Tuesday 31 January 2012

The Grey - The Thin Grey Line

Plot: The survivors of a plane crash in Alaska face an even deadlier situation when, stuck in the wild and far away from civilisation, they find themselves hunted by a pack of hungry grey wolves.

The magic of cinema will never cease to amaze me. In appearance, The Grey looked like a run of the mill survival/actioner that I could not muster any kind of enthusiasm for. Yet some great reviews hinted that there was a lot more to it and how right they were, this turned out to be a surprise and the first great film of 2012, with surprising depth and some unexpected philosophical undertones.

Monday 30 January 2012

The French Oscars: The Cesars

France might have invented cinema, but it took them some time to come up with an awards ceremony. Indeed, their "Oscars", called the Cesars, only began in 1975, decades after the Oscars. By the way, the name is based on the sculptor of the same name who designed the actual award (which is basically a compacted car reduced to the size of a log, I kid you not), not the Roman emperor! Despite French cinema being one of the best in the world, their awards make little impact around the world, namely because they choose to only hand them over solely to French films. Which is what the BAFTA's should do rather than suck up to Hollywood, if they truly wanted to support homegrown cinema. But I digress.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Oscars Nominations: The World WILL End in 2012

The Oscar nominations have been announced today and it is an understatement to say that they have elicited some strong reactions. Surprises, snubs and shocks, given what has been written about them today, you would almost believe that these Mayans had based their end of the world predictions for 2012 when foreseeing those Oscar nominations. I will not cover them extensively as this has been done elsewhere by people with more time on their hands. I would rather focus on what really stood out for me.

Blue Velvette - David Lynch Rap

Mel Brooks once called David Lynch a Jimmy Stewart from Mars. It looks like the red planet has just offered us a new offspring as along came young comedian Daveo Mathias, AKA Cancer Merchant, who has written and is performing a rap tribute to the master himself. And after the Lee Hardcastle's Pingu/The Thing remake, this is the second best thing I have seen this year so far. Will 2012 be the year of fan tributes? Is somebody busy remaking David Cronenberg's Videodrome in their bedroom with a lot of plasticine and sellotape?

Sunday 22 January 2012

John Carter Preview - Out Of This World!

With its release date now a mere couple of months away, Disney held a special preview event in London a few days ago for their new blockbuster John Carter. While the film is not completed quite yet (with director Andrew Stanton not being present at the event, on the account of him being busy finishing it!), we were treated to a few clips from the film, a new trailer as well as a Q&A with star Taylor Kitsch and a couple of special effects specialists who worked on the film. I have had a good feeling about this film ever since the first trailer was released and all I saw more than confirmed that we should really get excited about this!

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Red Light Revolution Review

Chinese comedy 'Red Light Revolution', is a light hearted look at the bumbling attempts of Shunzi, and his foray into running an adult shop in his Beijing neighbourhood. The film highlights the clash between the old communist and the new capitalist China, where nothing is off limits in the quest to make money.

Brilliantly cast as the luckless loser, Shunzi is a cab driver who's just been given the sack. His wife kicks him out and he is forced to move back in with his parents. He manages to find a new job, along with a hilarious uniform, and a chance meeting with an old school friend propels him into setting up a sex toy shop.

Sunday 15 January 2012

Tucker & Dale Fightent Le Mal

Plot: Two hillbillies on vacation in their cabin in the woods find themselves the target of a group of college kids who, due to one big misunderstanding, have mistaken them for chainsaw-wielding killers.

Review: I could not resist using the French title of the film to name my post. This is indeed how Tucker & Dale vs Evil has been translated over there. If there was an Oscar for worse title/translation, it would be a frontrunner. And then again France is the country that gave us The Teeth of the Sea for Jaws. But I digress.

Saturday 14 January 2012

W.E. Oui or Wee?

It is an understatement that cinema has not embraced Madonna in the same way that music has. Body of Evidence, Shanghai Surprise, The Next Best Thing... Despite a promising start with light and quirky comedy Desperately Seeking Susan, it all went downhill from that modest high. And she has herself party to blame, who ever thought being in a cheap Basic Instinct knock-off featuring burning wax and Willem Dafoe's balls. It has to be said however that she did win a Golden Globes best actress award for Evita.

So the Like a Virgin lady is now trying a different path in ever attempt to finally reach that ever eluding success, by turning her attention to directing. Given the polarised opinion she has always faced, it seems almost impossible for her to receive a fair reception. Fans will love it, even though she does not even star in it. Haters will have an easy ride hating it. So I shall attempt to review it fairly. despite being a big fan of her Madgesty (there, I have said it).

Thursday 12 January 2012

Shame: Yay or Nay?

How boring would life (and cinema!) be if we all agreed on everything. Steve McQueen new film, Shame, has been riding a wave of good reviews since its Venice premiere last September. It was my most anticipated film at the London Film Festival, hence an even more crushing disappointment when it turned out to be a big let down for me.

Saturday 7 January 2012

Interview with Lee Hardcastle, Director of Pingu's The Thing

Unless you were hiding under a rock this week, you cannot have missed the incredible The Thing/Pingu remake/mash-up that has been uploaded on YouTube by his director Lee Hardcastle, and has been a massive hit since.

As a huge The Thing fan, I was so impressed by it that I have already decided to give it a guaranteed spot on my top ten list of best films of 2012, you can see it and read my previous post about it here. I was curious to find out a bit more about his director and Lee has been kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Lee studied at the Northern Film School and then got a job as a runner in a Soho Post-Production company, before realising that if he wanted to make it big in the industry, he had to do it by himself!

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Pingu's The Thing!

Have you ever watched claymated children's programme Pingu, about a family of penguins living in igloos in Antarctica? It is sweet, funny and so lovely. Have you seen John Carpenter's The Thing, an 80's horror classic about a shape-shifting alien which attacks the occupants of an isolated scientific mission in the North Pole? It is dark, scary and utterly depressing. Now I bet you have never wondered what would happen if Pingu and The Thing collided?

Monday 2 January 2012

"Who Can Kill A Child?" Review: Bloody Pinata!

Plot: An English couple, holidaying in Spain, makes their way to a secluded island a long way off the coast. Upon arrival, they soon realise that something is wrong, very wrong, as the children on the island have gone crazy and are murdering all the adults!

Review: This 70's oddity seems to have been brought back to the general filmic consciousness on the back of its recent release on DVD, and while I had never heard anything about it, a few articles and twitter discussions got me curious. That and the fantastic poster design, which, depending on the version, evokes Italian giallos as well as video nasties of the era. Who Can Kill A Child did suffer from the curse of the thousand titles upon its release upon Europe, as many horror films did at the time, with the most idiotic title being the French one: "The Revolt of the Year 2000" Well I have got news for you, the film is not set in 2000. Shame nobody thought of calling this: Bloody Pinata (you will see why).