Filmstalker's films for October 2011
This month promises a bumper of films to talk about. I've not just selected the UK releases that I'd recommend, but there are a few in here that have caught my eye and made me wonder if I might go and see them, and a couple I'd just avoid like the plague, although going to Contagion to see something similar is a must.
The selection ranges from the new 3D Musketeers film, which is an avoid for me, right through to films like Contagion, The Ides of March and Tin Tin. It's a big month, so here are the releases worth going to see, might be an interesting side step, and are definitely not worth bothering about.
George Harrison: Living In The Material World
UK Wide for one day only
Yes you read that right, the two hundred and eight minute film is getting a UK Wide release just for one day. What the plans are for it after that I'm not sure but I assume it will still be available in some smaller cinemas. Despite the mammoth running time, that's three hours and twenty-eight minutes by the way, the Martin Scorsese directed biographical film about George Harrison and his life in and out of The Beatles looks to be undeniably insightful and all encompassing. It could mean numb bum, but it will be a great journey.
Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark
Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce star in this film which...oh wait I forgot to say that this is a Guillermo del Toro presents film, for you have to say that over anything else, even the director of the film who happens to be Tory Nixey. Toro has co-written the screenplay with Matthew Robbins though, a point which is surely important, and the two main stars are quite big names themselves and Latchkey's Lament was a big accomplishment for Nixey. You might have guessed, I hate the practice of "big name presents" and ignoring all the people actually involved in making the film. Here though he has co-written the script and provided some guidance for the film so although it's unfair to everyone else it's not so bad as some films I've seen it used on. The film sees a family moving to a new house where strange creatures are trying to steal the young daughter away from the parents. It looks pretty creepy.
Four Days Inside Guantanamo
The seven hour recording of the four day interrogation of the child detained at Guantanamo Bay has been edited into a film coupled with commentary from his former cell mates, his attorney, and presumably the man himself, looking at the legal and political implications of the events and the prison as a whole, as well as the individual case of Omar Khadr. It's going to be a hard hitting film and one that deserves to be seen.
Johnny English Reborn
Now I'm not really recommending this film, but it's one that I think some people will like, not me however. I just think that the trailers have been showing some incredibly poor comedy moments, and maybe it's because they're out of context or something, but they haven't made me laugh or think that there are some laughs in there. Still, I know there are Johnny English fans out there and there is the promise of something more than the previous one. Maybe there's something to be had in it?
Midnight in Paris
Woody Allen's latest film is a comedy which sees a family on holiday in Paris and one of the group, a newly engaged man, discovers something amazing while out walking one night. However amazing it is his nightly walks in the city are slowly disconnecting him from his life and his love. It has a very interesting idea at the core of the story, but I'm curious how Allen is going to take the story and if it will have a lot to tell us. Then there's the cast of Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen and a few more.
Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Connie Nelson, Stephen Dillane, Ewan Bremner, Denis Lawson and Alistair Mackenzie star in this Scottish talent heavy film which comes from the director David Mackenzie. It tells the story of a scientist and a chef, although I'm not sure what that has to do with the story, who fall in love just as an epidemic is breaking out and robbing people of their sensory perceptions. Sounds a strange idea but then a fascinating one too, I wonder what the effects will be on people and how Mackenzie will deliver the film? Interestingly David is Alistair's brother and another family connection lies with the film with Denis Lawson and Ewan McGregor.
Paddy Considine wrote and directed the film which stars Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman and Eddie Marsan, and already that sentence has me interested in the film. It tells the story of a man whose life is plagued by violence and a self-destructive rage. He meets a charity shop worker called Hannah who seems to offer him a chance to turn his life around, but she has a secret that will change their relationship and threaten to consume them both. Sounds interesting doesn't it? The trailer I've seen suggests a superbly strong performance from Mullan and with Colman and Marsan alongside it would look like there's going to be strong performances all round. Capped off by Considine writing and directing and this is definitely a film to watch, it's a shame it's not getting a UK wide release.
The Three Musketeers
Actually I'm not recommending this in the slightest. I've seen the trailers and it seems to try and take the best bits of the classic Musketeer films from Richard Lester, combine them with Wild Wild West and Resident Evil, and throw it in 3D with plenty of CG and silliness. None of that sounds good, and indeed the trailers and television adverts I've seen confirm the fact that it looks nothing like a Musketeers film and just ends up looking silly. Ships flying with balloons, fancy weapons shooting spinning blades, elaborate traps that only Alice can get through by doing really cool slow motion acrobatics? No thank you. Perhaps I should start a similar list of films to avoid?
I've seen a trailer for Niall MacCormick's film and it does look good. Felicity Jones plays a teenager who meets a new friend, played by Jessica Brown Findlay, who is an aspiring novelist and much more impulsive and outgoing than her new found friend. The teenager's new friend opens her eyes to so many things and when she begins an affair with her father, played by Sebastian Koch, everything the girl knew is threatened. Another strong casting sees Julia Ormond plays her mother. A good line-up, and although it might seem a story we've seen before the way it's been shown in the trailer offers something more. I'd be keen to see this as it does offer some strong character based performances and the possibility of a dramatic story.
Everything Must Go
The short story by Raymond Carver was adapted and directed by Dan Rush, his first feature, and it stars Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Michael Peña, Stephen Root, Laura Dern and the son of Notorious B.I.G. and Faith Evans, Christopher C.J. Wallace. It didn't set the world alight when it received a limited release in America, but perhaps things will change when it hits the UK. It tells the story of an alcoholic who relapses, loses his wife and his job and tries to start over, beginning with a big yard sale. It's then that he meets a new neighbour that could be the key to getting back on form. There are some good actors in there, and I like it when Ferrell delivers a dramatic performance. I'm hoping this is more drama than comedy and the comedy that does come through is intelligent real life comedy.
It doesn't sound a particularly interesting film, a rich industrialist who is also a frustrated Opera singer decides to throw an Opera at his country house to prove he is cultured and can sing, and at the same time he can win the hand of the female conductor. However Richard E. Grant is playing that industrialist who is going to try his hand at Opera and Sarah Brightman co-stars. I'm curious, although I'm not hopeful of any real quality.
The remake, oh yes, I know, but aren't you at all curious? I know I am wondering how they can pull off the story and make it work and feel like it could drop into today's society, or if it will feel like a throwback, feel forced and convoluted, teens pushed into the story that just seems like an unnecessary remake with more up to date dancing? Craig Brewer is directing, Dennis Quaid stars as does Andie MacDowell. Could it actually work out?
It's being re-released in the UK, although I'm not exactly sure what the reason is, it's a welcome return for Audrey Tautou's character and the Jean-Pierre Jeunet film. Well worth visiting again while it's hitting cinemas.
Okay, so it does sound like Rocky and Transformers mixed together, but what's so wrong with that? It's a great idea and it sounds like it could be a lot of fun. In the near future robots are used in the ring instead of people, and an ex-fighter turned promoter and trainer for the robots bonds with his son when they find an old sparring robot and tune it up training it to fight for real. The action in the ring looks good. Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand and Hope Davis all star.
Why is this film not getting a bigger release? Jamie Bell, Cillian Murphy and Thandie Newton all star in the film about a couple who head to an uninhabited island for some time to rebuild their relationship. Next thing is someone turns up on the island dressed as a soldier, claiming that there's been an epidemic that is sweeping across Europe and they can't leave the island. Come on, look at these three names and you have to question why this is only key cities and not UK wide. It's a British film isn't it? Perhaps the multiplexes are filled with 3D films, remakes of teenage dance films, romances and comedies. Well you're buying the tickets.
Thankfully this is getting a UK wide release, the Julia Leigh film which stars Emily Browning as a university student who is drawn into a world of strange desires when she takes a job as a "Sleeping Beauty". This means she has to give complete submission to any client who pays for time with her in the "Sleeping Chamber", often older men who want an erotic experience with her where she must accept everything and be utterly asleep during it. The more she does the job the more it unsettles her and the feelings from while she's asleep leek into her day to day life. It's an intriguing story and I'm desperate to know where it leads for her.
Texas Killing Fields
Jessica Chastain, Chloë Moretz, Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Stephen Graham, Annabeth Gish and Sheryl Lee all star in the film directed by the daughter of Michael Mann, Ami Canaan Mann, who I think will soon be known as just Ami Canaan Mann, if the trailers hold true for the film itself. A Texas detective teams up with a New York detective to try and hunt down a serial killer, a serial killer who then turns their attention onto the detectives and begins to bait them. A strong cast, a potentially strong director, and the beginning of a gripping story, it does seem as though it's set-up to be a great thriller.
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Morgan Spurlock is at it again, but I'm not so sure this story is the greatest one to be told. The draw here is that he's investigating branding, advertising and product placement and how it works in the movies by filming all the meetings and dealings to make this film about the very products, advertising and branding that he's negotiating for, and they have no idea what he's doing. Oh, they must have some, but still advertising is advertising. Doesn't sound that exciting or worthwhile, and I'm just not sure where the revelations will come. Mind you a lot about the Spurlock films are the journey, not the destination.
Martin Kemp, remember him? Spandau Ballet, The Krays, Eastenders, and now co-writer and director of Stalker which, surprisingly, is a horror film. Yes, that's what I thought too, Martin Kemp directing a horror film. It's the story of a writer who heads off to the seclusion of her family home to focus on her new book and soon her assistant arrives, and then the trouble begins. I have no idea about the release schedule for this but there are some recognisable names in here, Colin Salmon for one, Jane March and Billy Murray. Could it be any good?
Here's a film that's got to be good, Steven Soderbergh's film from Scott Z. Burn's script about the outbreak of a virus that seems unstoppable and spreads with alarming rate across the world. The film follows a number of people worldwide involved in various ways with the virus and charts its progress through their stories. It's got a huge cast and it does look fantastic.
A small British thriller that I hadn't heard anything about until I took a chance and clicked on the title in the release list. The set-up sounds similar to 44 Inch Chest, a man kidnaps his wife's lover to take him to a remote place and scare him a little, except things don't go according to plan. This film stars Martin Compston, Craig Conway, Sean Pertwee and Kierston Wareing, so there are some recognisable British actors there, I wonder if the film is going to be any good?
Paranormal Activity 3
I'm assuming that the release of this is going to be UK wide, I certainly believe that it's going to be demanding of a UK wide release considering the intended audience, and I do think that people will go and see it. Personally since I didn't find the original film scary at all I wasn't drawn to the sequel, and I'm not drawn to this. However I have to say that the recent trailer I saw was a lot more promising than we've seen before, far less forced and convoluted and the promise of a little more intelligence to the story. Will it work out? Is it getting better with each instalment or is it just more of the same?
Bizarre is the word to use explaining the story for Gus Van Sant's latest film which sees a terminally ill teenage girl fall in love with a boy who likes to attend funerals and sees the ghost of a Japanese Kamikaze pilot from World War II. Sounds incredibly strange, and I wonder what Gus Van Sant can make of it. Certainly the trailer has looked very intriguing, but the story doesn't sound very positive.
Reuniting the Rubins
Yoav Factor has written and directed the film that tells the story of an aging Jewish mother who reunites the dysfunctional family for one last time before she dies. It stars Rhona Mitra, Timothy Spall, James Callis, Honor Blackman, Blake Harrison and Hugh O'Connor. I'm really not sure about this but some of the cast names are enough to have piqued my interest, Spall in particular.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly star in this hard hitting sounding film which tells the story of a mother trying to come to terms with the fact that her teenage son committed multiple murders at his school, dealing with her feelings of grief and responsibility and her estranged husband. There's little doubt that Swinton will give a blistering performance and that's what I'm hoping to see in the Lynne Ramsay film.
Damian Lewis, Bob Hoskins, Alice Krige and Jane March headline this film From Ellen Perry which is far from the film I expected when I saw the title, it follows an orphan who heads across Europe to see the 2005 Champions League Final in Istanbul.
The Yellow Sea
Hong-jin Na's film tells the story of a man whose wife goes to Korea to earn some money, but when they don't hear from her for six months he tries to earn enough money to travel there to see her. However his actions just get him into deeper debt and trouble, but he meets a hitman who offers him the chance to reunite with his wife and clear his debts for just one hit.
There's a good cast for this film about an aspiring author that decides to write about her African American maid's point of view of the world and the American families that she works for during the civil rights movement of the 1960's. Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain star in the film adapted from the Kathryn Stockett novel and directed by Tate Taylor. I'm not sure if this will be overly sentimental, although I have to say everything is lined up to look that way.
Again I'm not sure of the release for this film nor do I know that much about it, but the story sounds interesting and has potential to be a strong film which combines an Indian and American production. You know I kind of feel that we should give more notice to Indian films than we currently do for they are a bigger market than Hollywood and it's not all Bollywood, as this film shows. It tells the story of a man who writes a videogame hoping to bring him and his son closer together, however an accident causes them to be placed in the videogame in some way and their lives become the next level of the game. I have to admit that the poster caught my eye too. I'd be keen to see this just to find out what Indian film is producing.
The Adventures Of Tin Tin: The Secret Of The Unicorn
I think everyone is excited about the release of this first Tin Tin film, for this is finally where motion capture seems to belong, the portrayal of a cartoon character and a cartoon world, brought to life as we would see it in the comics, and from the trailer it looks gorgeous. Plus there's the mix of characters and voices offering comedy and thrilling action, and Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson joining forces, although this first one is more Steven Spielberg's work. How can any of this sound bad?
An American in Paris
The first of two re-releases this month, the classic Gene Kelly musical An American in Paris. It's not my favourite starring the all round entertainer, but it's still one of his top films and performances. Watching a musical and especially Gene Kelly is just heart warming, how can you not like these old classics?
Roland Emmerich may not be telling and end of the world story but he's certainly threatening to end it for some Shakespearean followers. There's a divide you see, most historians believe that he was one man, one author, some believe he was a pen name for many authors, and some believe he was a cover for Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, and was part of a rebellion through words. This film which does feature some classical casting, looks at that story and tells it as though it was true. Big cast, big production and some big effects.
Demons Never Die
There's a scattering of young names for this horror film that sees a suicide pact of teenagers hunted down by an unknown killer and killed in more brutal ways than they'd ever expected. Some names are Ashley Walters, Tulisa Contostavlos, Jason Maza and Reggie Yates are just a few of the odd list of names in the film. Something more interesting is that Idris Elba is a producer on the film.
A re-release of the film, perhaps to gather interest in the third handover film that is always being talked about and is the closest to being made as it has ever been. This is the classic that started it all and would be well worth your time heading to the cinema to see.
The Ides of March
George Clooney co-wrote, directed and stars in this film about the dirty politics that happen behind the scenes on the campaign trail towards the presidency. It has a great cast and great promise, especially as it's another film that has something more to tell us than the thriller it is set out to be. Perhaps this might open some of the eyes of the public to some of the campaigning that goes on in the name of leading America. Clooney is a fantastic actor and director, and he just keeps getting better, and this looks set to be another great addition to his directing career.
Ulrich Thomsen drew me to this film initially, he's a great actor, and then there was blurb about a thirteen year old girl going missing in the exact same place that another girl was killed some twenty three years before. It forces the people involved in the case back then to look at it once again and to face so many things that they don't want to consider.