Thursday, 28 July 2011

Upcoming Releases - August '11

Here is a selection of films due out in UK cinemas next month.

Super 8 - 5th August
Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
112 mins
12A certificate
Main cast: Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney, Amanda Michalka, Kyle Chandler
Director: J.J. Abrams

'In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.'

Official site:

Mr. Popper's Penguins - 5th August
Comedy | Family
94 mins
PG certificate
Main cast: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Angela Lansbury
Director: Mark Waters

'The life of a businessman begins to change after he inherits six penguins, and as he transforms his apartment into a winter wonderland, his professional side starts to unravel.'

Official site:

The Smurfs - 10th August
Animation | Comedy | Family
86 mins
U certificate
Main cast: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Anton Yelchin, Alan Cumming
Director: Raja Gosnell

'When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours.'

Official site:

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - 12th August
Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
105 mins
12A certificate
Main cast: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox
Director: Rupert Wyatt

'An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man's own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.'

Official site:

Cowboys & Aliens - 17th August
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
118 mins
12A certificate
Main cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell
Director: Jon Favreau

'A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way.'

Official site:

The Guard - 19th August
Comedy | Thriller
96 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham
Director: John Michael McDonagh

'An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.'

Official site:

The Inbetweeners Movie - 19th August
Running time and certificate: TBC
Main cast: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas
Director: Ben Palmer

'Will, Neil, Simon and Jay, four socially troubled eighteen-year-olds from the south of England go on holiday to Crete.'

Official site:

One Day - 24th August
Drama | Romance
108 mins
12A certificate
Main cast: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Romola Garai
Director: Lone Scherfig

'After spending the night together on the night of their college graduation Dexter and Em are shown each year on the same date to see where they are in their lives. They are sometimes together, sometimes not, on that day.'

Official site:

Conan the Barbarian - 26th August
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
112 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Jason Momoa, Ron Perlman, Rose McGowan, Stephen Lang, Rachel Nichols
Director: Marcus Nispel

'The tale of Conan the Cimmerian and his adventures across the continent of Hyboria on a quest to avenge the murder of his father and the slaughter of his village.'

Official site:

The Skin I Live In - 26th August
117 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Blanca Suarez, Marisa Paredes
Director: Pedro Almodovar

'A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.'

Official site:

Information obtained from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes,, and the films' official websites.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Lately I've been distracted by... Harry Potter, The Avengers concept art, Rutger Hauer, and more!

More articles, photos, videos and shiny things that have distracted me while I probably should have been doing something more important:

The Guardian examines what Hollywood wants with old arcade games:

Empire looks at 10 years of Harry Potter premieres as the last film is released:
See Daniel Radcliffe go from boy to man:

Total Film lists the best & worst Rutger Hauer films:

The New York Times' T Magazine has an article about designer and illustrator Olly Moss, who does some great alternative movie posters: 

An artist called Nakagawa draws the characters from the Harry Potter series Anime-style:

Best for Film investigates BBFC banned films and asks 'Where are they now?':

Movie Web shows off lots of The Avengers concept art, which was revealed during Comic-Con:


Catch up on the Harry Potter Saga with LOVEFiLM, with over 70,000 titles to rent and now, movies on demand at the click of a mouse.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Alt movie poster #5

Alternative movie posters pay homage to film as well as showcase artistic talent and creativity. Some are minimalist, some complex, some include in-jokes for those who have seen the movie. This feature celebrates the work of fans, artists and designers whose love of film is clear to see.

Created by: Viktor Hertz

Have you seen any alternative movie posters you'd like to share, or created your own and would like it featured? Get in touch!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Review: Monsters

Monsters is a low-budget, low-key film that, despite the title, is more of a cross-country journey of discovery than the usual action-oriented monster movie. The events take place in an alternate version of our world, one where a probe carrying samples from space that could prove the existence of alien life, crashed during re-entry. Six years later, half of Mexico has been labelled an ‘Infected Zone’ and new life forms that began to appear after the crash are often seen roaming the area. The U.S. and Mexican military try to contain the creatures, which have caused a great deal of devastation. The ’Infected Zone’ has largely been abandoned and a wall has been built as a huge barrier on the border with North America.

A U.S. photojournalist who captures pictures of tragedy and destruction is told to escort his boss’s daughter to the coast, where she can catch a ferry to North America. But after her passport goes missing, they are instead forced to make a dangerous journey through the Infected Zone to get her safely back home.

Monsters is not your typical alien invasion movie. Those who go into it expecting an Independence Day-type film are going to be very surprised. Rather than a big-budget, special effects laden blockbuster, we get an accidental love story with some impressive scenery and the occasional sighting of an extra-terrestrial. It was made with a small crew using $8000 cameras and digital effects programs. Shot entirely on location, the film extras were people who just happened to be there. The film was shot opportunistically, with little-to-no outline of scenes and their direction.

Monsters is the debut feature from British writer and director Gareth Edwards, who was previously involved in creating the visual effects for TV documentaries. Following on from recent sci-fi movies that tried to take the genre somewhere different, like Cloverfield and District 9, Monsters takes the subtle approach. The title is perhaps misleading considering the creatures make only rare appearances. They are more of a backdrop to the story, while the journey that the two main characters make is at the forefront. It is a refreshing take on this sort of movie and it pays off.

The independent, guerrilla filmmaking approach gives it more of a realistic feel, as does the strong on-screen chemistry of the two protagonists, Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able) and Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy).Their central relationship is the focal point of the film. Thrown together as complete strangers, they become travel companions and grow closer over the course of their journey through the dangerous ‘Infected Zone’. Off-screen, they were a couple during filming and are now married so it’s clear that the chemistry we see is real.

Monsters is a small movie that dared to think big. It stands up well next to Hollywood blockbusters with their large budgets and fantastic visual effects. The story and main characters are both strong and it’s impressive to hear how the filmmaker managed to put all the elements together and craft such an impressive and unique project.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Trailer: The Dark Knight Rises

Here's another big superhero movie trailer that hit the web this week. Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman and Marion Cotillard. The much-anticipated third film in Nolan's hugely successful Batman series has a release date of July 20th 2012.

Trailer: The Amazing Spider-Man

Check out the trailer for the Spidey reboot The Amazing Spider-Man directed by Marc Webb. It stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen and Sally Field. Although not sure that we need a Spider-Man reboot so soon after the initial trilogy, this movie does have a great cast. It's set for release on July 3rd 2012.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Social Film Experience 'Inside' Lets You Get In On The Action

Get ready for a new kind of movie experience. Inside lets you get involved and influence the events using various forms of social media. Presented by Intel and Toshiba, directed by DJ Caruso (Disturbia, Eagle Eye) and starring Emmy Rossum, the film follows a young woman trapped inside a room. She has a laptop and viewers can interact with her via Facebook and Twitter to offer suggestions and try to help her escape.

Audtions are also invited from anyone who would like to appear in the film. Budding actors need to record and upload an audition to YouTube after reading through the set of guidelines. The deadline for submissions is July 20th. The website for the film states:
This is a completely new genre of Hollywood-class entertainment where the audience can play as much of a role as the A-list talent and actors. Using social media you can interact with characters in real time, affect the plot, and possibly earn a featured cameo alongside Emmy Rossum in the final film.
The event starts on July 25th at 2pm EST. Here’s the official trailer for the movie:

The Inside Experience

[Written for PSFK. Article originally posted here]

Thursday, 14 July 2011

In focus: Sigourney Weaver

Susan Alexandra Weaver was born on October 8th 1949 in New York City. At school she was always much taller than her classmates (she reached 5’ 10’’ by the age of 13!) so was picked on and in order to gain their acceptance, she became the class clown.

She changed her name to Sigourney and later she trained at the Yale School of Drama in New Haven, where one of her classmates was Meryl Streep. She made her theatrical debut in 1973 in Watergate Classics. After finishing her studies, Sigourney pursued a stage career for a while before breaking into films in 1977 with Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. A couple of years later she starred in the film that would make her a star: Alien. Her character, Ellen Ripley, was tough and intelligent, and Ridley Scott’s film was a big hit.

Following this success, she appeared with William Hurt in Eyewitness and with Mel Gibson in The Year of Living Dangerously and became married to Jim Simpson in 1984. Then came another popular film, comedy fantasy Ghost Busters, with Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd. She reprised her role as Ellen Ripley in Aliens, which was a huge success, and was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

A very productive period followed, with Weaver starring in Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl, Ghostbusters II, Dave and Alien 3. She also gave birth to a daughter, Charlotte Simpson, on April 13th 1980. Sigourney played Ellen Ripley one more time in Alien: Resurrection and won a BAFTA and received a Golden Globe nomination for Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm.

She then took on a few comedy films; the sci-fi spoof Galaxy Quest with Tim Allen and Alan Rickman, 60s spy comedy Company Man, and Heartbreakers with Gene Hackman, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ray Liotta, about mother and daughter con artists who seduce wealthy men.

In 2003, Sigourney was ranked #20 on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Movie Stars of All Time. She was one of only two woman to make it into the Top 20, the other being Audrey Hepburn. Weaver reunited with Alan Rickman in the 2006 independent film Snow Cake, in which she played a high-functioning autistic woman whose daughter is killed in a car crash. Her well-researched performance was very believable and touching and the film was screened at a number of international film festivals.

At the age of 60, she reunited with her Aliens director James Cameron for his massive blockbuster hit Avatar, which became the top box-office success of all time. She still continues to surprise and entertain both her fans and the people she works with and has earned great respect in the industry. She played the baddie in Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s Paul and has many projects in the works, included a rumoured appearance in the forthcoming Ghostbusters III movie.

5 Recommended Films:
  • Aliens 
  • Alien 
  • Ghost Busters 
  • Galaxy Quest 
  • Gorillas in the Mist

Other films to watch: Avatar, The Ice Storm, Alien3, Alien: Resurrection, The Village, Snow Cake, Dave, Heartbreakers, Ghostbusters II, Working Girl, Paul, Vantage Point, Infamous, Holes, Imaginary Heroes, Death and the Maiden, The Year of Living Dangerously.

5 Movie Quotes:
  • “Final report of the commercial starship Nostromo, third officer reporting. The other members of the crew, Kane, Lambert, Parker, Brett, Ash and Captain Dallas, are dead. Cargo and ship destroyed. I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck, the network will pick me up. This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.” – Ellen Ripley in Alien
  • “You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.” – Ellen Ripley in Aliens 
  • "You like this ring? You want to keep the hand this ring is on? If I see or hear or smell you anywhere near my gorillas, you'll be writing with your other hand and I'll have a new ashtray.” – Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist 
  • “Fred, you had a part people loved. I mean, my TV Guide interview was six paragraphs about my *boobs* and how they fit into my suit. No one bothered to ask me what I do on the show.” – Gwen DeMarco in Galaxy Quest 
  • “Look, this wasn't here! There was *nothing* here! There was this... space! And there was a building or something with flames coming out of it, and there were creatures writhing around, and they were growling and snarling. And there were flames, and I heard a voice say ‘Zuul’! It was right here.” – Dana Barrett in Ghost Busters

5 Pieces of Trivia:
  • Her salary for Alien: Resurrection (1997) was more than the entire cost of the original Alien (1979) movie. 
  • She changed her name from Susan to Sigourney after reading The Great Gatsby. 
  • She made her movie debut in Woody Allen's Annie Hall (1977), where she was on-screen for just 6 seconds. 
  • In the film Alien: Resurrection (1997) she actually managed to sink the basketball into the hoop backwards on the first take, even though she wasn't supposed to or intended to. The shot was almost ruined because Ron Perlman broke character because he was so amazed. 
  • She is one of the very few actors who have been nominated for both a Supporting (Working Girl) and Lead Acting (Gorillas in the Mist) Academy Award in the same year for their achievements in two different films.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sci-Fi Short 'Jouet' Asks Can Robots Feel Real Love?

Award-winning filmmaker Mike Buonaiuto has created an interesting short film called Jouet. Set in the year 2031, this science fiction story occurs after a large number of British troops have been killed in the U.S. Artifical humans called Jouets have been issued to the homes of British war widows but some have become emotionally unstable and formed an attachment.

This is a silent film, shot entirely on Canon  HDSLR cameras and utilizing Technicolors new ‘Cinestyle’ picture style. It was shot at 50fps and converted to 25fps in post production, giving it a slow-motion, dream-like quality. Much is left to the imagination in this thought-provoking, atmospheric short, which can be viewed below:

Jouet | Sci-Fi Short-Film from Mike Buonaiuto on Vimeo.


[Written for PSFK. Article originally posted here]

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Review: Krabat and the Legend of the Satanic Mill

After a ‘30 years war’, most of Europe is devastated and the people are suffering from famine and plague. Krabat is a 14 year old German boy with no family left and no hope of a good future. He has a dream about a mill with 11 ravens sitting on posts, and 1 post left empty. A voice calls him to the mill so he journeys there and finds an old man who takes him on as one of his 12 apprentices. They work hard at the mill and even practice black magic, which their master teaches them.

Krabat is befriended by one of the apprentices, a young man called Tonda, whom he looks up to. He also meets a young woman from the nearby village and falls in love with her. After a series of tragic events, Krabat comes to realise that all is not as it seems at the mill, and it may not be the safe haven he dreamt of after all. Has he gotten in too deep or will he be able to escape before it’s too late?

In this film, Krabat is at first tempted by the power and sense of community at the mill. He wants to make a better life for himself after the war, poverty and losing his family to the plague. He works hard at the mill and in his training, eager and willing to succeed. However, things take a sinister turn after he suffers another great loss. This seems to clear Krabat’s mind, as if he had been under a sort of spell or misapprehension, thinking he had a good life at the mill. He becomes determined to find out what is really happening and attempt to leave.

Krabat and the Legend of the Satanic Mill is based on the 1971 German novel The Satanic Mill by Otfried Preußler. Directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner, it stars David Kross in the title role. Kross appeared in The Reader (2008) as the younger version of Ralph Fiennes’ character Michael Berg and can next be seen in Steven Spielberg’s Warhorse (2011). Christian Redl (Downfall) plays the master in charge of the mill and Daniel Brühl plays Tonda. Brühl impressed as the main character in Goodbye Lenin! (2003) and has also appeared in Hollywood films such as The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) and Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009).

These three main characters are strong, with the actors giving some good performances. However, the minor characters, including most of the apprentices, aren’t as impressive. They lack any impact or emotional attachment and seem to blend together, meaning it’s often difficult to tell them apart and to remember what they’ve done previously in the film.

Krabat has some beautiful cinematography, especially when the natural landscape fills the screen. It also has good special effects, most notably the transformation of the apprentices into ravens and back into human form again. The story is interesting and original, however the film seems to take too long to build and ultimately the audience isn’t rewarded with a big payoff. There are many questions left unanswered with regards to the true purpose of the mill and the mysterious cloaked figure that makes rare visits. The film needed to be more dramatic and exciting. It lasts for two hours, yet there is only one scene with real action in it, a fight with some soldiers in the nearby village, and this features little actual physical combat as the apprentices use telekinesis to attack their opponents.

Krabat has great potential even though the film doesn’t fully realise it. It fails to explore some interesting story elements and is a little slow on pace. However, it focuses really well on the themes of temptation; with the lure of black magic and power, and friendship; with the sense of brotherhood and companionship Krabat experiences. It’s an enjoyable dark fantasy that has a Grimm fairytale-like feel to it and effective performances from the lead actors.

[DVD screener provided by Flickering Myth. Review originally posted here]
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