Monday, 30 April 2012

Sundance London 2012 Under The Rain - Part 1

So Sundance made his first forey outside the US this year, and took residence at the O2 in Greenwich, London for four days. In true British fashion, we welcomed it with some of the worst weather we have seen in a very long time. No wonder our own independent film festival is called Raindance. To be perfectly honest, the announcement of the line-up originally failed to excited the crowd of movie-goers. lacking perhaps a few high profile arthouse names that we might be accustomed to with other festivals. But then this is what Sundance is all about, the discovery of new talents, so we all had to take a leap of faith. And judging by the near sold out screening I have attended, and the quality of films seen, the festival seems to have been a success. There was also something rather exciting about seeing several small, independent films in the biggest screen in London.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo DVD Launch

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (the American remake by David Fincher) came out at the end of last year as a potent antidote to the forced cheerfulness of the festive period, and while I never found the time to write a review, I enjoyed it immensely, in fact it got very close to making it to my top ten of best films of 2011. So to celebrate the release of the DVD and Blu Ray, a great event was organised by Sony at the new wing of the Film Museum in Covent Garden in London last week, a very imaginative exhibition based on the film which I was lucky enough to attend. We drank, we laughed, we looked at huge silver dildos and mannequins being strangled, and left with a glittery "temporary" dragon tattoo.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Last Summer Of La Boyita Review

Anybody who is familiar with the LGB cinema could be forgiven for feeling a certain sense of familiarity when reading the synopsis of The Last Summer Of La Boyita. Indeed, if you ever flick through the pages of any LGB film festival programme, you can be guaranteed that half the films will be coming of age stories, dealing with the confusion of newly found feelings of love.

International Buddhist Film Festival In London 2012

FilmLandEmpire are always interested in attending film festivals, so we were particularly excited by the prospect of the International Buddhist Film Festival (IBFF) in April of this year. Though normally a US based festival, the IBFF decided to host a Buddhist film festival in London for the first time since 2009. Consisting mostly of documentaries including Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese Buddhism and Buddhism in the Western world, the festival offered a wide range of subjects from a variety of film makers with Buddhism as their central topic. With 12 films to choose from, FilmLandEmpire took in five films to get as broad a feel for the festival as time would allow.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Avengers Assemble Review

It is hard to believe it but it was only four years ago that we were given a hint that the Avengers were on their way to assembling, in the post credits scene in the first Iron Man. Since then, Marvel has managed to establish Iron Man as a successful franchise, as well as launching two more characters from the Marvel universe within a very short period of time. Yet it was still a risky enterprise to start production on the Avengers without knowing if the public were going to favour Thor then Captain America which opened within a few months of each other last year, a big gamble if there ever was one.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Spotlight On Cannes 2012 Part 1 - Who Is Missing

The Cannes film festival this year will be of particular significance to me as this will be my first visit since 1998! Ironically this is also going to be the first visit of Thomas "Festen" Vinterberg since 1998 and I could have done without him coming back. But I digress. The line-up was announced a few days ago and I have obviously taken an even closer interest than usual. But before going into the details of the films that will be there, let's have a look at those films that were rumoured to be in but did not make the line-up.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Breathing Review

Using a realistic style very much in keeping with the Dardenne brothers recent The Kid with a Bike, director Karl Markovics Breathing is a pared down Austrian film about Roman (Thomas Schubert) a 19 year old who has grown up in an orphanage and has been placed in a juvenile prison after the death of a boy following a fight when Roman was 14. Roman’s case is still pending while he begins a job as a state undertaker, returning to the juvenile detention centre at night.

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Human Centipede Vomit-Along

So I am very late with the Human Centipede party, as I have only just now plucked the courage to watch the first one, when many of you are trying to recover from its much worse sequel. I would have loved to watch this with the most amazing audience in the world in Frightfest but life has decided that I would be watching this by myself like a saddo on a Friday night. Ah well! Join me for this constantly updated live vomit-along!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Mozart's Sister Review

France and the UK are the two countries that seem the most enamoured with their period dramas,  but for very different reasons. In Britain, it is the sign of a barely concealed fascination for the aristocracy and those with privilege and money, and the recent collective orgasm for Downton Abbey certainly proves my point. No such thing in France where the aristocrats got given the "chop" a few centuries ago and republican values are still held strong. The French, which are a lot more conservative that you might believe, see their period drama as a refuge against modernism and globalisation, and the celebration of a certain cultural classicism. So here comes the little known and somehow fictionalised nstory of Mozart's sister in this new film aptly named Mozart's Sister.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Battleship/In Their Room Berlin

If there is one thing I love about cinema, it is diversity. I enjoy film festivals immensely in that respect, giving you the option to watch three or even four very different films back to back. I took this one step further when I did the most unusual double bill today, seeing Battleship and In My Room Berlin, two wildly different films in very different venues. The former is Hollywood latest blockbuster, with a budget of over $200 millions, seen in a multiplex. The latter is a no budget experimental film from an emerging voice within queer cinema, seen in a retro and trendy hotel.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Captain America Vs The Armani Models

Ah, cinema in the 90's! A more innocent time. Want to make a superhero film? Have the budget of a Matlock episode? No problem! I present to you Captain America! Just as the Avengers are about to assemble in the UK later this month (or next month if you live in the US), the pinnacle in a long line of box office successes enjoyed by Marvel studios over the last decade or so, it might be worth remembering that cinema has not always been kind with the comics powerhouse. And it is none so apparent in an earlier Captain America adaptation in the early 90's.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

LLGFF 2012: Absent/The Green

Interestingly, the last 2 films I saw at the London Gay & Lesbian Film Festival this year had a somehow similar theme. Yet they could not have been anymore different. In the Argentinian "Absent", a young student plays a dangerous game when circumstances mean he has to spend the night over at his swimming instructor's house. In the American "The Green", a teacher is accused of improper behaviour towards a student in his class. The former was probably the best film I have seen so far this year. The latter was, well, not the best film I have seen this year.

Monday, 9 April 2012

London Buddhist Film Festival 2012 - Mindfulness And Murder

Mindfulness and Murder
Film festivals seem to be taking London by storm nowadays, and I am certainly not complaining. I am always been a big fan of film festivals, with their more passionate and vibrant audience that makes a nice change from the bored, pop-corn chomping multiplex crowd. Indeed it is said that you could technically spend every week-end at a film festival in London. And a mere ten days after the end of the LLGFF, and with the Terracotta Film Festival around the corner, there is yet another film festival worthy of interest coming up this week, the Buddhist Film Festival. And within its line up, a film that I would most definitely recommend, Mindfullness and Murder, whose review is further down this post.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

This Must Be The Place Review

Please someone get the makeup remover fast! Sean Penn looks and sounds ridiculous in this film from Italian Paolo Sorrentino. I can understand that Sorrentino went through a goth phase and he loves Robert Smith, but that's no reason to make it the basis for his first film in English and does not bode well for the future. Imagine you get financing and assemble a great cast including Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsh, and Harry Dean Stanton, then you foolishly allow Sean 'I am the greatest actor' Penn, to have loads of creative input and ruin it all. Don't let my own biased view of Penn put you off, I thought he was wonderful in 'Milk', but this movie just doesn't work. The script co-written by Sorrentino and Umberto Contarello just doesn't translate well on screen. 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Terracotta Far East Film Festival 2012

Now in its fourth year, the Terracotta Far East Film Festival aims to again bring a diverse range of Asian films to London cinèphiles. Based in the comfort of the Prince Charles Cinema7 Leicester Place, the festival will include 13 films many of which are having their UK premiers at the festival along with Q & A sessions with directors such as UFO in Her Eyes director Guo Xiaolu and Seediz Bale’s lead actor Da Ching. This year the festival will focus more on Taiwanese films and the festival organisers have assembled an eclectic mix of films that include comedy, horror, drama and Kevin Spacey. To get a taste of what is in store during the Terracotta Festival, FilmLandEmpire were invited along to screenings of both the opening and closing films of the festival; Korean My Way and Japanese film Himizu.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Nicki Minaj Is A Picasso Warlock

Some of you might remember the terrible 90's horror Warlock: Armageddon, sequel to the abysmal Warlock, in which Julian Sands plays a Warlock, hellbent on unleashing the Armageddon. (You cannot accuse the title of false advertising!). You probably all know the rather fantastic, witty and talented rapper Nicki Minaj. Yet the universe of Warlock: Armageddon and Nicki Minaj have collided in the most unexpected and frightening way today!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Tiny Furniture Review

Lena Dunham is only 25 and she has written, directed and acted in a long list of films and TV series, not to say the three projects currently in the pipeline: a TV series, Girls, green lit by HBO last year, written and directed by her, in which she also plays the main character; and acting in This is 40, and Supporting Characters. Lena graduated from Oberlin College in 2008, where she studied Creative Writing, and her first feature, Creative Nonfiction, already premiered at the South-by-Southwest in 2009.