BFI’s The Genius of Hitchcock

As we have briefly mentioned before the BFI is currently running a very exciting series of films down on the Southbank (in London, everyone else keep moving); The Genius of Hitchcock season.

Mirroring London’s theatres celebration of Shakespeare The Genius of Hitchcock season forms part of the London 2012 Festival and aims to celebrate one of Britain’s greatest artists. The justification being that with the Olympic Park situated in Stratford the BFI have chosen to focus on one of East London’s most notable residents (Hitchcock, pay attention). Whatever the reasoning may be the result is all of Hitchcock’s works being shown on the big screen so who are we to argue?

Take a peek at the BFI website and marvel at the array of Hitchcockian delights on offer. The season runs from August to October and tickets for all three months are on sale now.

Hitchcock is a true master and this season offers the opportunity to both see personal favourite (The Birds, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, etc.), catch those classic which have so far escaped you (The 39 Steps, Rope, Dial M for Murder, etc.), and even catch some of his earlier, silent work. Alongside the screening are talks for anyone wanting to truly get their film-geek in full flow for Hitchcock.

Go! Buy tickets! Hitchcock is a genius and whichever of his films you prefer, they are showing it. What more do you want? It’s the perfect way to join in with Olympic fever without ever watching any sport.

Meet Your New Bond Girl…

The London 2012 Opening Ceremony had it all; Kenneth Branagh reading Shakespeare, someone called Tim, a clip from my mum’s favourite film, Mr. Bean (or almost Mr. Bean), the child-catcher and Voldemort being chased off by Mary Poppins, all kinds of visual excitement, and The Queen parachuting into the stadium with James Bond.

If anyone can point me in the right direction for one of those light-up duvets I will never need a bedside light again.

Out Now – 27th July 2012

The Lorax
Dr. Seuss has written many a great book but so often these works are used for evil by film studios. This is a prime example. The Lorax is an animated film with a heavy-handed anti-corporation green message at the same time as having almost 70 corporate and nonprofit sponsors (including an SUV). If your concerns are more with film quality than hypocrisy then let me just tell you that the film’s leads are wholesome singers Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. Ugh.

Searching for Sugar Man (limited release)
An unknown album from an unknown artist became a huge success in South Africa in 1970. In this documentary two South Africans try to uncover who this artist Rodriguez was and what happened to him. According to Wizface on IMDB the film “unfolds a story that cannot be believed by any party. Not the South Africans, nor the filmmakers, or any member of the Rodriquez family.”

El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (limited release)
Poorly reviewed documentary about a restaurant I’ve never heard of. We really are feeling the effects of film distributors afraid to release anything decent while The Dark Knight Rises is still stomping around the cinema.

Woman in a Dressing Gown (limited release)
1957 British drama about a woman (in a dressing gown) dealing with her husband’s infidelity. I love the tagline from the original poster, “Why not a movie about illicit love? It’s real, it happens… and it’s a great picture.” The same argument could be made for a film about rainbows…

Red Desert (limited release)
1964 Italian drama “about a woman struggling to hide her mental illness from her husband while trying to survive in the modern world of cultural neurosis and existential doubt.” If you want to see someone struggling with cultural neuroses and existential doubt I recommend 3eanuts.

The Man Inside (limited release)
British drama that is being released for the first time. A thriller about a young man who channels his aggression into boxing as he tries to distance himself from his father’s gangster past. Gangsters AND boxing, is it Christmas?

Flash Gordon DVD Competition

Next Wednesday Seth MacFarlane’s first feature film, Ted opens in UK cinemas.

Ted tells the loving tale of a magical (and awfully distasteful) bear and his owner John as their everlasting friendship is challenged by John’s fiancée. Packed full of eighties references and MacFarlane’s staple crass humour, John and Ted like three things: skipping work, taking drugs and watching the cult film Flash Gordon.

Originally we were going to keep this DVD for ourselves but the power (“I have the power!” – oh wait, that’s He-Man) of such a good terrible film was too much for us. As such Mild Concern is giving away one Flash Gordon DVD because we’re just so kind to our adoring readers.

For your chance to win this amazing DVD just put your details in the form below.

The competition is open to UK residents only and closes on August 1st which is also when Ted is released nationwide. The winner will be chosen by Ming The Merciless’ facial hair and then notified by email.

The Imposter – Trailer

Last week I went to a slightly surreal screening of The Imposter; I managed to mingle with lead actor Adam O’Brian, sit in front of Jeremy Clarkson, and listen to Jon Ronson plug his own book during the director’s Q&A. The film itself is an incredibly cinematic documentary about a missing child from Texas who turns up in Spain three years after his disappearance but all is not what it seems.

The film is a true thriller; gripping, surprising, and both emotionally and visually stunning. Have a look at the trailer below, this is one documentary worth making the trip to the cinema for.

The Imposter is in cinemas on August 24th 2012 and will be reviewed next week.

Out Now – 20th July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises
It’s the summer movie so big that no other significant release dares to open on the same day. Batman is back! Woooo! Yeah! Batman! For the third and final instalment in Nolan’s trilogy Batman is joined by Tom Hardy as Bane, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman (though never called Catwoman), and most excitingly Joseph Gordon-Levitt as some policeman. It’s dark. It’s gritty. It’s a little bit self-important. It’s Batman. Only one question remains; will Nolan finally use the Batman theme song?


Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap (limited release)
Ice-T directs a documentary on the history of rap. Everyone is involved; Bun B, B-Real, Busy Bee, Grandmaster Caz, Ice Cube, Chuck D, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Big Daddy Kane, Ras Kass, Kool Keith, KRS-One, MC Lyte, Marley Marl, Melle Mel, Q-Tip, Redman, Puerto Rico, Chino XL, Xzibit, Immortal Technique, Baggy Trousers, Flat White, House MD, Green-T, Kumquat, IPATD-256, Lemonhead, and Mild Concern.*

In Your Hands (limited release)
Kristin Scott Thomas continues to star in Frenchy films. This time she is a kidnapped woman who gets a small dose of Stockholm Syndrome. Someone on IMDb says, “you feel that the not untold story anyway is told one too many time.” What more could I possibly say?

Revenge of the Electric Car (limited release)
5+ years ago Chris Paine made the intriguing documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? which looked at the strange events surrounding the death of the electric car as major companies recalled electric models and had them destroyed for no reason other than to maintain oil companies dominance in the fuel market. Now with electric cars back on the rise Chris Paine documents this resurgence and we all feel a little bit less uneasy.

Swandown (limited release)
Documentary following Andrew Kötting and Iain Sinclair as they pedal a plastic swan 160 miles from Hastings to Hackney. Sounds like fun.

Lola Versus (limited release)
Indie flick about a woman called Lola, played by mumblecore queen Greta Gerwig, who breaks up with her fiancé three weeks before her wedding. Reviews aren’t great but what really matters is that the film’s website has an infographic telling you how to survive a break-up. Bookmark it now.

The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best (limited release)
What seems like a three star film in which “a singer-songwriter hits the road with a self-appointed music revolutionary.”

I Am Bruce Lee (limited release)
It’s a documentary about Bruce Lee. Obviously.

Interview with a Hitman (limited release)
“An elite hitman returns to erase his past only to find that somebody has messed with his future.” Sadly I don’t think this involves any time travel. For a film about time travel and assassins we’re going to have to wait for Looper.

*I only made up some of those.

NOW TV Launches (and I Drink Free Cocktails)

On Monday night Mild Concern were invited along to the launch of NOW TV – a new online movie streaming service from Sky. The event included a short presentation, plenty of hands-on access to the new service and lots of food and incredibly strong cocktails. The cocktails will not be the focus of this post but if they were then they would be very positively reviewed.

Launching this week NOW TV allows online access to Sky Movies films on PC, Mac and selected Android smartphones; on iPhone, iPad in the next month, Xbox later this summer and YouView when it launches. From our extensive poking I am happy to say that NOW TV has a pleasing interface and is easy to use. Films are organised by genre and searchable by title, actor, or director. The films played instantly and picture quality was superb, though it should be noted that NOW TV is not available in HD. We did find a bit of an issue when we tried to watch Footloose (1984) but were assured that this was simply down to the fact that the service had yet to launch. Hopefully if you sign up now you will not be denied Kevin Bacon.

So the software works great and the cocktails were nice and strong, but is NOW TV worth your money? What NOW TV seems to be focussing on is its exclusive access to the latest films; there are up to five new and exclusive Sky Movies premieres, at least 12 months before they are available on other online subscription services. The recency of their films seems to have been achieved at a detriment to the range of films on offer. For your £15/month subscription you have unlimited access to over 600 titles. Compare this to Lovefilm with over 6,000 titles for £4.99/month and Netflix with over 1,000 titles for £5.99/month and NOW TV starts to look like a pricey option.

NOW TV is targeting people who do not have Sky but will struggle with being limited to only streaming films currently licensed to the Sky Movies channels and charging triple what their major rivals with wider catalogues are asking for. The good news is that NOW TV offers a ‘pay and play’ service on a longer list of 1,000 films with prices ranging from 99p for classic titles to £3.49 for the latest blockbusters. My suggestion would be to hold off on the £15 subscription and just pay to watch the recent titles you can’t get on a cheaper service elsewhere.

Anyone frustrated by Sky Atlantic buying up all the best American TV should keep an eye on NOW TV as it is set to add content from Sky Sports, Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts and Sky Living. From what I could make out from our chat with the people from Sky through my cocktail haze TV shows will be available both through subscription and again on a ‘pay and play’ basis. What has yet to be decided is how much the addition of TV content will affect subscription costs or how much a single TV series will cost to watch. “We absolutely cannot discuss cost” was something I distinctly remember hearing as I sucked down a lemon and lime flavoured rum-based drink and took a pick and mix bag from a silver tray.

In summary NOW TV is not a service to rush out and sign up to right away but once it has content from Sky Atlantic added to its catalogue then I will definitely be taking a second look. Certainly worth noting that Footloose (1984) is only available through ‘pay and play’ for £1.99 while Footloose (2011) is available through the subscription service.

For more details on NOW TV, please visit:

Cinema Days & Tweet-Friendly Film Reviews – Magic Mike, The Amazing Spider-Man & Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

This article is sponsored by Costa, whose earl grey tea and delicious brownies helped me power through a Cinema Day this weekend.

For those who don’t know, a Cinema Day is a magical time when a person or group of persons (pfft!) venture to the cinema all day to enjoy multiple bouts of projected escapism, babies crying and fat people coughing up half chewed Doritos into the unfortunate person in front’s hair.

I’ve always thought positively of, and preferred, people going to the cinema by themselves. We don’t go to the cinema to have a good chat with our friends (unless you do, in which case I want Alex Pettyfer to straddle you with his spindly legs and put his junk in your face à la his arrogant character in Magic Mike); we go to the cinema to have our eyes opened to new things, to be entertained and enthralled or simply to realize just how much a sombre Steve Carrell dealing with the impending apocalypse makes us want to incessantly sob.

Cinema Days also used to be a very costly event, especially once you take into account the dangerously large number of high calorie snacks you smother yourself with over the day’s run, but then the Cineworld Unlimited Card came along. It really does surprise me that other cinemas don’t offer a similar deal. £15* a month to see as many films as you want?  Genius!

* There are, admittedly, additional charges for 3D films, glasses, IMAX and/or D-Box.

One of my first ever Cinema Days was in 2002. I don’t remember what else I saw that day, but I vividly remember my final film was Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie. I recall as I ran from the auditorium (partly because Nickelback’s ‘Hero’ plays over the film’s credits) I was so pumped, pretending to shoot webbing out of my wrists, kissing imaginary Kirsten Dunsts and swinging around streetlight poles. It’s very comforting to know that cinema (and Cinema Days) can be a constant in our lives as I remember doing the exact same thing coming out of The Amazing Spider-Man – except this time kissing imaginary Emma Stones and thankfully not hearing a note of Nickelback.

Cinema Days are also an excellent opportunity to experiment with watching diverse films and – unless you’re extremely unlucky – you get to go home that day having seen at least one extraordinary film. (As opposed to going out to see one film and it being rubbish, leaving you feeling like you’ve wasted your time.) This weekend I celebrated such diversity by seeing Magic Mike, The Amazing Spider-Man and Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World.

Because three full reviews would be too time consuming for me to write and for you to read after this self-indulgent article I have attached three Twitter-friendly reviews below.

Cinema Days have been and shall remain a staple in my cinema-going ways for a long time to come. Even when I have the whole of London to discover, all-day cinema trips remind me of being a kid in my hometown’s decrepit Odeon, exploring multiple worlds from the comfort of a scraggly chair.

Magic Mike Mini-Review

Channing Tatum, the six foot tall neck and Alex Pettyfer, the greasy-haired mopey nonce show off some exciting striptease moves. At an hour too long, if Steven Soderbergh put as much effort into the film’s plot as he does into putting a sepia filter over every shot Magic Mike might have actually kept me awake in between dances.

The Amazing Spider-Man Mini-Review

There are no emos but there are plenty of hipsters. Tobey’s wimp has been replaced by a confident Garfield, and hyperbole campiness has been replaced by heart and grit. It may rehash but it’s got ample to flash. A strong opening for what could promise to be a great superhero franchise.

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World Mini-Review

Steve Carrell somehow makes Keira Knightley likeable as the two of them attempt to track down loved ones in their final days before the end of all life on Earth. Their tale is consistently hilarious and simultaneously tear-jerking. An extremely powerful film that sucker-punches your heart from start to end.

To read more about the Cineworld Unlimited card click here. To learn more about how much Nickelback sucks click here.