Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Upcoming Releases - December '11

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

Hugo - 2nd December
Adventure | Drama | Family
127 mins
U certificate
Main cast: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee, Jude Law
Director: Martin Scorsese

'Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.'

Official site:

The Thing - 2nd December
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
103 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.

'At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft leads to a confrontation between graduate student Kate Lloyd and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson. While Dr. Halvorson keeps to his research, Kate partners with helicopter pilot Sam Carter to pursue the alien life form.'

Official site:

Happy Feet Two - 2nd December
Animation | Comedy | Family
100 mins
U certificate
Main cast: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hugo Weaving, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon
Director: George Miller

'Mumble's son, Erik, is struggling to realize his talents in the Emperor Penguin world. Meanwhile, Mumble and his family and friends discover a new threat to their home - one that will take everyone working together to save them.'

Official site:

Margaret - 2nd December
150 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Jean Reno, Kieran Culkin
Director: Kenneth Lonergan

'A young woman witnesses a bus accident and is caught up in the aftermath, where the question of whether or not it was intentional affects many people's lives.'

New Year's Eve - 8th December
Comedy | Romance
118 mins
12A certificate
Main cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Abigail Breslin, Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer
Director: Garry Marshall

'The lives of several couples and singles in New York intertwine over the course of New Year's Eve.'

Official site:

Puss in Boots - 9th December
Adventure | Animation | Comedy
90 mins
U certificate
Main cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton
Director: Chris Miller

'A story about the events leading up to the sword fighting cat's meeting with Shrek and his friends.'

Official site:

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - 16th December
Action | Adventure | Crime
129 mins
12A certificate
Main cast: Robert Downey Jr, Rachel McAdams, Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace
Director: Guy Ritchie

'Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.'

Official site:

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 26th December
Action | Adventure | Thriller
Running time and certificate: TBC
Main cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames
Director: Brad Bird

'The IMF is shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name.'

Official site:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 26th December
Drama | Thriller
Running time and certificate: TBC
Main cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Plummer
Director: David Fincher

'Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander (Mara), a young computer hacker.'

Official site:

The Lady - 30th December
135 mins
TBC certificate
Main cast: Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, Jonathan Raggett, Jonathan Woodhouse
Director: Luc Besson

'The story of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi and the academic and writer Michael Aris; a true story of love set against political turmoil.'

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


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Friday, 25 November 2011

Alt movie poster #8

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.

The Fifth Element
Created by: Dean Walton

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

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Hyundai Commissions Videos to Showcase the Creative Thought Process

Hyundai has launched an interactive digital campaign developed out of its brand positioning: “New thinking, new possibilities”. As well as an online ‘New Thinkers Index‘, the company has commissioned 22 four-minute videos from actors, musicians, artists and personalities to highlight creative thinking.

Consumers are encouraged to take a test to find out what kind of thinker they are, from eight possibilities: word smart, number smart, self-aware, musical, body smart, visual, people smart and natural. They can then post their results on Facebook and tell friends to take part, compare themselves to the celebrities in the campaign, and to friends and family.

The campaign is running in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, with the 22 videos getting released gradually over the next six months. Ads and content will appear on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, and MSN platforms including Xbox, Windows Live Messenger and MSN mobile.

One of the campaign’s videos features actor Kevin Spacey guiding a group of young filmmakers and actors to write, shoot and edit a film in 24 hours. Another sees former land speed record holder Richard Noble transform a school’s chance of winning a downhill race in one night. Actor Joseph Fiennes and UK rapper Devlin team up in one of the videos to find some common ground between Shakespeare and modern street language. The collaboration featured Fiennes performing Sonnet 129 during Devlin’s track, which will appear on his next album. You can watch the video below:

New Thinkers Index

[Written for PSFK. Article originally posted here]

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Darren Aronofsky's Hard-Hitting Anti-Meth Ads

Darren Aronofsky, director of the Oscar-nominated Black Swan and drug addiction drama Requiem for a Dream, has worked with digital marketing agency Organic to direct four ads for The Meth Project.

The large-scale prevention program “aims to reduce first-time meth use with its hard-hitting and graphic portrayals”. In these anti-meth PSAs, Aronofsky explores the effects of addiction, offering a brutally realistic and unflinching look at what happens to four people who become meth users. They all wonder “If I had asked…” different questions about the drug and the ads ask “What do you know about meth?” before directing viewers to The Meth Project website. The four 30-second ads, ‘Losing Control, ‘ER’, ‘Deep End’, and ‘Desperate’ are due to be shown on TV soon and can be viewed below:

[Written for PSFK. Article originally posted here]

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Review: Saint

Fantasy horror movie Saint was written and directed by Dutch filmmaker Dick Maas, and depicts St. Nicholas as a murderous bishop. Originally titled Sint in the Netherlands and called Saint Nick for the US DVD release, it tells the story of a killer Santa-like figure who kidnaps and murders when there is a full moon on December 5th. The film stars Huub Stapel, Egbert Jan Weeber, Caro Lenssen and Bert Luppes.

Read my review at Suite101: A Review of the Fantasy Horror Movie Saint

Monday, 14 November 2011

Review: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

It’s Christmastime in snowy Finland and a young boy called Pietari (Onni Tommila) watches a team of men drilling down into the Korvantunturi Mountains on the border with Russia. These ‘seismic researchers’ find sawdust and blocks of ice beneath the earth and their leader is pleased with the discovery of a burial ground. As they dig further down, Pietari tells his friend he thinks Santa Claus is buried under the mountains.

He goes home to research Santa and finds books depicting him as a wild beast-like man who kidnaps naughty children. Pietari joins his father Rauno (Jorma Tommila) and friends to go round up reindeer, which will be used to sustain them over the winter months. Hundreds of the animals are found slaughtered, their bodies spread across the white landscape. The men believe it was wolves but Pietari finds footprints in the snow similar to those he saw in a book about Santa Claus…

Strange occurrences then befall their small village. Rauno finds an injured man in his bear pit who shows a peculiar interest in Pietari. Radiators, potato sacks, hairdryers and children go missing. It becomes clear that Pietari was right, and Santa has been found deep in the mountains. He is being held by people who want to make money out of his legend, but Santa’s elves are determined to get their master back.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a very different kind of festive movie. It offers a twisted take on the mythical Christmas story of the jolly old man with a white beard dressed in red, who hands out presents to children who’ve been well behaved. This film exposes an ulterior legend, one that depicts Santa Claus as a scary creature with large horns, and his ‘little helpers’ as naked and creepy old men who do their master’s bidding.

The film is dissimilar to the cheesy movies that are usually associated with Christmas. Although it is very funny in places, it has a sinister edge and doesn’t mock the plot. The actors play their roles straight-faced, as if the events really are occurring.

The protagonist, Pietari, is an endearing character and his strained relationship with his father Rauno comes across effectively. The young actor who plays him, Onni Tommila, is the real-life son of the man playing his dad, Jorma Tommila. Pietari’s mother is missing for an unexplained reason, and his father often seems like he doesn’t know how to deal with him on his own. Their relationship grows and develops throughout the film as they work together to save the children and stop Santa’s elves.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is based on two award-winning shorts by the director Jalmari Helander, who came up with the story behind them with his brother Juuso. Rare Exports Inc. (2003) and The Official Rare Exports Inc. Safety Instructions (2005) were written by, directed by, and star the same people as this film, and they have acquired something of a cult reputation on the internet. They were adapted for the big screen in the form of this feature length prequel.

This Finnish film is fun and interesting, with an atmospheric setting, beautiful landscapes, blowing snow and whistling winds. It is a twisted and imaginative film that is also quite brief, at just 84 minutes. A real Christmas treat, this definitely makes a nice change from the usual festive-themed movies and it’s one I’d happily watch every December.

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

Friday, 11 November 2011

Interview: Johnny Depp (The Rum Diary) have released an exclusive interview with Johnny Depp, who stars in Bruce Robinson's The Rum Diary:

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Review: Five Minarets in New York

Drama Five Minarets in New York splits its time between New York and Turkey. After a series of covert raids and rough interrogations, one criminal reveals the identity of a dangerous international terrorist referred to by the codename ‘Dajjal’. Under duress, the man tells Turkish police officers that the person they’re looking for is Hadji Gumush (Haluk Bilginer).

In New York, Agent David Becker (Robert Patrick) and his team from the FBI receive a warrant from Interpol and arrest Muslim scholar and family man Hadji Gumush. His wife Maria (Gina Gershon), daughter and friend Marcus (Danny Glover) seem clueless about his past and believe him to be innocent. Hadji appears to be a devoted husband and father but could this just be a front for his sinister true identity?

Two Turkish secret service officers called Firat (Mahsun Kirmizig├╝l) and Acar (Mustafa Sandal) are sent to America to extradite Hadji. On their way to the airport to fly him back to Turkey, their cars come under attack and Hadji escapes custody. His friend Marcus planned the escape and helps him go into hiding to elude the authorities because he fears that Hadji won’t be treated fairly if he’s taken back to Turkey. Firat and Acar hunt for Hadji and when they find him he submits to being taken to Istanbul. After spending some time with him, they start to have doubts about his guilt. But if he’s innocent, why has he been accused of being a fundamentalist and the leader of an international terror network?

Five Minarets in New York was written and directed by Mahsun Kirmizig├╝l, who also stars in the film as one of the main characters. This is his third film and, following two solely Turkish productions, it is his English-language debut. He spent all the profit he made from his previous movies on the making of this one, and he manages to not stray too far from his roots.

The film examines whether a man’s innocence or guilt matters to someone who is blinded by and hunting for vengeance, and asks the audience to think about how far they’d go to bring someone to justice. There is an interesting twist at the end of the film that turns the events on their head. The hunted man and one of his hunters are revealed to have more in common than it first appeared. 

Large parts of the film are uninvolving as viewers are given minimal background information about many of the characters, who are quite one-dimensional. No one stands out as the person we should be identifying with and rooting for. The constant uncertainty about Hadji’s guilt is the main focus of attention for the viewer. There is also a difficult balance in the film as it switches between American thriller and Turkish film commenting on Islamophobia. There is decent American talent, with three well-known actors who are impressive if a little underused in their supporting roles. The thought-provoking story effectively draws the audience’s attention and as it reaches its conclusion, the strands unwind to reveal a smart sub-plot underneath.

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


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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Alt movie poster #7

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.

The Goonies
Created by: Jerod Gibson

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