Wednesday, May 14, 2008
While denouncing his involvement in the Darko sequel, Richard mentioned that he's editing together his next film, horror pic The Box, and that he's going “to work with a very famous band who is honoring us with being the first filmmakers they’ve ever scored a film with”. While I think this news was supposed to have been announced at a later date, Pitchfork Media found out that that very famous band he was talking about is in fact Arcade Fire.
I like Arcade Fire and the prospect of a full film score from them is intriguing. The Box is a 70s-set horror/suspense concerning a married couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) who receive a small wooden box that gives them instant wealth when a button within is pressed. It's based on a short story by Richard Matheson called Button Button.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a sequel hater by any stretch (see: Indy 4), but there's just no need to continue the story of the Darko family whatsoever. It's plain to see that it's just a sad way of extracting cash from a cow that doesn't need to be milked. ScreenDaily has reported that Chris Fisher (of Nightstalker fame... wait, did I say say "fame"?) will be directing the story of Donnie's sister Samantha (Daviegh Chase) as she embarks on a road trip with her friends at age 18 and are plagued by strange visions. The sequel will be entitled S. Darko.
Richard Kelly and Darko Entertainment have come out and stated that they are "150% not involved" and have tried to stop development on the pic. One of the producers of S. Darko, Adam Fields, was involved in the original and was rumored to have been ordered off set (or at least was told he was not welcome) and could possibly be organizing this as revenge.
Whatever the reasoning or the outcome, I'm not looking forward to this at all. Shooting begins on May 18th.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Iron Man has never really had the same audience pre-notion as Superman or Batman. For it to work as a franchise it has to be introduced to the minds of the movie-going public. And that what the current film does. Sure, most other comic book films have had the obligitory origin-based story, but most tend to concentrate (at most) half the film on it and spend the rest giving us a proper film with a villain (or two) and heart thumping set pieces. Batman Begins and Spider Man are prime examples of this method, and Iron Man pales in comparison to them.
First off: there's no real villains in Iron Man. Yes, we have the Terrorists and a bald Jeff Bridges, but neither provide any real threat and only pop up, especially in Bridges case, towards the final few reels.
Second: The direction in Iron Man is very average. The final battle looks like a cut scene from Transformers and most other scenes are blocked like a TV show.
Finally: For all it's worth, the running time of Iron Man could have been cut to just Robert Downey Jr's last line: "I am Iron Man", which is really all that the movie says.
This is nothing but introduction. I admit that it is entertaining, but I find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that to gain all we can from this character we have to buy into sequels and a bigger story. I'm fairly certain that the sequel will be better then the initial encounter, and that it only because in his first outing Iron Man isn't given all that much to do.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
- The Once Swede won the Be Kind Rewind Contest! It has already screened on Channel 6 and is set to appear on The Last Broadcast on RTE 2 at the end of May and at the Darklight Film Festival in June.
- Interviews about the film have appeared on/in The Evening Herald, The Fanning Show on RTE Radio 1, Film & TV Monthly, Today FM's Ian Dempsey Show and various websites.
- Not resting on any laurels, I'm gearing up a short doc on the recording of Rhob Cunningham's song Good Or A Bad Thing and a short film titled "box" that will hopefully be ready for festivals during the Summer.
- Reviews will be back on-line over the coming days
Thursday, March 6, 2008
LIGHT HOUSE CINEMA TO RE-OPEN FOLLOWING EXTENDED INTERMISSION
Dublin, March 6th 2008: The Light House Cinema has officially confirmed May 9th as the date for the re-opening of the venue at the new location in Smithfield Square, Dublin. The eagerly awaited re-opening comes following an extended “intermission” – the Light House, in its previous incarnation, closed in Abbey Street in 1996. The Light House Cinema team of Neil Connolly and Maretta Dillon continue to be committed to ambitious and adventurous programming, and the new four-screen cinema will act as a cultural hub for the Smithfield area.
The total capacity is 614 seats, with seating configuration as follows: Screen One: 277 seats; Screen Two: 153 seats; Screen Three: 116 seats; and Screen Four: 68 seats. The four screens will allow for enormous flexibility in terms of programming, delivering a greater choice and diversity of films to invigorate the cultural cinema landscape in Ireland.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Funny Games U.S.
A straight remake of the original German film, Funny Games U.S. is a fairly disturbing look at the hunger and fascination that modern audiences have towards cinema violence. The reason to remake it in such an exact way is to make it's point more direct, tangible and relevant then it was before. I left the cinema feeling horrible, so it did have the effect on me that the director wanted. It's a unique experience, but not one for anyone sensitive.
Rating: * * * * (4 Stars)
For the most part, The Orphanage is a brilliant horror film filled with moments of complete terror and pants-wetting suspense. Very well directed, written and performed, it keeps you engaged and alert with it's story of hauntings and a missing child. It's such a pity that the final 2 minutes of the film tear apart everything that it worked so hard on building. To go into it would be to spoil the film, so I'll just say this: it's denouement is so ethically skewed and uncharacteristic of the story that it actually offends deeply and gives the wrong message.
Rating: * * * * (4 Stars, but it would be 5 if the ending hadn't been such a cop out)
This was the surprise film of the festival. If this is festival director Grainne Humphreys idea of what a surprise film should be then I'll be skipping it next year. The film itself has been done many times before and better too. We never get enough back-story or development from the characters, their motives are either shallow or non-existent, and the final twist is, while clever in some respects, completely hollow and meaningless. A poor effort, and a bad choice.
Rating: * * (2 Stars)
I hope the festival improves next year, as there's most certainly room for it.
Monday, February 25, 2008
I didn't have time to put up my predictions yesterday, but I'd have gone for There Will Be Blood for Best Film (wrong!), The Coens for Director (right!), Day Lewis for Actor (duh! right!), Cotillard for Actress (right! yay!), Blanchett for Supp. Actress (wrong!) and Holbrook for Supp. Actor (wrong again!).
There were no big surprises this year, and it seems that this was one of the few years that The Academy gave the best film award to a deserving film.
Congrats to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova in winning for Best Song.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
The director of the Oscar-nominated short film Fifty Percent Grey, Ruairi Robinson, has been lined up by Leonardo Di Caprio's production company Apian Way and Warner Bros. to direct 2 live-action films based on the Manga property Akira.
The Akira manga comic books were made into the much celebrated animated feature back in 1988, and in the 90s Sony Pictures made some headway into producing a live-action version but faltered at the projected budget for the effects. Now that CGI has reached a stage where the budget can be shrunk Di Caprio has taken on the story, probably with a view to starring as well.
Aintitcoolnews broke the story here.
You can view the brilliant short Fifty percent Grey here.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Similar to what I've said in the past, he challenges that the added glamor and ceremony over the past few years has cheapened the awards and, even though it promotes shorts and low-budget endeavors, has ended up being nothing more than an opportunity to have a few famous faces on the morning papers.
When the response you get from Aine Moriarty, IFTA Chief Executive, is "Who is voicing this opinion? It is ridiculous" it just shows how closed minded the awards are.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
With all the hype surrounding this film I was expecting to be let down a good deal, considering that the vast majority of films never meet the expectations built up by a crazy marketing campaign. Turns out the hype was deserved and I throughly enjoyed the hell out of it! It's fast paced, well constructed and feels like some genuine creative thought went into making it what it is. It's a blockbuster with a little more smarts then your usual multiplex fodder. It does suffer from some gaping plot holes but, being a monster movie, you can easily forgive them. A word of warning: try and sit as far back in the cinema as possible! It's not as shakily annoying as some Bourne films, but it comes close the odd time.
Rating: * * * * (4 Stars)
This film, while being quite good, comes across as a missed opportunity for me. What we have is a story that's funny, touching and engaging but is written in a fashion that completely alienates the audience. The quick-witted banter that coats almost every scene (the first 10 minutes are an onslaught of achingly dry punchlines) displays an unsettling need to prove its indie roots. Luckily, once it gets to the half way mark the dialog begins to simmer down and the story takes centre stage. Page is sometimes annoying, but generally fine, as the title character and is supported by a great cast (including Michael Cera who nails his role perfectly). Good but not great, it's amount of awards and nominations seem like overkill. Oh, and I hate hate hate The Moldy Peaches!
Rating: * * * (3 Stars)
I was, not quite dragged, but coerced into seeing this. This year's "released for Valentines" film is light on the schmaltz and heavy on the cute as Ryan Reynolds' tells the story of how he met is soon-to-be-divorced wife to his young daughter. Compared to other rom-coms it has it's moments, tends not to drift into over-sentimentality and has a dark core to its tale. However, it does contain characters and arcs that are beyond belief and reality. Do yourself a favour and watch High Fidelity instead, a film about past and current relationships that surpasses this attempt.
Rating: * * (2 Stars, add another 2 if you like this sort of movie)
Friday, February 8, 2008
(In other news, it's been speculated that Lost will get 6 more episodes in April/May! Good times!!)
CNBC is reporting here that a deal will go before the writers tomorrow (Saturday) for their approval.
Ex-CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner said "It's over, they made the deal, they shook hands on the deal. It's going on Saturday to the writers in general". Once the writers give it the thumbs-up (which everyone seems fairly certain that they will) it will bring an end to the strike that has lasted since November and shut down most TV and some film productions.
Eisner concluded: "A deal has been made, and they'll be back to work very soon," adding, "I know a deal's been made. I know it's over."
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
You've probably read the speculation and furore in the Sunday Tribune and elsewhere about Once's nomination in the Best Song category at the Oscars. Originally I had completely dismissed this as an old story re-cycled due to the announcement of the nominees last week, but then the story began to pick up speed and the AMPAS said that they were considering the situation.
This comes as a complete surprise as I had though the matter had been sorted out long ago! Kris Tapely over at Variety points out the same in this article. Only 2 songs from Once (Falling Slowly and If You Want Me) were stated by the Academy to be fit for nomination, while all other songs contain were found to be un-original (as in: not for the film). But now the Academy seems to be flip-flopping and pressure has been mounted to re-consider its legibility as an original work for the film. "Pressure from where?" you might ask. Have a look at who else is nominated for Best Song and you may find an answer.
The AMPAS will announce their final decision sometime today.
Monday, January 28, 2008
It's been known for a few weeks that Peter Jackson and New Line finally settled their litigation surrounding profits for the first Rings installment, and that The Hobbit would be done as 2 films, but when it was originally announced Jackson was only listed as a producer. This hinted at a busy slate for Jackson (with The Lovely Bones and Tintin both in various stages of production) and a possible new director. With Del Toro confirmed, production should begin in 2009 with release dates of Christmas 2010 and 2011.
This year, the DGA Award went to the Cohen Brothers for No Country For Old Men which now makes them almost certain of Oscar glory.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Apparently it's based on a short story contained in Fleming's For Your Eyes Only.
I don't know about everyone else, but does the title sound a bit Lord Of The Rings-ish? Or even Star Trek-y?
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
No Country For Old Men
I've been aching to see this film for ages, and it did not disappoint. Everything about it sublime: the direction, the writing, the performances (Javier Bardem's will go down in history), the sound mixing, the adrenaline pumping chases...aw hell I could go on for ages. It's excellent. Please go see it.
Rating: * * * * * (5 Stars)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
10 minutes in to this a friend leaned over and said: "I didn't know this was a musical!". She ended up really enjoying it though, which is more then I can say for myself. The problems I have with Sweeney are inherent to the actual source material itself. The production is fantastic, the performances good and the direction excellent. However, it suffers from a few songs that miss the mark and characters (the daughter and her lover in particular) that are just plain boring to watch.
Rating: * * * (3 Stars)
Charlie Wilson's War
Like Sweeney Todd, this has most of the parts to make a brilliant film, but somewhat falls short. The story of a US Congressman who instigates the biggest covert war in the history of the CIA is interesting and has a strong message that is not forced but hinted at. It's a pity that this story is just not compelling enough, and leaves you with the feeling that they cut out 30 minutes of plot development. It is funny in places and has Philip Seymore Hoffman stealing every scene he's in, but it just isn't enough to save it.
Rating: * * * (3 Stars)
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
This is a massive attempt at taking the piss out of Walk The Line and Ray, and they almost pull it off. In a movie like this you just need to know one thing: is it funny? Answer: Yes, but not always. Some jokes are delivered with a knowing wink that takes you out of the story and reminds you that you are just watching a group of people who are effectively pointing and laughing at other films. Others of its ilk, like Anchorman and Blades Of Glory, aren't so aware of themselves and are the better for it. That said, it is mostly funny and is just about worth the admission. Watch out for a cracking joke about The Temptations.
Rating: * * * (3 Stars)
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The big new is that there's quite a few Irish in the nominations...
- Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) in Best Supporting Actress
- Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood) in Best Actor
- Once got a single nomination in the Best Song category
- Seamus McGarvey (Atonement) in Best Cinematography
So how did my predictions do? Here's some commentary (read: my own stoopid opinion) on other categories as well...
Almost hit the nail on the head. There's been quite some buzz with Michael Clayton, and this morning I've been reading that some are considering it No Country's main rival.
Joe Wright, director of Atonement, will feel rotten. A Best Picture nomination but nothing for his direction. Jason Reitman's nomination is a huge surprise, considering the Academy rarely give nods to comedy. On the predictions front: 3/5 ain't bad!
Tommy Lee Jones' nomination wasn't expected. I had thought Tom Hanks was a certainty but was very wrong. Emile Hirsch's exclusion was the first sign that Into The Wild would get royally snubbed. Another 3/5.
Like I said, Cate Blanchett's nomination is an annual event. She won't win it though as most will give her Best Supporting Actress. Laura Linney's nomination was unexpected. Keira Knightly didn't get her very much expected nomination... burn! 3/5 on the predictions again.
- As usual, Best Supporting Actor has the most interesting selection. If it turns out to be No Country's night then Bardem will take it home, otherwise Hal Holbrook will be given it (more so for his career rather then his role in Into The Wild).
- Saoirse Ronan will have her work cut out to beat Cate Blanchett in Best Supporting Actress. The I'm Not There actress is a dead cert.
- Best Original Screenplay is the Academy's favorite time to give an award to an Indie film. Juno looks most likely this year.
- No Simpson's Movie on the Best Animated Feature list. Ouchers!
- Speaking of animation, Ratatouille's 5 nominations are really surprising, especially Best Orig. Screenplay
- I predicted 2 nods for Once in the Best Song category, but was trumped by Enchanted's 3 (count 'em!) nominations. I did not see that coming at all. Even Eddie Vedder's song from Into The Wild didn't get a nomination! Once will be favorite to take away the statue as the rest of the votes will be spread too liberally over Enchanted's songs to pose any threat.
- Norbit got nominated (for Best Make-Up). The end of the world is nigh!
Overall, it's a wide open race and I have a feeling that no one film will run away with it. The ceremony will take place, pending that the Writers' Strike (TM) will allow it, on Sunday, Feb. 24th.
Monday, January 21, 2008
So, just for the hell of it, here's my predictions for some of the major awards and check back tomorrow (Tuesday) so see how many I got wrong!
- No Country For Old Men
- There Will Be Blood
- The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Note: Michael Clayton could spring a surprise
- The Coen Brothers (No Country For Old Men)
- PT Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
- Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly)
- Joe Wright (Atonement)
- Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd)
Note: Ridley Scott and Sidney Lumet could also get noms based on their careers so far. Ben Affleck could get a sneaky nom for Gone Baby Gone.
- Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
- Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson's War)
- George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
- Frank Langella (Starting Out In The Evening)
- Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Note: Top 3 are a dead cert, John Cusack might surprise with Grace Is Gone, also Emile Hirsch for Into The Wild.
- Julie Christie (Away From Her)
- Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
- Ellen Page (Juno)
- Keira Knightly (Atonement)
- Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart)
Note: I honestly can't see any other possible nominations, unless Jodie Foster's star-weight gets her a nom and Cate Blanchett gets her now annual nomination.
Expect Sweeney Todd to feature heavily in the Technical/Production categories, as will Atonement and There Will Be Blood. Once, as I said at the beginning of the year, will get 2 noms (both in the Best Song category).
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The Long: The story of Dan In Real Life is straight out of TV Movie-land: a widowed father is trying to cope with his 3 daughters (each at a different stage in life), his work and his lack of a love-life. They all pile into a car and head off to a family gathering at a quaint and quiet seaside town that always seems to be overcast. While off buying papers Steve Carell's character meets a woman whom he completely falls for, only to find out that it's his brother's new girlfriend.
While sometimes amusing, the film never really gets out of 1st gear and seems to happily plod along in it's own world, leaving the audience behind to wonder when they'll all cop-on and give us something interesting to watch. The family at the centre of the story are incredibly annoying with their "family time" games and group exercise sessions in the mornings. Their behavior is so safe (well, it is a PG rated film), mundane, oh-so-cutesy and sugar loaded that you may just develop diabetes from looking at them. Carell is fine in his role, but is given very little to work with. The same can be said for the rest of the roles, except Dane Cook who turns in another insipid and uninspiring performance.
The writing behind the story is the main reason Dan In Real Life fails. The story takes many turns in the wrong direction, throwing characters into positions where they really shouldn't be and relying on the audience to buy in to these quirks and to ignore the implausibility of it all. It tries so hard to be light hearted and appealing that it forgets to properly engage us and leaves the viewer feeling cheated, having sat through 90 minutes of fakery and lies. In essence, the film is like a condescending pat on the head from an annoying relative.
Rating: * * (2 Stars)
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
- Irish film (and IFTA nominee, oh how exclusive!) Kings has been dropped from the Oscar shortlist for Best Foreign Film. Whittled down to a total of 9 films, the list has also dropped hot favorites 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and The Orphanage. That Academy is bonkers I tell thee!
- We should find out today if the planned Justice League film, with Max Max director George Miller, will get the green light or not. I'm on the edge of my seat! (No, really!).
Edit: It's been delayed due to The Writers Strike (TM). Well darn it!
- The Producers Guild Of America (who very regularly predict the Oscar Best Picture winner) have named their top 5 films of '07. They are: No Country For Old Men, Juno, There Will Be Blood, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, and Michael Clayton. Oddly (yet tellingly) enough there was no mention of recent Golden Globe winner Atonement, which today received 14 BAFTA Nominations.
- The final Harry Potter book might be shot over 2 separate films, according to The Daily Mail. They're doing it this way to properly "honor the complexities and scale" of the story. Yeah, and to line your wallets as much as you can before the series ends.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
This "award" is being sponsored by a haircare company (whose name I'm loathe to say here) and has the following nominees...
- Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth: The Golden Age
- Jodie Foster for The Brave One
- Keira Knightley for Atonement
- Hilary Swank for PS I Love You
While this being a very blatant attempt at advertising is one thing, they could have at least come up with a better list then that. I mean c'mon! Hilary Swank!? Foster and Knightley I can forgive (the latter will probably gain an Oscar nomination) but what about Julie Christie in Away From Her? My own favorite of last year: Keri Russell in Waitress? Why not even go for an obvious one and give a nod to Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart? I can understand that sponsorship money is needed to ensure that the event goes smoothly, but if the IFTAs are to be taken seriously then they should at least have a bit of cop-on and have proper nominations. People's Choice me arse!
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
- The Oscars (if they actually go ahead!) will once gain give the Best Picture gong to a film that really isn't the Best Picture at all
- Once will be nominated for 2 Oscars (both in the Best Song category) and will win 1
- The new Indiana Jones film will be the highest grossing film of 2008
- The Dark Knight will have millions of Batman fanboys swooning the world over as Nolan will have "fuckin' nailed it!"
- BluRay discs will surpass HD-DVD as more people buy the PS3
- That format war will eventually not matter as movie downloads become more proliferate
- Judd Apatow, having scored numerous hits in a row, will finally have a commercial and critical flop
- The Writers Strike (TM) will finally end mid-Spring as everyone agrees that only 8 episodes of Lost isn't enough for this year
- Jim Carrey's career continues on its downward spiral
Got any other predictions?