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Filmstalker's Films for April 2012

Diary.jpgOh dear, I totally missed the films for this month and there have been some good ones, but the good news is that the films that are worth seeing are still in cinemas so you can get out and see the ones you've missed, plus there's still a couple of weeks to go before the month is over and that means there are still fourteen films to be released that are either worth seeing or worth staying as far away from as possible, which way is that number going to swing?

What have you watched this month so far? See if you agree with my thoughts on what's best to go and see, what's best to avoid, and why. Have you seen something not on the list that you'd recommend or tell everyone to keep far away from. Have I got any of the choices wrong? Let's see below.

2nd
Mirror Mirror
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker / Filmstalker
I was excited for a new film from Tarsem Singh after all he's delivered some great films with The Cell, The Fall and Immortals which looked amazing and delivered great stories as well, particularly The Fall, so the idea of him taking his wonderful visual style to a reworking of a fairy tale was an exciting one. For me I thought we would be getting something darker than we might expect and looking back at those films you'd easily assume that's what we were going to get. Then the trailers started coming and it was looking a little like a light hearted fancy dress farce but I was hopeful that it was showing just one side of the film. Unfortunately the comments coming from the film and the weekend opening television teasers were saying the same thing. A disappointment, am I wrong?


6th
A Cat in Paris
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
An animated tale from France that is described as a thrilling mystery that sees cat that leads a double life, yes a cat. By day it lives with a policewoman and by night it prowls with a burglar. When the cat returns to its owner by day with evidence from a robbery the policewoman follows the cat one night and starts to uncover a deeper mystery. The story sounds like fun and the film is getting good ratings and reviews and no wonder, it was nominated for the Best Animated Film Oscar and it seems rightly so. Definitely worth a visit if it's still hanging around your local arthouse and non-mainstream cinema, it is round here.

The Cold Light of Day
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
To be honest this looked pretty formulaic and there wasn't anything surprising to come from it but at the same time there's nothing like a good dose of action and it starred Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver and Henry Cavill so there's a nice cast there, plus the director of JCVD takes up the lead. Has it turned out to be more than the standard action film?

Headhunters (Filmstalker Review)
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Fantastic film, here's what I said in my closing summary of my review:

...a thriller that fires on all cylinders. It doesn't just deliver the dramatic and the film-makers have managed to write and develop a much broader, cleverer and more entertaining film than you might expect...

This is a great thriller that is almost perfectly conceived, written and directed, and manages to weave some genuinely funny moments through a strong thriller that does keep you going right to the end and it doesn't cover the usual tracks of most other thrillers. I'd recommend going to see this as soon as you can, and indeed it falls into the Filmstalker recommends reviews.

Le Havre
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
We've not heard much about this film from Aki Kaurismäki but the trailer we saw a little while ago looked pretty interesting. An African boy who is stowed away on a ship is stranded in the port of La Havre but is rescued by a local elderly man who shines shoes for a living. He takes pity on the boy and brings him into his home, and the unlikely duo form a strange friendship. From the reports that I've read the film is a good one and captures the imagination as well as the characters drawing you in emotionally.

This Must be the Place
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
Although the plot for this film intrigued me at the Glasgow Film Festival there was something about it that just made me decide not to go and see it, and I think it might be the mumbling, overly Cure-ish portrayal of the ageing rocker by Sean Penn. While I think Penn is a superb actor what I had seen in the trailers of his role just didn't seem one that I could bear with for long. The idea is that the ageing rock star, totally obscured and cushioned from the real world all his life decides to take up the quest to find the Nazi war criminal who executed his father.

Titanic (3D)
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Walk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Are you getting that sinking feeling? Celebrating the poorly piloted, disastrously under equipped ship that has become synonymous with disasters and of course lost love, angst and that dreadful song. Now it's in post productionised 3D, you know the 3D that the director James Cameron has been slagging off ever since he made Avatar (Filmstalker review), so clearly this isn't converted for the art and it's all about cashing in on the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Who in their right mind will go and see this again in 3D?

Battleship
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Walk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Everything I've seen for this just makes me think of Transformers. It's a big action film that doesn't make a lot of sense filled with famous people to bolster the ticket sales. Seriously, apart from the fact that Peter Berg is directing none of this draws any interest, not even on the dumb action film level and there's plenty to go and see if I want to satisfy my cravings for that kind of film. Clichés, silliness, tons of CG and huge explosions. Wake me up when Berg's onto a better project.


13th
Blackthorn
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
If you thought that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were killed at the end of that famous film well you're wrong, one of them survived and now looks a lot like Sam Shepard. Through in Eduardo Noriega, Stephen Rea and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and there's an interesting cast for this film that sees Butch Cassidy head home for one last time. At the time it was announced it did seem like it was a travesty to be making a film that seemed to rework what we had all believed was the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but now the idea seems a little more appealing and it's all down to that cast, oh and the director Mateo Gil who wrote Tesis, Open Your Eyes, (Abre Los Ojos), The Sea Inside and Agora.

Cabin in the Woods
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
The Trailer for this film has raised the question once again about trailers and spoilers, and yet here we needed the Trailer to tell us what it did because from the outside it does seem that it's every single standard teen/tween partying for the weekend in the woods horror film, but it's not. The trailer plays it brilliantly building all the cliches and then delivering the truth quickly showing that it turns around and is filled with twists and turns, but it does then go on to deliver a bit much, after all we already know who will survive and where they will go, and we even appear to have an idea as to what's behind it all. Still, that could be clever manipulation and from what I hear there are plenty surprises in the film. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard wrote the script together and Goddard directs, it's worth going to see if you like thriller horrors or are a Whedonite.

Gospel of Us
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
I had no idea that Michael Sheen had done this until recently and hearing about the mammoth live production he orchestrated and directed reveals a nothing less than spectacular story. Sheen delivered a modern take on the biblical story of Jesus Christ and the crucification around the streets and locations of the town of Port Talbot in Wales, if you didn't know Sheen is Welsh. This film is what happened during the live play that encompassed multiple locations throughout Port Talbot, using cameras that were out of site from the interacting audience, Dave McKean filmed the whole play and the result is this film. I'm really keen to see this considering the story behind the play and the fact that it was all live with Sheen and the team having no idea what would happen when they begun.

A Night to Remember
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Now if you were sensible enough not to pay to see the cut out 3D version of Titanic and you are still interested in seeing a film about the fateful ship and its voyage then this is the film for you. Apparently, with the little knowledge and facts we have of the exact events of that evening this is the closest and most accurate set to film. Taken from the book by Walter Lord this 1958 film from Roy Ward Baker stars a number of stars from Kenneth Moore to Honor Blackman and tells the story of the sinking without all these stories of romance and personal drama that fill so many other stories about the ship. Lord wrote the book after researching it with sixty-four survivors and the film contacted even more for the adaptation. Survivors and relatives of survivors were advisers to the production with Titanic's Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall working as a technical adviser.


20th
The Divide
Release: Limited Release
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Xavier Gens has directed a film that had me from the trailers, not least because it stars Michael Biehn and also Milo Ventimiglia, Courtney B. Vance and Rosanna Arquette, but really because the story seems an interesting one. A nuclear attack occurs and in an apartment block amongst the panicking people, a group discover a fallout shelter in the building, stocked with goods and one very well equipped survivalist. They seek refuge in the shelter and as the supplies dwindle the tensions increase and allegiances are formed and split. Sounds like it could be good and Biehn is always great to watch but saying that the reviews aren't glowing.

Elfie Hopkins
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Ray and Jamie Winstone, yes father and daughter, are appearing in this horror/thriller which also stars Steven Mackintosh, Rupert Evans and Kate Magowan. Here though it's Jamie taking the lead and Ray standing back, not something you'd necessarily be expecting. She plays a young detective, or rather a teenager who aspires to be a detective, and she stumbles across her first case which leads her to a new family in her neighbourhood and some rather grisly discoveries. I don't know much else about the film but the casting of the Winstones is interesting and I do like seeing Mackintosh in anything, is that last statement the right way round? Interesting, but I'm really not sure just yet.

Elles
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Juliette Binoche plays an Elle journalist, a well-off mother of two with very clear ideas of life. She starts researching an article she's writing on student prostitutes and in the process meets two very independent women who unsettle her and shake her beliefs in everything from family to sex. I'm intruiged by the story, and not for the obvious reasons but really to find out how true and widespread this really is. Plus Binoche is always excellent in everything she does so she's a great reason to watch.

The Samaritan aka Fury
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
Another film with dual titles but here we have two titles that suggest very different films. Samuel L. Jackson stars as a grifter released from prison after a lengthy sentance. He's decided to give it all up and go straight, but when his new life starts to find some positive roads forward he, and we, aren't surprised to find that his chequered past won't leave him or his new life alone. The reviews are a pretty mixed bag and the didn't impress, it feels like something we've seen time and time again and I'm really not sure what new things it has to deliver. Saying that there's Jackson and Tom Wilkinson starring.

Gone
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
Oh dear, have you seen the trailers for this Amanda Seyfried led film? They tell you everything you need to know before you go and see the film and just about everything you need to know afterwards as well. A woman who claims she was once kidnapped by a killer and managed to escape finds her sister missing, she believes that the killer has taken her for revenge but the police don't believe the killer is real and is making it up, thankfully the trailer clears that all up for us and we find that we're just going to watch a revenge film. I have to say with spoilers like this in the trailer I really can't be bothered going to see it.

Irving Welsh's Ecstasy
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
The comments from the few people I talked to who had seen it at the Glasgow Film Festival were don't bother. So I didn't. Even with Stephen McHattie, Kristin Kreuk and Billy Boyd I still can't raise an interest in the film based on the Welsh story, it all feels like it's from another era.

Lockout
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
Oh look, we all know it's a remake of Escape From New York and that Guy Pearce is seriously channeling Snake, but it's Guy Pearce and there's Vincent Regan, Lennie James and Peter Stormare. The film looks like a lot of fun, a maximum security space station that is circuling Earth gets taken over by the convicts who also happen to capture the President's daughter and threaten to crash the whole thing into Earth. For some reason the government can't storm the place but they can get one man aboard, and the one man happens to be someone who needs a pardon and that just happens to be the very thing on offer. Action, quips and manliness, what more do you want? Okay, Pearce looks and sounds damn great. I'm going to give this a real go.

Marley
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
No, it's not about a dog and a couple, this is Kevin Macdonald's biographical film about the life of Bob Marley and from what I've heard it's really good even if it doesn't try and discover anything rather than just tell the story of his life, which isn't a bad thing. Some have said that they would like to have seen something a little more investigative that tries to say something about his life but then a biographical film that doesn't make any assumptions or deliver any bias sounds like a good biographical film doesn't it? Still, it's one for Marley fans, myself I can't see how it could draw me into it.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
Lasse Hallström directs Simon Beaufoy's adaptation of Paul Torday's novel about a Sheik who wants to set-up a salmon fishery in Yemen and hires a PR Consultant and fisheries expert from Britain to help him, and against all his beliefs of what is possible he slowly falls in love with the idea and most likely the consultant. He's played by Ewan McGregor and she's played by Emily Blunt, two more reasons to see it. Apparently it's rather enjoyable.


23rd
The Assault (L'Assaut)
Release: Cine Lumiere only
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker / Filmstalker
This is a French film based on a true story of the hijacking of a hijacked plane heading to Paris at Christmas Eve in 1994 and the forty-eight hours during which the French authorities negotiate and the French counter-terrorism team plan their raid to free the hostages in an intense and frightening raid on the plane to try and save the two hundred and twenty seven people aboard. The trailer looks powerful and with the true story backing it up this could really deliver for thriller, action and dramatic true story fans alike, and with the truth to back it up this looks like a must see.


28th
Avengers Assemble (3D)
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
This is the big event film without a shadow of a doubt, and one of the big draws surely has to be that we're getting the Hulk back on screen and a Hulk that everyone wants to see. The latest trailer for The Avengers seems to suggest that the Hulk is the secret weapon, and not just for the characters and the planet Earth in the film but also for the audience here waiting for the Avengers. Oh it's going to be cheesy with plenty of 3D swooshing, and even if it has two less than super heroes in it there are plenty supers to revel in just pick your favourite, Iron Man, Thor or Captain America. Revel for at the amount this film is costing don't expect too many sequels. Saying that I've just spoken to someone who has seen it already and they are saying some rather positive things about it.

Albert Nobbs
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
This is the film that apparently Glenn Close, who stars as the lead, has been trying to get made for some time, a bit of a passion project for her. She co-write the screenplay which is adapted from the story of a woman in late nineteenth century Dublin struggling for independence when women aren't encouraged to be. So she poses as a man to work as a butler in one of the most upmarket hotels in the city and just as she is finding a positive life for herself posing as a man her world is turned upside down when she falls in love. Her performance is supposed to be excellent, although you wouldn't expect little else from Close.

Being Elmo
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey tells the story of just that, the man behind the puppet Kevin Clash. The film looks at Jim Henson, his philosophy and his creations and how a young boy with a dream became the man behind the famous puppet who became the leading force behind today's Sesame Street and has trained and inspired a whole new generation of puppeteers. A touching and truly heart warming story that really will capture your heart.

The Monk
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Talking about capturing your heart doesn't really fit with Vincent Cassel unless he's physically capturing it. No, that's unfair really, he's a fantastic actor and always delivers a strong performance. Here in the adaptation of Matthew Lewis' novel he plays a monk in the seventeenth century, abandoned at the monastery he is brought up by the monks and becomes a powerful preacher in his later years enticing huge adoring crowds. He is a admired for his absolute virtue as well as his preaching but the temptations of Satan are closing in on him. Come on, it's Cassel which is reason enough to go and see this film, you know it will be an intense and totally engrossing performance.


So that's the lot for the month, what have you seen? What did you think, were my recommendations on the mark?




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Comments

Some good calls there Richard. Have to say Battleship was dire, I complained and got a free ticket at the Cineworld near us. The complaint was: 'not being funny, but its crap'. The manager agreed, so we went to see Headhunters instead, which was brilliant, very dark and very funny.

The Divide, I found very dark, very challenging, and not without faults, but I enjoyed it (if thats the right phrase), and Michael Biehn turns in a great performance.

Just looking forward to The Avengers now......IMAX here we come!

Well done for complaining. I could tell it was going to be utter rubbish and really couldn't be bothered with it. You know more people should complain when films are terrible.

Headhunters was an excellent choice. I loved that film when I saw it, what the remake will bring god only knows.

Cool comments on The Divide, I've yet to see it but it's on my rental list. Really keen to see how Biehn performs. Isn't it a shame he's not done bigger and better things?

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