Tuesday 31 May 2011

Cloud Atlas: 2012's craziest film?

What is the film you are expecting the most of for 2012? Is it The Avengers? Is it the Superman reboot? Or is it Terrence Malick's new film, produced in record time, and said to be even more experimental than The tree of life? I, for one, cannot wait to see the Cloud atlas adaptation. And why is that? Where to begin! The unusual source, the unusual collaboration of three very different directors, the unusual A-list cast...

Monday 30 May 2011

The Muppets are coming!

I have to admit, I was dubious when I heard that a new Muppets movie was being produced a few months ago. For the last two decades, they have been involved in a serie of increasingly derivative adaptations, such as Muppets Treasure Island, Muppets' Christmas carol... (what's next, Muppets' Black swan?) And then I was baffled when I read that not only would Amy Adams and Jason Segel take the leads, but a whole bunch of famous faces would join them for cameos (Zach Galifianakis, Katy Perry, Emily Blunt, Jack Black, Danny Trejo, Ricky Gervais...)

Sunday 29 May 2011

Don't be afraid of the dark!

After much delay, the Guillermo Del Toro's produced Don't be afraid of the dark is finally getting a release date, 12th of August in the U.K., and 26th of August in the U.S. The film, directed by Troy Nixey, is a remake of a 70's American TV movie of the same name, which seems to have terrified a generation of viewers, and sadly has been little seen outside the U.S. An initial teaser was released nearly a year ago, in prevision for a originally planned January release that never happened. But now, Miramax has revealed a full trailer, which makes me feel that, unlike what the title says, we should be afraid of the dark indeed, very afraid!

Saturday 28 May 2011

The Hangover 2 Review

There are some experiences in life that, once you have missed them, are just lost forever. Your best friend's wedding, a week in Ibiza with your best mates, that person you were too shy to approach at a party and never saw again... This is how I feel about The hangover. Already well aware of the ever growing hype, because of a few flaky friends who let me down, or worse, went to see it with somebody else, I actually managed to miss it on the big screen. (And I do go and see everything and anything, hell I paid to see Red riding hood!). And now, unless I rent a cinema and hire 300 people to pretend to laugh as if they had never seen it, I will never get to experience what it was like to watch it on a big screen in a crowded cinema.

Thursday 26 May 2011

The late summer of 3D horrors

It has become a tradition for studios to release low budget, trashy horrors/action movies late in the summer season. After a couple of months of overblown, overlong blockbusters, the audience is ready for some less taxing fun. In the last few years we had Snakes on a plane, The expendables, The final destination, Piranha 3D... However this year the studios are really trying their audience goodwill, releasing four films targeting the same audience within a few weeks of each others, promising a month of blood splattered 3D glasses.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Orange film ads: A history

Bradley Cooper and an Orange tissue box

Utter the words Orange film ads to any cinema-goer in the U.K. and you are likely to witness a wide range of emotions: hilarity, rage, laughters, palpitations, quiet resignation, a punch in the face... Love them or hate them, they have become an unavoidable fixture of the cinema going experience, just like noisy ASBO kids on a saturday night screening and overpriced stale popcorn. But how did it all begin? And what does the future holds for them? (To paraphrase them I would assume that the future is bright, the future is Orange)

Monday 23 May 2011

Is Penelope Cruz regretting her decision? Melancholia vs Pirates of the Caribbean

Penelope Cruz had a bit of a false start in Hollywood. Hot on the heels of her star turn in All about my mother (1999) that got her noticed, she was cast in the hit that never was, Captain's Corelli mandolin (2001). This best-seller adaptation was meant to propulse her to Hollywood stardom but tanked at the box office. (Mind you it had Nicolas Cage in it. Speaking with a silly Italian accent. And you wonder why it bombed!) There were a few forgettable films after that, (Gothika, Vanilla sky) yet slowly but surely she did manage to build her career in a way that fellow Almodovar muse Antonio Banderas never did. 

Sunday 22 May 2011

Cannes 2011: The results

The winners

I shall be commenting the results as they are announced live from 1815 GMT,  join me! I will be updating this page for every prize with a comment.

1815: Melanie Laurent is opening the ceremony, ravishing as ever, if a little nervous? Can you imagine being in front of the who's who of cinema, with all eyes on you? She kept it brief and amusing.

1818: Palme d'or of best short film: Cross Country by Maryna Vroda, a charming and visibly moved young Ukranian director. Next, Camera d'or, for best first film

1820: Camera d'or: Las Acacias Pablo Giorelli. Oh dear, this was presented at La semaine de la critique, reserved for first and second movies, and I have to say seems to have gone under the radar for most media! The audience is approving though. Almodovar's muse, Marisa Paredes handed him the prize and is translating. The joy of seeing Joon-Ho Bong and Marisa Paredes on the same stage! Only in Cannes!

Cannes 2011: Predictions and rumours

UPDATE 1755: No Alomodovar, no Kaurismaki, but Maiwenn is in. Surely not?

UPDATE 1735: Cecile de France and the brothers Dardenne are here, so is Ryan Gosling (Best actor?)

UPDATE 1730: Berenice Bejo, Jean Dujardin and Michel Hazanavicius have all turned up, a prize for The artist? Kirsten Dunst is definitely turning up, best actress? Once upon a time in Anatolia's cast is in too.

RUMOURS UPDATE 1720! The cast of Melancholia has been seen making its way to the Grand Palais! Crazy rumours update, Robert De Niro is a fan of This must be his place with Sean Penn, unlike the rest of the festival who dismissed it.

This is it, the Cannes film festival is nearly over. Right now the members of the jury are in the gardens of a villa in the heights of Cannes, deliberating under the watchful eyes of Cannes honchos Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux, who need to ensure the rules of the festival are respected (for example a film cannot win more than two prizes, added to the rules after Barton Fink bagged three prizes in 1991). This is how you know the festival is in France, the last day of the jury is spent chilling out in a villa under the sun, with copious amounts of wine I am sure. In a year of consistent quality, with several well received films but no clear front runners, who is in with a chance?

Saturday 21 May 2011

The week of ugly trailers: Fright night/Tintin

It might be hard to believe but there was more to cinema than the Cannes film festival this week. The great thing about Cannes is that the world could be about to end and the attendees would still be arguing about Lars Von Trier and Terrence Malick. This week, two trailers were released, Tintin and the Fright night remake. And they are both atrocious. And ugly. Where did it all go wrong?

Thursday 19 May 2011

Cannes 2011: Lars Von Trier crashes and burns?

Lars Von Trier, one of Cannes most regular visitors, was presenting his new film yesterday, Melancholia, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kirsten Dunst and Kiefer Sutherland. And with the Danish director in town, controversy is never far away. Since his latest offering featured no "intimate" mutilation or controversial scenes of any kind, he had to go and create one by declaring himself a nazi at the press conference, with all the glee of a five year old uttering his first swear word. And in what turned out to be a first for Cannes, the board of Directors of the festival decided to ban him today.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Cannes 2011: Overused expressions by French critics

French critics are not like other critics. Most of them are still raised with a healthy dose of daily reading  of Cahiers du cinema. When one of them met Hugh Grant as he was getting famous in the wake of Four weeks and funeral, she did not ask him about Hollywood. Or Elizabeth Hurley and THAT dress. She asked him: "What is cinema, Mr Grant?". And having followed their comments during the Cannes film festival, I have come across two expressions that keep coming back, over and over again.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Cannes 2011: Midway predictions

It's hard to believe we are already more than half way through the festival. It is difficult for all the media to give films the attention they deserve, with all the different selections and multiple screenings. Yet it is always interesting to look back a year later and see that the majority of the best films of the year were in Cannes, be it in the official selection or the parallel ones. So with six days of official selection gone and four more to go, where are we at?

Monday 16 May 2011

Cannes 2011: The tree of life suffers in the Cannes maelstrom

I was waxing lyrical yesterday about the Cannes film festival, and how it was this magical place for film fans which constantly surprises me. But seeing what just happened to the Tree of life brought back some memories of an uglier side of the festival from the time I used to attend a few years ago, and it seems things have not changed much.

Has Cannes found its Palme d'or already?

Jean Dujardin & Berenice Bejo in The artist

I have said it countless times and I will say it again and again, what I love the most about cinema is that it constantly surprises me. Unexpected films from far corners of the world, unexpected association of talents... And what better place than a film festival, or the best film festival in the world even, to come up with surprises. The artist by Michel Hazanavicius, which was a late addition to the official line up, only announced just over a week ago, and which seemed like a gamble given the unlikely subject, has taken the festival by storm. It is the best reviewed so far and an unexpected yet strong contender for the Palme d'or next Sunday.

Sunday 15 May 2011

Cannes 2011: Cannes and blockbusters, a love-hate relationship

The POTC4 cast in Cannes yesterday

Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On stranger tides had its red carpet premiere at the Cannes film festival yesterday evening, guaranteed to have maximum media exposure and a mighty scrum at the bottom of the Palais, with fans pushing to catch a glimpse of their stars and photographers coming to a physical fight for the best spot (I have actually seen it happen, a proper fist fight between two photographers trying to catch the best shot of John Malkovich presenting Of mice and men in 1992, was it really worth it?)

Saturday 14 May 2011

Cannes Film Festival 2011: First day round up

Tilda Swinton in We need to talk about Kevin

With the worse possible timing for film blogs, Blogger suffered its own PS3 moment and was down for a few days during the first few days of the Cannes Film Festival, while some posts got deleted. So I have not been able to write about Cannes much so far and what I did write got deleted. But moving on! The festival went on to a fairly good start so far. This is a round up of the films on day 1, with slight delay!

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Cannes 2011: First day of the competition preview

After the entertaining but shallow Midnight in Paris opening the festival, like a light and forgettable aperitif before the main course, the real battle begins tomorrow with a busy day and first day of the competition.

First film of the day, We need to talk about Kevin, by the too rare Lynne Ramsay, with Tilda Swinton. The sole British entry in the main competition, this marks the return tno the screen of an incredibly talented director, after Ratcatcher (1999) and the underrated Morvern Callar (2002). This is the adaptation of the best seller of the same name, and early echoes suggest an Oscar-worthy performance of Tilda Swinton. Being the first film in the competition can be me a mixed blessing. It sometimes sets the bar so high and lingers in jury's memories, that nothing that comes after it can match it. This worked for Secrets and Lies (Palme d'or 1996 and first film showing that year), and for 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days (Palme d'or 1997). Or is can just be easily forgotten, 10 days and 22 films later when the prizes are decided.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Cannes 2011: Almodovar's The skin that I live in teaser

Only a few days before its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, a teaser for Pedro Almodovar's new film, The skin that I live in (La piel que habito), has been released and it looks just fantastic. While the Spanish director has been a regular at the festival for over a decade, as per my previous post about Cannes regulars, the Palme d'or has so far eluded him. (I personally remember briefly meeting him at the festival in 1992 as a shy teenager, along with Jamie Lee Curtis as they were both members of the jury that year, and mustering the courage to go and speak to them, but I digress...)

Sunday 8 May 2011

Isabelle Huppert In conversation at the BFI

Isabelle Huppert at the NFT in London, 7th of May 2011

French actress Isabelle Huppert was presented with the British Film Institute's highest accolade last night at the National Film Theatre in London, the Fellowship, and I was lucky to attend. As per my previous post about the event, Isabelle Huppert might not be quite as known to an international audience as Catherine Deneuve or Juliette Binoche, yet she has had a long and consistantly interesting career that has spanned five decades so far and is showing so sign of slowing down!

Saturday 7 May 2011

The Brothers Quays, Kylie Minogue and the lesbian werewolf

I just love the way I never cease to be surprised by some film news. And indeed this is one of my favourite thing about cinema, the constant source of surprise, being the unexpected quality of a film, or just some unusual association of talents. Just over the last two weeks, we had Shakespearian British director Kenneth Branagh unexpected take on a Marvel superhero, Thor. Then we had period drama specialist Joe Wright, taking on the unusual modern and dark fairy tale of a teenage assassin in Hanna, featuring a pumping Chemical brothers sountrack. However, this is truly something else: the brothers Quays have been asked to direct the animated sections of otherwise live action lesbian werewolf romance Jack and Diane.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Schwarzenegger/DeVito: Twins 2! (The retirement home?)

Nobody remembers woeful 80's "comedy" Twins, featuring Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as, you guessed it, twins ("hilarity" ensues). I only remember it because I watched it while on a school trip in Germany with my class back in 1989, and we spent the whole time swearing in French in the audience, safe in the knowledge that nobody would understand us, and that was by far the height of hilarity reached during the screening. (Oh hearing Schwarzenegger speak in German in the dubbed version we saw made us chuckle. I still remember the immortal line: 'Wir sind bruder!).

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Is less truly more? Insidious

I watched Insidious as soon as it came out in the UK and I loved it. Not only that, while so many films make a big impression on me at the time, only to be instantly forgotten, this one has been lingering at the back of my mind like some vengeful spirit in waiting. The reviews were fairly positive, however there seems to be a consensus, as well as among the IMDB board, that the more suggestive first half is vasty superior to the second one where all hell break loose (literally), and I am not sure I agree.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Red nights: Freddy Krueger meets Wong Kar Wai by way of Story of O

I have stumbled across the trailer for a rather intriguing French film, called Red nights in English, which makes it sound like some bargain basement 80's action movie. The full French title however actually means The red nights of the jade executioner, whose pulp/exploitation tones give a fairer image of what the film is actually about.

Monday 2 May 2011

Alexandre Aja hoping to adapt Cobra, the space pirate

For a second I thought I had been the victim of yet another wishful thinking hallucination. As I was reading  an article on the Variety website, the poster for "Cobra, the space pirate" directed by Alexandre Aja just flashed in front of my eyes. Then off it disappeared. It was not part of a banner or any advert on the site, it just vanished. Just as I was wondering if the website had created some kind of mind reading webcam marketing tool, Minority report style, offering its reader what they really, really wanted, a quick look on the web confirmed that indeed, the French director of Piranha 3D, High tension and The hills have eyes, was hoping to make this his next film.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Invasion of the not quite dead: The Tweetathon

I absolutely love this story so I have to share it. A zombie fan/nut, AD Lane, had made movie history by setting up the first tweetathon event to finance its film, Invasion of the not quite dead, in 2010. AD Lane had been seeking some more conventional financing means to no avail since 2007, so have decided to make this a fan-produced movie. And thanks to the success of the first tweetathon, he had made this a monthly event, in complete disregard for his own health and sanity.