Friday, 29 June 2012

Upcoming Releases - July '12

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

The Amazing Spider-Man - 3rd July

Action | Adventure | Fantasy
136 mins
12A certificate
Main cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Sally Field
Director: Marc Webb

'Peter Parker finds a clue that might help him understand why his parents disappeared when he was young. His path puts him on a collision course with Dr. Curt Connors, his father's former partner.'

Official site:

The Hunter - 6th July
Adventure | Drama
102 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Frances O'Connor, Morgana Davies
Director: Daniel Nettheim

'Martin, a mercenary, is sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger.'

Official site:

The Players - 6th July

109 mins
18 certificate
Main cast: Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche, Lionel Abelanski
Directors: Emmanuelle Bercot, Fred Cavayé, Alexandre Courtès, Jean Dujardin, Michel Hazanavicius, Eric Lartigau, Gilles Lellouche

'A series of short films set around the theme of infidelity.'

Official site:

Magic Mike - 11th July
Comedy | Drama
110 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Matthew McConaughey
Director: Steven Soderbergh

'Mike, an experienced stripper, takes a younger performer called The Kid under his wing and  teaches him how to party, pick up women, and make easy money.'

Official site:

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - 13th July

Comedy | Drama | Romance
101 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Melanie Lynskey, Adam Brody
Director: Lorene Scafaria

'As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan.'

Detachment - 13th July
97 mins
15 certificate
Main cast: Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks, Marcia Gay Harden, James Caan, Bryan Cranston
Director: Tony Kaye

'A substitute teacher who drifts from classroom to classroom finds a connection to the students and teachers during his latest assignment.'

Official site:

Comes a Bright Day - 13th July

95 mins
TBC certificate
Main cast: Craig Roberts, Imogen Poots, Kevin McKidd, Timothy Spall
Director: Simon Aboud

'A romantic thriller set during the armed robbery of one of London's most exclusive jewellers. Sometimes funny, often dark, always captivating and never what you expect.'

Official site:

Ice Age: Continental Drift - 13th July
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
94 mins
U certificate
Main cast: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo
Directors: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier

'Manny, Diego, and Sid embark upon another adventure after their continent is set adrift. Using an iceberg as a ship, they encounter sea creatures and battle pirates as they explore a new world.'

Official site:

The Dark Knight Rises - 20th July

Action | Crime | Drama
165 mins
TBC certificate
Main cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Director: Christopher Nolan

'Eight years after Batman took the fall for Two Face's crimes, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.'

Official site:

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax - 27th July
Animation | Comedy | Family
86 mins
U certificate
Main cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms
Directors: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda

'A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.'

Official site:

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


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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

British comedy drama The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel features a stellar cast including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson, who play a group of retirees who travel to the titular hotel in India. At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to all of the main characters in a series of short vignettes that show their different situations in the UK and their reasons for moving abroad.

Evelyn (Judi Dench)’s husband has recently passed away and she needs to sell their flat to pay off his debts. Douglas (Bill Nighy) invested his retirement money in his daughter’s internet start-up, which hasn’t been very successful. His wife Jean (Penelope Wilton, who was also married to Nighy’s character in Shaun of the Dead) isn’t impressed with the retirement properties they can afford in the UK. Graham (Tom Wilkinson) has just retired as a judge and is returning to the place where he lived when he was younger. Muriel (Maggie Smith) needs a hip replacement. Norman (Ronald Pickup) and Madge (Celia Imrie) are both single and looking for love and new adventures.

They are all enticed by advertisements for ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the elderly & beautiful’, which looks impressive and vibrant, and is less expensive than places in the UK. When they arrive, they discover that it’s not what they were led to believe as the hotel is rundown, dusty, and in need of some serious restoration. Sonny (Dev Patel), the young man who owns it, is trying to renovate it and is very happy when his first tenants move in. Sonny’s brothers have successful businesses but so far he has failed to live up to his mother’s expectations. She wants him to give up his dreams about the hotel and agree to an arranged marriage. He is in love with a young woman called Sunaina but his mother disapproves of her.

Some of the retirees embrace the new culture while others take an instant dislike to it and don’t want to try new things. Graham is the one who seems most at home there and his story about his past in the country is very moving. As they start to forge bonds with each other and explore their colourful surroundings, each of their stories heads towards a resolution. These are mostly satisfying, if a little predictable. 

Directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is based on Deborah Moggach’s novel These Foolish Things. It features eight different stories, with some getting a little side-lined along the way. It would have been good to see more of Madge and Norman, who have a number of great lines, including Norman misquoting Ivan Drago from Rocky IV: “If she dies, she dies.” Although this would’ve meant adding to the already long running time. The film ends predictably but optimistically, with everything working out as expected. As Sonny says: “Everything will be all right in the end, and if it not alright, it is not yet the end.” It is the talented cast and beautiful scenery that make this charming tale enjoyable, especially for older audiences. 

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

Friday, 22 June 2012

Actors Against Acting Athletes with Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman recently appeared in a funny sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live, expressing his opinion about athletes who appear in movies. On behalf of the fictional 'Actors Against Acting Athletes' organisation, he rants:
"Just as I, Gary Oldman, actor, would never try and join an NBA team just because I'm famous... I, Gary Oldman, would very much appreciate it if professional basketball players would stay the f*** out of movies!"
He ends by throwing a basketball at a hoop on the wall and missing, before aiming more expletives at the camera and walking off. Check out the spoof in the video below:


Monday, 18 June 2012

Trailers: Resident Evil: Retribution, Django Unchained, Sinister, Magic Mike & Pitch Perfect

First full-length trailer for Resident Evil: Retribution, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and starring Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory and Kevin Durand. Release date: September 28th

New full trailer for Django Unchained, directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson. Release date: January 18th

First trailer for Sinister, directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, James Ransone and Juliet Rylance. Release date: October 5th

Red band trailer for Magic Mike, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer and Olivia Munn. Release date: July 11th

The first trailer for Pitch Perfect, directed by Jason Moore and starring Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson and Elizabeth Banks. Release date: October 19th

Friday, 15 June 2012

Edible Cinema provides snacks to enhance viewing experience

London's Electric Cinema has created a new experience called 'Edible Cinema', a series of film screenings enhanced with numbered snacks that correspond to certain events on-screen. Audience members are handed small packages before the start of the film, and then at different points during the screening, large placards are held up indicating that it’s time to eat the snack with that number. This creative experiment incorporates more than sight and sound into movie-watching, offering tastes, smells, and textures that heighten the viewers' multisensory experience.

'Edible Cinema' is a collaboration between the team at Soho House, experience organiser Polly Betton, and experimental food designer Andrew Stellitano. The first film in the series, Guillermo Del Toro's Pan’s Labyrinth, was shown last month. Eight different snacks were selected for the experience, including pine-smoked popcorn, carbonated red grapes, a pipette of gin-cocktail, and shortbread biscuits with hot chili. Andrew Stellitano told The Guardian:
"It's a film I’ve always admired and watched many times. It was really interesting to break it down into key moments to enhance with food and aroma. I was interested in finding places where I could subtly direct the audience to mimic actions of the characters. Flavour is definitely evocative. It's exciting to think that by pairing film and food we can potentially bring the film closer."

[Written for PSFK. Article originally posted here]

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Review: Coriolanus

A modern retelling of one of Shakespeare’s lesser known tragedies, Coriolanus is the directorial debut of Ralph Fiennes, who also stars as the titular General. The contemporary tale of war, politics, and betrayal begins with civil discontent and a food crisis. An urban war zone is the setting for an action-packed battle between the Romans and the Volscians, with close quarters combat culminating in an intense knife fight between Caius Martius (Fiennes) and Volscian leader Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler). They both escape with their lives and Martius takes the city of Corioles, returning to Rome a hero and named General Coriolanus. 

After this celebrated victory, he is encouraged by his controlling mother Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave) and veteran politician Menenius (Brian Cox) to follow a political career and seek the position of Consul. However, tribunes Brutus (Paul Jesson) and Sicinius (James Nesbitt) conspire against him and the people of the city turn on him. He tries to make peace with them but is unable to do so, and is banished from Rome. 

He travels to Antium, the city where Tullus resides, and sees his arch-enemy walking through the streets. In stark contrast to Coriolanus, this man is clearly loved by his people, who hug him and shake his hand as he walks past. Coriolanus turns himself over to Tullus, offering his life or his service. Tullus chooses to use his knowledge and skills to strike Rome and they join together. Coriolanus, fuelled by anger, plans to take his revenge on his city and those who cast him out.

Ralph Fiennes played Coriolanus back in 2000, in a production for the Almeida Theatre, and felt it would work well on the big screen. He worked with screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, The Last Samurai) to cut Shakespeare’s text, modernise the story, and keep the pacing tight. The play has been updated with contemporary settings, costumes and props, and TV news reports are used effectively to summarise key plot points (with a cameo from Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow).

Coriolanus is established as a great soldier and leader who is very ambitious, inflexible, and proud. This pride and his refusal to compromise inevitably lead to his downfall, as he is unable to win the approval of the masses. He doesn’t care what the citizens think of him and feels only scorn towards them, even though he has won many battles and suffered many wounds on their behalf. Fiennes gives a commanding performance as this surly hero, who clearly prefers war to politics. Vanessa Redgrave is magnetic as Coriolanus’ patriotic mother Volumnia, and Brian Cox, Gerard Butler and Jessica Chastain offer strong support as well. Fiennes’ masterful understanding of the play’s narrative, themes and language, and the talented cast make the material accessible and engaging for viewers, even those who might find the text a little challenging.

[DVD screener provided by flickfeast. Review originally posted here


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