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Filmstalker's Films for June 2012

Diary.jpgThe month was set to start well with Prometheus, it didn't work out so well though did it? Oh the reviews are polarised but the story was poor. Anyway, more of that later and in the review where I do let lose.

The rest of the month is good though and there's a fair mix of films coming this month. What have you seen from my recommendations? What are you going to see, and do you agree with what I think you should stalk or walk? Here's June.

1st
The Angel's Share
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of Ken Loach but he is a great director and together with Paul Laverty they have delivered a film that warms to my Scottish heart, a film about Whisky. Their comedy sees a group of friends who can't get work because of their criminal records trying to go straight and decide to turn to malt whisky as the answer. Well that's me sold.

Death Watch (La More en Direct)
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: YouTube
This film is seeing a re-release from the eighties and is a strangely insightful piece for the time. It follows the story of a man who has a camera implanted in his brain so that he can film a terminally ill woman and the footage would be run on a popular television series called Death Watch without her knowledge. The film stars Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton, Max von Sydow and Robbie Coltrane. Adapted from the David Compton novel The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe, or The Unsleeping Eye by David Rayfiel and is getting a well deserved re-release, well I say re-release but it never was released in the UK before now. The film sounds an interesting concept and possibly an interesting film.

Prometheus (2D and 3D) (Filmstalker review)
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Walk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Wow. I have just written a review for one of the films that I was awaiting with baited breath for this year, one film I thought was going to be in the top two or three of the year. What do I feel now? Well I was rather disappointed as I left the cinema and was thinking of a four out of five review but as I wrote about the film and worked it through in my head the greater the disappointment became. My plans for a second viewing were scrapped and the review has dropped to a three and perhaps even a two. Honestly I can't believe how disjointed and mishandled the story was, threads dropped, reappearing, character leaps, bizarre decisions, and some really dumb moments. Sure it looks fantastic, but it's a damn poor story Alien prequel or not.


6th
Ill Manors
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
The film is written and directed by Ben Drew, you'll know him more perhaps as Plan B. He's recently just completed filming on the film version of The Sweeney and already he's writing and directing a film that features heavy social commentary on the disaffected youth of this country and from early accounts it's doing a damn good job of it. Is this man really as talented as he appears? The film stars Riz Ahmed and Natalie Press so at least he's not leading it as well, damn him.

Red Tails
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
This is the film that has made George Lucas decide to give it all up and head to his garage to make small experimental films, surely that's enough to make you go and see it? Perhaps not, but let's be clear about one thing, Lucas produced this and has not written or directed it, and that's important. The film is about the first African American squadron to fly in active combat in World War II and is directed by Anthony Hemingway and written by John Ridley and Aaron McGruder, adapted from the book by John B. Holway, no Lucas there then. There's a great cast with names such as Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr. and David Oyelowo leading the way, and the trailers make the air combat look fantastic with the lines and delivery leaving a little to be desired. I'm not sure how it's going to turn out, but there's plenty of potential.


8th
A Fantastic Fear of Everything
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Crispian Mills had written the film that he's co-directed with Chris Hopewel and cast Simon Pegg in the lead as an author whose research into Victorian serial killers has given him an irrational fear of, well, of just about everything there is. The trailer does look like it could be a lot of fun and gives Pegg a lot of scope to deliver a great comedic performance and it's a British film, however the two directors are working on their first feature so there are a lot of questions to be answered. Is Pegg enough to do that for you?

The Innkeepers
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Okay so the first thing I noticed was that Kelly McGillis was in the film, but what really drew me to it was Ti West writing and directing, a man you may not know a lot about but all you really need to know is The House of the Devil (Filmstalker review), that should surely be enough to make you want to see this film. A haunted house story will surely deliver far more in the hands of West, and his eighties horror revival was really rather good.

The Pact
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
When I first heard about this film the new feature writer/director Nicholas McCarthy, the quiet list of cast names that only stood out for the appearance of Casper Van Dien, and the horror tale didn't grab me, especially as horror is often a starting point for directors and in Hollywood horror tends to be a conveyor belt of production. However after seeing the trailer for The Pact I've changed my thoughts, it looks genuinely scary and doesn't look like it's going to follow convention; well that's the hope anyway. I'd give this a go if I were you.


13th
Rock of Ages
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
I am really excited to have just got my hands on some preview tickets for this film, even if it is just one night early. It's a musical filled with eighties rock classics, and that would be enough to snag my interest but then there's a stupendous cast involved, least of all Tom Cruise taking on a role that seems a million miles from anything the actor has done before. Throw in Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Mary J. Blige and tons more and this has to be a mouth watering proposition. I'm hugely excited - Just Like Paradise, We're Not Gonna Take It, Wanted Dead or Alive, I Want to Know What Love Is, Here I Go Again, Every Rose Has Its Thorn...oh I'm wetting myself already.


15th
Cosmopolis
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
David Cronenberg has been getting better with age, and his latest string of films has changed how people view him - A Dangerous Method, Eastern Promises, History of Violence, they are a step away from films like Crash, Videodrome and Scanners. I'm wondering where his next film Cosmopolis will land because watching the trailers so far it looks like he's marrying the new and the old Cronenberg. The film tells the story of an exceedingly rich man heading across town for a haircut and on the way having his world turned upside down by his own desires and those of the people he meets. There's a great cast in there too with the surprise lead of Robert Pattinson in what could be a huge career shaping role and one that will quash that Twilight memory. The film looks fantastic from the trailers and the talent involved is equally as interesting.

Jaws
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
There's not much to say about the cinematic re-release of Jaws apart from go and see it, there's no reason not to and every reason to. Just for those moments on the boat as the Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw bond, the shark that never worked and gave us a stunning film for it and helping Steven Spielberg immensely.

Red Lights
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
There's not a lot being said about the story in this film and I like that. The trailer sets up the three main characters and their characters motives, but it seems that the trailer is doing little more than that, setting them up, building the drama and leaving us to it, and I love it for that. Red Lights stars Robert De Niro in a role that could actually see him step up from the comedic clap-trap he's been starring in and Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy helping him to regain something of what he was in a thriller that looks as though it could deliver a fair bit of darkness at the same time.

A Royal Affair
Release: Selected Cities
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Mads Mikkelsen. Is that enough for you? The story isn't some current day made for television Royal expose, it's actually the adaptation of the Bodil Steensen-Leth novel which tells the story of a young Queen who is married to an insane King who falls in love with her physician and together they begin a revolution. It's co-written by Rasmus Heisterberg and Nikolaj Arcel who adapted the novel for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and directed by Arcel. It all sounds much better than the title suggests and I'm always drawn to Mikkelsen films.


20th
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Yes, it does sound a ridiculous idea but to be honest the trailers look a lot of fun and slick as anything, after all Timur Bekmambetov is directing from the adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel which Grahame-Smith adapted. It's exactly as it sounds, Lincoln was a Vampire hunter and the Civil War hid an attempt by the vampires to take over America, oh and Lincoln was a completed bad-ass. Watching the trailer some of the effects and sequences look utterly stunning and a lot of fun, plus there's a strong cast with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Dominic Cooper, Alan Tudyk, Rufus Sewell, Anthony Mackie and Benjamin Recommendation: Walker leading.


22nd
Chernobyl Diaries
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
I'm not a fan of this film being sold on Oren Peli's name, after all Paranormal Activity (Filmstalker review) was rubbish, but do bear in mind that there are two other writers and he's not directing. The idea is that there are some extreme adventure holidays that take you to very dangerous and sometimes illegal places, in this case the city of Pripyat near Chernobyl. A group of six extreme tourists head out on a possible adventure of their lives as they discover that the city isn't abandoned and those dreaded words arrive...they discover they are not alone.

Lay the Favourite
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Snigger. Sorry, I couldn't help it. Stephen Frears is directing the adaptation of Beth Raymer's memoir about her time working with a team who themselves are working the sportsbook system and what's more it's adapted by D.V. DeVincentis. That's a great line-up already so let me throw in Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joshua Jackson, Vince Vaughn, Frank Grillo and the wonderful Rebecca Hall as Raymer, and we have what is so appallingly called a "dramedy", that's a comedy and a drama together as some people can't remember so many English words in a row. Regardless of silly American grammar the film looks like it could be a lot of fun, and perhaps more enjoyable than the standard Hollywood conveyor belt comedy.


29th
Killer Joe
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
I'm set to see this at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year and I'm excited. Tracy Letts who wrote Bug has delivered the script from her play and William Friedkin is directing, yes I did say Friedkin, with Matthew McConaughey, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Emile Hirsch starring. To get out of a dangerous debt a man hires a killer to kill his mother so he can collect the insurance money, but things go wrong. The characters look fantastic as does the trailer, and McConaughey looks like he's managed to shake the romantic comedy top off character he's become synonymous with.

The King of Devil's Island
Release:Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Stellan Skarsgård stars in this film that is based on a true story of a boy's home in Norway and the brutal and sadistic regime they live under that forces them to adapt to live with the physical and mental abuse. However a new boy stirs events in the home that results in a violent uprising against their captors. It's an interesting plot made more interesting by the fact that it's based on a true story and the comments from the film are pretty strong and positive.

Lovely Molly
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
I'm not sure and the only basis for me showing any interest in the film is the fact that Eduardo Sánchez is co-writer and director. Who he you might ask? Well if you might have forgotten he's one of the guys behind The Blair Witch Project, so the question is has he managed to return to the fore with this or is it continuing the slow slide away from Blair Witch? As yet I'm undecided.

Storage 24
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
I so want this to be good because it's a British film with British talent and Noel Clarke not only stars but also co-writes. However I haven't been convinced by the trailer which makes me think of so many other films as the creature hunts people one by one in an enclosed environment, mind you, it might be better than Prometheus (Filmstalker review)! It's worth a shot since it is a British film.




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