Out Now – 8th March 2013

The Wizard of Oz The Great and Powerful

Jason Statham, J-Lo, and Michael Chiklis star in a film about a thief who is double-crossed and so decides to double-cross those who trespassed against him. One of the IMDb plot keywords is “broken rib” putting it in the same category as films like The English Patient and… the pilot episode of Burn Notice. Stirring.

Oz the Great and Powerful
James Franco stars in this Sam Raimi-directed prequel in which we see how the wizard came to Oz and how the wicked witch became wicked. This is no relation to that stage musical you may have heard of. They are both set before The Wizard of Oz but differ in how they set it up. In fact I think it is important for fans of either one to pick sides and possibly fight.

The Guilt Trip
If you hate your mother you might consider taking her to see this road trip comedy about a mother and son starring Seth Rogan and Barbra Streisand. I don’t hate my mother and don’t even hate myself enough to want to sit through this film.

Side Effects
Steven Soderbergh allegedly finishes his diverse film career with a psychological thriller about a woman experiencing some bad side effects (it’s the name of the movie) when taking medication. Expect to see him skulking around your TV sometime soon.

Robot & Frank (limited release)
A possible bit of HeKniSciFi as an OAP in the near future forms a friendship with his robot health assistant. Kat called the film “a gentle and enjoyable film that’s easy to get lost in for 90 minutes – it’s left me feeling really quite affectionate about it”.

Fire With Fire (limited release)
Action crime drama starring a slightly bored looking Bruce Willis. You can’t help but feel like Bruce would like to do more Moonrise Kingdoms and Loopers and less mindless action fare.

Broken (limited release)
Tim Roth stars in a film I keep hearing about. He is the father of a young girl who witnesses a violent attack. Expect to cry.

Babeldom (limited release)
“Against the backdrop of a city of the future, a portrait is assembled from film shot in modern cities all around the world and collected from the most recent research in science, technology and architecture. This exceptional documentary is a one-of-a-kind poetic treaty discussing the concept of the city.” So says the ICA, the artiest cinema in London I dare visit.

Gelmeyen Bahar (limited release)
Turkish film with very little information online in English. All I can find out is that the film is in colour and daren’t presume that it will even have subtitles.

Verity’s Summer (limited release)
British drama about a family dealing with the aftermath of a man’s actions while at war in Iraq.

The Princess Bride (limited re-release)
I don’t know where or when but somewhere and sometime this week one of the greatest comedies of all time will be back on the big screen. Go see it and have yourself a good old-fashioned LOL. YOLO after all.

Robot & Frank – LFF Review

Robot and Frank

In the near future, Frank (Frank Langella) is an elderly ex-jewel thief, long-divorced, living alone after having done significant jail time and what he is losing in memory, he is gaining in grumpiness. His one activity consists of walking into town where he exchanges books at the library and is apparently the only patron. He also chats with Jennifer the librarian (Susan Sarandon), the sole friendly presence in the town, but is alternately charming and confused during their conversations. His grown-up children are becoming increasingly concerned about his well-being, and while Madison (Liv Tyler) is doing good in Turkmenistan so can only call home when there’s a decent network connection, Hunter (James Marsden) drives the ten hour round trip once a week to check up on his father – missing out on spending time with his own kids in the process.

Weary of the ritual and aware his dad needs more help than he can give, Hunter buys Frank a robot health assistant, much to Frank’s disgust. However, eventually Frank realises the robot (sporting a perfectly pitched voice courtesy of Peter Sarsgaard) has more uses than enforcing a healthy diet on him and so begins an unlikely friendship… that is, if such a thing is possible.

This film, the debut feature from director Jake Schreier and writer Christopher D. Ford, does broach the question of what constitutes “being alive” but fails to challenge the viewer anywhere near as much as it could. Instead, what the makers have achieved is a sweet, funny and sad portrait of ageing and how it affects not just the ager but also those around them. Running in tandem are the heist aspects of the film, as Frank returns to his old profession, which are smartly scripted and while no Ocean’s Eleven, are fun to see. But it’s also touched on how Frank’s “work” and his commitment to it affected his family life in the past and how they colour his relationships in the present.

Frank Langella is wonderful in his portrayal of a man who drifts from sharply able to confused and forgetful and while his children can sometimes seem a little two dimensional, they’re capable of surprising you too. Susan Sarandon is an absolute picture of patience, while Jeremy Strong is entertainingly ridiculous as the yuppie neighbour who’s “re-imagining the library experience”. With a suitably soft colour palette, this is a gentle and enjoyable film that’s easy to get lost in for 90 minutes – it’s left me feeling really quite affectionate about it. I also like how Frank’s adult children have popular names of babies today, it’s not hard to imagine us all with robot assistants in a few decades – just stay for the credits and see examples of what real robots today are doing.

All the screenings of Robot & Frank are now over but happily, it has an expected release date of 8th March 2013.

4 Stars Rather Pleased

56th BFI London Film Festival

And we’re off! The 56th BFI London Film Festival is in full swing and as is tradition Mild Concern will be turning into full festival mode for at least the next week. Armed with a press pass, a week’s holiday, and a small amount of disposal income we will be watching as many films as we can in an effort to breach the 30 film mark having successfully reviewed over 20 films last year.

To help make this deluge of reviews more manageable links to all the films we’ve watched will be placed below in a beautiful wall of hyperlinked images. Have a click around, it does wonders for our stats.

Films reviewed:

The SessionsHyde Park on Hudson

56th BFI London Film Festival Line-up Announced

It’s that time of year again. Yesterday was the line-up for the 56th BFI London Film Festival was announced. The festival runs from 10th – 21st October 2012 and we will be covering it more than you could possibly want. I will be trying to beat my personal record of 20 festival films and living off Starbucks and quiet cinema snacks for a week.

The full list of films can be seen on the BFI website but who needs that when below is my initial pick of films that might be worth a look along with a five word summary for each. It may not be comprehensive but this list is at least alphabetical:

The Body Corpse goes missing. Hitchcockian thriller

Celeste and Jesse Forever Can exes become best friends?

Frankenweenie Tim Burton animation – re-animated dog

Hyde Park on Hudson Bill Murray is Franklin Roosevelt

Kelly + Victor Passionate and transgressive love affair

Kiss of the Damned Estranged contemporary vampire sisters reunite

Love Story Documentary/fiction blur for love

My Amityville Horror Exploring the truth about Amityville

Paradise: Love Middle-aged sex tourism in Kenya

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology Documentary essay on cinema’s ideologies

The Road: A Story of Life and Death Stories of London’s many immigrants

Robot and Frank Jewel thief and robot butler

Room 237 What does The Shining mean?

The Sessions Iron lung hires sex surrogate

Seven Psychopaths In Bruges in Los Angeles

Sightseers Perfect holiday: caravanning and murder

West of Memphis Documentary about teens killing kids