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Filmstalker's Films for February 2012

Diary.jpgSo we continue on with the list of films to see this month in the UK cinemas and they start with one I'm really keen to see and have heard great things about, and it follows in the steps of a film that I really love, Unbreakable.

This month we have first person, action, psychological control, psychological scares, drunken silliness, grown-up silliness, all ages silliness, real life, back to the dead, going to the dead, staying with the dead, oil and cops. Yep, it's all happening this month, and there are some great films to see.



1st
Chronicle
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
This is the Max Landis, yes son of the legendary Landis, written story directed by Josh Trank about three teenagers who discover something strange, gain amazing powers, and how it affects the three of them as they start to try and deal with and accept them. Not all of them are going to keep it a secret and use it for good, plus they've chronicled the whole event, hence the title. The trailers look fantastic for it and I'm really keen to see it, you should be too.


3rd
Man on a Ledge
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Action thriller, of that I'm sure, but the premise is rather interesting and does have the promise of something more than you might expect, plus we have Sam Worthington, Anthony Mackie, Jamie Bell, Elizabeth Banks, Edward Burns, the awesomely named Titus Welliver, Kyra Sedgewick and Ed Harris. What a cast. The film sees an ex-con accused of stealing some huge diamond mount a tall building and threaten to throw himself off, all the while protesting his innocence. Behind the scenes of the suicide attempt he's up to something very different.

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
This looks a great film from the trailer, and with the excellent John Hawkes playing the head of an abusive but powerful cult I was sold as soon as I saw it. He does look great in the role, but it's Elizabeth Olsen that plays the lead of the girl trying to find herself amongst her family again after escaping the cult, but the real sell is the trailer itself which carries a lot of hidden menace and power.

Young Adult
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Uncertain
Trailer: Filmstalker
Oh I really don't know, yes you can say that there's Diablo Cody writing the script and that the excellent Charlize Theron leads as a rather distasteful woman who has never really recovered from her high school years, but there's still a lot of uncertainty about it. The film does have the capability to turn twee at any moment, still Theron's character looks like a lot of fun.

Carnage
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
I've seen Carnage, and I can't believe that I haven't written a review as yet but I'll try and get one out before the weekend. Basically, it's great. I do think that the pacing is a little fast, but then it's trying to get a stage play based on four characters talking with each other into a film, not easy and usually needs a lot of editing and a lot of loss of material, but not having seen the play all I can say is that it has a fast pace, but I'm glad of it. The performances are superb, Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet are wondrous as are Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly, and that's the lot, Roman Polanski directs and adapted the play with the original author Yasmina Reza. It's clever, funny and there are nominations if not awards in there. The story is simple with two very different sets of parents meet up because one of their children hit the other with a stick. Cue an adult conversation that quickly deteriorates.


10th
Casablanca (70th Anniversary)
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: YouTube
It's Casablanca! Have you seen this recently? It's still fantastic and when I watched it recently it revealed itself in different ways to me. It's definitely worth revisiting and a new release in the cinema? Find it at your local independent cinema.

The Muppets
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Uncertain
Trailer: Filmstalker
It's the Muppets! The reason I'm uncertain is that I don't know if the new writers are going to be able to capture the beauty of the Muppets without turning them into a Hollywood comedy filled with sex and bodily function jokes, I really hope that it won't and I don't think that it will, but there's just that little nagging doubt.

The Woman in Black
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
The trailers have been getting better and better, and far from leaping into the British horror we've been having of late its going old school and returning to what made the television film version so popular as well as going back to the source material. The person responsible for the script is Jane Goldman and not a Matthew Vaughn in site, she adapted it from the Susan Hill novel and the footage so far looks scary on a slow creeping psychological level. Plus there's Daniel Radcliffe, Roger Allam and Ciarán Hinds in there. This is definitely one of the highlights of February for me.


14th
This Means War
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Uncertain
Trailer: Filmstalker
I don't know what to say about This Means War, it looks a lot of fun but at the same time it looks cliché filled nonsense. Yet there's Tom Hardy, so could it really be that bad? The trailer does look a lot of fun so I'm going to go with uncertain on this one.


17th
A Dangerous Method
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
I'm not sure if I should put "uncertain" on this one. David Cronenberg has been delivering in his later years and the idea of the birth to psychoanalysis with Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud does raise an eyebrow or three of interest. I think the key attractions though are Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley, oh and let's not forget that the adaptation is by Christopher Hampton, the man who wrote The Quiet American and Atonement. This looks like it could be very interesting and something to really get under your skin as well as in your head. Still, it's a lot to ask from a film about Jung, Freud and psychoanalysis.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Uncertain
Trailer: Filmstalker
I'm putting this film up here but I can't help but think it's going to be very twee indeed and perhaps a little too predictable with some major manipulation of the audience to get emotional. Eric Roth adapted the Jonathan Safran Foer novel about a boy who is left a key by his father who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks. He starts trying to track down what the key is for, believing it to be a sign, and on the way we continually flashback to his father and what he taught him. Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock. John Goodman, Max Von Sydow, Viola Davis, Jeffrey Wright and more star in a film that's definitely going to do its best to make you cry.

Ghost Rider 3D: Spirit of Vengeance
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Uncertain
Trailer: Filmstalker
Talking about films that will make you cry that's the first Ghost Rider but it may not be the second. Along come Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor to direct the film and we get a real different feel from the footage that has already been released. This could be a Ghost Rider that works, or at least works a lot better compared to the previous film. Nicolas Cage returns with Idris Elba, Ciarán Hinds and Christopher Lambert, yes you heard that right, what a cast list. Ghost Rider is trying to stop the devil from taking human form, that's your plot, that's all you need. Action and excitement but in a much darker package, could it work?

The Woman in the Fifth
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Uncertain
Trailer: Filmstalker
I have to admit that this film doesn't really look that appealing but for one factor, Kristin Scott Thomas. Yes I have a crush on her but she's also an amazing actress and she's getting better with each film she does. To me she's like a screen icon from the old days of Hollywood, she takes over the screen slowly and silently and everything she does lights it up. Anyway, there's also Ethan Hawke and some story about a man who flees a scandal to Paris and gets caught up with a widow who might just be a serial killer. Ooh, she's dangerous to boot!


24th
Black Gold
Release: Limited
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Mark Strong is a cracking actor, and he's here with a strong cast of Tahar Rahim, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed in a story that turns to the Arab states in 1930 at the beginning of the discovery of the rich oil lands in the desert. There are some epic shots in the trailer and some equally epic shots at performances, will it carry it off? Well I'm definitely up for seeing if it can. Jean-Jacques Annaud directs and has worked on the adaptation, and he's known for The Name of the Rose, Seven Years in Tibet, Enemy at the Gates and Two Brothers, okay that last one was a long shot, still the rest must have you interested.

Rampart
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Woody Harrelson stars as a cop in Los Angeles in 1999, struggling to the old ways of the police in a force that is only looking to the new ways of policing. He believes in an iron fist, in bending the rules, and taking care of himself and his family. There's a cool supporting cast with the excellent Robin Wright, Steve Buscemi, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Foster, Jon Bernthal, Cynthia Nixon, Anne Heche, Brie Larson, Ice Cube and Ned Beatty. What's more is that it's written by James Ellroy alongside the director Oren Moverman who directed Harrelson in The Messenger. This has all the signs of being something great, and I'm really, really hopeful for it. Plus who doesn't love Harrelson?

Safe House
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Oh I know what to expect with Safe House, something safe, an action thriller with the emphasis on stylised action, except this isn't a Scott brothers film, despite what you might think from the trailer and I think we might just see something unexpected here, after all it has Denzel Washington, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson and Liam Cunningham who aren't your standard action names, well okay Washington has had his fare share of action films and Scott ones too, but there have been something more to them than the straight up action. Mostly. Still the other names there suggest we might have something more as does the trailer which has the other lead of Ryan Reynolds as the desk bound and bored agent looking after a Safe House into which comes a highly wanted man, an ex-agent, and when the building is stormed and people are killed the agent teams up with him to escape and starts to realise all is not what it seems. It's that turn that holds the interest for me, that and the interesting cast which also includes Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick and Sebastian Roché. It can't be all thoughtful.




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