Out Now – 26th February 2010

It’s Friday! Which means new films in the cinema for us to go and see, let’s have a look at what’s on…

The Crazies

This week’s blind favourite. The Crazies looks like an awesome horror about a small town in which people are driven crazy by contaminated water. As the army start to kill the infected a band of survivors have to try to make it out of town before they are killed by either their former neighbours or the rampaging soldiers. It just seems like a fun film to me. Probably not for the whole family though, unless you enjoy your children wetting the bed that is.

Everybody’s Fine

Apparently much better than the poster makes it seem though it has mixed reviews. Robert De Niro plays a widower who travels to visit, and reconnect with, his grown-up children. Sounds like Broken Flowers with ex-girlfriends swapped for offspring and no Bill Murray. Sam Rockwell is in it, it must be good.

Extraordinary Measures

I have seen the TV spot for this enough times to truly hate it already. Brendan Fraser plays the father of two terminally ill children trying to raise money so Harrison Ford’s scientist can research their cure. With pretty bad reviews and a trailer that inspires no confidence I’d give it a miss. Expect emotions!

From Paris With Love

This has gone completely below my radar but is apparently about an employee of the US ambassador teaming up with a spy to stop a terrorist attack in Paris. The poster seems to show a very bored Jonathan Rhys Myers and John Travolta firing weapons from a car. The reviews are bad and single out Travolta’s over-the-top performance as a highlight. Need you know more?

Leap Year

Another to steer clear of as Amy Adams continues to undermine her career as a woman travelling through Ireland to find and propose to her boyfriend. Matthew Goode plays the man she meets along the way that she almost definitely chooses over her beau. Two things make it almost worth watching; John Lithgow and one of the least convincing green-screened backgrounds for a car journey you’re likely to see this year. Even Goode doesn’t like the film.


Apparently they really think you’ll like Micmacs as preview screening code have been coming out of our twitter account‘s ears. It comes from the director of Amelie and tells the tale of a group of friends with a plan to destroy two major weapons manufacturers. Though it may not seem like it this is a comedy, a satire to be precise, and with Jean-Pierre Jeunet it is likely to be filled with charm and oddities. Not one to see if you can’t read or speak french.

Curzon Soho & Key Cities
Vues Finchley Rd, Fulham Broadway, Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave., & Nationwide
Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave., & Nationwide
London & Key Cities
BFI Southbank & Key Cities
Odeon Covent Garden, Vue West End & Nationwide

Could Pirates 4 be the Best in the Series?

There has been a lot of chatter about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides lately and it all makes me feel like this could be the best of the lot. Admittedly it’s hard to tell as filming hasn’t even begun yet but those involved seem to know what they’re doing this time.

Johnny Depp has said, “”I’d like to give them a Pirates 4 that is very funny and entertaining and not convoluted or riddled with sub-plots and characters.” My major concern with the other sequels was that I had no idea what was going on most of the time, that and I hated Orlando Bloom in the same way heterosexual women hate Keira Knightley. With no Bloom, or Knightley, and a simpler plot Tides will just be a fun romp with plenty of Captain Jack.

The other news that has me excited is that Ian McShane is in talks to play Blackbeard in the upcoming movie. While I may have missed his earlier work in Lovejoy I have come to know McShane as a powerful actor through Deadwood and the shortly lived Kings. The thought of Depp and McShane adventuring on the high seas is enough to get me excited.

Well, as excited as you can reasonably get about Pirates of the Caribbean that is.

Odeon Caves, World Keeps Turning

Move along everyone, there’s nothing to see here. It is reported that Odeon will now screen Alice in Wonderland just like everyone else.

The boycott was weakened when Cineworld and then Vue dropped out leaving Odeon in an increasingly weak position. Disney were simply trying to be sensible and attempt to reduce piracy, not by attacking film fans who obtain films illegally, but by giving them a little bit of what they want. The DVD will be released 13 weeks after the film debuts next week and people will still flock to the cinemas to get the big screen experience. IMAX screenings are already sold out!

What a load of fuss about nothing. At least it gave me an excuse to use plenty of stills from Alice in Wonderland, and get it plenty of free press.

Batman Sorts Out Superman

It was recently announced elsewhere on the internets that Christopher Nolan, the brains behind the Batman Begins and Dark Knight, would be helping Superman get back on his feet in the soon to be written movie The Man of Steel. Now it is revealed that David Goyer, writer of the two recent batman flicks, is to write the screenplay for Superman’s return to the big screen. The old(ish) team of Brandon Routh and Bryan Singer are out and the Batman team are in.

Obviously from the studio’s point of view this is a great idea; they made Batman cool and contemporary so should be able to do the same for Superman. In theory this makes sense, I just hope Man of Steel has a different tone to The Dark Knight as it’s nice to have a bit of diversity out there and it’s worth noting Goyer isn’t flawless; he did create the TV series FlashForward. As Goyer’s idea is described as “Modern.  Believable.  FUN!” we should be alright.

I’m just glad it’s not another origin story.

Blues Brothers, The TV Series

Apparently John Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi Pisano, and former SNL scribe Anne Beatts have written a TV series set to continue the story of The Blues Brothers. Belushi Pisano has said, “We have scripted it over six to eight shows where they are on a mission down the Mississippi back to New Orleans.” Set to take on the lead roles are the two actors portraying the duo in the touring musical, and as both characters are featured this seems to be set before the second film.

It doesn’t look like the series has been picked up yet and it may never go anywhere. Is there any need for a TV series? Will it have the right mix of music and comedy? Is it too late to cash in on The Blues Brothers? I have no idea.

Odeon, Fanatical About What?

In possibly the last chapter in the tale of Alice in Wonderland‘s UK release Vue has agreed to screen the film, following Cineworld’s lead, while Odeon plans to ban it. The real oddity here is that the film premieres at the Odeon Leicester Square as a fundraiser for The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts. So the Odeon is refusing to show the film… except for that one time. A boycott stops making sense when it’s just you following through, I can only see this as a huge revenue loss for Odeon.

BAFTA Debrief

Despite some horribly received jokes courtesy of Jonathan Ross’ final year hosting, the BAFTA’s turned into a great ceremony where nearly all the awards were given to worthy candidates. Though hopefully next year the BBC will broadcast live so I don’t have to close twitter to remain unspoiled. While the Oscars will no doubt have a more entertaining show the winners are likely to be much more disappointing. Let’s look at who won:

Carl Foreman Award for the Most Promising Newcomer – Duncan Jones for Moon

This was a great start for the night as a very promising new director steps out from his father’s shadow and gave a teary acceptance speech for a much deserved award. Shame this wasn’t kept for later on in the evening when things started to drag.

Best Acheievement in Special Visual Effects/Best Production Design – Avatar

The two awards I have to admit Avatar is entitled to. The film pushed boundaries and the teams looked dead chuffed to win. Cameron remained seated for both awards thank god.

Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds

Yes it was obvious, especially when up again Alec Baldwin in It’s Complicated, and it won’t be his last award but Waltz deserved to win. The only debate is whether he was really a supporting actor or just knew it would be easier to win in that category.

Best Supporting Actress – Mo’Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

She didn’t even turn up to collect the award! I’m sure she was very good but I’d have preferred someone from Up in the Air to win. Poor Anna Kendrick struggled to look happy while Edgar Wright beside her pretended to be Jason Reitman so no one would realise they’re dating.

Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film of the Year – Fish Tank

I have yet to see Fish Tank but it is supposed to be good and I know In the Loop had no real chance. An Education once again was shown to have lost its awards buzz sometime over Christmas.

Orange Rising Star Award – Kristen Stewart

Looks like those Twilight fans have been voting hard. Outside of the vampire franchise Stewart has put in some good performances in films such as Adventureland and Into the Wild and my only concern with her winning is that she is hardly a newcomer, they even showed a clip of her in Panic Room from 2002.

Best Screenplay (Adapted) – Up in the Air: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

I was very surprised and happy with this win though sadly Reitman wasn’t there to collect and Edgar Wright had to give up pretending to not simply being Anna Kendrick’s date. I’d be surprised if same result came out at the Oscars.

Best Animated Feature Film – Up

It was no surprise that Up won but it was a beautiful film. Pixar is so often expected to win in these categories but never has it been so well deserved. I always find the Pixar people slightly too nice and sincere though.

Best Film not in the English Language – Un prophète

Having seen none of the nominees like a true British cinema-goer I have no real opinion apart from to say that I thought Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte would win, for no good reason.

Best Actor – Colin Firth for A Single Man

After a long career Colin Firth has finally become a real actor. He looked very happy and gave the funniest speech of the night. Jeff Bridges will probably get the Oscar but should start to worry a little bit.

Best Actress – Carey Mulligan for An Education

Coming from almost nowhere Mulligan wowed critics and raised awards hopes that had almost disappeared, but with the home advantage she finally won something and was her usual adorable self upon accepting the award.

Best Screenplay (Original)/David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction/Best Film – The Hurt Locker

Winning these three big categories had made me realise I should probably get around to watching The Hurt Locker, a film that looks like it just might deserve the awards it keeps winning. Not sure why they kept calling the film a risk, but they certainly seemed to think it was one.

Academy Fellowship – Vanessa Redgrave

It was sad to see her daughter Natasha Richardson feature in the “In Memoriam” montage but Vanessa Redgrave seemed genuinely honoured to receive her Fellowship. Everyone watching became less and less happy for her though as her speech nearly reached the ten minute mark, an oddly painful way to close the show.

BAFTA Film Awards

Sunday night brings the BAFTA film awards, Britain’s only answer to the Oscars that isn’t a product of ITV’s marketing department. With any luck the BAFTAs will offer up different winners to the American awards as the nominations were certainly more inclusive of smaller films.

An Education and it’s star Carey Mulligan garnered a lot of award buzz last year that has since died down, but with nominations for Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Achievement in Directing and Best Adapted Screenplay it could well finally get a few of the awards it has been promised. Carey Mulligan is definitely one of the biggest contenders for the Orange Rising Star Award. Sally Sparrow for the win!

Personal favourites, and mostly ignored films, from last year were Duncan Jones’ Moon and In the Loop, both now nominated for Outstanding British Film. In The Loop is also up for Best Adapted Screenplay and Duncan Jones for Most Promising Newcomer. A win for any of these nominations is quite possible and would be a real victory for these underrated little gems, it’s just a shame neither Sam Rockwell or Peter Capaldi are nominated.

The final two films I think may fare better this side of the pond are District 9 and Fantastic Mr. Fox, though both probably only retain an outside chance of victory. Nowhere Boy and Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll are getting some of their first nominations outside of the British Independent Film Awards, though probably have little chance of success here.

The four award heavyweights, The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, Inglourious Basterds and Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, have racked up their usual slew of nominations and could easily win in any category without much surprise or effort. While Avatar is also up for a few big awards I don’t see it faring too well as it faces stiff competition from other more worthy films. I could be wrong; Avatar did surprisingly well at the Golden Globes. Fingers crossed at least.

The British Academy Film Awards air on BBC1 from 9pm Sunday 21st February, and the full list of nominees can be found here.

Out Now – 19th February 2010

This not the biggest week for new releases, only one film looks like it might be worth seeing but I’ll let you decide. Read on for a quick run through of the weeks releases.

Crazy Heart

The little independant film that could, Crazy Heart started as a little known film about a washed up country singer and has grown into a critically applauded and generously nominated feature. At first I wrote this off as a mushy, overly sentimental film but my interest has been piqued significantly. My completely blind choice for the week.

The Last Station

A period biopic about Leo Tolstoy that has received moderately good reviews. Said to be more… energetic than your average period piece and featuring a powerful performance from Helen Mirren, if you like that sort of thing.

Solomon Kane

Big, angry, sword filled fantasy about a 16th century soldier who fights the forces of evil to redeem himself after his own soul is damned. Sure to satisfy the fantasy fan in your life.

The Lovely Bones

Peter Jackson’s nearly universally panned adaptation of a popular book about a murdered girl stuck in the in-between. My interest in this film has dropped rapidly over time and if Jackson is to believed we’ve all seen it already anyway. My pick to avoid this week, you’ll only end up disappointed.

Cineworld Drop Alice Boycott

Cineworld have announced that they have reached a compromise with Disney and are going to show Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland despite the earlier DVD release date. The Times “understands” that this is due to a promise from Disney that this will not become the standard for new film releases. The whole mess continues to baffle me as the average consumer doesn’t know when a DVD is going to be released and probably doesn’t care, especially for a 3D film where the cinema offers a much better experience. Other cinema chains are likely to follow suit or lose large audiences to a major rival.