Out Now – 3rd August 2012

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
The third film in the Wimpy Kid trilogy is a lot like The Dark Knight Rises in that it follows a young boy whose plans for summer go wrong so he has to figure out what to do with his school break. For those that haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises this is what Bane’s motivation turned out to be. (I think that’s what he said, that mask made him hard to hear.)

Sound Of My Voice (limited release)
Stephen called this a “remarkably powerful film full of emotional and dramatic epiphanies.” Made by them lot what did Another Earth which just so happens to be the 10th best film of 2011. According to me. And I should know. I write a film blog! A FILM BLOG!

Eames: The Architect & The Painter (limited release)
Hey kids! The film you’ve been waiting for all year is finally here! A documentary about Charles and Ray Eames, America’s most influential and important industrial designers! (Kids like industrial design right?)

The Flowers of War (limited release)
That lovely Christian Bale fella is in a film as a westerner pretending to be a priest in Japan trying to lead some women in a church in 1937 to safety. Hopefully they haven’t handled the plot as badly as I just did in that sentence.

Leave It On The Floor (limited release)
This is one of a few film this year that I could have seen before release if I were slightly more efficient at responding to emails. Instead I will simply copy and paste from IMDb and pretend that it counts as good blogging. “Set in the ballroom world originally memorialized by the documentary Paris Is Burning, Leave It on the Floor is an original musical set in the scene in Los Angeles 2011.”

London: The Modern Babylon (limited release)
No synopsis on IMDb so I will just leave you with the musings of an IMDB-er. No one has replied yet so go ahead, make his day.

The Reverend (limited release)
The sole picture on IMDb is a man on fire. SOLD!

A Simple Life (limited release)
Now I’m starting to feel bad. We were invited to see this film at least three times. Bad blogger. “After suffering a stroke, an altruistic maid announces that she wants to quit her job and move into an old people’s home.”

Undefeated (limited release)
A documentary about an American football team means only one thing… Pre-judge! Run away!

Sound Of My Voice – Film Review

The only qualm I have with Zal Batmanglij (yes, the director’s name is Batman!) and Brit Marling’s film Sound Of My Voice is that its title is missing a ‘the’; the feeling that I am beginning a sentence halfway through makes me uncomfortable. But then, how apt that the film’s title seemingly leaves bits out and makes me feel off since that’s exactly what Sound Of My Voice does as a film.

Brit Marling is Maggie; a prophet to some, a cult leader to others. She is a hidden enigma that professes to be from the year 2054 and is here to, well, she plays her cards pretty close to her chest so we’re not really sure what her plan is. All we know is that the followers that she is amassing include Peter (Christopher Denhem) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius) who have infiltrated the group to exploit it as the cult-scam they believe it is. Though, as they grow to be one with the group the pair slowly forget why they joined Maggie’s sect, and the line between investigator and disciple blurs.

Although its protagonist/antagonist (Sound Of My Voice can be delightfully ambiguous) claims to be a time traveller the film remains very grounded; exploring a more human drama that focuses on the dilemmas its characters are going through emotionally than on Austrian bodybuilders with a proclivity for nudity and cool one-liners – though, Marling occasionally does dress down and sing popular songs from the 90s.

Marling and Batmanglij don’t stop at their characters when it comes to Cult Counselling 101 either. Through its quiet, minimalist style and absorbing tone the rituals and activities that Maggie asks of her followers are often just as effective on the audience as they are on Peter and Lorna. When Maggie asks her supporters to close their eyes and imagine being a child you feel yourself joining in as you enter the same state of longing as those acting on Maggie’s whim. This immersive style is fun for the most part until one particular activity crops up which (for cleanliness reasons) involves placing a plastic sheet on the floor. Whilst I am certain that Batmanglij and Marling have created the next step in immersive cinema (5D!) I’m not so certain that cinemas will like the cleanup that may come after the audience’s involuntary participation.*

Sound Of My Voice is a well-chaptered and remarkably powerful film full of emotional and dramatic epiphanies that will have you glued to your seat even when the credits roll. A [maybe] sci-fi, pyschological drama that is filled with crisscrossing ideas about divinity and the power of persuasion that impresses far more than most films so far this year.

Although it leaves you with plenty of questions, Sound Of My Voice gives you the tools for some very thoughtful after-film debates and a burning desire to know where its cast and crew will go next.

Sound Of My Voice will be in UK cinemas on 3rd August 2012.

*If this isn’t exactly clear – I am referencing a scene in which the group decides to purge their negativity by putting a finger down their throat. Cue the Mexican wave of sick in the cinema hall.