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Filmstalker's Films for July 2012

Diary.jpgLast month's cinematic releases were washed out for me as I attended the Edinburgh International Film Festival, that and the rain itself of course. Boy did it rain, perfect weather for being in a cinema, and that's where I spent a lot of my time. I'm out now, woohoo, and so I'm getting back into a daily routine and catching up on the reviews.

What have you planned for this month? Have you seen Spider-Man yet? What of the other releases this year is there more at the cinema than just a a darker Spider-Man, nice male strippers, oh and something called The Dark Knight Rises?

3rd July
The Amazing Spider-Man (3D)
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
Did we really need the reboot? The studio says yes, but I wonder if a new trilogy from this amazing new 3D Spider-Man is going to as successful as the original trilogy, even if this series is trying to emulate Christopher Nolan's Batman series in tone and character. You know I don't understand why it had to, was the previous Spider-Man not working? Couldn't they just have continued Spider-Man's story from some point in his life with all new actors? Hollywood isn't shy of doing that and they could have kept this new tone and style, did the story really warrant the whole reboot because everything else could have been a continuation and a reboot does feel like a bit of a slap in the face to Raimi's Spider-Man. None the less he's back, he's rebooted and he's in 3D.


4th July
God Bless America
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
I missed this satirical look at American celebrity at the Edinburgh International Film festival but I've been lucky enough to be sent a screener copy which is itching to be viewed. I've heard some decent comments about the film, and some surprising ones too, but the consensus is that it's pretty good and rather biting in places. Bobcat Goldthwait has written and directed the film, a bit of a surprise, and it follows a terminally ill man and a young girl who decide to start killing celebrities to make the world a better place.


6th
7 Days in Havana
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Some names behind the camera in this anthology set in Cuba such as Benicio Del Toro, Laurent Cantet and Gaspar Noé. The cast isn't huge and leads with Josh Hutcherson and Daniel Brühl, two names I really didn't expect to see in a film about Cuba, but there you go. Is this Cuba's answer to the Je T'aime films? So far it's not been getting a great response on the IMDB scores but then they can so often make a good film seem bad.

The Hunter
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Boy does the poster for this film look good, that and the lead is Willem Dafoe, a mercenary who is hired by a mysterious company to track down the last Tasmanian tiger. It also stars the excellent Sam Neill and Frances O'Connor, so it's all looking great from the outside. I'm not sure about the original novel nor the names that have adapted the story and directed the film, but it's intriguing as anything and Dafoe always catches my attention. This is definitely one you should have a look out for.

Ping Pong
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
A documentary following five key players in the Ping Pong World Championships including the seven time World Champion who is an amazing 89 years old. However this shouldn't be a surprise, one of his competitors is 100 years old and this is the over eighties World Championships. They're heading to China to compete as they have been every year and it's amazing to realise that they're still training and playing at their age, and the film is dedicated more to their spirit for life than the championship itself. Surely you're curious.

The Players
Release: Limited
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: YouTube
Another anthology of films, this time from France with French directors and cast, and a list of rather famous names with Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche playing roles through the five short films each on the theme of infidelity, each with a different writer and director. Talent behind the camera also includes Fred Cavayé, Emmanuelle Bercot and Gilles Lellouche, it's already shouting its worth at the audience. You might remember the risky posters in Cannes caused a little stir. The trailer looks rather amusing and doesn't seem to suggest anything about the anthology theme.

Total Recall (1990 re-release)
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Before the remake comes out why not see the original? This is one good thing about the release of reboots and remakes, the potential for a revisit to the original and in the case of Total Recall I think it's fantastic that they've considered releasing it again in cinemas. Arnold Schwarzenegger shows us that the Mars story is still damn good, even if a few things make it look dated now, just look at Sharon Stone's hair, but it's still a good film. Surely the re-release suggests that the remake is going to be a lot better and can stand this being released again just before the remake comes.


9th
Absentia
Release: DVD
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
I've just watched a screener of this film and I thought it worth mentioning here, even if I don't usually talk DVD releases. I had it delivered during the Edinburgh International Film Festival and just not had time to watch it, and when I did I made a quick judgement on the opening seconds which wasn't too positive or accurate. I turned out to be surprised by the film, and rightly so. I don't tend to get frightened by horror films, I've found there's not a lot of originality in them these days, but Absentia had me leap out of my skin at one point and creeped me out the rest. It got into my head so much that I actually had a nightmare that woke me up very feeling very uneasy, that rarely happens. The film has been getting a fair amount of festival press and positivity, as has the writer/director Mike Flanagan, and now you can see it on DVD. The film is about a woman and her sister who investigate a tunnel that is linked to a number of disappearances, including that of her own husband.


11th
Magic Mike
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Walk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Mmmm...I don't think so, and I don't mean because it features a lot of male nudity, more because the story sounds pretty much the same just wrapped up in a thong of a male stripper. I mean man lost in the lights and the allure of money and women, falls in love and then sorts his life out. I'm sure on the way he'll fall by the way side and almost lose her but it all come good in the end.


13th
Chariots of Fire
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
A classic film and it's an excellent time to re-release it just in time for the Olympics. What is there to say about this absolute classic film with the equally inspiring soundtrack? It would be great to see this on a Sunday afternoon in the cinema just before heading back to the pub for a late lunch and a pint. I mean then going out for a run on the shore in the bracing weather. I dare you to not hum that song afterwards, I'm doing it now!

Comes a Bright Day
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: YouTube
Simon Aboud greets his first time feature writing and directing with an interesting British cast of Kevin McKidd, Timothy Spall and Geoff Bell and led by Craig Roberts and Imogen Poots. Surprisingly for a first time British feature director the film is a romantic story set around a heist of a high end jewellers, not the usual horror or horror comedy you might have expected. The cast looks rather good, and both the director and the film have been gaining attention, and that trailer looks really rather good.

Detachment
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
Tony Kaye directed American History X and he hasn't been allowed to forget it as every single film he does is compared to this. Films like Snowblind and Black Water Transit have just not made it to the same level. There's hope for this film though which features a similarly careered actor, Adrien Brody, a man who has had a similar career, although to be fairer to him he has some strong roles amongst some poorer ones which seem to overshadow the others. Here we see him playing a substitute teacher in a troubled school filled with troubled kids, and where he usually flits from class to class and school to school here, he finally makes a connection with them.

Electrick Children
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
The blurb for this film is confusing, suggesting a story around young Mormon girl and a supposed immaculate conception. It doesn't give away too much but the film has been getting some strong pushes from the marketing teams and there are two recognisable names in Billy Zane and Rory Culkin. Curious.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (3D)
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
How many fourth films in a continuing trilogy get a cinematic release? Usually we're hitting them out on DVD and Blu-ray straight away but with Ice Age 4 it's going out in the cinema and it's got a story that actually manages to go somewhere from the previous and not just deliver more of the same. The key thing here is that all the voice talent are back and there are some big names appearing alongside them, that and the fact that there's still a call for the film from the audiences.

The Prey
Release: Cine Lumiere only
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Eric Valette is directing what is described as a slick action thriller and considering he credits for writing and directing some of the French television series Braquo and directing the American remake of One Missed Call then he's a good name to have behind this French thriller La Proie otherwise known as The Prey. The film follows a bank robber who has hidden his ill gotten gains before being arrested and put in prison. There he befriends his cell mate who offers to look after his family as he's being released first, but it's not long before he discovers that his ex-cell mate and supposed friend is a rather nasty person, far worse than he, and looks as though he's out to get his family and the money. In order to save his family he first has to break out of prison.

Seeking a Friend For The End Of The World
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
The cast for this film is what's being sold with the two leads of Steve Carell and Keira Knightley but then behind them there's a strong supporting cast to go along with them. The writer and director Lorene Scafaria is known for writing Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist but this is her first directorial outing, and what a one to do it with Knightley starring. The story is that the end of the world is coming and a man decides to head off on a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart, stop me if this gets too predictable and sickly, his neighbour, played by Knightley, goes on the trip with him and...well there you go.


20th
The Dark Knight Rises
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
This is the film of the month, and for some it's going to be the film of the year for sure. This is Christopher Nolan's last outing as director for the Batman franchise and if that doesn't mean much to you just think how great the last two Batman films have been and then consider that the driving force and talent behind them is leaving the franchise and this is their last film. That's the way to look at it and realise what this film is due to bring. It looks dark and has great potential and if you know what Bane and Batman have been through in the comics then you know some of what is to come, but not all. This is going to be dark, stirring, amazing to watch and bleeding epic.

I Am Bruce Lee
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
This latest documentary about Bruce Lee's life has been getting some very positive commentary and is finally going to see a theatrical release. It isn't so much about Bruce Lee himself but more about the impact he's had on our entertainment world. The film interviews martial artists, athletes, actors, directors and producers talking about how much of an impact his life and beliefs has had on the business and the people in it. It sounds an interesting direction to take for the documentary, after all there's been so much about the man to date it must be hard to deliver something new.

In Your Hands
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: YouTube (Close Captioned)
Kristin Scott Thomas stars in another French thriller once again showing that Hollywood, and indeed British cinema, is missing a huge swathe of excellent talent by ignoring ladies over a certain age and that means we see excellent talent such as Thomas heading off to another country to deliver superb roles in very strong films and still commanding the screen better than ninety percent of the shallow, lifeless and preened to within an inch of their life actresses in Hollywood. Yes, I think Thomas is amazing as an actress and a screen talent, and so I'm keen to see her in whatever language she chooses to act. French cinema is much keener on actresses than Hollywood is, and it benefits them greatly, and you should really give these films more of a chance especially as Europe delivers some great thrillers. Without getting too far into the plot here, In Your Hands tells the story of a Doctor who is kidnapped by the widow of the patient who died on her operating table during a c-section and begins to connect emotionally with the kidnapper, as does he with her. Go see it.

Revenge of the Electric Car
Release:
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Chris Paine brought us the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? in 2006 and now we're getting to see his latest documentary which starts looking at the rise of the car once again visiting many of the electric car producers and interviewing plenty of famous faces and knowledgeable people. Let's hope the rise continues, the prices drop, and the documentary lives up to the first.

Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: TrailerAddict
This documentary co-directed from the legendary Ice-T is filled with famous faces from rap and hip-hop both old and new and tells the story of rap and its rise to the massive industry it is today. Since it has a prominent rapper as one of the directors and the list of people appearing in the film is a who's who of rap talent then you'd have to think that this is a pretty thorough and insightful documentary.


27th
The Man Inside
Release: Selected Cities
Recommendation: Undecided
Trailer: Filmstalker
Dan Turner has written and directed this film about a young boxer who is trying to separate himself from his father's past as a gangster. It might not sound like much but it stars Peter Mullan, Michelle Ryan and David Harewood, and they are all rather good actors. This has a strong potential for a good British film, we just have to hope it delivers.




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