Saturday 31 March 2012

Helen Mirren Is A Cenobite: The Tempest

This will be a short review as I have not quite understood all that was going on in this film. Shakespeare's play The Tempest is proving a tough one to adapt. Over 21 years ago, Peter Greenaway tried it with Prospero's Books and it was widely regarded as his worst film, mainly because of his over-ambitious and misguided use of (at the time) groundbreaking CGI. And now Julie Taymor has tried (and failed yet again) to transpose it to the screen in a satisfying way. Interestingly the best, if slightly loose adaptation of the Bard's less known play remains the classic sci-fi Forbidden Planet.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

The "I'm Not Watching The Prometheus Trailer" Challenge

Unless you have lived under a rock for the last year or so, you will know by now that Ridley Scott has decided to make a good film again, after a 21 years break. He got really excited seeing Noomi Rapace in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, got excited about 3D, and has made a prequel of some sort to his masterpiece, Alien. Prometheus indeed, is quite possibly the film I have been anticipating the most for as long as I can remember. A couples of appetising teasers got me foaming at the mouth and it promises to be a mix of cerebral yet visceral space horror, the sort that very few have managed to pull off. And the scale is much, much bigger than its original source material. (Please do not mention Sunshine or I'll laugh. Then stop laughing and look at you with utter contempt). Yet, I have decided to resist the urge and not to watch the full trailer that has just been released.

Monday 26 March 2012

LLGFF 2012: The Perfect Family/Mother Tongue

Sunday proved to be one of the sunniest weekends we have had in London for a while, and I managed to get a bit of time outside in between films at the LLGFF this weekend. The two films I saw - 'The Perfect Family' and 'Mother Tongue', both had a common theme - mothers coming to terms with their daughters sexuality, but how the subject was dealt with was completely opposite. 

Saturday 24 March 2012

Damsels in Distress Screening + Whit Stillman Q&A Competition

After a hiatus of more than 14 years, director Whit Stillman is finally back. The master of subtle and witty indie comedies such as The last days of disco and Metropolitan has a wonderful new film out, Damsels in Distress. It follows a trio of sorority girls and their honest but misguided attempts to help out fellow students. The film is out on the 27th of April in the UK but if you enter the competition below you have a chance to see it at a special preview screening followed by a Q&A with the director. Read on!

Friday 23 March 2012

This Is Not A Film Review

This documentary about award winning director Jafar Panahi (Offside 2006, The Circle 2000 & The White Balloon 1995) is an intelligent and thought provoking insight into his current life in Tehran. Filmed over the course of a day whilst under house arrest in March 2011, some of the footage was shot on an iPhone, and had to be smuggled into France in a cake for last minute submission to Cannes.

Sunday 18 March 2012

The Lair Of The White Worm At The Horse Hospital

Scala Forever, a retrospective for the late and infamous British director Ken Russell who passed away recently, is taking over London at the moment. Over two weeks, several of his films are being shown in various venues across the city, including the lesser known The Lair of the White Worm, which was shown at the Horse Hospital last week. The film is not available on DVD and that I had always promised myself to watch ever since I caught a glimpse of it on late night TV as a horror-fan teen.

Saturday 17 March 2012

#MovieMinusLastLetter: Raiders Of The Lost Ar

Where are the pirates?

Ah Twitter's pun games! My favourite time wasting activity. Somebody starts it off with a hashtag, say, food film (Pan-Fried Labyrinth) or cat films (The Divine Secrets of the Meow-Meow Sisterhood) and then a whole avalanche of wit follows. The latest one, movie minus the last letter in their titles, particularly inspired me. You had to remove the last later from an existing film's title to give it a whole new meaning. And I dreamed up not only new titles but also possible storylines, or just comments. So here they are... These are ALL mine. Some are obscure, many are cringe-worthy... but I hope they will make you laugh! And feel free to add your own in the comments box.

"He's just not that into Yo": You can't force him to like rap if he doesn't

"The Woman in Re": Who cares about the red dress if the lady knows her music

"Sex, lies and videotap": Film yourself tapdancing and spice things up in the bedroom

"My Bloody Valentin": The Artist's sequel took an unexpected turn

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Why Are We All Fighting About John Carter?

John Carter, this year's big first blockbuster, opened last week end. If you have read my review, you will know how much praise I had for it. You will be very hard pressed to find a measured article about its opening week end results though. It has been called anything from a huge flop, a disaster, a success, a modest success... It seems that even before it opened, some had decided that it was bound to fail. Why has this happened?

Saturday 10 March 2012

The British Film Bloggers Circle Members: Part 1

A few weeks ago, a group of British bloggers got together to create the British Film Bloggers Circle. Having launched our film awards, we are now taking a month to launch our circle properly with plenty of exciting ideas for screenings, blogathons, events etc... I just thought it was high time I introduce the members. In no particular order and with them having written as much or as little as they wish, here they are, or part 1 anyway. Remaining founding members will be added in part 2, watch this space.

The Cabin In The Woods Review

Plot: Five friends go and spend the week end in an isolated cabin in the woods. Nothing can quite prepare them for what is about to happen...

Review: How do you write the review of a wonderful film with so many surprises and twists such as The Cabin in the Woods without spoiling them? If you are venerable film critic Philip French from the Observer, you go ahead and gleefully spoils everything, in what has become a tiresome trademark. But I do not want to ruin anything at all so I shall attempt to write about this film without spoiling it. Although I have to say, perhaps the best way of enjoying it is not to read anything at all, not watch any trailers, and stop reading after I say this film is one of the most inventive and exciting horror films I have ever seen. Or you could carry on reading.

Friday 9 March 2012

Blast From The Past: Black Widow

What is it that shapes your artistic sensibility when you are young? What draws you to certain works of art, films, books etc... at an age when you are free from any influence? I was just wondering this as I was watching Bob Rafelson's Black Widow, an 80's thriller which really caught my attention as a child and which I watched over and over again at the time. Of course it is by no mean a classic, and this was not a revelation in the way films by David Lynch and David Cronenberg were. Still, I was curious to watch it again to see how it held up.

John Carter Review

Plot: John Carter, a Civil war veteran, finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars (or Barsoom as it is known locally), a planet in the midst of a conflict between warring factions and in desperate need of a saviour.

Review: If the plot sounds familiar, there is a good reason for it. The story of an outsider who reveals himself as an unlikely hero and becomes the saviour of a distant planet is nothing new and was recently used as the premise for Avatar. But the irony is that novels that this new film is actually adapted from what has been a source of inspiration for most of modern science-fiction, a serie of popular books by Tarzan's writer Edgar Rice Burroughs. So it is a little unfair that the adaptation might suffer from the comparison with more recent films. And if anything, compared to the flurry of yawn-inducing, CGI heavy blockbusters we are flooded with nowadays, this latest Disney production brings in a quality that has become so rare, it is fun!

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Hunk Dory Review

Set in South Wales in 1976, Hunky Dory is a fun rollick through the trials and tribulations of drama teacher Viv (Minnie Driver), as she gets the students ready for the end of term performance of a rock musical based on Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'. The action takes place during a heat wave, and most of the kids are more intent on skiving off to the lido (swimming pool for those non-British readers), than spending time rehearsing. The story focuses mainly on Viv, and her collection of long hippie dresses and abundant curls, but the lives of her students are interwoven. Viv has seemingly failed to make it in London as actress, and is now back in Wales teaching.

Friday 2 March 2012

Khordorkovsky Review

Khordorkovsky, a documentary by Cyril Tuschi, is the fascinating story of how the richest man in Russia, Mikhail Khordorkovsky, was sent to prison in Siberia by Vladimir Putin. Now into his ninth year in prison, Khordorkovsky began to support the political opposition, and challenged the power of Putin. So this being Russia, Putin got the secret service to arrest Khordorkovsky in a dramatic raid on his private jet, and send him to prison.