Out Now – 30th May 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman
This year’s second film about Snow White, not starring Felicity Jones as once rumoured, is not the wacky comedy of Mirror, Mirror but rather a swords and sorcery adventure movie. Kristen Stewart lends her lip-biting acting to the titular role as one of Disney’s princesses gone medieval alongside Chris Hemsworth with his Thor arms and golden locks. Most excitingly the dwarves are all played by great British actors on their knees. The like of Nick Frost, Bob Hoskins and Ian McShane all get down to waist height in the name of cinema. I think I’ve accidentally made myself want to see this film. Bugger.

Ill Manors – Review

Ill Manors is a tricky film to synopsise. It doesn’t have a single simple plot that is followed throughout but is made up of a series of intertwining stories which interact in surprising and shocking ways. What each story has in common is a grim nature, criminal acts, and a general feeling of sadness lingering in the air. Whether a character is being forced to commit murder, dealing drugs, or selling a woman for sex to the workers at Chicken Cottage for £20 because she may have lost their phone, there is understandably not a smile to be seen.

It would be easy to lump Ill Manors into the gritty-British-street-crime-drama category I normally avoid like the white middle-class guy I am but the film is actually surprisingly complex and shows a remarkable amount of visual flair. Writer and director Ben Drew (Plan B from the Bulmers ads) uses a variety of visual styles throughout, clearly unafraid to experiment in his debut feature. A few uses of what I can only describe as live action stop motion animation are particularly impressive and make scenes of drug taking and violence seem almost childish.

Alongside writing a complex script and directing with a unique eye Ben Drew has also written original songs for the film which act as a form of musical narration and turn the film into what could be called an urban musical. The songs work well for the most part and it is these musical interludes (don’t worry, no characters actually sing onscreen) that allow for Drew to indulge in different visual styles. The songs advance the plot as the film briefly moves into being more music video than feature film. It’s a brave move and is not something I’ve ever seen on the big screen before.

I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the film, I’ll leave that to The Guardian, nor can I say that I enjoyed it in the traditional sense. I left the screening room wishing I’d eaten more of the free pizza feeling whatever the opposite of uplifted is. Where the film and I fell out was my inability to relate to its characters but we can hardly penalise a film for my failure to get embroiled in drugs, gang culture, or prostitution can we?

Ill Manors felt like someone had punched me in the gut but is a very well made gut punch indeed. If you don’t like urban drama then you probably won’t see this anyway, and hasn’t necessarily sold me on this particularly film category, but for my money Ill Manors is a high quality mark for the genre.

Ill Manors is on general release from Wednesday 6th June 2012.

Out Now – 25th May 2012

Men in Black III
You can get bogged down in the fact that this is a threequel to a film released way back in 1997, that the first sequel was pretty terrible, and that it is in the scourge of the decade – 3D. I’d much rather focus on the fact that the film features both Emma Thompson and Jemaine Clement and get a little bit excited.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Five couples having babies experience comedy drama through interconnecting plot stories. It’s the comedy for people at the stage in their life when everyone around them seems to be pregnant. With a cast of thousands (almost) this feels like a pregnant version of He’s Just Not That Into You and that was an awful film.

Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson is back! A bit of a Marmite director, Anderson is either the king of film or an idiot hipster making dull, smug films. I think he is wonderful and can’t wait to see this latest release in which a young boy and girl run away together with a search party in their wake. Guaranteed to be visually pleasing, tightly written, and to have Bill Murray in funky trousers.

Tales Of The Night (limited release)
Six short stories told in a beautiful silhouette animation style. Why not read Kat’s review where she gushes about the visuals, rants about the 3D, and gets annoyed by the “wet” female characters.

Free Men (limited release)
During World War II an Algerian in Paris makes friends with a Jewish man and joins the resistance against the Nazis. Imagine ‘Allo ‘Allo! with some moderate violence.

Barbaric Genius (limited release)
“The remarkable story of John Healy’s rise from wino and street thief to chess master and award-winning author.” Turns out his book was about his time as a wino: the Russell Brand of 1988.

Personal Best (limited release)
Filmed over four years this documentary follows British sprinters as they train and compete with the aim to join the team for the 2012 Olympics. Coming out just before the Olympics this documentary is in danger of lacking an ending.

Win! Tiny Furniture on DVD

Tiny Furniture is an independent comedy drama written, directed by and starring relative newcomer Lena Dunham. Shot in her parents’ home and starring her family and friends, Tiny Furniture is the story of a recent college graduate trying to figure out what to do with her life.

While I have yet to see Tiny Furniture I am a big fan of Dunham’s new TV series Girls, in which she has proven herself to be a fantastic writer, confident director and natural actress. She is one of the least self-conscious performers I’ve seen and certainly doesn’t give herself the most flattering roles. For any hipsters out there, owning Tiny Furniture on DVD is a great investment in your gloating future: “Lena Dunham? I liked her before she was famous. I even have Tiny Furniture on DVD.”

You’re in luck hipsters! We have three copies of Tiny Furniture on DVD to give away to help promote its release on 28th May. To win all you have to do is fill out your details in the form at the bottom of this post and we will pick three random winners on 31st May. This competition is for UK residents only and is not for anyone who currently lives with a Mild Concern writer, you know who you are.

If you need any more convincing here’s one of those trailers we’re so crazy about:

To enter the competition pop your details in here:

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Out Now – 23rd May 2012

Iron Sky (limited release)
In 1945 the Nazis fled to the dark side of the moon to build up a space army. In 2018 the Sarah Palin-inspired US president is seeking re-election and sends two astronauts to the moon who are captured by the Nazis and the moon based anti-Semites turn their attentions to conquering Earth once more. This Finnish-German-Australian production is a crowd funded project made way outside the usual studio system and sounds absolutely insane. For reasons I don’t quite understand Iron Sky is only in cinemas for one day so cancel your plans tonight and watch this independent science-fiction comedy instead.

Skyfall – Teaser Trailer

Give me an evening with nothing to do and the new teaser trailer for Skyfall, James Bond’s 23rd outing, and naturally animated .gifs and videos get made. It is nature’s way. Before indulging me familiarise yourself with the teaser below:

What is the first thing that springs to mind upon watching this trailer? What recent cultural phenomenon has clearly influenced the latest James Bond film? Coronation Street of course! The Weatherfield tram crash has been recreated by Skyfall‘s director Sam Mendes using a tube train and it almost looks as good as the stunt created on an ITV1 budget. If you need side by side animated .gif comparison we have you covered:

The second thing my brain thought upon seeing this teaser was that it simply isn’t centred around Judi Dench enough. I have made my expectations for Skyfall pretty clear and expect much more Dench in the finished film. I have tweaked the trailer a little to better reflect what I hope the final film will be like.

Who doesn’t prefer Judi Dench looking at things to Daniel Craig running around and shooting things? Oh.

Hyde Park on Hudson – Trailer

While we are clearly all film connoisseurs here at Mild Concern and watch all films regardless of their outward appearance and marketing, sometimes seeing a certain bunch of actors in a trailer gets me all excited. (see Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)

To give you an insight into how my brain reacts to this sort of trailer, and the general inane chatter I have to put up with all day long from inside my own head, I have broken down my thought process while watching the trailer for Hyde Park on Hudson, embedded below.

My reaction to the trailer for Hyde Park on Hudson can be broken down as follows:

0:12 – Laura Linney! She’s normally really good in things (and I once saw her making out in Piccadilly Circus). Let’s hope this isn’t one of her annoying roles.
0:16 – Who’s that? I don’t recognise the voice.
0:20 – Bill Murray! I love him in every single film he’s done.
0:26 – Wow, he really doesn’t sound like Bill Murray. I will hopefully get over this soon.
0:40 – Was that Olivia Colman? It probably wasn’t but wouldn’t it be great if it was?
0:49 – King of England? I guess this is King Colin Firth. This is what you get for choosing Geography over History.
0:56 – Olivia Williams too! She was great even in Dollhouse.
1:00 – Nice fake teeth you’re wearing Olivia Williams.
1:04 – It certainly sounds like Olivia Colman. (At this point I start to look up the film on IMDb)
1:14 – It is Olivia Colman. I love Olivia Colman! (And IMDb gets closed)
1:25 – Fantastic awkward wave, very Roger & Val.
1:36 – I like cocktails.
1:40 – “Based on True Events” means I might actually learn something about history. Fantastic.
2:08 – I wonder what Bill Murray was Oscar nominated for?*
2:10 – Bill Murray and Olivia Colman in the same car. Amazing.
2:12 – I wonder what Laura Linney was Oscar nominated for? Presumably not Love Actually.**
2:23 – Excellent use of the film’s title in dialogue. Kudos.
2:29 – When is soon?

* Lost in Translation, of course.
** The Savages, Kinsey and You Can Count on Me. Steady on Linney.

Out Now – 18th May 2012

The Raid
A SWAT team faces off against a mobster’s army of thugs in a tower block. This film is getting a huge amount of buzz and looks to be filled wall to wall with ridiculous action of the highest quality. Probably best to avoid if you are of a delicate disposition. Take your inhaler.

2 Days in New York
In this sequel to 2 Days in Paris the culture clash has moved to New York and Adam Goldberg has been swapped for Chris Rock. If there’s anyone who thrives in romantic comedy dramas set over a specific short time frame it is Julie Delphy.

The Source (limited release)
Women in a small village go on sex strike to encourage their men to fetch water from a distant well. The men react badly rather than doing the sensible thing and simply moving closer to the well and/or withholding their DIY skills to further enforce gender stereotypes.

Even the Rain (limited release)
Set around the production of a film about Christopher Columbus as it is disrupted by protests surrounding the privatisation of the local water supply. Not exactly the most enticing of plots and there’s not even any sex or violence, just some strong language.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (limited release)
Re-release of 1940s drama about, well… the life and death of Colonel Blimp.

If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle (limited release)
A teenager in prison finds love on the inside two weeks before his release. I suggest he shivs a guard to get his stay extended. Anything for love!

She Monkeys (limited release)
Two teenage girls with a fondness for equestrian vaulting share a crush and a relationship filled with physical and psychological challenges.

Elementary – TV Series Trailer

After I gushed over the BBC’s hugely successful and coolly modernised Sherlock Holmes series, Sherlock I thought I should at least write my first thoughts on the little we have seen of US broadcaster, CBS’s upcoming take on the detective: the whimsically titled, Elementary.

There seems to be a lot of hesitation around the series (including from myself) but there is also something infinitely cool about the fact that Johnny Lee Miller, who (in Danny Boyle’s  2011 Frankenstein play) switched between the roles of Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Monster with Benedict Cumberbatch nightly, making this the second time the pair of them will be ‘sharing’ a role.

In the new three-minute preview (below) we don’t seem to be offered anything gobsmackingly revolutionary or particularly interesting, but if one thing is clear it is that Elementary certainly looks like it will be quite different in look and feel from Sherlock.

I don’t know whether to start with the fact that Englishman, Miller’s Sherlock puts on an uncanny impression of David Hyde Pierce (“Niles Crane, Private Detective!”) or that Dr John Watson has sex-changed into Lucy Liu.

Past the quirkiness of Rubik’s Cubing the discovering of corpses whilst cops blather about how amazing the ‘world’s most famous detective is’ it seems evident that the show is going to also heavily revolve around the chemistry and friendship of Holmes and Joan Watson (I see what they did there) – who appear to meet in a rehab centre after Sherlock’s drug problem takes him to New York.

That chemistry between the leads is arguably one of the greatest things about the BBC’s series, with Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch’s ambiguous harmony creating excellent character-driven storytelling. Worryingly, from the trailer alone, sexual tension seems pretty apparent in Elementary. Hmm, I spy my first major qualm with the show. I don’t oppose to romantic interests in Sherlock Holmes tales, just romantic interests in Sherlock Holmes tales who aren’t Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch.

From the trailer CBS’s Sherlock Holmes looks and feels more human and therefore potentially more vulnerable than the BBC’s which could allow for some great drama if he isn’t going to always remain in a Cumberbatch-bubble of non-existent emotion. Elementary has stuck with an English Sherlock but seems to have changed just about everything else so I am ready to give it a fair chance. In all the Sherlock hype at the moment it is a shame that FOX’s long-running television series, Sherlock Holmes M.D. ends next next week, too.

Anyway, never mind my rubbish opinion, watch the trailer and decide for yourself:

Piranha 3DD – Film Review

Any film that involves a piranha swimming into a woman’s lady-parts (making an excellent ‘pop’ noise as it does so) and waits patiently for a number of days for the first chance it gets to bite a man’s hoo-hah off is a good film in my book*. Yes, the Piranha franchise is back with Piranha 3DD! Do you get it? They added the second ‘D’ because on top of the three dimensions the film is in, the producers are word-playing on the fact that there is a lot of screen time for boobs too! Those comedians.

With a completely plausible and serious plot, Piranha 3DD focuses on the tragic events of what happens when a North American town is plagued by prehistoric piranha (erupting from a dead, farting cow this time around) that have managed to navigate their way through man-made pipe systems into a stripper themed waterpark named … ‘Big Wet’. Oh my.

Seriously though, gratuitous reels of naked ladies aside, Piranha 3DD genuinely does manage to form a semi-decent plot, helped massively by a likeable cast led by Danielle Panabaker and Matt Bush (who, for the record, aren’t big-boobed and dripping wet). Sure, on the whole it might be the dumbest thing ever released [this month] but where else do we get to watch Christopher Lloyd champion “laughing diarrhoea baby” on Youtube, David Hasselhoff jiggle his own double D’s or enjoy a legless Marcellus Wallace cry like a baby in a baby pool? There is nowhere else for such absurdity! So just make do with this incredibly stupid but highly entertaining pornographic drama and enjoy it for what it is: an incredibly stupid but highly entertaining pornographic drama.

Additionally, as an advocate of 2D films I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t find ‘Piranha 2DD’ anywhere, but the 3D gets the job done well enough (it was filmed entirely in the format, unlike its predecessor) so I cannot really offer up any real complaints on that front.

Piranha 3DD is a ridiculous and heart-warming (you tell me Paul Sheer and Ving Rhames don’t have chemistry) waterslide of fun that will be keeping cinemagoers out of Stripper Waterparks for a long time. Funny, inane and with quotable dialogue to rival Anchorman, Piranha 3DD is too stupid to miss. Seeing The Avengers tonight? Get yourself to this instead, dummy!

*-If it’s in the trailer, it’s not a spoiler, you Negative Nancy.

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