Saturday, 29 September 2012

A Beginner’s Guide to World Cinema: Part One – Europe

European Humour, Scares and Violence

 Ever wondered what all the fuss was about with foreign cinema? Perhaps you want to check some foreign films out but you don’t know quite where to start? Should you go to Eastern Europe? France? Japan? Wonder no more as the Filmoria team take you on a guide through their picks of the best films foreign cinema has to offer.

Check out my contributions on [REC] and La Haine and other Filmoria writers' recommendations here.

Friday, 28 September 2012

October’s Best of British

In the first part of a new series, Pete Turner brings you details of the best new British films hitting cinemas next month…

October is always an exciting time for British cinema with the blockbuster season over, Halloween approaching and the London Film Festival bringing world cinema to the capital, as well as shining a much needed light on Britain’s talent.

Of course October 2012 also sees the return of a certain very British, very popular icon to cinema screens. You know the name. You know the number. More on him later…

But first let’s take a look at some of the other British films fighting for your hard earned pounds this month. Speaking of a certain super spy, first up is a documentary released to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of his cinematic outings. Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 charts the 50 years since Mr Bond first hit screens in Dr No in 1962. Odeon cinemas will be giving the film a limited release on October 5th and fans will no doubt be desperate to catch the nostalgic trip through one of the most successful film franchises (and longest running) ever made...

Read more on the new British films of October 2012 at Boolean Flix.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Premium Rush Film Club Review

Thanks to this post from Scott at Front Room Cinema, I got to take part in the From The Red Carpet film club a couple of weekends ago.  Everyone that took part got two free tickets to see Premium Rush and then we all met up on Facebook on the Sunday evening to discuss the film.

It was an awesome experience for me as I'm no good at talking out loud and getting my opinions across to people when I'm having a normal conversation so getting to have a chat with others about the film through social networking was perfect.  I hope to get the opportunity to take part again some day.

From the Red Carpet have published their review of the film and there are lots of quotes from all us film clubbers in it so please have a look at the review and leave them a comment telling them to make sure they keep inviting me back.  The From the Red Carpet review is here.

I leave you with some sample quotes from the film clubbers:

‘I love Koepp’s scripts, where he takes a simple set up and milks it for all that it’s worth. Panic Room is the perfect example!’

‘Well, my first thought after watching the film was – ‘what on earth was Joseph Gordon-Levitt thinking?!’ He’s pretty much A-list these days – but this film screamed B MOVIE.’

‘I quite enjoyed this; it surprised me with its slightly skewed take on the chase movie. Shannon and Levitt were eminently watchable and although it’s not going to win any awards it was a fun way to spend an afternoon.’

Hathaway to Rage Against the Machines in Spielberg’s ‘Robopocalypse’?

Exciting news brewing with casting rumours of Anne Hathaway and Chris Hemsworth sniffing around Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson’s 2011 book Robopocalypse.

The Hollywood Reporter states that not only are Hathaway and Hemsworth negotiating to take leading roles, but also the film is set to be produced by Tom Rothman, the outgoing chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Rothman has been confirmed by DreamWorks in a statement yesterday and casting confirmations should follow soon.

Read more of this story at Filmoria.

To read more about Robopocalypse, see my review here.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Film Review – Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest

Freddy Mercury is a shooting star; glorious for the short time you get to witness him in motion, but gone too soon, disappearing into darkness. Queen fans are already aware of the majesty of their leading man but newcomers will find this cinematic outing just as dazzling as the 80,000 strong crowd did in Budapest back in 1986.

Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest begins with a short documentary that details the lead up to the Budapest concert. It features archive footage of rehearsals and recording, interviews with the band and behind the scenes access as they hit the road on tour. It is interesting stuff, though nothing new to Queen fans who know the history of the rock legends.

Read the full review of Hungarian Rhapsody at Filmoria.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Blu-Ray Review – Attack of the Werewolves

 Feel pity for the low budget horror comedy. Not only does it have to be scary, but it also has to make you laugh and let’s face it, it’s not easy to do either. Evil Dead 2 nailed it where many others have failed. Shaun of the Dead hits the funny bone and has a nice bit of gore but doesn’t try to scare you. An American Werewolf in London balances mirth with mayhem like a professional but in general, horror comedies tread a too thin line between making us feel fear and making us chuckle; one is just bound to cancel the other out.

Following successful efforts of the last few years such as Tucker & Dale vs Evil, Rubber and The Cabin in the Woods, comes a Spanish entry into the comedy horror hybrid genre. Re-titled from the original Lobos de Arga into Game of Werewolves (why?) and then finally to Attack of the Werewolves (does what is says on the tin), this film is almost as confused as the people tasked with giving it an English title.

Terribly sorry if you're tired of reading this but please read the full review of Attack of the Werewolves at Filmoria. 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Film Review - Tower Block (James Nunn, Ronnie Thompson, 2012)

British films can be grim. We can be known for a spot of realism, a dash of depression, and a healthy pouring of poverty. But Britain is also known for horror; not Hollywood glossy horror but gritty, disturbing, dirty horror. Think The Wicker Man. Think 28 Days Later.

Closing this year’s celebration of horror, the London FrightFest was James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson’s dark and grisly sniper thriller Tower Block. Following the likes of Britain’s own sci-fi-horror-comedy mash up Attack the Block and Indonesia’s The Raid, not to mention Dredd 3D’s similar setting, it might seem Tower Block will be a hard sell for audiences potentially tiring of tower blocks and in search of more blocks being busted.

But it would be a shame if Tower Block fails to find an audience as the directorial duo’s film has much to recommend it, though it’s distinctly British cast and setting may limit the international appeal. Starring British stars from the small screen, the plot sees the inhabitants of a mostly empty tower block being terrorised by a sniper. The last of the residents live on the top floor and have yet to be relocated as the block is set for demolition. This grim and gutsy bunch include feisty, smart and resourceful Becky (Sheridan Smith from Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, but don’t hold that against her) local Jack the Lad Kurtis (Harry Brown and Eden Lake’s Jack O’Connell in a potentially breakout role) and other tenants including a struggling alcoholic and one of the world’s worst mothers.

Three months after this motley crew witness a murder right outside their doors, a sniper begins to pick them off one by one in their apartments. Once they get away from the windows and realise that the place is rendered inescapable by deadly booby traps and cut communications, the group must overcome their differences and find a way to survive, maybe even finding out who has got them targeted in the crosshairs.

The characters are a mixture of the well-written and the underdeveloped but this is hardly surprising with a film that has a body count this high. Sheridan Smith’s Becky makes a convincingly tough, fearless hero. She is backed up by the initially vile Kurtis who threatens to steal the show with O’Connell’s bordering on OTT performance being a highlight. But Ralph Brown and Russell Tovey also bring depth to their characters and audiences will find themselves hoping for some of them to make it out of the tower block alive.

Nunn and Thompson milk James Moran’s (Cockney’s vs Zombies) script for every last drop of tension and suspense and through a careful mix of characterisation and consistent killing, the film never fails to keep you guessing.  Who is next to bite the bullet? Who will survive? 

Owen Morris’ score is excellent and the claustrophobic cinematography keeps the characters in constant danger, adding to the sense of dread.  But the climax is unfortunately fumbled with a last minute reveal being head-smackingly obvious and awkwardly over-written. The final fight for life could have been incredibly exciting but as it is, fails to ignite the fuse lit by much of the rest of the movie. The odd bit of dialogue between the characters does have shortcomings but generally the actors keep things believable.  

Nevertheless this is a well made British thriller that’s worth watching if you like your body counts high and your strong female heroes. It’s a bloodthirsty film with characters that pop up, just as easily to drop down like holey flies and though it might have targeted horror fans at FrightFest, there is scope for a wider, thrill seeking audience to come under fire from this one. On this evidence, it seems like there may still be some life left in the old tower block setting yet.

Untouchable Directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano Interview

 Untouchable directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano have a lot to smile about. Their little French film about an aristocrat quadriplegic (François Cluzet) and his caretaker from the projects (Omar Sy) has had international success at countless awards ceremonies and film festivals; it’s also blown all box office expectations out of the water. Nominated for nine Cesar awards (the French Oscars) but winning only won for Best Actor (the irresistible Omar Sy), the directors are now in London ahead of the UK release of the film this Friday.

The Weinstein Company are distributing Untouchable and after such incredible success across the globe, Nakache and Toledano are hoping the film will be as warmly embraced in the UK as it has been in the rest of the world.

I was lucky enough to catch up with directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano to talk to them about their brilliant success. Head on over to Filmoria to read the full interview and to find out what the pair had to say about tackling a comedy drama dealing with the thorny issues of race and disability, how they feel about a US remake of the film that has brought them such huge international success and why they say the UK is a big influence on their style of comedy.

To can also read my review of Untouchable here.

 Untouchable is released in the UK on Friday 21st September.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Tower Block Trailer Shoots to Kill

After The Raid, Dredd 3D and less recently Attack the Block, you'd think the tower block would be ready to be retired as a location for an action thriller.  But British director James Nunn has come up with another promising take on tower block terror, filling one with the likes of Sheridan Smith (lots of British TV) and Jack O' Connell (more British TV, a few films) and the legend that is Ralph (Camberwell Carrot) Brown.  Then a sniper is unleashed, taking potshots at this unsuspecting bunch and chaos ensues.

Tower Block closed this year's FrightFest and has a promising score of 7.3 over at IMDb from the 47 people who have rated it so far.  With Cockneys Vs Zombies getting good reviews (also written by James Moran) and Ben Wheatley's Sightseers being one of the must-see films at this year's London Film Festival, it looks like the British horror film is in rude health.

Tower Block is out tomorrow in the UK and below you can watch the suspenseful trailer:

Read my review of Tower Block here.  Will you be braving this one in the cinema? 

Monday, 17 September 2012

I Love That Blog Post #12

Check out some of the stuff I've been reading and enjoying recently!

The Droid You’re Looking For asks are horror films actually scary and does it even matter?

Ever wondered why superhero movies can be so unsatisfying.  The Movie Blog has some answers

Cinematic Corner highly rates one of my favourites, Monster, starring Charlize Theron

The Kid in the Front Row talks about the lack of diversity of Hollywood’s output

Front Room Cinema launches an attack on trailers for trailers

Be sure to check them out!  Happy reading!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Untouchable Review

Based on the book You Changed My Life by Abdel Sellou, Untouchable, originally titled Intouchables in France has already become a massive word-of-mouth box office sensation in its native land. The Weinstein Company have snapped up the rights for worldwide distribution and a US remake but they’ll be hard pushed to beat the magic of the original pairing of stars Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet in this touching dramedy...

Read the rest of this review over at Filmoria.

More on world cinema:

Check out my interview with the directors of Untouchable
Come As You Are review
Everybody Has a Plan review
A Hijacking trailer
Everybody Has a Plan trailer
Matthieu Kassovitz interview

Friday, 14 September 2012

Deconstructing Cinema: Cloverfield

Six years after 9/11, a mysterious teaser trailer appeared in cinemas before screenings of Michael Bay’s explosive but empty Transformers (2007) film. With no title, just a release date and the name of producer J.J. Abrams, the teaser showed a party full of young professionals being disrupted by huge roars and a distant explosion. The trailer culminated with the head of the Statue of Liberty flying through the air and bouncing down a street full of terrified people. Backed up by a viral marketing campaign that leaked limited information about the monster featured in the film, Cloverfield built up a strong following before it was released in January 2008...

Read the rest of this article at Static Mass Emporium. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Pacino and Walken Old but Still Standing

Forget Heat’s Pacino and De Niro face to face over a coffee.  Could there be a more exciting prospect than Al Pacino VS Christopher Walken?  This should be one of the best shouting matches you’ve ever seen.  Unfortunately there looks to be less shouting and more talking, driving and a bit of shooting from what we can see so far of Stand Up Guys in the brand new trailer.

Still, it looks promising with Pacino and Walken as a couple of aging con-men who look set to square off after getting their old pals together for the ever-so-reliable ‘one last job’. 

But just imagine the fireworks that would have ensued if Pacino and Walken had a face-off in their prime.  The King of New York Vs Michael Corleone.  If only these two had got together before they got, let’s face it, a bit old. 

As it is, the pair look a little passed it but thanks to the fast cars, a slick bit of humour and the very welcome Alan Arkin, this could potentially still be one to stand up and shout about.  The trio of elderly Oscar winners are directed by Fisher Stevens (Ben from Short Circuit 1 and 2!) and joined by Julianna Margulies (TV’s ER and The Good Wife) and Vanessa Ferlito (Death Proof) in supporting roles.

The trailer comes courtesy of Yahoo Movies but there is no word as yet on a UK release date.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Foster Review

How do you feel about precocious little kids that talk like wise old adults? If you can’t stand them, then stay well clear of this comedy drama featuring a little ginger charmer who enters the lives of grieving parents to help them move on with their lives. On the other hand, if that kid from Jerry Maguire made your heart melt, then Foster might also make you smile.

The usually reliable Toni Colette and Ioan Gruffudd play Zooey and Alec, soul mates since school but now stuck in a rut as they find they can’t conceive a child after the death of their only son in a tragic accident. When they decide that fostering might be an option, they meet Eli (Maurice Cole), a suited and bespectacled child who turns up on their doorstep the day after they visit his foster home.

Read the rest over at Filmoria.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A Night in the Woods Review

Fed up of found footage films? Wish they would just stay lost in the woods? Well this British Blair Witch from director Richard Parry isn’t going to do much to get you back on board; it’s more likely to leave your stomach churning from another shaky-cam extravaganza.

That said, if you enjoyed the last couple of Paranormal Activity films or any other number of lazily shot and scripted found footage horrors from this year’s atrocious The Devil Inside to 2010’s marginally better The Last Exorcism, you could do worse than this well-acted little shocker.

Read the rest of my review over at Filmoria.

And all the Oscars go to....

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Before Midnight Before You Know It!

Here's a new picture straight from the set of the just wrapped trilogy closer Before Midnight, courtesy of Total Film.  Ever since Before Sunset left fans dribbling for more in 2004, people have speculated about whether we would ever get to see Jesse and Celine back together again.

Then today comes the news that not only is the film definitely going to happen, it's already wrapped in Greece and will be hopefully sold to buyers at the Toronto Film Festival which starts today!

Anyway here's the picture.  Look forward to more on this soon.

Read more over at Filmoria.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Fall in love, see the sights, have a laugh!

Can't get this trailer out of my head so I must share it with you all now.  It's for Ben Wheatley's new genre mash-up Sightseers, coming to UK screens on 30 November 2012.

Wheatley's last film Kill List was praised by critics but left me pretty baffled.  A strange mix of crime film and occult horror, it was certainly original if not wholly satisfying.  This, on the other hand, looks absolutely brilliant.  A delightful mash up of laugh out loud funny with disturbing killer lovers on the loose, I can't think of a film I'm more excited about now this year.

Check out the trailer below if you haven't watched this yet already and make sure that if you like this sort of thing you make a trip to the cinema to see it and support British film!

Watch out for the ginger faced man and the angry woman from 30 November and if you're not from round these parts, just hope and pray it gets an international release!