Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Upcoming Releases - September '11

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


Fright Night - 2nd September
Comedy | Horror
106 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Toni Collette
Director: Craig Gillespie

'Senior Charlie Brewster (Yelchin) finally has it all going on: he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the most coveted girl in his high school. But trouble arrives when Jerry (Farrell) moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right—but everyone, including Charlie’s mom (Collette), doesn’t notice. After observing some very strange activity, Charlie comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on the neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone, Charlie has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself.'

Official site: http://www.welcometofrightnight.com/


Jane Eyre - 9th September
Drama | Romance
120 mins
PG certificate
Main cast: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell
Director: Cary Fukunaga

'After a bleak childhood, Jane Eyre goes out into the world to become a governess. As she lives happily in her new position at Thornfield Hall, she meets the dark, cold and abrupt master of the house, Mr. Rochester. Jane and her employer grow close in friendship and she soon finds herself falling in love with him. Happiness seems to have found Jane at last, but could Mr. Rochester's terrible secret be about to destroy it forever?'

Official site: http://focusfeatures.com/jane_eyre


Troll Hunter - 9th September
Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
103 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Mørck
Director: André Øvredal

'A group of students investigate a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.'

Official site: http://www.trollhunterfilm.com/


The Change-Up - 16th September
Comedy
112 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann, Alan Arkin
Director: David Dobkin

'A comedy in which a married father accidentally switches bodies with his best friend, leading to a series of wildly complex difficulties.'

Official site: http://www.thechangeupmovie.com/


Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - 16th September
Thriller
127 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Mark Strong
Director: Tomas Alfredson

'In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons.'

Official site: http://www.tinker-tailor-soldier-spy.com/


Crazy, Stupid, Love. - 23rd September
Comedy | Drama | Romance
118 mins
12A certificate
Main cast: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

'A father's life unravels while he deals with a marital crisis and tries to manage his relationship with his children.'

Official site: http://crazystupidlove.warnerbros.com/index.html


Drive - 23rd September
Action | Crime | Drama
100 mins
18 certificate
Main cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

'A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.'

Official site: http://drive.mgfilm.hr/


Abduction - 28th September
Action | Drama | Mystery
106 mins
12A certificate
Main cast: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello, Michael Nyqvist, Sigourney Weaver
Director: John Singleton

'A thriller centered on a young man who is unwittingly thrust into a deadly world of covert espionage as he sets out to uncover the truth about his life after finding his baby photo on a missing persons website.'

Official site: http://www.abductionthefilm.com/


The Debt - 30th September
Drama | Thriller
114 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Tom Wilkinson, Ciarán Hinds
Director: John Madden

'In 1965, three young Israeli Mossad agents on a secret mission capture and kill a notorious Nazi war criminal. Now, thirty years later, a man claiming to be the Nazi has surfaced in Ukraine and one of the former agents must go back undercover to seek out the truth.'

Official site: http://focusfeatures.com/the_debt


Melancholia - 30th September
Drama | Sci-Fi
136 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Stellan Skarsgård, Alexander Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt
Director: Lars von Trier

'Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide into the Earth.'

Official site: http://www.magpictures.com/melancholia/



Information obtained from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, http://www.filmdates.co.uk/, and the films' official websites.

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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Trailer: Tyrannosaur


Paddy Considine's directorial debut feature Tyrannosaur is a powerful and affecting drama, which follows the story of two lonely, damaged people brought together by circumstance.The film stars Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman and Eddie Marsan, and is released in UK cinemas on October 7th.



Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Review: Source Code

Duncan Jones’ follow-up to his impressive directorial debut Moon (2009) is another claustrophobic sci-fi with an air of mystery. Source Code throws us right into the action without any explanation, as we see Jake Gyllenhaal’s character Captain Colter Stevens wake up on a train with no idea how he got there. Stevens was a U.S. helicopter pilot in Afghanistan and can’t remember what has happened to him since his time in the warzone. On the train, he sees his reflection and doesn’t recognise the man staring back at him, a woman sitting opposite him calls him Sean, and after eight minutes there is a huge explosion.

The next thing he knows, he is strapped inside a dark and confined capsule.  A military official on a video screen tells him that he needs to find out who bombed the train in order to avert an even larger catastrophe. The commuter train that he found himself on was bound for downtown Chicago when it exploded, killing more than 100 people on board. Using new technology called the Source Code, a suitable candidate can go back into a person’s final eight minutes before their death and can interact with their environment to find out what happened. Captain Stevens has been sent back into Sean Fentress’ last moments on the train. He is told to look for clues and try to identify the bomber, and is sent back into the Source Code for a number of times to experience the same eight minutes over and over.



Similar events occur each time: a woman spills her coffee on his shoe, the conductor asks for his ticket to stamp, a man with motion sickness goes to the bathroom, another man leaves his wallet on his seat and a young guy catches up with him to return it. Stevens’ actions affect what happens but after eight minutes he always goes back to the small capsule (referred to as ‘beleaguered castle’) and the Source Code resets when he next goes in.

The Source Code, developed by Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) for the military, is described as a revolutionary and powerful weapon against terror. They hope to prevent a second attack imminent in downtown Chicago. People are trying to evacuate the city and the authorities are frantically trying to find out who the bomber is so they can stop them before it’s too late. Stevens is told that reality can’t be altered from within the Source Code because it’s just a memory of what has happened in the past. It wasn’t designed to alter the past, it was designed to affect the future. However, after Stevens returns over and over again, he wants to stop the explosion and save the people on the train and believes he can do so.

Source Code is a science fiction film that tells a very human story. Like Moon, it follows a sympathetic protagonist trapped by his isolation and his surroundings. It deals with issues of identity and mortality. Some of the highlights come from Stevens’ interactions with the other train passengers, as he tries to find out which one of them planted the bomb. These create moments of tension and mystery as we see the consequences of his actions. The writer, Ben Ripley, developed Source Code from an original idea and it marks his first theatrically released project. The script focuses on character rather than action-packed thrills or fights and it definitely leaves you with lots to ponder.



The film is slightly constricted by the repetitive nature of the plot. It benefits from the moments when Stevens deviates from the norm and from the change of location when the action switches from beleaguered castle to the military base and to the train. The final moments of the film feel like a forced Hollywood ending as it goes against some of the rules laid down by the scientists in the film. However, it does raise interesting questions about the technology and whether they failed to fully realise what it was capable of.

Source Code has some strong performances, from leading man Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan as the lady on the train he slowly finds himself falling for, and Vera Farmiga as the military official who empathises with his plight. The film also has a good screenplay and a talented director with lots of future potential who can deliver a dramatic and entertaining experience. 


[DVD screener provided by flickfeast. Review originally posted here]

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Catch up on Jake Gyllenhaal’s back catalogue at LOVEFiLM.com, where you can now watch movies online as well as renting blu-rays, DVDs and games.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The adult cast of the Harry Potter film series


The eight Harry Potter movies feature lots of talented actors and actresses. In a three-part article for Suite 101, I looked at the star-studded cast from the series. You can read them here: Harry Potter and the Great British and Irish Cast - Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Blade Runner Revisited


François Vautier‘s tribute to Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner was created by extracting 167,819 frames from the final cut and then assembling all of the images into one huge picture with a resolution of 3.6 gigapixels. The filmmaker, who also brought us the five-year time-lapse video Ants In My Scanner, put together this experimental film showing the view from a virtual camera as it passes over the picture. The relative movement of the camera creates an illusion of animation (a kind of zoetrope effect) because although there is only one image, it looks like there are many.


BLADE RUNNER revisited >3.6 gigapixels from françois vautier on Vimeo.


François Vautier

[Written for PSFK. Article originally posted here]

Monday, 8 August 2011

Films On Fridges: Recycled Fridge Parts Used To Create Pop-Up Cinema


Films on Fridges is a unique outdoor cinema experience in East London made from old refrigerators. The concept was thought up by Lindsey Scannapieco as a nod to ‘Fridge Mountain,’ the 20ft-high pile of discarded fridges that used to tower over Hackney until its removal a few years ago. The temporary cinema was created to celebrate the areas regeneration in time for the Olympics. Scannapieco was aided by her business partner Mat Triebner and Emma Rutherford, an architecture student from London Met University, who helped turn her vision into a reality.


The pop-up cinema has a large screen surrounded by fridges, a bar made from fridge parts and seats from fridge doors. A wall of fridge doors covered in fridge magnets frames the concession area and people can rearrange the letters to create words.

Films on Fridges will be open until August 13th and is screening films inspired by sports, including Rocky, Cool Runnings and Chariots of Fire, as a tribute the upcoming Olympic Games.


Films on Fridges

[Written for PSFK. Article originally posted here]

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Trailer: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy


The full UK trailer for Tomas Alfredson's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has been released online this week. The film, an adaptation of John le Carré's classic spy novel, has a mouth-watering cast including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, John Hurt, Ciarán Hinds and Benedict Cumberbatch. The excitement is rapidly building for this film, out in cinemas next month on September 16th. 


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Review: Faster

After recent stints in comedies and Disney movies, Dwayne Johnson is back in action with Faster. He plays a man known only as ‘Driver’, who is released from prison after 10 years. The warden (Tom Berenger) sends him on his way and he runs from the prison looking focused, determined and in a hurry. This is a man on a mission. He gets a fast car, a gun and a list of names and addresses. Then he storms into a busy office building and does something that is sure to earn him a ticket straight back to jail: shoots a man in front of his colleagues and a CCTV camera.


It turns out that Driver was the getaway driver in a bank robbery led by his brother. He made an impressive and clean getaway but they were ambushed by another crew, who murdered his brother and left him for dead. Now he’s gunning for revenge, hunting down the men involved and killing them. The only trouble is one of the men has hired a hitman to take Driver out before he can kill him and there are cops on the case too. As the hunter becomes the hunted, he must get through his hit list before he is caught or killed. There are men hot on his trail, his face is all over the TV and it’s possible that there’s a name missing from his list…

Faster effectively switches focus between the three main characters involved: Driver, Cop and Killer. It shows their different perspectives and gives the audience an insight into their lives and motivations. The Cop (Billy Bob Thornton) is a washed up man with a drug habit and a tough home life. He is only a few days away from retirement and teams up with a no-nonsense, by-the-book female (Carla Gugino) to solve the case. 

Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is an unstable, egocentric playboy-type who lives in a big house with his girlfriend (Maggie Grace), gadgets, weaponry and sports cars. He talks to his therapist on the phone, who warns him about being off his meds. He likes to accomplish difficult feats and then move on to the next big test of his skill. In his first scene he claims to have “beaten” yoga. He kills people for the challenge rather than for the money and believes he has finally found a worthy opponent in Driver.

Driver is determined and single-minded in his quest for vengeance. His 10 years in prison haven’t quelled his anguish and rage and he is driven by a relentless need to avenge his brother’s death. He hunts down the men responsible with a blatant disregard for all of the attention he is attracting as he goes about his business.

Faster is directed by George Tillman, Jr. (Notorious, Men of Honor, Soul Food) from a screenplay written by brothers Tony and Joe Gayton. It is well directed and edited and has a strong supporting cast, especially Thornton. With an interesting premise and some good action scenes and performances, the film would have benefitted from more story development and pace but is an enjoyable vengeance thriller. Dwayne Johnson is much better suited to the action genre than comedy as he can play the tough guy and be a man of few words, which works very well for him here.


[DVD screener provided by flickfeast. Review originally posted here]

Monday, 1 August 2011

Representation Of Mental Illness in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Milos Forman's 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Jack Nicholson, follows a new inmate at a mental institution and his experiences with the other patients and the staff. In an article for Suite 101, which was chosen as a Featured Article in the Classic Films section, I examined how the characters in the institution were portrayed and how they were treated. You can read this article here: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Representation of Mental Illness.
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