Paper Heart – DVD Review

From what I had heard about Paper Heart I was not expecting to enjoy it; a documentary about love with a fictional love story thrown in did not appeal to me. Once I started watching I found myself moved by the real life stories of love and loss, even liking the possibly over-cutesy puppet re-enactments that accompanied them.

Charlyne Yi, most recognisable as Kenneth’s brief love interest from 30 Rock, makes for an awkward interviewer which helps to ground the fictional part of the film, her love story.

Running alongside the story of Yi travelling America to find if love truly exists, is her awkward on camera romance with Michael Cera, played deftly by Michael Cera. The romance is played subtly and realistically, affecting the way Yi interviews the real public and the documentary affected the progression of the fake love story.

While at times it was hard to like the lead character/interviewer Paper Heart does a good job of showing what love means to different people and is at times touching and amusing. The DVD extras include deleted scenes, some deeply annoying outtakes and a short Making Of which I was grateful for to help me get clear in my head, what was real and what was fiction.

The DVD is out on February 8th in the UK and while I enjoyed it I’d be wary of recommending Paper Heart as it is not for everyone. Probably better to rent than buy.

Cameron Vs Cameron

Avatar has finally done as predicted and knocked Titanic off the top spot for highest grossing film of all time. Cameron has beaten his own record and will probably be smug forever more. For me this feels like a hollow victory of style over substance, one that tells the studios that fancy effects and endless marketing makes for a guaranteed success. Which perhaps it does.

Looking at the figures a different way, Avatar‘s budget was so massive that it needed a record breaking box office to bring about a reasonable percentage return on the studios investment. If claims of a $500 million total production and marketing budget are to be believed, Avatar only made less than four times the investment it cost. The real winner is Paranormal Activity.

Paranormal Activity was made for a meagre $15,000 and made over $140 million dollars meaning a whopping percentage return on investment of 472,962.70% (as shown here). I’m not an expert on investments but this looks like a case for smaller films with viral marketing to get a bigger return for your money. It is worth noting that the second most profitable movie of all time, based of percentage return on investment is The Blair Witch Project. Obviously not every film can have a micro budget but those that do should not be overlooked as they are far more profitable than effects laden epics like Avatar.

Webb for Spiderman

As I had hoped Marc Webb, director of (500) Days of Summer, has been confirmed as the director of the High School set Spiderman reboot. Rumour has it he will be making a whole new trilogy, we’ll see if he makes all three or if this is another Superman Returns.

This is exactly the news I needed to get behind the Spiderman reboot, and look forward to all the potential puns. Now we wait to see who will be the new Spiderman…

Golden Globes Debrief

Last night the Golden Globes succeeded in giving out some well deserved, if unexpected, TV awards. Glee, Dexter, Big Love and United States of Tara all got awards that I had hoped for but not expected, putting me in a very good mood to begin with.

The film categories were less of a success, despite Jason Reitman and Christoph Waltz getting some recognition, as both Robert Downey Jr. and Avatar picked up awards that simply were not justified. Joseph Gordon Levitt surprised everyone this year and deserved to win over Downey Jr. who has put in many better performances than his in Sherlock Holmes.

Avatar winning best Director and Best Film (Drama) was a real kick in the teeth as I am adamant that, while providing technological breakthroughs, Avatar is not even the best of the five nominees, let alone the best of any drama in the past year. I especially get annoyed when it is said that Avatar will change the face of cinema, as so many films will not use or benefit from motion capture techniques.

Golden Globe Hopes

Below are my hopes, not necessarily predictions, for tonight’s Golden Globes. I have removed a couple of categories where I know none of the nominees.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Inglourious Basterds

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
(500) Days of Summer

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
George Clooney for Up in the Air

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Carey Mulligan for An Education

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Joseph Gordon-Levitt for (500) Days of Summer

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air

Best Director – Motion Picture
Inglourious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Up in the Air

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Up: Michael Giacchino

Best Animated Film
Fantastic Mr. Fox

Best Television Series – Drama

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Thomas Jane for Hung

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Toni Collette for United States of Tara

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Michael C. Hall for Dexter

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Anna Paquin for True Blood

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
John Lithgow for Dexter

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Chloƫ Sevigny for Big Love

Up in the Air – Review

Up in the Air begins with memorable opening titles and continues to impress, after a slightly slow start, until the horrendous fan-made song wailing out over the closing credits. George Clooney shows a rare vulnerability as corporate assassin Ryan Bingham and is ably supported by Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick whose characters together take Bingham on an emotional journey throughout the offices and hotels of America.

In a year lacking in great films you can smell award nominations for those involved; the cast and for Jason Reitman who continues to improve with each film. Juno is soon to be replaced as Reitman’s signature work.

Up in the Air takes you from moments of raucous laughter to the edge of tears and pulls no punches in providing an ending I honestly did not expect, yet which made sense, a true merit to any film that can achieve it. Much like its characters this film is not without its flaws but you will be more than happy to spend an hour or two in its company, just make a dash for the exit as the credits start or suffer the lyrical consequences.

Jackson Fumes at Leak

A few days ago a screener copy of Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones was leaked online and, as reported here, Jackson is far from pleased. He has gone so far as to say that “those responsible for the leak will be brought to justice with the maximum prosecution of the law in mind” and that “anyone who is caught illegally downloading the film will also be prosecuted to the fullest”, while expressing concern over recouping production cost.

I won’t even begin to consider just how he plans to identify those who download the film but believe that this is hardly likely to damage the movies profits.

There is no evidence to suggest that everyone who downloads this film with give it a miss at the cinema or that everyone who downloads it would have paid to seen it otherwise. The only harm this could do to the film would be if it recieved a negative reaction, which would be the film’s own fault, though this is conceievable at reviews so far are mixed.

I would go so far as to say that sending out DVD screeners to voters before a films release and not expecting the film to be leaked is naive, especially when you have delayed the release of the film. Today’s consumers want new content immediately and if they can only obtain it illegally in the first instance they will do.

Once the film has been released I will look again at if the leak has had any effect on profit margin or if, like Wolverine and Zombieland before it, this is a lot of fuss over nothing.

500 Days of Spiderman

Since news broke of the Spiderman reboot many names have been floated around for both the role of director and that of Peter Parker himself. Two that have really stuck out for me are Mark Webb and Joseph Gorden Levitt, director and star of (500) Days of Summer respectively. While I can imagine plenty of fan uproar at the suggestion of Mark Webb I believe his debut feature showed a strong visual style and real diversity. Levitt has recently shown through a varied spectrum of roles just have versatile an actor he is, far more than just the child star he started out as.

Speaking not as a Spiderman fanboy but as a film buff either of these two being attached to the new Spiderman project could really get me excited.

Winstead Sings

We all know that Mary Elizabeth Winstead can sing, from hearing her belt out a tune in Tarantino’s over-indulgant Death Proof, so I was happy to find she has recorded a song. It is called Warmth of Him and is a refreshing change to the usual over produced musical fare that comes when an actress trys to sings. Have a listen below.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead – Warmth of Him

Spidy Revamp

As news breaks that Raimi and company have been dropped from the Spiderman franchise, with a reboot planned for 2012 I can’t help but wonder why. When a franchise such as this is failing to come together why is the instant reaction to give it a reboot? A much better idea might be to move on and try something new rather than constantly flog the same old fodder in a shiny new box.