Friday, 26 April 2013

In the Fog: That Grey Matter Between Life and Death

I had a very busy day at work, I was very tired, so one of those slow moving, scarcely talking movies, with long pauses during conversations, was not my cup of tea (or cup of film) for that evening. It’s one of those features where every character philosophises about the nature of life and death before answering "Yes" to "Do you want some bread with your dinner?" And you want to shake them out of their nihilistic silence and make them scream to your face everything that's in their mind, rather than having to decipher for yourself what does the imperceptible noise of tree leaves mean, for over what seems more than five minutes.
Having said that, and still battling with myself at some point to try not to stand up and slap the face of some of the characters, and find myself slapping the screen instead, I enjoyed it overall. It was just my tiredness, I thought. But as the story developed, it got more interesting, and I found myself getting more and more involved with the main character, Sushenya (played by Vladimir Svirskiy) and his curse. And his curse was to be alive.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Viva Pedro Almodóvar! A Project

Ah, Pedro Almodóvar! The man, whose films were responsible for some of my earliest teenage thrills (cinematographic and others), is having one of the most consistently brilliant yet endlessly evolving and interesting career. And I have just seen his latest, I'm So Excited (review live this week-end), which I have to admit (SPOILER) I enjoyed a whole lot more than I had anticipated. So having just decided to upgrade him to being my joint-favourite director (alongside David Lynch), I am going to embark on a project to celebrate the man.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Iron Man 3 Review

Iron Man 3 sees a changing of the guard in terms of both writers and director from Iron Man and Iron Man 2 with Shane Black now directing and co-writing with Drew Pearce. The change up from the Jon Favreau lead first two instalments work in the post The Avengers era that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) finds himself. 

Referred to as 'What happened in New York' Iron Man 3 finds Tony dealing with the affect The Avengers events has had on him. Unable to sleep Tony has thrown himself even further into tinkering with the Iron Man suits. His absorption into work is affecting his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who now takes a more central position in the film. The big external threat comes not from extraterrestrials, but from Earth bound terrorism in the shape of The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). Don Cheadle returns as James Rhodes/War Machine with Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian and Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen adding to the impressive cast. 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Film Festivals Q&As: The Cringe Factor

My first experience of film festivals was Cannes for a few years in the 90's as a teenage then student, a place which would never lower itself to do anything as vulgar as Q&As (press conferences, yes, but no Q&As). Besides, good luck moderating one in the Grand Palais with its audience of 2300. But as I went to other, smaller film festivals later on, I grew to love Q&As, and the chance to experience the interaction between the audience and the director and the cast in an informal atmosphere. But as any film festival veteran will know, they also seem to attract some of the most pretentious, annoying or downright bizarre people . So I have tried to remember as many embarrassing incidents as I can. And because it would not be fair to just pour scorn on other, I have kept the most embarrassing incident for the end, one which involves myself...

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Cannes 2013: The Official Selection... And What Is Missing!

After months of speculation, the dynamic duo of Thierre Frémaux and Gilles Jacob have finally revealed the line-up of Cannes 2013 at a press conference in Paris this morning. With so many expectations (and some sites posting lists of up to one hundred potential films!), soon after the giddy excitement always comes the slight disappointment when you remember those titles which are actually missing. By all accounts this is a very solid line-up this year, although I have my slight reservation...

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Oblivion Review

Plot: The Future. Humanity has fought and won a war against a race of aliens called the scavengers, but the terrible battle has left Earth almost inhabitable. While most of the surviving humanity has relocated to Titan, a few have stayed behind to extract the planet's remaining resources. Among them, Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), stationed on a base/house in the sky. But why is Jack having these recurring dreams of a mysterious woman? And how much of what they know is actually true?...

Blockbusters have not troubled my blog's pages lately. Not that I have turned my back on them, this is no misplaced snobbery, I just feel that there has not been an interesting one for quite some time, and I prefer to champion smaller, more unsual films. Having said that, when a film as notable as Oblivion comes out...

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Dead: Zombie Apocalypse In Africa

Plot: As a zombie plague is spreading across West Africa, Sgt Daniel Dembele (Prince David Oseia), on a search for his lost son, finds himself teaming up with Lt Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman) who is simply trying to survive and escape.

Unlike what used to happen in the 70's and early 80's where it was still possible to make some horror classics with the backing of big studios (The Shining, The Thing etc...), indie cinema is where it is all at for horror films at the moment. I am so sick and tired of the same overused tricks (spinning heads, whispers, followed by silence followed by a loud bang, frenetic CGI ghostly effects), the sort of artifices than those on a smaller budget just cannot afford. So indie horror has to be more creative, and recently has given us such new classics as May, The Woman, The Innkeepers...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

My Cannes 2013 Wish List

There were laments last year than the Cannes Film Festival was having a weak edition. Which brought us Amour, Holy Motors, Post Tenebras Lux, Cosmopolis, In Another Country, Like Someone In Love, Maniac... I don't know on what planet some film journalists live, but if there is one thing I remember ever since I started taking in interest in the festival around the early 90's, it is that a certain part of the media, crushed by their sense of self-entitlement, is always complaining about Cannes, year after year. But onwards and upwards, and I am really looking forward to Cannes 2013, which I shall be attending. The great thing about the festival is how late the films are announced, which is usually only three weeks before its opening. So we are still in the dark as to what will be showing, and I have come up with a wish list.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Papadopoulos & Sons - Stephen Dillane as a Greek....

Audience award winner at the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Papadopoulos & Sons is a London set film written and directed by Marcus Markou. The story revolves around the sudden change in fortunes of millionaire businessman Harry Papadopoulos (Stephen Dillane - Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones) as his world comes crashing down in the wake of the financial crisis. Widowed Harry loses everything - his fancy mansion and luxury cars, everything except the forgotten Three Brothers Fish & Chip shop, that he started long ago with his now long lost brother Spiros.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Why I'm Angry About Side Effects' Ending - SPOILERS

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS. Obviously do not read this post if you have not seen Side Effects yet. And do not get tempted, it does not have one of those Six Sense WTF twist endings, but a gradual and complex narrative build up, so you have nothing to gain by reading this, it will just make little sense. It is frustrating sometimes not to be able to discuss film plots for fear of ruining the film's enjoyment, but films are also made to be discussed long after you have seen them. So let the rant begin...

The LLGFF 2013: The Men

The London Lesbian & Gay Film festival is finding itself in excellent health, after a scare that it might be scrapped altogether a couple of years ago, when Tories budget cuts to the culture meant nothing was safe. Yes its duration has been reduced from a fortnight to ten days, but I believe it benefits it, as there was not always enough decent material to keep it going for so long. And indeed attendance records are being broken again after last year. So what delights did the festival bring us this year?