The Muppet Movie – BlogalongaMuppets 1

Like so many things I claim to love my experience of The Muppets is narrower than I realised, particularly when it comes to their earlier work. More familiar with their films of the nineties, when they moved onto film parodies/pastiches, I had never seen The Muppet Movie before I sat down to watch it for BlogalongaMuppets.

What a disappointment.

What little plot The Muppet Movie has revolves around Kermit travelling from his swamp to Hollywood, picking up Muppets along the way and evading capture from an ad man who wants the dancing frog to star in his TV commercial. There’s not a whole lot to grab hold of here, just a few disjointed and underwhelming scenes ties together with lacklustre songs about rainbows and “moving right along”.

The film is at a risk of being a little too meta, with one character forced to catch up on the plot by reading the screenplay. It’s as if we’re supposed to accept the meagre plotting because no one onscreen is pretending that this is a reality.

For a film relying so heavily on an existing knowledge of (and unconditional love for) the Muppets, The Muppet Movie lacks the energy and excitement we fell in love with in the first place. The film isn’t terrible, just not what I had been expecting. It probably doesn’t help that most of the cameos completely passed me by, at 23 am I too young to appreciate The Muppet Movie?

Most damning of all is that Kermit’s journey to Hollywood seemed to change him. Setting off from his swamp the plucky frog just wanted to make people happy, but by the time he reached Hollywood he simply asked to be rich and famous. Maybe this is a deeper film than I first thought, one about how fame and fortune corrupts? Oh Kermit, you should have stayed at the swamp.

Out Now – 30th September 2011

What’s Your Number?
Romantic(?) comedy(?) starring(?) Anna Faris as a woman revisiting her exes to find true love but most likely falls for Chris Evans instead. On the positive side we have Chris Evans, Martin Freeman, Chris Pratt, Joel McHale and Ed Bagley Jr. On the negative side it looks crap.

Forget all that Cannes controversy, even if they are plugging it on the posters, and get excited about a quality art film instead. It’s a relationship drama set at the end of the world, what more do you need?

The Debt
A spy thriller set way back in the late nineties starring Mirren, Wilkinson and Worthington. It promises “startling action and surprising revelations” so be careful out there.

Shark Night 3D
Not nearly as exploitative as the title suggest this Jaws wannabe won’t be nearly as good as the Spielberg classic, nor as fun as Piranha 3D.

Red State
Kevin Smith’s latest is finally with us, bringing a tale of teens kidnapped by fundamentalists. Opinions are split; it is either a return to form or a continued fall from grace. I don’t know, we haven’t seen it. Obviously.

“The film is an action love story of a renegade cop who believes that the only way to eradicate crime is to give criminals the bullet – not handcuffs.” Something tells me he doesn’t play by the rules.

Guilty of Romance (limited release)
Three interlinking stories of women seeking sexual pleasure. Gotta love Japanese cinema.

La Piscine (limited release)
A love triangle leads to disaster in this re-release of late sixties French cinema. POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: Someone probably gets murdered at some point. Also, nudity.

Muran (limited release)
Essentially an Indian remake of Strangers on a Train. Don’t know about you but I’d rather see the Hitchcock version.

Cane Toads: The Conquest (limited release)
“A documentary horror film about the environmental devastation left in the wake of the giant toads’ unstoppable march across Australia.” Documentary horror film? You won’t be able to get to sleep for fear of a toad slowly moving across your bedroom.

The Green Wave (limited release)
“A documentary on Iran’s 2010 Green Revolution.” I have nothing more to add.

Broken Lines (limited release)
Despite being engaged to Olivia Williams, a young man embarks on an affair after losing his father, with a waitress who in turn has a paralysed boyfriend. Sounds angst heavy.

Red White & Blue (limited release)
The lovely Noah Taylor takes a dramatic turn as a violent man who gets involved in the life of Erica, a troubled young lady. Billed as a revenge thriller, don’t expect a happy ending.

The Woman (limited release)
A lawyer decides to try to civilise the last remaining member of a violent tribe not realising this will lead to brutal events including “strong bloody violence, gore and sexual violence”.

The Story of Lovers Rock (limited release)
This documentary about how Lovers Rock music defined a generation in the late 70s and 80s doesn’t even have an IMDb page. How do they expect me to work in these conditions?


The Muppets are a beloved institution, known for their energy, humour and heart. Across the years they have starred in numerous TV series, released albums, made the transition to the big screen and more recently starred in TV movies. Hard to believe their last theatrically released film was way back in 1999. This will of course change when Jason Segel’s The Muppets is released in February 2012.

That is five months away and with six existing films, watching one a month until then is just about feasible. This is why The Movie Evangelist has introduced BlogalongaMuppets. The rules are simple, watch one Muppet film a month, starting in September, until February when it is time to finish off with Muppets in Space and then see The Muppets in the cinema.

Luckily for me this fits in nicely with my plans for Body of Work and I bought the first three Muppet films a few weeks ago, already owning two of the later films. Below is the schedule, wish me luck!

SeptemberThe Muppet Movie
OctoberThe Great Muppet Caper
NovemberThe Muppets Take Manhattan
DecemberThe Muppet Christmas Carol
JanuaryMuppet Treasure Island
FebruaryMuppets from Space
Also FebruaryThe Muppets

Out Now – 29th September 2011

With sixteen films out tomorrow it’s not hard to see why this documentary has snuck out a day early. If nothing else, it earned itself a solo post on this humble blog.

The Boy Mir – Ten Years In Afganistan
Following on from the acclaimed documentary The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan, British film-maker Phil Grabsky returns to document a further 10 years of young Mir’s life as he grows up in Afghanistan, from the age of eight to eighteen . Check out the maths on that.

Introducing… Body of Work

Body of Work is a new feature we’re going to be running here at Mild Concern, or more accurately a new feature consisting of more features consisting of reviews. Welcome to a post about some posts about yet more posts. In Inception, this is me drugging you on a plane.

It has become clear to me that in order to truly understand and appreciate modern cinema, for better or worse, it is important to understand everything that has come before it. How can we judge a remake without knowing what it is remaking?

To better understand the journey of film we can’t just rely on watching The Story of Film: An Odyssey, we need to get our hands dirty.

In Body of Work we will take a director, writer, actor or group of puppets and watch their entire output from start to finish. This will be a lot easier for some subjects than others but should be an enlightening process. You never know, we might uncover a few gems along the way.

We’ll introduce the first Body of Work tomorrow and see where it takes us. If nothing else this is going to be a great way of generating content in slow weeks.

I’ll pop buttons in the sidebar so the progress is easy to follow and the list of subjects will be below as soon as there are some to list.

London Film Festival – The Deep Blue Sea

Just as Rachel Weisz opens the London Film Festival in romantic drama 360, she is closing the festival with former play and romantic drama The Deep Blue Sea. As this is the closing film there is just one screening and it is all sold out. The play isn’t even on anywhere that I can find. Sorry guys, looks like we’ll all have to wait until it is released in November.

In the meantime those intelligent people are back to talk to you about the film. Be nice, smile and we’ll all pretend there’s a chance someone can get tickets to see it.

55th BFI LFF Closing Night Gala: The Deep Blue Sea from BFI on Vimeo.

Out Now – 28th September 2011

There is only one positive thing to say about today’s release, and that is the 2 for 1 theme park entry being used as part of the marketing campaign. Other than that there’s not a lot to say.

Taylor Lautner is the young man who finds himself on a missing persons website and sets out to unravel who he really is. This has been completely panned by critics, my favourite is from Movieline; “An actor goes to put his hand thoughtfully on his chin, it’s so awkward I became afraid he’d somehow miss and poke himself in the eye.”

Sleeping Beauty – Trailer

Sleeping Beauty created quite a bit of chatter at Cannes and is soon to be screening on this side of the Channel. Emily Browning fearlessly plays a young student who takes a job as a Sleeping Beauty. Elderly men pay for the opportunity to spend time with a Sleeping Beauty, doing whatever they like… apart from that. Browning’s character becomes haunted by her new job and develops a desire to know what happens to her while she in unconscious.

The film looks deeply disturbing yet oddly intriguing, similar in this sense to The Skin I Live In. Trailer and poster are below…

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Sleeping Beauty is on general release on 14th October 2011.

Tyrannosaur – Review

Extrapolated from the short film Dog Altogether, Paddy Considine’s directorial debut Tyrannosaur follows the tentative friendship formed between eternally angry and violent Joseph (Peter Mullan), and the tragic charity shop worker Hannah (Olivia Colman).

This is not the uplifting story of redemption you might be expecting, the pair don’t solve each other’s problems. The film is far more raw and honest than that, at no point satisfied with walking the expected path. To say there is a plot twist would make the story seem too gimmicky, let’s just say there is a moment that shocked me and which I couldn’t have seen coming.

Tyrannosaur risks falling into the over-subscribed category of the “gritty british drama” yet somehow elevates itself above that. The film is much more cinematic than your average kitchen sink drama; dark shots with a sharp focus raise the production values above its peers.

While Considine has done a brilliant job directing, the emphasis in Tyrannosaur is most definitely on character. Peter Mullan plays a brilliantly layered and emotionally damaged Joseph, a man so irredeemable in the opening scene and yet ultimately a man who we root for. Olivia Colman is at the top of her game, that slight sadness she sometimes allows to show in her eyes during otherwise comedic performances take centre stage as she rises triumphantly as a dramatic actress. Eddie Marsan also deserves a nod for bringing to life character so hateful the audience is against him before he speaks his first line.

Powerful, brutal and honest. An attention grabbing and emotionally raw feature debut from Paddy Considine. Olivia Colman broke my heart and Peter Mullan terrified me. In the months since I saw this film I haven’t been able to shake its shadow. Superb.

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Out Now – 23rd September 2011

Pray for a rainy weekend as there is a lot to stay indoors and watch this weekend. Forget lazing in the sunshine, now’s the time to get to your local independent cinema and give yourself over to the silver screen.

The first film this week making everyone #gayforgosling is a rarity: an art-house action film. As such this film about a stuntman/getaway driver should please everyone. Can’t wait to set my eyeballs on it.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.
The second film this week making everyone #gayforgosling is a rarity: a romantic comedy the critics like. As such this film about a father’s life unravelling should please everyone. Can’t wait to set my eyeballs on it.

Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times
The title pretty much explains it all. An in-depth, if pretty stale, documentary about the New York Times.

Killer Elite
“When his mentor is taken captive, a retired member of Britain’s Elite Special Air Service is forced into action. His mission: kill three assassins dispatched by their cunning leader.” This rings a bell for some reason….

Jurassic Park
One of cinema’s blockbuster classics gets a digital re-release. Worth it for Goldblum alone.

Soul Surfer
I could have sworn this based-on-a-true-story film about a girl returning to surfing after losing an arm came out years ago. I’d make a crude joke about giving my right arm to see this film, but she lost her left. Shame.

Mademoiselle Chambon (limited release)
A man becomes a substitute teacher at the request of his son’s teacher. In true French fashion he falls in love with her. Parent’s evening is going to be awkward.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil (limited release)
Very promising looking horror comedy featuring funny men Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine and sexy lady Katrina Bowden. Worth a look I reckon.

Newsreel 1 (limited release)
“Newsreel is a series of movies about London. They do not have spoken word or titles. There are sounds of people, songs, streets and rivers, pictures of movement, buildings, performance and prayer.” Blimey.

Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston (limited release)
Documentary about “the clothes, the glamour and the decadence of iconic fashion designer Halston.” Hey look, Billy Joel.

The Tapes (limited release)
“Fame-hungry Gemma asks her boyfriend Danny and his media student mate Nathan to film her Big Brother audition. They hear about a sex party and change course, but soon wish they hadn’t as the party goers turn out to be devil worshippers.” Best. Synopsis. Ever.