Filmstalker Films for August 2011
Disappointingly I've missed August, not through some drug or drink induced haze, or because I was locked up for rioting in England, I meant in a cinematic way having missed so many films and not managing to post this August review despite having written it in the first few weeks of the month. Sometimes life catches up and the past few months that has been very true for myself.
So let's look back at August and see what films I was suggesting we go and see, and indeed which films you should keep an eye out for release on DVD and Blu-ray. Mind you, there's still one week to go.
Super 8 (Filmstalker review)
Well you should have seen it by now, I saw it a while ago over in Canada and I really enjoyed it , it was a great homage to Steven Spielberg and yet it stood on its own too, although there was a little weight missing to it and the emotional side of the story wasn't as well handled as Spielberg, it was still a really good film. You should have seen it, so what did you think?
The Devil's Double
I'm really keen to see this film, this promises to be a fantastic role for Dominic Cooper playing the dual roles of Uday Hussein, son of Saddam, and Latif Yahia, his body double. It's an interesting story and comes from Yahia's novel which tells the story of how he and his family were threatened if he didn't become Hussein's body double, standing in for him at public events in case of assassination, and the terrible things that he witnessed and was part of. Lee Tamahori directs, and he's delivered some strong thrillers and action before so this could be another successful film for him.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
There's a mixed view out there for the film, some critics aren't fans of it and yet audiences are still going to see it. For my part I'm not happy that they're redoing the origin of the whole franchise, but they have, and I'm willing to give it a go. Why? Well there's a strong cast, a good director and its origin story does sound interesting, plus it's full of effects that promise to be some of the best we've seen and behind it is one of the best effects houses there is. Could it all work out? Well it seems there's already talk of a sequel, we'd better like it.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Elite Squad (Filmstalker review) was a very good film, it had flaws, but it also delivered a great thriller that had plenty of powerful themes and presented a very worrying view of the divided city it was set in. I'm delighted that they're returning to the film to see where the characters have come since that first film, and to revisit the city. The trailer looks like it could be delivering more of the struggles that the characters faced in fighting those on both sides of the law in order to try and do what's right for the people of Rio de Janeiro, and of course José Padilha is directing.
This trailer took me by surprise as I'd heard of the film before but never really delved into it and so when I saw the trailer it was a real surprise because it is just such a powerful piece. I'm always amazed at the power of trailers to be able to capture your attention and imagination in such a short time, and it's even harder for a trailer to do that when it's a true story, a documentary, for they build much more slowly and can't rely on the one or two second moments that thriller and action films can deliver to a trailer. The Interrupters manages to create a trailer that is dramatic, emotionally charged and tells a story. It's a great trailer and the film about three people who work to try and interrupt the violence of the Chicago based gangs looks to be just as powerful. This is one to see.
Another documentary of sorts and while some might think it sounds like another attempt to remake the Planet of the Apes origin story, this is true. The film looks at the attempt to integrate an ape into a normal, everyday family and bring them up as an adult. The trailers have been teasing what the true story will deliver and suggesting that there are surprises on both sides of what might be expected of events. For instance the communication using sign language and the attempts to suppress the normal, more aggressive behaviour. It looks a fascinating story that you shouldn't miss.
Quarantine 2: Terminal
I'm not really keen to see the sequel to the American remake of REC, Quarantine, and especially since it is destined to go direct to DVD. That said the story does seem rather interesting and the setting of an airport makes me think of the Resident Evil animated film which started in an airport. Still it's destined for first release on DVD which doesn't bode well for the quality of the film. Mind you it makes it easier to see. I'm curious, but there are far better films to watch.
Cowboys & Aliens
We've been seeing a lot of marketing for this film for some time, and while the concept seems bizarre, the film actually looks like a lot of fun and the fact that it has such a strong cast is a big plus for the film. Jon Favreau directing Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde, that already has to be attractive doesn't it? The trailers show cowboys fighting aliens, and how can that not be attractive, especially when the trailer and so the film have been shot so well. It's going to be a lot of fun and action, just think it's from the man who directed Iron Man, and the feeling you get from this trailer is similar, albeit with a slightly heavier story.
The Inbetweeners Movie
For fans of the television series a UK wide release of the film version of the television series has arrived. It's not very often we see this happening, particularly for UK series, I can think of Kevin and Perry go Large and The League of Gentleman's Apocalypse, so this is quite unique territory. The trailers for the film do make it look very much like the idea of Kevin and Perry, the same characters taken abroad, but there's going to be more than that to this film, and The Inbetweeners are a well liked television show. Still it's surprising to see this gain a UK release when so many good films are getting just limited releases.
I really love the idea behind this story, a small town Irish policeman teaming up with an American FBI agent to investigate an international drug smuggling ring. What's great about the trailers we've seen so far is the chemistry between the completely mismatched couple, not only the idea of pairing an FBI Agent with a local Irish policeman, but the fact that the Agent is all about modern investigations and crime and the policeman is outdated and living in the past. Inventive and funny, and it promises to be a comedy rising above the crop of Hollywood rubbish. To make things even better the cast is Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham and Mark Strong.
In a Better World
Susanne Bier directed Brødre or Brothers as everyone wants to refer to it now its been remade in English, and it's a really good film, hence the American remake, so I've got my eye on In Better World which also stars Ulrich Thomsen. It's the story of two Danish families whose lives intersect and, as the blurb says, create an extraordinary relationship which leads to loneliness, sorrow and frailty. Sounds interesting and Brødre really did deliver strong characters and relationships which In a Better World promises to. By the way it won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film.
Conan the Barbarian
Well it's in 3D, so although it says UK wide, if you're like me and prefer watching 2D then this is more of a limited release than UK wide one because there are always far more 3D screens showing the film than 2D, if there are 2D screenings at your local multiplex. That to the side, Conan the Barbarian is looking like an exciting action film and could well deliver a lot of fun to those looking for a new Conan or just some fun action film filled with swordplay and some very cool effects. I'm not so sure we really needed to revisit this character and world, but I know that what I've seen so far does look exciting and fun.
I'm going to admit that the film doesn't really set me on fire, a romantic film with Anne Hathaway playing a Brit in a British film, it doesn't excite me at all. What does is that it's almost entirely filmed in Edinburgh, and there's a reason to see it...if you live in Edinburgh. Otherwise it's date night fare.
The Skin I Live In
The last film to see this month is a foreign one. Directed by Pedro Almodovar who adapted it from the Theirry Jonquet, it stars Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya in a story about a brilliant plastic surgeon who has been creating a new type of skin that is impervious to damage, however he needs someone to test it out, and when he can find no legal test subjects he kidnaps a young woman and imprisons her, intending to make her the first test subject. Sounds intriguing and the trailers have been fascinating. Almodovar has made films such as Talk to Her, Volver, All About My Mother and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, so there's some excellent film making behind it and a lot to expect from the film.
So that's what I would recommend for August, what do you think? Agree? Have I missed anything or have you seen something already you'd like to tell everyone about?