Sunday 31 March 2013

The Wedding Singer And The Cannes Film Festival

No, the Adam Sandler "comedy" was not presented at the Cannes Film Festival. Rather, as it always happens at that time of the year as we are getting closer to May, memories from my visits of the festival are flooding back. And recently I was reminiscing an unlikely companion I shared two of my festivals with: a retired wedding singer who brought me some unexpectedly charming company (as well as precious invitations).

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Francois Ozon Interview

The prolific French director Françoise Ozon was in London recently to promote his film from this year, Dans La Maison/In the House. The charming auteur unlike many of his Hollywood counterparts gave honest, direct and thoughtful answers during the six strong roundtable interview which included FilmLandEmpire, Sam Inglis from 24FPSUK and Stefan Pape. Our thanks to the other interviewers for their considered questions.

In The House Review

Director and co-writer François Ozon's (Potiche) Dans la Maison (In The House) doesn't begin in a house but in a classroom as disillusioned French literature teacher Germain (Fabrice Luchini) starts another school year. Germain's disenchantment with the quality of work his students produce, particularly in creative writing, is exasperated by the schools adoption of new teaching techniques and reinstating the more traditional concept of having a school uniform.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Dragon Review

Director Peter Chan (The Warlords, Perhaps Love) reunites with his regular screenwriter Oi Wah Lam for a martial arts film with real acting credentials in Dragon. Set in a quiet rural village in China in 1917, the local papermaker Liu Jin-Xi (Donnie Yen, Blade II, Hero) comes to the attention of regional police investigator Xu Bai-Jiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro, House of Flying Daggers) when Jin-Xi happens to thwart a robbery in the village's general store by two notorious convicted criminals. Suspecting that there is more to the quiet, married father of two Jin-Xi than meets the eye, Bai-Jiu doggedly pursues his investigative instincts revealing a truth that will have far reaching ramifications for both men.

Sunday 17 March 2013

I Love You, Isabelle Huppert!

I have been meaning to write this post for a long time, but given that today is Isabelle Huppert's 60th birthday (well it was actually yesterday), I felt it was the perfect time to do so. This is not meant to be a complete review of her prolific filmography. I must admit I have seen less than half of it and other people would be better suited to write this. But love stories are always very personal, and my story with Isabelle is no exception, now is the time to share it.

Saturday 16 March 2013

BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival update

Mid March is one the best times of the year, winter is coming to an end, my usual April holiday is fast approaching and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival starts. This year was particularly difficult to get tickets though, with films selling out within the hour. I was lucky enough to get tickets for 'submerge' and 'Jack and Dianne'. Being Australian I was really looking forward to 'submerge', as its quite rare to see an Australian lesbian film.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Oz/Cineworld: The Response

Yesterday a published a post about a disappointing experience at the Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue on a recent visit (click here), detailing how the combination of technical issues and customer care issues ruined a screening of Oz, The Great And Powerful, and proved yet another example of how multiplexes are losing sight of the customer experience. I wrote to Cineworld's customer service, and to their credit, they responded promptly. So I thought it was only fair that, after detailing my experience on this blog, I also published their response.

Monday 11 March 2013

How Cineworld Ruined Oz, The Great And Powerful

Sadly the subject of modern multiplexes' failures is a vast one. It baffles me how big cinema chains have invested so much to upgrade some of their venues with the latest technical and 3D equipments and yet still manage to lose sight of what is the most important aspect of their business: the customer experience. To me, they are chasing more and more money from less and less customers, with overpriced, gimmicky tickets (Vuextreme anybody? Post-converted 3D? Vue "Scene"? VIP seats?). Sure, they are are running a business so they know what they are doing, but with audience numbers dwindling more and more every year, do they, really? On Friday the 8th of March, as I went to see Oz, The Great And Powerful at the Cineworld Shaftsebury Avenue in the London West End with a friend, for the first screening of the day, I had a painful experience which only served to remind me how multiplexes are just failing us.

Friday 8 March 2013

The Avengers In Rural France

Forgive me for this click baiting post title. No, Thor and Captain America have not left the superhero rat race behind for a new life in the country under the blazing sun of Southern France, an experience plagued by their lack of grasp of the local language and a barrage of infuriating local red tape *cue obligatory shot of rain with voiceover "but it also rains in Southern France" as their newly bought gîte falls apart.* No, sadly, we live in a world in which whenever I mention The Avengers, I now have to specify it is the British TV serie I am referring to. Besides, I didn't call this post The Avengers Assemble In Rural France. So on to our subject, the film And Soon The Darkness, written by Brian Clemens, the man who wrote a whole lot of episodes of The Avengers (but also sadly Highlander 2: The Quickening).

Thursday 7 March 2013

Red Dawn Review

During the height of the Cold War there was a very real and present danger of a war  between the USA war and Soviet Russia. A product of such fears was the 1984 Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen staring Red Dawn and a Soviet invasion of the US Homeland. A plucky all American band of teenagers come together to fight the Russian baddies who are attacking the American goodies way of life. Flash forward to 2013 and the USSR is no more. The fourth largest army in the world is now that of Communist dictatorship led North Korea and this is the jumping off point the remake by director Dan Bradley of Red Dawn uses to create it's new version of an imagined invasion on US soil - this time it's the North Koreans.