Out Now – 14th October 2011

Her from Downton Abbey plays a rebellious aspiring novelist who corrupts a sweet young girl, played by our favourite chipmunk-faced* actress Felicity Jones, and sleeps with her father. Someone whose opinion I respect wasn’t exactly bowled over by the film, but when Ms Jones is involved I can’t resist.

Dolphin Tale
From the one sentence I’ve read about this film it sounds like Free Willy with a slightly smaller mammal at the centre of the story. An 82% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes suggests this may be better than I expect, film snob that I am.

First Night
Richard E. Grant starring in a romantic comedy about an amateur opera singer. WARNING: Also includes Sarah Brightman, last seen terrifying everyone at the 2008 Olympics.

Kevin Bacon Kenny Wormald and John Lithgow Dennis Quaid star in one of my most loved feared films of all time. The soundtrack will have you belting out classics for days longing for simpler, Kenny Loggins-filled, times. This is one film which has had a huge impact on popular culture my sanity of late.

Real Steel
This is one odd family film, perfect if you’ve ever wanted to sit down with the kids and cheer on Hugh Jackman as he beats up a bull using a giant robot for petty cash. Marvel as robots fight each other and your minds wanders trying to remember all the random roles Hope Davis has played.

Sleeping Beauty
It was claimed that Emily Browning’s short skirts in Sucker Punch were exploitative (and probably were), but now she’s getting it all out it is considered art. That’s the beauty of cinema! I understand the need to distance yourself from earlier childhood roles but it would be nice to see her in a film where her character isn’t sexually exploited by anyone. Hey look, a trailer.

Texas Killing Fields
“In the Texas bayous, a local homicide detective teams up with a cop from New York City to investigate a series of unsolved murders.” Nothing too exciting here though it does co-star Chloë Grace Moretz who uses stronger profanity with each film she appears in. Having used the C-word already she may need some inspiration, how about “ginger bottom” courtesy of the Foul-O-Matic?

Amélie (limited release)
A rare French film in that it somehow became relatively mainstream in Britain. It doesn’t hurt that Audrey Tautou is adorable and the film looks gorgeous, and surprisingly yellow. I recommend seeing this modern classic on the big screen if you haven’t already.

Everything Must Go (limited release)
A movie so good we reviewed it twice. Not the crazy comedy you might expect from Will Ferrell, instead a more sedate affair as a man struggles with alcoholism while forced to live on his own front lawn. Includes a token “unlikely friendship” between Ferrell and a young boy.

Retreat (limited release)
“Kate and Martin escape from personal tragedy to an island retreat. Cut off from the outside world, their attempts to recover are shattered when a Man is washed ashore, with news of airborne killer disease that is sweeping through Europe.” You might think being trapped on an island retreat would be a pleasant experience but wait… they’re in SCOTLAND!

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (limited release)
Watch Morgan Spurlock try to raise funds for this very film through sponsorship and product placement deals as the world of advertising within films is supposedly revealed in full. Intriguing but perhaps a little self involved?

*And I say that with all the love and respect in the world.

Sundance Sales

Martha Marcy May Marlene

We didn’t spend the whole ten days of Sundance jealously scrounging for news while stuck in an airless office in grey London. Not at all. But now that the only thing Park City has to look forward to is sub-zero temperatures and a whole lot of snow (ha! Take that, Utah!), Mild Concern sorts through the film sales and picks out the ones to watch out for when some studio exec decides they can see the light of day. (We’re still waiting for Hesher from last year’s Sundance.)

Sundance was a strong festival for Mild Concern favourites. First up (and previously teased): Like Crazy – the long distance relationship drama starring Anton Yelchin and, more importantly, Felicity Jones. We do like to see all this buzz around our fellow East London resident. Don’t forget us when you’re a Hollywood starlet, Felicity.

Having already peeked at the next tip due to this blog’s stalking casual interest in the roles of Ms. Deschanel, My Idiot Brother stars Paul Rudd as a pot-dealing idealist who disrupts the lives of his three sisters in what is hopefully a non-bromance film. At last!

Tired of seeing Paul Bettany wasted in bad films? Or period dramas? Or as English villains? Or as a disembodied voice at the beck and call of Robert Downey Jr? Well how about seeing how he does as a banker? Or at least, Margin Call is set in an investment bank during 24 hours in the financial crisis so we might be extrapolating a bit. It’s a thriller, really! Also looking to enthrall you with numbers and graphs is writer-director newcomer, J.C. Chandor and the combined acting force of Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci and President of the Earth, Mary McDonnell.

From an established cast of big names to Homework. Billed as a ‘coming-of-age romantic comedy’, it can only be filled with actors that make me show my age when I ask, “Wait – aren’t they 10 years old?” Case in point: little Charlie of Chocolate Factory fame (Freddie Highmore) and blonde starlet, Emma Roberts, who I haven’t seen in anything since she was 10. It’s got a lot of buzz and has an indie poster. It even has music from The Shins.

Does having celebrity older siblings who have demonstrated how to have a car crash of a youth acting career make you more likely to go about having a similar career in a more sensible manner? That’s probably a question that requires more research (and better editing) but if we take a sample size of one and make that one person Elizabeth Olsen, then the answer is yes. I am weirdly excited about Martha Marcy May Marlene, which stars Olsen as an escapee from a cult and tracks between her time there and her failing attempts to re-assimilate back into her life. Sounds like the girl has made some good choices; just make sure you finish that Psychology degree, Elizabeth – hey, it worked for Portman.

Every time we hear about good stuff that the UK Film Council has done, we get a little sinking feeling because we worry for its future. The Guard, starring Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson, inspires that sinking feeling. Drug smuggling, FBI agents and reluctant Irish village police. It’s either a crime thriller or a farcical comedy! (It’s a thriller.)

I’m rounding this section off with The Details – Elizabeth Banks, Tobey Maguire and Laura Linney. Apparently it’s about the ridiculousness of the every day, involves a raccoon-ruined lawn and is a comedy that isn’t going to provide obvious jokes for a trailer. Got to be worth a look, just for that.

Films about real stuff!

We like a good documentary, we do.

Being Elmo

  • Project Nim opened Sundance and looked at the chimp who was brought up as a human in the 70s. A BBC production, hopefully it’ll go on wider distribution somehow over here. Insert some sort of rambling about the license fee.
  • The advertising world pays the collective rent of Mild Concern, so we’ve got a bit of a vested interest in how marketing works. Morgan Spurlock, creator of Super Size Me, made a film entirely financed by product placement and advertising: Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.
  • Seeing as penguins have already been covered, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey will probably be the second cutest thing you can get in a feature-length documentary. As far as I can tell (my sketchy research could easily be wrong), it’s not been sold yet but it’s all about the fuzzy red one and pretty much guarantees a cinema full of “awwww”s. How could it not be picked up soon?
  • The New York Times has a movie – Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times, which presumably does what it says on the tin. I am geekily intrigued.
  • Life in a Day was put together after YouTube users were encouraged to record their day on 24th July 2010, which the film-makers mixed together. Sounds like a marvel of editing.