Out Now – 30th March 2012

Wrath of the Titans
Those pesky titans are back and this time they’re filled with wrath. I have no idea what happened in Clash of the Titans nor do I remotely understand the plot of this sequel. We can only hope that Liam Neeson gets a line half as good as in the previous film. Now it’s time to have a debate in your office over how you pronounce “wrath”.

StreetDance 2
If there was ever a franchise I understood less than Titans it would be this one about street dancers. All I know is that people dance at each other in a competitive fashion. That and Liam Neeson is sadly absent from the cast.

Into The Abyss: A Tale Of Death, A Tale Of Life (limited release)
Werner Herzog’s latest is a chilling documentary about a triple murder, the victim’s family, the men convicted of the crime and those who must execute them. I caught this at last year’s London Film Festival and described it as thought-provoking and easily the best documentary of the festival.

Tiny Furniture (limited release)
Quirky comedy about a recent graduate forced to move back home while she sorts her life out. Quirky.

Bonsái (limited release)
“A young writer recounts an earlier romance in hopes of attracting his new love interest.” Let’s hope the woman he is wooing doesn’t mind him talking incessantly about his ex.

The Island President (limited release)
Documentary about President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives and his fight to keep the islands from disappearing under the sea. I guess moving isn’t an option?

Babycall (limited release)
Noomi Rapace (the original girl with the dragon tattoo) plays a beaten wife seeking refuge with her son who starts to pick up sounds of a child in trouble on her baby monitor (or babycall).

Corpo celeste (limited release)
“Thirteen year-old Marta has recently moved back to southern Italy with her mother and older sister and struggles to find her place, restlessly testing the boundaries of an unfamiliar city and the catechism of the Catholic church.”

The Emperor and the White Snake (limited release)
“Action director Ching Siu-Tung helms this fantasy film based on an old Chinese legend about an herbalist who falls in love with a thousand-year-old White Snake disguised as a woman. Jet Li stars as a sorcerer who discovers her true identity and battles to save the man’s soul.”

Breaking Wind (London only)
If Vampires Suck wasn’t enough Twilight satire for you here’s a second parody film to sink your teeth into. SINK YOUR TEETH INTO! LMFAO!!

Switch (London only)
IMDb helpfully has a synopsis translated into English from the French Wikipedia entry by Jamy_Kayleigh. Good old Jamy_Kayleigh. More exciting than this (imagine!) is that Eric Cantona co-stars.

This Is Not a Film (London West End only)
Smuggled out of Iran in a cake this documentary was made by Iranian director Jafar Panahi whilst under house arrest and having been banned from making films until 2030. The film follows a day in the life of Panahi as he films himself not making films.

Guess where in this post I became so exhausted by the number of films and gave up writing anything of interest.

Safety Not Guaranteed – Trailer

As re-watching all of Battlestar Galactica has stolen all of my valuable blogging time, allow me to plug the gap with a trailer.

Safety Not Guaranteed is adapted from a wanted ad and internet sensation. You can read all about this particular meme over at KnowYourMeme.com but I have shamelessly stolen the ad itself and placed it below:

The film follows three journalists investigating the man behind the ad and is exciting for the following reasons:

    • Aubrey Plaza – Scott Pilgrim and Parks and Recreation actress finally gets a leading role
    • Jake M. Johnson – A harmless version of Mark Ruffalo who gets bonus points simply for sharing screen-time with Zooey Deschanel in New Girl
    • Time Travel – Whether it happens or not time travel is always a draw
    • Time Travel (again) – If they do actually manage to time travel this could well be some Heavy-Knitwear-Science-Fiction, more on that next week.

And now for the actual trailer because that’s what you want to see and I have to do some work now:

Out Now – 28th March 2012

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
Ooh a lovely bit of claymation from Aardman. It is your duty as a Brit to see this family comedy about a pirate captain struggling to win the coveted Pirate of the Year Award who teams up with Charles Darwin to win the Scientist of the Year Award instead. The voice cast is groaning with British talent including Hugh Grant, David Tennant, Russell Tovey, Brendan Gleeson, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton and Lenny Henry (I ran out of names at the end there). It may be a U certificate film but the BBFC promises “very mild language, violence, threat and innuendo”. I love a bit of innuendo.

The Cabin in the Woods – Review

I have a film theory degree so I should probably be able to form actual words about that, but, holy shit.

The Cabin on the Woods is released on Friday 13th April 2012

Special guest review courtesy of Rach from nph-fan.com

Titanic Real-Time Review – Television Review

Do we really need another of these? Mad Men, why did you have to go and win all those awards? And then you too, Downton Abbey? These days we can’t move for 50s midwives, 60s flight attendants and even time-travelling prison inmates from the past. So who wouldn’t want to go back for a two hundredth re-telling of the Titanic story in full period drama awesomeness?

After all, this year is the 100th anniversary of the tragedy so naturally every living soul on the planet now feels obliged to open their heart once more to the sad tale. All those lives lost when the unsinkable became sinkable, and all those dollars earned when sinkable became the profitable (you make up a better rhyme, then!) as James Cameron gets ready to earn another billion dollars when he re-releases his 1997 movie in time to celebrate all that tragic death once again (IN 3-D!!).

Of course, we Brits wouldn’t want Jim to have all the attention so to challenge him is hot property in America right now, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, who has penned a new four-part miniseries about the legendary doomed voyage to air over the next four Sundays. (With the final episode airing on the night of the actual ship’s demise – grim.)

In turn, we here at Mild Concern don’t want to take such drama too seriously lest we succumb to actually enjoying one of these period shows that are all the rage right now, but just so that you know what you may (or may not be) missing out on I am here to take you through the show minute-by-minute (depending on how much it enthralls). I’ve got my measuring jug full of caviar (you’ve got to mix the posh with the poor to mirror the uniting of the inevitably contrasted characters in the show, obviously) and a watered down sherry on the rocks so let’s get this boat on the road… or sea, whichever, really.

Reviewing begins after the jump.

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Out Now – 23rd March 2012

The Hunger Games
It’s the new teen literature film adaptation franchise hoping to charm money from our pockets and get us all giddy about a fantastical world where good struggles against evil. In a dystopian future each year 12 young people are selected to fight to the death for the amusement of everyone else. Kat liked the film calling it “solid and well-made, it’s a satisfying couple of hours of entertainment but it doesn’t stay with you”. If you want to chat to/up a young person make sure you see this.

Act Of Valour
Film about Navy SEALS trying to recover a kidnapped CIA agent. They are making a big deal about having used real Navy SEALS to play the characters but honestly I’d have preferred it if they had used real seals instead. See image above for an idea of what this film would be like.

Wild Bill
Dexter Fletcher (Press Gang/Hotel Babylon/that one time I saw him in Leicester Square) makes his directorial debut with a gritty British drama about a man coming out of prison, having to become a dad and struggling to avoid his old life of crime. With 100% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes they might want to get a better poster or people (OK me) are likely to underestimate it.

The Kid with a Bike (limited release)
Foreign film I want to see alert! A young boy abandoned by his father hunts down one last symbolic link to his father, his bike. He also starts an unlikely friendship (yes, another one of those) with a hairdresser. Clearly I have no real grasp of the plot, something I hope to rectify by actually seeing the film.

Wallace and Gromit – British by Government Order

I’m wading into political territory again so am going to be treading very carefully to avoid highlighting my ignorance about things like “budget”, “tax credits”, or “things that happened yesterday”.

Yesterday George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer and owner of a villainous face) announced the Budget for 2012, a budget so important it starts with a capital letter. Whether this Budget is a good Budget/budget or not is for people with a better grasp on the contents of that red briefcase than me. What caught my attention was the introduction of tax credits for TV production in the UK.

Obviously anything being filmed in the UK is exciting news as there’s always the chance that I will stumble across something being filmed while ambling through London. But more interestingly is the reason Osborne cited for introducing the credit:

“It is the determined policy of this Government to keep Wallace and Gromit exactly where they are.”

Nice to know that our plasticine pals won’t be bailing from Bristol and that the Government is keeping a close eye on the duo. Clearly Osborne backed it up with other reasons, which you can read over at the BBC, but the fact remains clear; the MPs bloody love a bit of Aardman Animation and can’t wait to see what Wallace and Gromit get up to next. Bless.

Can’t wait for the Government to order an enquiry called “Whatever Happened to the Wombles?” or “Is There Room for Bagpuss in the 21st Century?”. Fingers crossed they forcibly bring back A Bit of Fry & Laurie, I miss those crazy kids.

The Hunger Games – Review

Having fought off my fellow contributors for the opportunity to review the adaptation of one of the most addictive Young Adult novels in recent memory, I then worried that I’d be forced to say it was tripe. But no! Against all expectations, The Hunger Games is a Good Film. If that’s not enough, carry on reading.

For those not up to date on the latest teen literary phenomenon, The Hunger Games takes place in the dystopian future Panem, where North America currently is. After putting down an uprising in the country’s 12 districts, the ruling Capitol devised the Games as a way of reminding those pesky workers what happens when they get a bit uppity and forget their place. Each year every district, excepting the Capitol itself of course, is required to send one boy and one girl along to a fight to the death. The last standing is then showered in riches to pay for their lifetime of therapy.

We join the action as Katniss Everdeen prepares her little sister, Primrose, for the lottery to pick District 12’s representatives. She assures the youngest Everdeen that as it’s her first time in the pool there’s no way Prim could possibly be picked. I assume you see where this is going. As a result, Katniss immediately steps up to take her sister’s place.

Both uncommunicative and frequently alone, Katniss lacks a lot of dialogue. Yet, she’s brilliantly portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, who carries the film with confidence. She also does a good line in fake smiles – in most reviews, that comment would be a negative but not when playing unsociable Katniss.

For a film about 24 teenagers trying to slaughter each other, there is horror to be had but its 12A rating has sapped some of the punch. The handheld shaky cam does add tension to the hunt and the sound editing was excellent but when a wimp like me is able to sit through that much death without looking away, there’s something missing. This is particularly glaring when, in order to explain why we should be scared of a situation, the action is sometimes forced to pause for some exposition from the commentators.

I’ll reiterate, The Hunger Games is a good film: entertaining, engrossing and emotional without being manipulative. The adaptation is well-judged, the script zips along at pace and as such, it stands on its own two feet – no extra-curricular reading required. Purists expecting Madge to appear or any back story to the Avox girl should probably just stick to the books. Solid and well-made, it’s a satisfying couple of hours of entertainment but it doesn’t stay with you. Instead of dwelling on the cruelty of the Capitol’s rule, or the barbaric actions of some of the kids, I left the cinema puzzling over something I had noticed in the closing credits: There were snake wranglers? When in the film were there snakes?

4 stars = Rather Pleased

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I Think You May Be Allergic to Something

Rian Johnson (director of the stylish Brick and the stylish but flawed Brothers Bloom) is soon to be back in cinemas with his third film Looper. In Looper Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an assassin tasked with killing targets sent back from the future – the logic being that if you kill them in the past there’s no victim to be found. One day Gordon-Levitt recognises one of his targets as the future version of himself (as played by Bruce Willis) and plenty of running and jumping ensues.

With Rian Johnson at the helm Looper is sure to have plenty of visual flair and who can resist some time travel based fun? The first trailer will be with us in a few days and over the weekend the first images of Joseph Gordon-Levitt have appeared. Interestingly, he’s wearing prosthetics to make him look more like a younger Bruce Willis. A wise move or a crime against his face?

Click the images below to enlarge.

Looper is out in the UK on 28th September 2012 and had better be amazing or I’ll cry.

Out Now – 16th March 2012

21 Jump Street
A surprisingly well reviewed remake of the late 80s Johnny Depp comedy about cops sent undercover in a high school. A comedy remake starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum with a score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, who’d have thunk it?

We Bought a Zoo
Cameron Crowe finally returns from seven years of pretending that Elizabethtown never happened with a family friendly film about a family who buy a zoo complete with its own Scarlett Johansson. Coming from the man behind Almost Famous this is a little underwhelming.

“To protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord, a former smuggler heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills.” It sounds like a terrible idea to me but then this film stars Mark Wahlberg – a man who thought The Happening was a good idea (Zooey Deschanel was clearly tricked).

The Devil Inside
Fake documentary about a woman investigating exorcisms after her Mother kills three people while being… exorcised(?). This film having been universally panned by critics you’d be better off seeing The Last Exorcism for your fake-documentary-about-exorcism needs.

In Darkness (limited release)
A film I have seen and liked! Jews hide from Nazis in the sewers of a Polish city in a film I described as powerful, dark and ultimately beautiful. I also called it long and Polish but there we go.

Bill Cunningham New York (limited release)
I don’t know much about Bill Cunningham, noted veteran New York City fashion photographer, beyond the fact that he is eternally moving in a particularly snazzy animated gif. Anything else you need to know… go see this documentary and stop bugging me.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (limited release)
A group of men go out looking for a dead body on the Anatolian steppe. I have no idea why, Google it yourself. I don’t even know what the Anatolian steppe is. I don’t even know what a steppe is. State school education has failed me.

How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire (limited release)
Bizarrely niche how-to guide or documentary following film director Dan Edelstyn as he tries to relaunch his great grandfather’s vodka empire.