Wednesday, 29 September 2010

StreetDance 3D Launch Party Report

Click here to read the article at Blogomatic3000

With the release of StreetDance 3D on DVD, the HMVforum in Camden saw some bright young talent take to the stage to promote the film. With fans screaming, music pumping and lighting glaring us in the face, the night was about to begin… We started off with some hype building from the host, who first introduced the directors of the film Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini and producer Jim Spencer. After declaring that this British film beat Step Up 2 in the charts, they seemed really humble for the appreciation and love the movie got.

What are you most proud of to do with the film?

Dania: The thing we’re most proud about is being able to showcase UK’s finest talent.

*Crowd cheers*

I’m now going to ask Jim, did you envision the success of the film?

Jim: You can never imagine the film being so huge, but to show the incredible talent in the UK, and to show we’ve got incredible people here that can do incredible things. Thank you.

And finally, Max, can you say anything about the StreetDance sequel?

Max: It’s going to be in 3D, bigger and better!

Once the question and answer section was over, we were shown some cast members all glamed up for the night there to make an appearance. They lined up on stage and smiled for the cameras, and had one of the toughest questions they’ve ever been asked…

You sing in the shower, but do you dance in the shower?

Beci: Of course! I dance everywhere.

Once the crew had slowly walked off stage, we were given a performance from Lightning Thieves who provided songs for soundtracks. Versions of “Friday Night” and “Rude Boy” were sang to us with a huge band and great club atmosphere. They thanked the directors for allowing the band to be apart of the film which was highly praised for the soundtrack. The band loved attention from the audience and were high fiving them and dancing right down with them most of the time.

Whilst this mammoth of a stage was dissembled of instruments, to fill time a screen came down and we were able to watch the extras from the DVD. Showing interviews with the stars of the film, and how they promoted the release it of, it was a clever way to fill a gap. This was all just teasing the viewers as they were really here to see the amazing choreographed acts that were about to grace the stage.

George Sampson, winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2008 and lead role in the film, was first to take to the stage. After being prompted by the host to do some sort of immense dance move, he chose the back flip – Quite the crowd pleaser. The host then went on to ask a couple of questions which were suggested by audience members on the Facebook page…

What’s been the best job in your career?

George: StreetDance! (Cheeky grin)

How has the past 2 years been for you since winning Britain’s Got Talent?

George: Going back 4 years ago when I was busking on the streets of Manchester, I’ve never been happier.

After he gave the crowd a little wave and disappeared behind the scenes, we were next introduced to Master of Moves. This group of children aged between 6 – 10 were one of the most impressive performers of the night. They came onto stage with the cutesy factor and wowed viewers with their talent for street dancing. You couldn’t take your eyes off these little people, and they really set the tone for the night.

The next to follow were Status, Semi-Finalists for Sky1’s talent search “Got to Dance” this year. They had this sense of character which made them stick out from the other dancers, as their facial expressions were entertaining and their creativity was incredible. After this stunning group was another, Peridot – Britain’s Got Talent 2009’s Semi-Finalist. Using well known songs like “Can’t Touch This” and putting an alternative spin on the movements, they really made the crowd dance and shouts. Unfortunately, they did have to pause before their performance as technicalities meant their song wasn’t played. The host tried to fill in by asking how they felt to be here, but the music started playing and the rest was history.

Just to mix things up a little, the next performer to stage was Mz Brat. She too provided songs for the soundtrack and pulled several members from the audience up on stage to show off their dance skills. As you can imagine, they mostly just bopped about, including one man who liked to point a lot for his dancing. To fill some more time, the host then created a dance off. Four people were asked to show their moves, and actually there were a couple who could break dance which was surprising. You would expect this from a crowd filled with lovers of a dance film though, I guess…

To get ready for the final acts, we had a special message from Rachel McDowall who was in Canada promoting the film at the time…

“Hi guys, I’m sorry I can’t be there for the DVD launch of StreetDance 3D. I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone at Vertigo Films and for all the support you guys are giving us. I hope you have a fun evening.”

Now for the real excitement! We were given a performance from what can only be described as the most adorable boy on Earth. Akai, Got To Dance 2010 winner, performed to a mixture of songs including Eminem’s Love The Way I Lie featuring Rihanna. Now, if you’ve heard this song you know it’s quite slow, but he incorporated every little word and movement he could to get the most out of the song. When asked if there’s anything he wanted to say, he stated:

“Thank you so much for letting me perform to you guys, I love it.”

The crowd in harmony said “Aww” and let him sweetly walk away after an incredible performance.

Now, it was time for the finale. Flawless, Britain’s Got Talent 2009’s semi-finalists, were massively popular. They cruised up on stage in matching black and white suits all ready to give a performance of a lifetime. They took a break out of their tour to show us their, well, flawless moves and it was amazing to watch. After spins, jumps, leaps and body transofrmation, the group ended their show by blowing out flames in unison which just made the crowd go wild. They were impeccable with timing and routine, so you can see why the film chose to base a lot of the dance around them. The group stated everything that’s happened to them they will never take for granted, and they’re doing what they love for the audience.

It was refreshing to see how all these different types of people have one passion and love for dancing, and to see the effort and dedication they put in to every performance. The things they can do with their body still baffles me now, and to see it all in 3D makes it that much more exciting in the film. For any lover of dance films, this is probably the best you’ll be given right now so embrace it and enjoy the talent provided to you.

Deceiving Film Titles Module?!


I come to you with a special blog featuring insightful words from Callum Savage. Knowing that I study film, and also sharing a liking to the film world, he thought it would be appropriate to raise my attention to the fault with the module system at Sussex University when it comes to Film Studies topics:

"You should discuss with Sussex to add an extra module on your course - Deceiving Film Titles:

- The Constant Gardener wasn't about a man tending to his lawn - There wasn't even a trowel in it!
- The Never Ending Story - IT ENDED!!! And don't even get me started on Never Ending Story Two!
- Cinderella Man - I thought it was going to be about a drag queen going to the ball or something...
- Monster Ball - There were no monsters in it. Plus I was kinda hoping to see a freakishly hideous monster testicle!

Won't mention what I thought when I heard the film titles "Full Frontal, Snatch and Shaft!

Why can't all film titles be like Snakes on a Plane or Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus??"
This would be such a fun module, don't you think? Just looking at film titles and discussing their relevance. Hitchcock seems to be spot on with his decision on what the films are called (Rear Window, The Birds, Psycho), but what about Michael Haneke? He likes to mess with your mind a bit. Innocently I went to watch a film of his called Funny Games, and unless you're mentally wrong in the head, there was no fun involved in the games he seemed to find amusing...

Good point Callum, I'm speaking with the Chancellor tomorrow!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Inappropriate Film Posters

When I was doing my post on the Harry Potter Gang, I came across this poster:

Now, as you can imagine I had to stop and really stare because this is the best and creepiest thing I have ever seen. So, after typing into Google "Inappropriate Film Posters" I soon changed it to "Banned Film Posters" because the images that popped under the previous name were just plain wrong. But, here's a few highlights from what I found... Enjoy! (I'm not a pervert, promise.)

Ken Park (Dir. Larry Clark & Edward Lachman, 2002)
A tormented tale about young teenagers who have horrible lives with their families...

Teeth (Dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein, 2007)
I'm going to be blunt with you - It's about a girl with teeth in her vagina.

Dying Breed (Dir. Jody Dwyer, 2008)

Cannibalism, essentially. But with Tasmanian history giving it context.

Ali G Indahouse (Dir. Mark Mylod, 2002)
Sacha Baron Cohen takes the role of the perverted Wankster causing all sorts of havoc.

Bad Lieutenant (Dir. Werner Herzog, 2010)
And finally, here's Nicolas Cage abusing some OAP's.

What will Harry and the gang do next?!

With the first part of the final instalment to the Harry Potter film series soon to grace our presence (Released 19th November, 2010) I was left wondering, what will they do next? We've watched these characters grow from innocent school children to national Hollywood glamourous stars over the past 10 years. It's a huge part of their life and ours, so the next step they take will determine so much for them.

Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) has blossomed into one of the most stylish stars we see on our screen. With a huge interest in the fashion world, she is likely to continue the course of looking gorgeous on the red carpet and making an impact with her statement outfits. If we take a look at the places she's appeared in (Vogue, Elle, Burberry) she's creating a huge name for herself. She is also starting an eco-friendly clothing range called "People Tree" in which she wants to make people more aware of fashion in an ethical sense. This is likely to take focus on her life now, and the acting will come later. She voiced the character Princess Pea in The Tale of Desperaux, and played in a TV drama named "Ballet Shows" so she's obviously testing different ways in which to take her career, but for now Harry Potter is her biggest role.

Rupert Grint (Ronald Weasley) seems to have taken a much more indie route in his life. During the filming of the Harry Potter films, he featured in some niche type of dramas that had quite a risqué topic. Cherrybomb, about a group of teens who go on a weekend of mayhem with lots of drink, drugs and more illegal activities, and Wild Target focusing on a young apprentice who works for a hit man are to name two from this interesting topic of films he's focusing on. Looking at other work he does, British cinema tends to be his focus so maybe he will be bringing us some very unique roles in his career. Ron was a step in the right direction for him because he can be humorous, emotional and charming all in one, showing just how talented he is.

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) is the main man so he bares the burden of a career in roles that he'll never be able to fully give because everyone sees him as the most powerful magician and nothing else. HOWEVER, as we all know he stripped on stage in the West-End show Equus, and he seems to favour this route. The Woman in Black is turning into a film in which Radcliffe will be playing Arthur Kipps, the lead. And moving more into these artistic roles he will be playing Dan Eldon which is an English Photographer in The Journey Is The Destination. So maybe this guy's going to be the low key one out of all three.

Funny how things turn out...

DVD Releases: Monday 27th September


I think the best way to describe this week's releases is "A week of cheese". The films, bar a couple, are pretty tongue in cheek, lets have a bit of fun on a film set, not take the storyline too seriously kind of viewings. But this isn't a bad thing - Everyone needs those guilty pleasures in their collection.

Starting this week's dairy delights off is:

Street Dance 3D (dir. Max Giwa & Dania Pasquini, 2010) - Not your typical stage school addict kids performing what can only be described as incredible body movement performances, this film shows dancing in the highest quality with top acts such as Diversity, Flawless and George Sampson - All from our very own Britain's Got Talent. Plus, having this feature in 3D makes the choreography even more eye-popping and unbelievable.

The next to carry on the not so serious tale telling is:

Death At A Funeral (dir. Neil LaBute, 2010) - Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover? Yeah, this isn't going to be particularly thought provoking. A film based around the horrific death of a family member, but resulting in a very funny turn of events that are ludicrous yet entertaining all in one over dramatic, comedy feature based at a funeral. James Marsden also pops up just to add another series of laughs into this story, and Zoe Saldana plays the beautiful lead... Everything you need for a Saturday film!

One more movie just to make sure you're overdosed on cheese is:

She's Out of my League (dir. Jim Field Smith, 2010) - Another American teen Rom-Com which shows the tale of a "geek" falling in love with the most popular girl around. Confused and dazed Kirk (Jay Baruchel) can't work out why Molly (Alice Eve) is interested in him, but he doesn't mind too much. Predictable, silly and nothing special... This is the formula so many Hollywood producers love!

Breaking away from this streak of perfect films to accompany Nachos is:

The Killer Inside Me (dir. Michael Winterbottom, 2010) - Probably one of the most sexy thrillers you'll see this year, the story is of a man so obsessed by the act of killing he needs no reason to murder innocent people. With Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson playing key roles to this tale so scary it's hard to watch, your eyes will be glued to the screen but not because you want to, because you don't want to look anywhere else.

One more to add to the serious side of life is:

Bad Lieutenant (dir. Werner Herzog, 2010) - A story about a man who goes from being the most respected police officer around, to discovering a new lease of life by living on the darker side of things. You may think that because it stars Nicolas Cage it's not going to be the greatest of all, but really he shows a deeper level to his acting. Playing the eccentric type suits him well, so this is a perfect watch for that. Plus, Xzibit shows off a bit of his acting side too!

So, this week you've either got serious issues in keeping your attention span on the screen, or quite an intense watch which means your eyes still may sway from watching... Good luck!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

DVD Releases: Monday 20th September

For Blogomatic3000

This week we're going from hardcore action, intense horror to down right cheesy galore. Something for everyone, you could say! Staring off this week's selection is:

Robin Hood (dir. Ridley Scott, 2010) - This tale of the story before Robin Hood became the thief everybody loves is an alternative look at the character we seem to have witnessed so much about. Showing us how he came to be the person he is in the tale we know now, the story seems weak and almost an excuse to have a period action film starring Russell Crowe as an aggressive lead. He himself is the only redeeming factor, but if you love fights and gore, this will be right up your street. This ain't your Disney tale...

Speaking of Disney, our next big release is:

Camp Rock 2 (dir. Paul Hoen, 2010) - Yes, you read that right... There's a 2nd one. Starring a similar cast to the first including The Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, this film screams the whole stage school, young romance, attractive teen Disney so love to throw in our face at the minute. Perfect for young girls who love the band, or for children who just like to sing along to the songs, it's a real kid's favourite.

What isn't going to be a kid's favourite is:

Rec 2 (dir. Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza, 2009) - Revisiting the same sort of tale as the first film, this Spanish sensation of a horror is sure to shock your very core. If you've seen the first, it's probably not going to have as much effect as the first because you've witnessed the marvel of the realistic handheld camera work and acting. But if it is your first time watching this horrifying thrilling story, you won't be sleeping for weeks.

Another world cinema film that you should look out for is:

Mother (dir. Joon-ho Bong, 2009) - Korean cinema is always so brutal and truthful, and this film is no different. Mother shows us what a woman will do for her son if they get in trouble. A brutal murder has taken place and the son is accused of the act. Not wanting to let him be imprisoned, the mother has to come to the decision on what to do. A thrilling tale with some superb acting.

Going from Foreign cinema to Hollywood mainstream, the next on our list is:

The Ghost Writer (dir. Roman Polanski, 2010) - With Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor playing characters from a popular novel, this tale is about a ghost writer who is documenting the memoirs of the former UK Prime Minister. But it all turns a bit sinister when he finds out that a previous ghost writer had a "fatal accident". Seeming a little dry, this film is probably good enough to be rented, maybe not to be bought though...

And finally, another one good for renting, just, is:

The Backup Plan (dir. Alan Poul, 2o10) - A predictable rom-com starring Jennifer Lopez as a 21st Century woman who doesn't let people into her life easily. She's pretty broody so has a baby artificially inseminated, but then meets the man of her dreams... What are the odds?!

So, with all this choice you better get going!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Exclusive Interview with David Whitney, director of Kandahar Break

David Whitney is a man from Bolton now making it big time with the release of his first feature film Kandahar Break on DVD in shops including HMV and Tesco. Obviously busy with the amount of attention he is receiving from this critically claimed film, he took some time at of his day to speak to us.

David has worked on short films and TV dramas, so taking the step to filming a feature was a massive leap, but as he states it was very enjoyable. "Moving from 3 to 4 day shoots to 13 hour, 28 day shoots can be tiring" but he kept his energy levels up. And needed to as he was in a bit of trouble whilst shooting. The film is based on a mine engineer in Afghanistan, but whilst shooting a scene on the boarder of this country, some of the crew members were shot at. Nobody was injured, and I asked whether he wanted to stop filming. "I never wanted to stop, but I thought it would collapse immediately. That was the assumption." But after going back to the investor and showing them the beautiful shots he had made, they agreed to continue filming. He was on the Afghanistan boarder for 5 weeks, and then spent a week in Tunisia which apparently was a brilliant experience as he worked with a very professional crew.

The film has a real passionate tone to it, and delves into the relationships and action of someone spending time in this place we so often hear dangerous things about. After asking what was his inspiration for shooting such a subject close to people's hearts, particularly now, he said "I've always been fascinated by Afghanistan, even as a kid before the war that is happening now. I remember watching news on the soviet war." In 2002, working for a TV programme, he was able to travel there to film, and gained a real sense of adventure which never left his heart since.

The film has been shown numerous times at various film festivals. The one David is most proud of is the Philadelphia Film Festival in which the film won Best Film. I asked whether the attention was overwhelming and he said it was a great reception. Being released in the UK, America, Australia and New Zealand shows just how highly regarded this film is. He told me on Saturday 18th September he's doing signings for the film in the Bolton Tesco and stated walking into your local and finding the film there is exciting, after having shopped there all your life. He also had a screening of the film at his local Cineworld. I said "That must be great seeing a film at the cinema you used to go to" and he said "I still go there now!" He's come from being a free-lance runner to a full blown director in a short number of years. I asked whether he had any advice for runners now and he said "Keep at it, be enthusiastic and keep on time. It's unpleasant but also a lot of fun."

Telling me he is in the process of writing a new piece, and in pre-production on a period drama he likes to try new things and keep his work varied. A man that's passionate about his filming and works so hard to get it perfect, I think we'll be seeing a lot more from David Whitney very soon. Kandahar Break directed by David Whitney starring Shaun Dooley is out in shops and online to buy now.

Read my review of Kandahar Break here:

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Surge of the Handheld Camera Technique

After receiving a monumental cult following, The Blair Witch Project (dir. Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez, 1999) seemed to bring this new life to cinema with the idea of using a very stand out approach to filmmaking – The handheld camera technique. What makes it so diverse from any other device horror or thriller films use is that it’s so true and unforgiving in terms of the cinematography, that the impact of realism it has on the audiences increases this sense of panic. They’re no longer receiving an establishing shot, enabling them to come to terms with their surroundings; they’re right in the point of view of the person in question. And usually if this technique is done well, the camera almost becomes like a separate person as the filmer is a character in question, recording their surroundings which means if something scares that character, the camera only picks up the aftermath leaving a feeling of insecurity as the vision is blurred puzzling the viewer as to what the camera is recording.

After TBWP, this technique seemed to die down with impact. But in 2008 a surge was created by the film Cloverfield. Introducing a whole new generation of film lovers to this way of filming, Cloverfield was critically acclaimed for the impact it created on audiences. Focusing on the idea of aliens invading Earth, Matt Reeves (the director) created huge Internet hype for this film by releasing teaser trailers but very little information. When it finally hit the screen, the result was massive. Audiences complained of nausea, headaches and anxiousness, whilst others were amazing at the detail of emotion this provided.

The homemade effect, the, what seemed to be, new technique to cinematography and the originality of the way in which a film used one camera meant audiences were captured by this sudden development and creativity. Horror films are a very predictable genre with a dedicated crowd of admirers. But for the film goers who are looking for something new, they never seemed to satisfy until now.

Rec (dir. Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza, 2008) was a horror film with a difference. Not only did this become something commendable for the efforts of script writing and filming in handheld, this film was also foreign made huge in England and America purely because it scared you witless. The idea of using a camera team following fire fighters to a call from a distressed woman trapped made it all the more realistic, as you know fire fights receive calls like this on a regular basis. This is when horror fans started increasing more. This development in filming meant that the terror you gain is on such a high level, it made the genre exciting again as the outcomes weren’t predictable but unknowing. Because of the scale of popularity, obviously Hollywood were going to get in on the act. So director John Erick Dowdle made Quarantine (2008) which had exactly the same premise but in English. This somehow lost the magic of scare a touch as you didn’t have to watch the screen for subtitles, meaning you could look away. Rec was so much scarier because you had to watch to know what was going on.

What’s topped it off most recently was the release of Paranormal Activity (dir. Oren Peli, 2009) - A low budget film with huge effect on the audiences. This was demanded into cinemas in America and came over to England in November 2009 and had everybody talking. The minimal set, the realistic acting, the idea of possession and the final scene became almost too much to handle for some audience members. This used a number on CCTV cameras and a home-video camera to record the apparent bizarre happenings of Katie’s antics. So realistic to the point of believing what you were watching was true, this film made handheld camera what it is now – A marvel.

This year alone we’re seeing The Last Exorcism, Rec 2 and Paranormal Activity 2 in handheld camera slowly becoming very popular with critics and audience members because it is so successful for a horror. The feeling of the unknown, the helplessness it provides and the fact that this filming has so many imperfections and realistic qualities makes for such entertaining and awfully scary viewings.

"Buried" Trailer Analysis

When you watch this trailer the whole way through, it seems kind of ambiguous. On the one hand it seems exciting as you have no idea why he's in a coffin, what's going to happen to him and where the film is going to go. But on the other hand, it literally just does show him in a coffin leading you to think maybe this film hasn't got much going for it at all. But when you take a closer look at the way this trailer has been put together, it builds the film up just the right amount to make you intrigued enough to go and see it, without the feeling of being let down too much, as the action shown is minimal.

When the trailer first starts, it's a blank screen. Typical of this sort of genre as when you're watching black your mind begins to wonder. You're not taking in anything else other than the noise. And the noise here is an intense beat, forcing you to become anxious immediately, setting the tone of the genre. Then we hear the protagonist say "Okay, okay, okay" in a quick and frantic pace. This leads you to believe someone's in trouble, but we can't see anything so the tension begins to rise. We then hear a dialing tone and "911" after he states "pick up, pick up, pick up". You hear 911, you know there's danger.

After we discover the protagonist doesn't know where he is and that he got "hit on the head", you're now in frightened mode. Typically, you relate to the lead character. In a lot of cases, the audience know more than the characters giving them some sort of cathartic awareness leading them to feel a lot more at ease with the action, as they can imagine what's going to occur. But as the phone cuts out and the music intensifies, there's no cathartic awareness, there's just pure panic and mystery.

After 40 long seconds of no image, we see he has a lighter which illuminates the area briefly. After several attempts of the lighter lighting - A clever device on their part as the small flame will only show a small amount of space, providing an even more claustrophobic feeling that we already have, we see from a long shot his face laying down in an impacted environment which is wooden. You now know he's in a coffin. This alone is a fear in itself because nobody knows what happens once you die, so a coffin is a very enigmatic object causing your mind to go into overload at the idea of it. But that's all we get. After he releases a sigh of relief and almost pain, the screen fades out and ominous music begins to play as the title "Buried" slowly fades onto the screen.

So from the clues given, he's trapped in a coffin buried underground. We know nothing about what would happened or what could happen. We're not even sure of the lead actor as there are no titles introducing him, but you're probably aware that is it Ryan Reynolds. It's a brilliant trailer. You're scared enough to be moved by it, but also left wondering what you've just seen to want to go and see it.

Tamara Drewe ****

Imagine this: An elegant picturesque countryside, birds singing, home-made scones and cookies with floral dresses and welly boots as the main attire. Now add f**k and a sexy lead in hot pants and this is what Tamara Drewe provides you with. It's a fun loving summer flick with such charm and charisma that all you do is come out wanting some cream tea.

Directed by the veteran of filming Stephen Frears, this quaint lifestyle with a twist screams ideal Britain. From the start we're in tears of laughter as arguable the most compelling character Jody (Jessica Barden) raises the bench mark of expectation for humour and carries it through with her foul mouthed rants and ludicrous scenes of desire. Bare in mind, she is 15 so it's all very tongue in cheek. With other characters being introduced all as eccentric as the last, the casting is a dream and fails to provide even one badly written personality.

Tamara Drewe played by the gorgeous Gemma Arterton is a delight to watch. She's a 21st Century Girl who's turned from ugly duckling to stunning swan in a matter of years thanks to a nose job. This joke is a common factor holding the plot together, so you can begin to see why this film is as irregular for comedy compared to other similar British films. Along with her, Dominic Cooper plays an Indie Rockband Drummer, Ben, who wears eyeliner and speaks all cockney. With these two characters invading this idyllic village the torment they go through is incredibly funny.

Gemma manages to keep the audience glued to the screen, whilst Dominic shows a different side of his acting. He's used to playing the most attractive on set and this is no different, but with a more dirty, gritty personality he's almost irresistable. Plus, the way they play off each other is so exciting to watch you're almost jealous as it's something you'd love to happen to yourself.

But it's the actual villagers that offer the heart-warming tale that provides the added dimension of storytelling this film brings. Tamsin Greig (Beth) provides this sense of vulnerability to her role as the timid housewife. Roger Allam (Nicholas) plays the seedy, perverted staring through a window at someone man, who actually made me say allowed "What a d**k". And Luke Evans (Andy) is the guy next door kind of man. You really have a match made in heaven with the types of people on screen.

The story is a peculiar one. Essentially it's a romantic comedy, but just as British films like to do, it's got this added realism that separates it from the predictable Hollywood scripts we're so often forced to watch because it's got Jennifer Aniston or Katherine Heigl in. The fact that this film was adapted from a weekly comic strip in the Guaridan written by Posy Simmonds provides a raw look at woman who are open about their sexuality. The swearing, the innuendos and the need for Arterton to be naked a lot actually works very well. It's not done voyeuristically and sticks out like a swore thumb, it fits in perfectly to the story as we're looking at real people, not a glamorised ideal person.

There are a few points where the plot seems to be a little unstable, and you're left wondering what the film is really about, but I think this just adds to the fascination of it all. You never really can imagine what's going to happen. It's got twists that you would have never of seen coming from such a pretty film. This just adds to the comedy factor and really will leave you shocked and surprised at the level of laughter you seem to produce.

This is such a fun, free loving British summer film that you really must watch it. The cast a great, the story is well more than original and the whole outcome is very satisfying.

Kelly's Filmy Things #3

"The Day Lee Nelson Hit On Me."

So, the title doesn't seem very film related, and nor is this blog really but I do plan on providing you with at least one filmy thing in this, but mainly this is based on the eventful day I spent in London with Ben Mortimer, journalist by day, creepy ass clown by night.

I came up with a couple of blog ideas on the train (including one on preparing you for the Christmas releases - It's September, I'm allowed to mention the C word)and then we met in Soho, my 2nd home for 6 months on my gap year. I always find it weird walking around there as I used to spend so much time on runs for a post-production company, fetching lunches and tapes, that I never really got to take any of it in. Now, whenever I'm there I feel almost a sense of anxiousness and excitement - Mainly what I lived off of when running was my job.

A joke Ben and I have is that we've got a Haribo engagement so after saying hello, he pulled out a gumy ring! What do you think?

And after receiving a fetching packet of Jammy Dodgers because they are the coolest biscuits, we made our way to the Curzon to watch Tamara Drewe. But it turns out London doesn't like to show the film after realising it wasn't there, or at the Cineworld either. Luckily, Odeon in Leicester Square seemed to only be showing it so we ventured in there.

If you're a film geek, definitely go with another film geek to the cinema. You can piss about whilst the adverts are on, and then guess what film the trailers are showing. I finally saw the new Harry Potter trailer which turned me into the 11 year old I was when it first came to our screens. Can't wait to see Voldemort and Ronald again! And Tamara Drewe was such a fun, free loving British film. I really suggest it to extend the summer out a little bit longer.

After this we roamed around London discovering all sorts of new places, and whilst sitting in Starbucks, as that is what you do in London Ben points out, he receives an email saying Lee Nelson is doing a secret stand up gig in Camden. So obviously we have to go see this up and coming comedian in a small room.

It started by having the compare say I was sexually frustrated (He came to this conclusion because I was hugging a pillow that was on the sofa, meaning I was looking for attention... Hmm) and then Ben thought it would be a good idea to sit right at the front of Lee Nelson's set. So, here we go...
"Did you know there's a party... And it's in my pants... And you're on the guestlist." That was just warming me up for the next couple of lines he thought would be fun to use on me.

After half an hour of some class comedy from him, and me feeling completely embarrassed he ended the show with this:
"Do you give hand jobs to strangers?" to which I replied "Sometimes" and then he said with a baffled look on his face "I've been Lee Nelson, thank you" - Ha. I don't, just in case I need to confirm that as a joke also.

So, we were pretty tired by the end of all this and decided to call it a night. We went our separate ways, and after reading texts from Ben making me laugh like a lonely lunatic on the train and sitting opposite two of the most vile men on Earth who seem to only know the words f**k and c**t, I came home. This is what my bag looked like afterwards, it made me laugh:

Saturday, 11 September 2010

September 13th DVD and Blu-Ray Film Releases

Well, we've got some delights in store for us this week! To start off this great list of films it's:

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (dir. Mike Newell, 2010) - Brought to you by Disney, produced by the same people as Pirates of the Caribbean, directed by Newell and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton and Ben Kingsley to name a few. This is probably one of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters of the year. Plus, being based on a video game and having witty dialogue, high action and special effects bringing the Swords and Sandals genre back to life, the film is going to soar to the top of the charts. Gyllenhaal transformed his body for the role and proved he can play almost any character, as long as he has an attractive co-star to work off of.

Close following this fight filled flick is:

Date Night (dir. Shawn Levy, 2010) - An unusual rom-com based around a typical couple out on their monthly "date night" where they're caught in a bit of a sticky situation after taking someone else's reservation at a table. It's a shame that person's name is on the most wanted list... This is surprisingly action filled with great humour and a cast that work so well off each other. Steve Carell and Tina Fey prove they can bring almost any topic to top levels of comedy, but remain suitable enough for the serious roles. A real fun watch for all the family.

After some silly action, it's down to the more intense themes with:

Unthinkable (dir. Gregor Jordan, 2010) - Working on the fact that there are 3 nuclear bombs placed in 3 cities in America, Henry (Samuel. L. Jackson) has to torture the terrorist Steven (Michael Sheen) to force out of him where these bombs are. You may think this is just another America is great movie, but really is has some flawless acting from Sheen and a topic so sensitive that to base the whole idea of the film around this makes it controversial and therefore an exciting watch. Plus, it's brutal and thrilling making it an all round intense movie.

Moving from scare tactic intense to damn right mind puzzling intense, the next big Blu-Ray release is:

Mulholland Drive (dir. David Lynch, 2001) - Bringing this mind boggling, multiple themed, typical of Lynch film to high definition means we can now sit through and question again what the hell any of it meant. Hopefully this time there will be some clues on the added features or at least a director's commentary, although I'm not sure if that would make it easier or harder to understand coming from one of the most enigmatic film directors out there.

Even more unsettling than this film is the critically accalimed:

Dogtooth (dir. Giorgos Lanthimos, 2009) - Watching the trailer alone will send shivers down your spine, but this sadistic tale of a father who has led his children to live a life with a whole new vocabulary, never allowing them to leave the house will disturb you to your very core. Winning 9 awards, although disgustingly wrong, this film allows you to see the brutality of realism that foreign film provides. With sex as it's main drive of narrative, you can begin to conjure up ideas of where this sickening tale will take you.

On a completely different scale, the last film that should tickle your fancy is:

Kandahar Break (dir. David Whitney, 2009) - A love story turns into a fight when Richard (Shaun Dooley) refuses to let religion come between him and his love in Afganistan. He works as a Mine Clearer Engineer, so similar to The Hurt Locker, the action in this is incredibly unstable meaning one minute you're comfortable and then the next you're left sitting on the edge of your seat. Dooley plays a character very easy to relate with, plus the topic of romance and war coincide together ever so well.

So, it's a mixture of romance, action, confusion and sadistic sex. Oh films, they can take you anywhere... Dogtooth's the one for me this week.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Is Jake Gyllenhaal going to be our next A-Lister?

For Blogomatic3000 -

Using the films Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, and Prince of Persia as stepping stones to fight your way through Hollywood’s fierce sea of talent is quite an impressive move from Jake Gyllenhaal. He’s gone from Indie Goodness to Heroic Mainstream appealing a varied audience, and considering he’s only 30 I think we’ve got a lot to see from him yet.

If you look at the other films he’s participated in such as Jarhead, The Day After Tomorrow and The Good Girl, he knows how to recognise the blockbusters. But they’re usually demanding characters that have substance to them, rather than playing the soppy lead to make all the girls swoon. Although, that is exactly what he’s doing in this latest feature to be released on DVD, playing the Prince of a incredibly popular computer game. He beefed up for the role and transformed himself, much like Taylor Lautner or Tom Hardy for roles in films they knew would get them noticed. But although he’s playing the good looking, strong prince, he’s also an action role model enticing men to look up to him and want to battle like he does. See? He’s quite the clever actor…

To have such a varied amount of characters in his acting history means producers and directors are going to be very open for him trying new roles. In films currently in post-production or filming now, he’s playing a Senator (Nailed), a free-spirited lead in a romance aside Anne Hathaway (Love and Other Drugs) and a commuter in a Sci-Fi film (Source Code). They couldn’t be more different , unless he was playing a woman which still could happen. He’s really proving himself to be the next big thing, and although some might already see him as that, you don’t get the same reaction to his name like when you say “De Nero” or “Al Pacino”. Why is that?

Maybe because he hasn’t had a scandal in the newspaper which will attract attention to him. Or maybe because he doesn’t have a Hollywood Star as his wife. But doesn’t that make him all the more great? He’s playing these huge, challenging roles that demand so much attention from the film world, yet he still remains pretty grounded. He’s almost like a minor version of Johnny Depp keeping his film world separate from his personal world. It worked out well for Depp, so Jake’s sticking to the right thing.

Lets wait and see until we start naming him Gyllenhaal without the Jake. Then he’s made it big!

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Last Exorcism ****

This was a difficult review to write for two reasons. One I didn't really get what I was going into the cinema expecting, that being a really scary horror. The second reason is that I couldn't (when I came out of the cinema) make up my mind as to whether this was a good film or not because of the unsettling, unexpected tale told. Rather than giving just another repeated story about a girl who is exorcised, this discusses all matters of topics varying from incest to questioning your faith. After giving it real thought, I came to the conclusion that yes it was a good film, but the way it's marketed made it seem less satisfying.

You see the girl bending backwards with blood covered clothing in the posters, you hear the screams and intense music in the trailers and think to yourself "another gory film to absorb myself into" but actually it's not just a gory film. The film follows Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian), a preacher who questions his own faith wanting to prove that exorcisms aren't real and it's all in the mind. But as you would expect, when he gets to the house in the rural town where it's ridden with Christianity, he soon finds out that this idea is very real. Taking a topic that's been told so many times can be hard to reinvent but really, this film has.

It uses the new fad of hand-held camera to tell the story as Cotton is filming a documentary to show people their beliefs are all in their head. So receiving the film from this perspective adds to the very drawn out beginning of setting up the story, and to the actual representation of the horrific events that occur from the possessed girl Nell (Ashley Bell). The reason it doesn't satisfy you with the horror you expect to see is because the events that make you want to leave the cinema from terror happen very infrequently. So rather than building and building, getting worse each time, they seem to appear out of nowhere causing you to immediately become anxious without the build up. It's a very effective way to play on your mind. Plus, this film has one of those endings where anything could have happened, so you're in no state to want to leave the cinema by the time the credits role.

To have made this film this way, inspired by Blair Witch and The Exorcist means you gain a new insight to how this storyline could be made. But as the trailers only show you when she's possessed, you expect it to see a constant stream of terror, when actually it's more of a shocking documentary.

The directions (done by Daniel Stamm) means you take in everything around you with great detail. This ranges from the very realistic setting of the village, the actors playing the town's people who all are very convincing, and the way the camera is reacted to makes you feel as if you're a spectator helpless on what to do, much like the crew filming. You relate to their fear making it become not a horror but more a thriller. You're not watching aimless pain or spiritual occurrences, they have context making it much more satisfying.

As I said before, the acting is very good and Bell plays were role beautifully switching from innocent to evil in seconds. She's truly terrifying but so vulnerable all at the same time. Adding this to the home-video effect means you feel like you're watching something very real. It's absolutely mystifying for any horror or film fans who's seen this topic done a million times.

So, when you go to watch this film expect it to see more of a story telling tale about a girl who's claimed to have been possessed, rather than a girl who's going round terrorising the neighbourhood. You'll come out feeling more happy with the ending but will still be shocked at the realism this film produces.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Film Releases: Monday 6th Sept

What's going to take your fancy?

Kick-Ass (dir. Matthew Vaughn, 2010) - Arguable one of the most original, funny action packed super hero movies we've ever seen, this tale of a young boy wanting to make the wrongs in the world right will have you laughing from beginning to end. Starring Nicolas Cage, Aaron Johnson and the C Word swearing 13 year old Chloe Moretz, the controversial entertainment and originality of narrative is more than likely going to top the charts.

The Last Song (dir. Julie Anne Robinson, 2010) - Another soppy love story starring a singer with her own songs creating the soundtrack. Miley Cyrus takes on a more serious role and tries to rekindle her love for the father who she's become resentful of after her parent's divorce. She also falls in love... Perfect for the lovers of tear-jerkers.

Exit Through the Gift Shop (dir. Bansky, 2010) - A humorous and insightful look at the ever illusive Bansky and other famous graffiti artists who's work can be seen all over the world. This feature documentary takes you on an almost "behind the scenes" type of filming about how these rule breaking painters create the work that's admired by 1000s of people.

Burning Bright (dir. Carlos Brooks, 2010) - Imagine Snakes on a Plane but you're in a house and it's tigers rather than snakes. You've basically got the concept for this film. After a tornado, Kelly finds herself and her autistic brother (cue the weak, vulnerable character) hiding away from a tiger who's tormenting them from every corner of the rooms. Not Oscar winning...

(dir. Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, 2010) - Christina Ricci, Justin Long and Liam Neeson, now that's a pretty good cast to watch act together. Added to the topic of a girl stuck in limbo on whether she's dead or alive, with Neeson playing the psychotic doctor type and Long in his typical boyfriend role adds up to a pretty intense thriller. Definitely worth a watch on a Saturday evening with the lights off and popcorn flying everywhere.

So, that's your lot this week. Keep a look out next Sunday for the new films you need to have in your collection.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - 2nd Review!

For Newmanfilms:

There really is only one word to use to describe this film, and as American as it is, that word is AWESOME! Now, I realise that you’ll need more than one word to get a full understanding of this film, but just keep in mind that awesome is the main essence this film gives off. That, and it being a totally effort filled performance on the acting, editing and direction of this film.

Edgar Wright, director of this geek-chic indie film has put his heart and soul into the creation of this movie. From the publicity to the final product, this film oozes nerdiness in a way which makes it cool. It’s like watching a real life game and reading a comic at the same time. Now, this may not sound appealing to you if you’re not into these sorts of things but here’s why you should be appealed. The way it approaches fight scenes is flawless. Taking the aspects of comic books by including words like “pow” and “thump” on screen as the characters hit each other brings us something not quite been done to this effect before. By having an uber cool soundtrack included during the fight scenes, and generally as non-diegetic music to the film means it’s an easy listen. And finally by adding the finishing touches such as little character profiles appearing on screen each time a new cast member is introduced means you’re left wondering what little detail have been left out?! Your eyes are fascinated by these products of imagination all floating out of Wright’s mind, leaving yours to be completely blown.

In terms of the acting, well you’re not disappointed at all. Michael Cera, man of the moment, brings Scott Pilgrim alive with witty, silly humour and an infectious type of arrogant yet venerable personality. Mary Elizabeth Winstead turns Ramona Flowers into an irresistible character that you’ll instantly fall in love with. Although, this could turn into another Team Edward/Jacob situation as Knives (Ellen Wong) is adorable. She really brings this film to life with her stalker, needy kick-ass personality. And even the background characters such as Pilgrim’s housemate, his sister and his band mates are all just as endearing to watch on screen, and funny. This film produces such a varied sort of humour it’s likely to tickle anyone watching. As for the 7 evil exes, well, making a new situation with fights topping each other on action 7 times is a hard task well done. The exes, including a film star, lesbian and twins, all create their own presence on screen which becomes even more revolting than the last to watch. All you want to do is watch Scott beat them with his wicked, game style fighting.

To top this film off, the storyline is really enjoyable. Not only do you watch Scott Pilgrim attempt to defeat the exes, but you really connect with the relationship between him and Ramona. Plus, he’s in a battle of the band which means you’re given a sub-plot to move the film along. It’s a very clever, cool and up to date superhero movie that is something your eyes have never seen before.