Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Curious Case of Casa de mi Padre

I just scored a couple of tickets to a preview of Casa de mi Padre (Matt Piedmont, 2012).  Will Ferrell stars in this Spanish language spoof of Latin American soap operas/telenovelas.  Yes that's right Ferrell is starring in a subtitled film.  Made for $6,000,000 and only getting a limited release, this has to be a bit of a risk in anyone's book, despite the popularity of Ferrell. 

It's not doing terribly well in the IMDb ratings or on Rotten Tomatoes but its spoofing of poor production values sounds like a lot fun in the same sense as Black Dynamite and Grindhouse were.  I can't say the trailer made me laugh or even elicit a small giggle but I like the sound of it and some of the reviews make it sound right up my street.

Total Film say:  'Revelling in the gloriously tacky excesses of telenovelas, Casa features a procession of unabashedly crappy sets dressed with fake plants, painted backdrops, stiff staging and ‘animals’ including a D-grade animatronic white cougar.'

Sounds silly but that's what a Will Ferrell film is all about!  Here is the trailer:

OK rewatching that did just make me chuckle a little bit. I guess it all depends on how much Ferrell you can tolerate.  So what say you?  Dumbest movie idea ever or risky business resulting in comedy gold?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Where are the Dead?

Alex Zane on stage
Some of you may have read about my zombie hunting mission to Leicester Square this Sunday.  If you didn't, check out the post here.  I was expecting the opposite of 28 Days Later's deserted streets.  I was expecting countless flesh-eating, decaying, gore-covered horror fans and maybe even some kind of Thriller inspired flash mob dance routine.  I was disappointed.  The few hours I spent in the new-look Leicester Square that doesn't actually look that new were spent, not cowering in the corners as expected, but desperately squinting into the sun to see if anyone had come dressed as a zombie.  I saw one, yes just one, embarrassed-looking girl in zombie make-up but she soon disappeared.

Taking the piss with Ted

But the trip was far from a total loss.  The Sun's film reviewer Alex Zane was on hand to do a horror film quiz with some fans from the crowd.  I  got to get a quick photo of myself in one of those interactive movie posters pretending to piss with Seth MacFarlane's Ted.  I also got to have a play with some interactive giant iPad type thing that had loads of trailers and stuff to look at. 

There were lots of posters dotted about the square and a wodge of cash with The Dictator's face on the notes stuffed in a transparent safe but really I was ready to go home after about twenty minutes of being there.  I didn't come for endless marketing, I came for zombies!

Giant iPad
Wadiya currency

Never mind.  Then the gathered people enjoyed a few trailers on the big screen on stage.  The likes of Prometheus, Storage 24 and Chernobyl Diaries all played before the hard core horror fans and the random families with small children that looked a little concerned about what they were seeing.

Noel Clarke in...
Johannes Roberts' Storage 24

Then it finally got really interesting with a Q&A with FrightFest organiser, founder and co-director Alan Jones.  His tales of being a film journalist were fascinating and inspiring and FrightFest sounds like a great place for fans of horror to descend over the August bank holiday every year.  It's a just a shame it clashes with Reading Festival otherwise I'd be there.  Maybe when I get too old for the music...

 Then came a final pleasant surprise in the form of a further Q&A with two of the cast members of upcoming Brit-horror Cockneys Vs Zombies.  It sounds potentially terrible from the title but the clips shown on the big screen gained quite a few laughs from the assembled crowd and it actually looks like it could be quite a promising horror-comedy.  Alan Ford, the terrifying Brick Top from Guy Ritchie's Snatch, answered questions with his co-star Michelle Ryan.  

Here's a news report from the set of Cockneys Vs Zombies.

And here's the trailer for Storage 24 from the director of hoodie horror F.  Incidentally, the director of this is Johannes Roberts who is coming to give a talk to my media students very soon.  So that's exciting!

Finally here's a quick video I uploaded of Alan Jones answering two questions: what is his favourite horror film and who are the most talented horror filmmakers working today?

So all in all it was quite a worth while trip, even if there were far less zombies than I had hoped for.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Zombies Attack London!

In case you are a Londoner and haven't heard about this, please go check out this link!

 'On Sunday 27 May, zombies will rise all over London and shuffle into the West End, invading the Leicester Square gardens from 12.00 noon – for Lawn of the Dead.'

Leicester Square has apparently been undergoing 18 months of redevelopment work and is re-opening this weekend.  I wouldn't know as it's an hour and £20 train ride away from me so I don't get up there very often!  However as it's the home of the Odeon that had the first digital projector in Europe and hosts the most premieres with a capacity for 1683 people, this is pretty much the centre of London's film exhibition.

Apparently there is going to be loads of stuff going on all weekend starting today:

'An array of interactive displays, costume characters and personal appearances will bring the new-look Leicester Square to life in a special film-themed event running from Thursday 24 to Sunday 27 May.  Free to the public, the live event will showcase the quality and diversity of films coming to West End cinemas in 2012 in a variety of engaging ways - while also offering a glimpse of the spectacular film events hosted in Leicester Square during previous years.'

It sounds really exciting and pretty much a film lovers dream.  I hope the beautiful sunny weather that has just finally arrived holds out all weekend for the lucky Londoners in attendance.

In case you're wondering what the zombie invasion is about: 'The programme of relaunch events includes a celebration of FrightFest, which has haunted the Square for the last 12 years'.  Hence the zombies. 

And there's more.  In an email I was sent from See Film First, it says:

''Get down to the square for:
 ▪ interactive preview zone, in which visitors may select and view their own choice of content such as trailers, compilations and games on digital iTables;
 ▪ a family zone with entertainers, face painters, green-screen photo opportunities for audiences aged 3 plus;
 ▪ a performance zone that will feature a film quiz presented by Alex Zane, a Q&A with the world's leading stuntman Vic Armstrong as well as a movie fencing demonstration, and an insight into life as a leading film journalist with Empire magazine.'

If all that isn't exciting enough, you can 'come as a zombie or get a special make-over in the Square' if you head down on Sunday!

Head here for the full programme including the details of free screenings of Top Cat - The Movie and Red Tails.  The programme really suggests this would be a great family event but just be careful of all the marauding zombies on Sunday.

So is anyone going along to any of this?  I'm busy Friday and Saturday but am really hoping to go join the zombie madness on Sunday.  If I do, expect lots of ridiculous photos next week.

 Read more about it over at Screen Daily.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

I Love That Blog Post #6

 Another week of enjoyable reading!  See if any of this lot take your fancy...

Andy Buckle reviews one of my all time favourite homoerotic action films: Point Break

Alex at And So It Begins has a list of the best looking colour films

Interesting article on the future of Blu-ray from Front Room Cinema

Impassioned Cinema dish the latest on the lovely Amy Adams

A great post about blogging and commenting from Movies and Songs 365

Keith shares some blogging buddies thoughts on World War 2 films.  I’m one of the sharers!

What is Pseudo-Sequel?  Check out Big Thoughts from a Small Mind to find out!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Found Footage PhD Update

Been a bit quiet on the blogging front and that's because for the last week I've been working on clarifying what my thesis is actually aiming to do.  It's taken me eight drafts to get this right.  I won't bore you with the details but for anyone who is interested.  This is the nuts and bolts of what I've been researching for the last year and a half and what I will be working on for the next three and half years:

Identification, Self-Consciousness and Proof in the ‘First-Person’ Contemporary Horror Film 

 My investigation will focus on the use of the mock-documentary format in contemporary horror cinema, and more specifically on those films such as The Blair Witch Project (Myrick and Sanchez, 1999), Paranormal Activity (Peli, 2007) and Cloverfield (Reeves, 2008) that create the impression of a character within the film being in control of the camera. It is my aim to analyse the aesthetic, technological and perceptual elements of these films in order to:

  • Ascertain all the key influences on the body of films studied here as concerns production, reception and aesthetics
  • Establish who or what the audience is encouraged to identify with when viewing the films and why this identification occurs
  • Establish the aesthetic, technological and psychological means by which the audience is primed for the viewing experience of these films
  • Ascertain how the level of self-consciousness (e.g. the characters’ awareness that they are being filmed) impacts on the viewing experience and thought processes of the viewer 
  • Determine how video recording technology is used as a method to gain proof and often fails in the task of collecting evidence of the supernatural by the characters in the film 
 So that's it bascially.  That's what I'm spending five years of my life and a shitload of money on.  If anyone does have an interest in seriously academic analysis, I will try and do the occasional update on this but I can completely understand if you think this sounds desperately boring and pretentious.  And if so, my humble apologies!

Meanwhile in completely unrelated news, have you seen the Skyfall teaser?


What do you reckon, best Bond ever?  Well until Nolan grabs the reins (fingers crossed)!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

I Love That Blog Post #5

 This week I have mostly been reading....

After weeks of chastising the modern cinema experience, Scott celebrates going to the movies

 Cinematic Corner keeps sharing the goodies on Prometheus… this time a very interesting short featurette

Movies on my Mind has a fascinating piece on slavesploitation and where Django Unchained fits in with this forgotten sub-genre

Another one from Cinematic Corner- a great comparison of the visuals in Black Swan and Shame

Counting down the best Bruce Wayne’s with Top 10 Films

A great rant from City Lights questioning if Jaws will still be considered a classic in 20 years 

The Ten Best Actors Relay race goes on and on and this latest addition from Flickers includes an excellent choice!

If you haven't already read these, check them out!

Monday, 14 May 2012

For Your Consideration: LAMMYs 2012

I've just voted for the sites I hope to win in the 2012 LAMMYs.  I've also just seen I'm eligible for Best New LAMB.  Unfortunately I have next to no design abilities and am thoroughly undeserving of most of the accolades so I'm not going to be able to make a poster.  But I'm still going to take two minutes to ask you to spare a thought for little old I Love That Film when you come to voting for Best New LAMB.  It would be a great honour for me to have you even spend a moment considering this little LAMB before deciding better of it and voting for someone who put some effort into making a poster and stuff!  You can vote for me and the many other LAMBS here.

This may not be the funniest, most prolific, well designed or remotely close to the best blog out there but dammit who doesn't love an underdog?  Go on... vote for I Love That Film to win everything!  I'm LAMB number #1187 if you are seriously considering it... and why wouldn't you?

Good luck to all the bloody long list of potential LAMBS but particularly to those I voted for and would desperately love to win.  I hope you know who you all are!

My Movie Influence: Fight Club @Inspired Ground

Today I have completed my very first ever guest post on another blog.  The amazing Andina at Inspired Ground invited me to take part by sharing a post on a film that has most influenced me.  What else could I choose but the greatest film of all time... Fight Club!

Here's the idea behind the series:

'Many people have their own movies they think highly, praised and probably started seeing things differently after watching them. Many times I’ve shared mine and I always wanted to know what others have. So I asked other people which movie they think to have the best influence on them.'

And here is the link.  Please head on over to Inspired Ground to check it out!

Massive thanks to Andina for asking me to take part!  I hope you enjoy the post!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Best of Bergman? An Interactive Post

Ingmar Bergman is one of the greatest directors of all time.  How do I know?  Because I've been told it is true on numerous occasions.  Most recently it was this post from Alex at And So It Begins that reminded me to check out the work of Bergman.

Why didn't I figure it out for myself?  Because I haven't seen a single one of his films yet.  But all that stops this week.  After reading and hearing so much about this highly respected director, I finally decided to look up some of his films on Lovefilm.  What did I discover?

Many of Bergman's films are free to stream as part of my Lovefilm subscription package.  So to begin with I've put on my list:
  1. Persona
  2. The Virgin Spring
  3. Wild Strawberries
  4. Autumn Sonata
  5. Cries and Whispers
  6. Scenes from a Marriage
  7. and the seventh title on the list is aptly... The Seventh Seal.

So what I'd like to know from all the Bergman fans out there is where should I start?

What is the most accessible of these?

Could anyone actually give me a suggested order to watch these in?

Are there others that I have missed that should be in my required viewing?

If I don't like the first couple I watch, is it worth continuing or should I just accept I have bad taste?

 For the record, I'm thinking of starting with either The Seventh Seal (because at least I can enjoy the part that influenced Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey) or The Virgin Spring (as I hear The Last House on the Left was based on this story).  But please get involved and persuade me otherwise if you feel I should start elsewhere.  Please comment below...

Saturday, 12 May 2012

I love That Debut: Nolan's Doodlebug

As The Dark Knight Rises draws nearer, I'm having a bit of a mini-Nolan-fest at home this week.  Lovefilm sent me Nolan's feature debut Following this week.  It's an interesting, twisty, non-linear, black and white low budget gem but not a bona-fide masterpiece.  However you can see many of Nolan's signatures germinating in his tale of a morally questionable anti-hero getting lured and manipulated into a criminal underworld beyond his control.

It's interesting to note there is a character named Cobb as in Inception. Like Memento the narrative is a bit of a puzzle that needs piecing together by the viewer.  And both Following and Inception have morally dubious protagonists and characters that delve into the minds of others.

The Dark Knight Rises will only be Nolan's eighth feature but his filmography is packed with brilliant films from Memento and Insomnia right up to his Batman trilogy.  I urge you to check out any you may have missed!

Watching Following this week and then um... following that with Inception today has reminded me of Nolan's early short film Doodlebug.  So the real reason I write today is to share it with you.  If you haven't seen it before or you just can't wait for The Dark Knight Rises to be released, then give Christopher Nolan's short film a go to tide you over.  It's got a killer ending!

What do you think of Mr Nolan?  Legendary or over-rated?  Be careful what you say, Bane's watching.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Fascinating Faces: Looper, Lawless and Gangster Squad

I've seen some fascinating faces in trailers over the last few weeks.  Three stars many of us know and love, still recognizable but undeniably transformed.  I am stunned by these faces and already itching to see more of the performances.  But how much of my excitement is just down to the make up and how much is due to the men behind the masks?

I offer you exhibits A, B and C as evidence.

Exhibit A: Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper

The Holly wood Reporter um... reported that 'Thanks to three hours in the makeup chair each morning, the actor transformed into a younger version of Bruce Willis for the role – in which the duo plays the same character at different ages.'

If you're not convinced about the transformation or just sad to see the handsome JGL mutilated, check out this little video I found on YouTube for a close comparison of the two actors.

Exhibit B: Guy Pearce in Lawless

Now I'm not sure what they've done to Pearce's face here but watching the trailer suggests this is going to be another fantastic performance to look out for.  In fact I don't even think this is down to make up.  Instead I think it's a combination of Pearce's slicked back hair, accent and tone of voice and most of all the faces he pulls in the trailer below.  Some might say this is bordering on OTT but I can't wait to see this performance.

Exhibit C: Sean Penn in The Gangster Squad

MTV says: 'A centerpiece of the trailer, it's hard to miss Sean Penn even under all of that makeup... The trailer gives lots of screen time to Penn, and when you also consider the prosthetics on his face, it's not hard to imagine that Warner Bros. would make a Best Supporting Actor push for him come Oscar season'.

He looks almost like something grotesque out of Dick Tracy.  But it's not just the make up and prosthetics, Penn seems totally transformed here.  It's another performance that looks incredible and will no doubt be a lot of fun to watch.

So are we in for a treat with these three or what?  And how much of these performances will come down to the physically transformed faces of the actors and how much is down to their acting skills.  It's a question that has bugged me ever since seeing one of my favourite performances ever on screen.  No doubt aided by magnificent make-up, but also a testament to the incredible talent of Charlize Theron, if you haven't seen Monster, I highly recommend it.  Never has a star been so unrecognizable and so brilliantly lost within a real-life character.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

I Love That Blog Post #4

Oh my gosh I love reading your blogs!  I love them all but they are taking over my life!  Here's a recent selection of some of the most interesting stuff I've been reading and I highly recommend you all read too if you haven't already!

Keith has a pretty damn perfect list of 5 Phenomenal Superhero movies

Anomalous Material have introduced me to ‘End of the World’ which sounds totally awesome!

Max at Impassioned Cinema shares a hilarious and clever short film

TOP OF THE BLOGS! THIS is why you/I/we study film and don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s a waste of time!

That last one nearly made me weep! Please give the links a click and be sure to check back next time for more blog posts I love!