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Filmstalker Films for August 2012

Diary.jpgAugust is a mixed bag for films starting off with a comedy then something very serious, the month is really dominated by thrillers and action most of them all good and worth seeing. We have everything hitting us from a swearing teddy to dinosaurs with zombies, cults, possessed children and Scottish red-headed, kilt wearing warriors on the way.

As usual I've picked the films I'd pay money for with a few words and a trailer and sometimes a review. Surprisingly this month there's nothing that I feel the need to tell you to "Walk" from but a good deal to "Stalk".


1st
Ted
Release: Saturation
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
There are some positives and negatives for this film with Mark Wahlberg in the negative box and obviously Seth MacFarlane in the positives. The fact that MacFarlane was both writer and director on the film and considering what he has delivered in terms of hilarious comedy television, Ted could be comic genius, could be, after all what an idea, an oversized teddy bear that comes to life and his friendship with his human companion.


3rd
The Flowers of War (Jin líng shí san chai)
Release: Key Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
After the comedy let's have something a little more serious and here's Christian Bale starring in Yimou Zhang's film set in 1937 China and touching on the horrendous events during the Japanese invasion. Bale plays a mortician who arrives at a church to prepare the priest for burial and arriving there finds a group of women who have been seeking refuge in the church and the protection of the recently deceased priest. Through this terrible story the mortician finds something amazing in him and sets out to protect the women. Serious stuff indeed and a potential strong film for Bale who could shine in this rather unusual role in this Chinese film.

A Simple Life
Release: Key Cities
Recommendation: Uncertain
Trailer: TrailerAddict
I don't know much about this film starring Andy Lau and Deannie Yip other than the short blurb about an altruistic maid who wants to leave her job and move into a nursing home and the fact that the film has been getting some positive comments. One of the writers Susan Chan has a strong career behind her and the director Ann Hui has a fair list of films to her name, but it's Andy Lau that has drawn me to the film.

Sound of My Voice
Release: Limited
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
This film co-written by and starring Brit Marling has a very interesting blurb, telling the story of a journalist and his girlfriend who join a cult to investigate it from the inside. However they begin to get pulled in by the leader who believes that they are from the future. The trailer looks really atmospheric and keeps the film focused on the characters. This could be really good.

Undefeated
Release: Key Cities
Recommendation: Uncertain
Trailer: Filmstalker
A documentary that won the Oscar this year for, well best documentary of course, which tells the story of a complete underdog American Football team who are trying to change their fortune in a new season with a new coach. I'm not so sure how this will work in the UK but it is the Oscar winner.


10th
360
Release: Key Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
Peter Morgan adapts the Arthur Schnitzler play which Fernando Meirelles directs, and while that should be enough reason to go and see the film there's more, it stars an interestingly mixed cast including Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Ben Foster, Rachel Weisz and Moritz Bleibtreu. It doesn't carry much of a blurb other than the usual ensemble cast outline with different characters from different backgrounds whose stories intersect each others. Considering the names we're talking about this should be a strong dramatic film especially with the play as the source material for Morgan to adapt.

The Dinosaur Project
Release: Key Cities
Recommendation: Uncertain
Trailer: Filmstalker
Imagine if Jurassic Park had been filmed in a hand-held style with the characters getting as freaked out as they did in Blair Witch Project? Well this is what The Dinosaur Project could be offering us as the trailers look a fair bit tougher and darker than we've seen with the Jurassic Park series and they deliver some strong CG work too. Could this turn out to be an exciting action adventure? Well perhaps, we'll have to wait and see.

Jackpot (Filmstalker review)
Release: Key Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
I'd recommend that you go and see this film especially if you liked Headhunters (Filmstalker review). While this doesn't quite live up to that film, Jackpot does deliver a strong story and mixes the thriller and comedy aspects well, as did Headhunters. It's a great thriller with some very amusing moments both through the story and the visuals. It tells the story of a man who owns a Christmas Tree making plant and hires ex-convicts for his employees a group of which he enters into a betting syndicate with. It all goes right, and wrong, when the syndicate wins and they start working out how the winnings will be split and how much they would have if there was just one less share...and one less than that...and so on. You'll not regret seeing this film but don't expect the strength of the recent Jo Nesbø adaptation.


13th
The Bourne Legacy
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker / Filmstalker
I don't think you could say no to this film. Oh sure there are people who are saying that it won't be the same without Paul Greengrass or Matt Damon but I have two things to say to come back to that. The first Bourne film was directed by Doug Liman and the writer who has been with Bourne since the beginning and has successfully turned to directing, Tony Gilroy, now writes and directs his Legacy. It's a clever idea to cut between this storyline and the existing Bourne ones as well as to pull back some of the previous characters, and early reports are that Jeremy Renner is really good as is the new story. Will there be sequels to this and not the Damon Bourne films? Of course there will.

Brave (Filmstalker review)
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker / Filmstalker / Filmstalker
Pixar even with Disney dragging them down, and they do once again with Brave, are exceptional and they show it one more time with Brave. I find it easy to see where Pixar ends and Disney begins because Disney is stock, standard and cheesy, but they still don't manage to harm the fantastic creativity of Pixar who deliver in their story, characters, casting and visuals. Brave is a lot of fun, especially if you're Scottish, but once again you don't need to be a kid to appreciate it and find something to laugh about. See it.


16th
The Expendables 2
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker / Filmstalker
To be honest I found The Expendables rather poor and the way it won me over was with the cast. I'm hoping that the production values, writing and well, everything will increase from the last and that it won't rely on the one-liners and the big returning action names alone. From watching the trailers there's certainly a lot more of the big names and one-liners as well as bigger action sequences. Here's hoping and I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.


24th
The Imposter
Release: Key Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker
I wanted to see this at the Edinburgh International Film Festival but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to catch the screening. It is a film that mixes documentary and recreations to tell the story of a man who convinces almost everyone that he is the lost son of an American family, a sixteen year old who has been missing for three years. It's a powerful documentary from everything I've heard, just wish I'd seen it before now.

Shadow Dancer
Release: Unknown
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: TrailerAddict
Another film that comes through the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year and another film I'd highly recommend. The thriller stars Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Aidan Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson and Gillian Anderson and is adapted by Tom Bradby from his own novel for James Marsh to direct, which he does really well and Bradby provides a very strong and character based story. The whole cast are very good but it's Riseborough who shines in this story about the British Intelligence services turning an IRA operative around for their own inside source. The tension builds throughout and there are some strong surprises in it. Superbly it never gets lost in politics or moralistic judgements and keeps the story on the characters.

[REC] 3 Génesis
Release: Key Cities
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker / Filmstalker / Filmstalker / Filmstalker
I have enjoyed the REC series to date and the clever change of direction introduced to the series with the last film. What I hope for this film is that they do something equally as clever and don't rest on their laurels of a zombie-fest film. So far the trailer suggests they do though and that the clever part is in the setting of the story and the fact that the epidemic has broken out of the block of flats but then they wouldn't show any twists and turns in the trailer. REC is good fun, scary and has so far offered more than the horror film you might expect.


29th
Total Recall
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Stalk
Trailer: Filmstalker / Filmstalker
There are some average comments coming out about this film so far but the combination of the source material of Philip K. Dick being used and not being a remake of the original film, Len Wiseman directing and the writing of Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback on the screenplay, does make me believe that there's something more to be had than just a straight remake of the film.


31st
The Possession
Release: UK Wide
Recommendation: Uncertain
Trailer: Filmstalker
I'm unsure how this will turn out as I'm expecting another of the run of possession films we've seen but then there's Juliet Snowden and Stiles White writing, Ole Bornedal directing and starring Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. If those names weren't involved I'd be saying Walk, but they are involved. Oh and don't get excited by the mention of Sam Raimi, he's producer, not even executive producer, on the film.




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