that his mother tried to keep him from, and as he gets pulled into their criminal lives more and more one detective thinks he can save him.
Drive Angry 3D
Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer wrote this story that Lussier directed, it's really not that far off Ghost Rider and it features Nicolas Cage in a very similar role, just without the flaming skull and the motorbike. Cage is a man escaped from hell on a course of revenge who befriends the lovely Amber Heard on the way, her and her fantastic muscle car. William Fichtner is the Devil's accountant sent to get him back. I'm surprised there's not the poster tagline "all hell breaks loose". I think it's going to be pretty silly, but at the same time it might just be a lot of fun.
Well then, what out of that list are you going to see? Or is there something that I haven't mentioned that you think is well deserving of a mention? Better yet, what have you been to see already this month and what would you recommend?