Monthly archives "May 2013"

EIFF 2013 Programme Launched

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Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara has announced the details of the programme for the 67th edition of Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).

This year the Festival, which runs from 19-30 June, will showcase 146 features from 53 countries, including 14 World premieres, 6 international premieres and 10 European premieres.

 

The Festival boasts 125 new features, with highlights including FOR THOSE IN PERIL, the debut feature by Paul Wright, a contender for the Michael Powell Award, starring newcomer George MacKay and Kate Dickie. Alex Gibney’s controversial WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS screens within Directors’ Showcase. Noah Baumbach brings FRANCES HA to the Festival with co- writer and star Greta Gerwig, as part of the American Dreams strand which also includes Sofia Coppola’s depiction of fame-obsessed teens, THE BLING RING.

 

Special Screenings include FIRE IN THE NIGHT, which receives its World premiere ahead of the 6 July anniversary of the Piper Alpha North Sea oil rig disaster of 1988. JURASSIC PARK 3D and the 1950 landmark Scottish film THE GORBALS STORY are two of the 21 classic titles in the Festival.

 

EIFF Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara said: “I’m very proud that in my second year at the Festival we’ve again put together a programme that reflects our festival’s commitment to international cinema, while giving our audiences opportunities to discover a broad range of outstanding work from British filmmakers. This year we take the Festival in a number of new directions. In our new “American Dreams” strand we bring the highlights from an exceptionally good year for American independent cinema. In our Focuses on Korea and Sweden, we recognise films that represent the artistic vitality and social commitment of two strong filmmaking nations. Our “New Realities” strand reaffirms our Festival’s continuing support for documentary filmmaking. And “Not Another Teen Movie” is a new section programmed by 15-19-year-olds for their peers. Altogether, our programme is filled with films that I’m sure our audiences will find exciting and inspiring.”

 

British films competing for the Michael Powell Award include 7 World premieres and 6 feature debuts. Among the Michael Powell Award contenders are the captivating Scottish tale of belonging and loss BLACKBIRD by Jamie Chambers; the black comedy EVERYONE’S GOING TO DIE by the two-person collective ‘Jones’; Paul Wright’s FOR THOSE IN PERIL; DUMMY JIM by Matt Hulse; MISTER JOHN by Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy; and John Hardwick’s SVENGALI, expanded from a YouTube series. A LONG WAY FROM HOME by Virginia Gilbert stars Natalie Dormer, who serves on the International Feature Film Competition jury; while THE SEA by Stephen Brown stars Ciarán Hinds and Charlotte Rampling. A documentary feature competing is LEVIATHAN by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel. Completing the selection are UWANTME2KILLHIM? by Andrew Douglas, based on true events, WE ARE THE FREAKS by Justin Edgar, in which misfit teens go on an all-nighter, and NOT ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING, the Festival’s Closing Gala film, directed by John McKay.

 

The Festival boasts 125 new features, with highlights including FOR THOSE IN PERIL, the debut feature by Paul Wright, a contender for the Michael Powell Award, starring newcomer George MacKay and Kate Dickie. Alex Gibney’s controversial WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS screens within Directors’ Showcase. Noah Baumbach brings FRANCES HA to the Festival with co- writer and star Greta Gerwig, as part of the American Dreams strand which also includes Sofia Coppola’s depiction of fame-obsessed teens, THE BLING RING. Special Screenings include FIRE IN THE NIGHT, which receives its World premiere ahead of the 6 July anniversary of the Piper Alpha North Sea oil rig disaster of 1988. JURASSIC PARK 3D and the 1950 landmark Scottish film THE GORBALS STORY are two of the 21 classic titles in the Festival.

 

EIFF Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara said: “I’m very proud that in my second year at the Festival we’ve again put together a programme that reflects our festival’s commitment to international cinema, while giving our audiences opportunities to discover a broad range of outstanding work from British filmmakers. This year we take the Festival in a number of new directions. In our new “American Dreams” strand we bring the highlights from an exceptionally good year for American independent cinema. In our Focuses on Korea and Sweden, we recognise films that represent the artistic vitality and social commitment of two strong filmmaking nations. Our “New Realities” strand reaffirms our Festival’s continuing support for documentary filmmaking. And “Not Another Teen Movie” is a new section programmed by 15-19-year-olds for their peers. Altogether, our programme is filled with films that I’m sure our audiences will find exciting and inspiring.”

 

British films competing for the Michael Powell Award include 7 World premieres and 6 feature debuts. Among the Michael Powell Award contenders are the captivating Scottish tale of belonging and loss BLACKBIRD by Jamie Chambers; the black comedy EVERYONE’S GOING TO DIE by the two-person collective ‘Jones’; Paul Wright’s FOR THOSE IN PERIL; DUMMY JIM by Matt Hulse; MISTER JOHN by Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy; and John Hardwick’s SVENGALI, expanded from a YouTube series.

 

The International selection introduces debuts from Mahdi Fleifel with A WORLD NOT OURS, a portrait of family life in a Palestinian refugee camp; Iraqi-Kurdistan-born director Hisham Zaman with BEFORE SNOWFALL a coming-of-age odyssey from East to West; and Argentine director Leonardo Brzezicki, who paints an erotic psychological landscape with sound in NOCHE. The European premiere of JOY by Greek documentary filmmaker Elias Giannakakis competes along with titles such as Alexey Fedorchenko’s CELESTIAL WIVES OF THE MEADOW MARI which focuses on the rites and customs of a Russian ethnic group; a dreamlike allegory set in Tehran, FAT SHAKER by Mohammad Shirvani; and I.D. by writer-director Kamal K.M. based on a real incident in Mumbai. JUVENILE OFFENDER, a gritty story of family neglect in Korea by Kang Yi-kwan, and OF SNAILS AND MEN, a Romanian post-Communist era social satire by Tudor Giurgiu, round out the International Feature Film Competition.

 

There are a number of Special Screenings across the Festival, including the World premiere of THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES from co-directors James Erskine and Zara Hayes about the historic 1973 tennis match between Wimbledon winner Billie Jean King and retired champion and self-proclaimed chauvinist Bobby Riggs; and, receiving its European premiere, HAWKING, for which filmmaker Stephen Finnigan was given unprecedented access to the world’s most famous living physicist, Stephen Hawking. I AM BREATHING tells the true story of Neil Platt following his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease just months after the birth of his son; the film screens in the Festival ahead of MND Global Awareness Day on Friday 21 June. There will also be a chance to see on the big screen the first two episodes of BBC Two’s crime drama PEAKY BLINDERS, set in the lawless streets of post-war Birmingham on the cusp of the 1920s, starring Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory and Sam Neill.

 

The American Dreams strand includes the European premiere of Scott McGehee’s WHAT MAISIE KNEW, a modern story based on the Henry James novel; Sebastian Silva’s MAGIC MAGIC, which reveals a star turn by Juno Temple; and THE EAST, which stars Brit Marling, who co-wrote with director Zal Batmanglij. International premieres include Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s C.O.G., adapted from humourist David Sedaris’s autobiographical essay; the sci-fi thriller UPSTREAM COLOUR by writer-director and actor Shane Carruth; and THIS IS MARTIN BONNER from Chad Hartigan, in which an unlikely friendship blossoms.

 

EIFF is privileged to welcome to Edinburgh one of the world’s greatest animators, Richard Williams, to celebrate his work with a retrospective, RICHARD WILLIAMS: 80 ANIMATED YEARS. This screening is in partnership with Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival and charts the development of Williams’s animated career. Williams will also present the coveted McLaren Award, which provides a focus for new British short animation. This year marks a new partnership with the British Council, which will see films selected from the McLaren Award competition for an international touring programme representing the best contemporary British animation.

 

The Directors’ Showcase presents work from established auteur directors and emerging talents with 23 films from 17 countries. The selection includes 6 documentaries including Thomas Riedelsheimer’s BREATHING EARTH SUSUMU SHINGU’S DREAM, following artist Susumu Shingu; and actor and director Sarah Polley’s intimate family portrait STORIES WE TELL. Narrative films cover a variety of genres and include high-speed Hong-Kong cop film MOTORWAY directed by Pou-Soi Cheang and produced by action auteur Johnnie To, while Dibakar Banerjee takes Bollywood in a new direction with political thriller SHANGHAI. Intimate human dramas are represented with Bruno Barreto’s REACHING FOR THE MOON, about the love affair between American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares; Mania Akbari’s FROM TEHRAN TO LONDON, a poetic exploration of the roles of women, during the filming of which Akbari fled to the UK; and THE DEEP, Baltasar Kormákur’s breathtaking drama about an Icelandic fisherman who reluctantly became a national hero.

 

The World Perspectives strand presents 25 films from 18 countries, offering a spectrum of work from emerging directors. BIG BOY, from the Philippines, was shot on Super 8 by Shireen Seno; DAYS OF GRACEe is a breathless triple-kidnapping thriller from Mexican director Everardo Valerio Gout; DIE WELT, set after the 2011 Tunisian revolution, is the feature debut from Dutch director Alex Pitstra; from
Li Lou, EMPEROR VISITS THE HELL is a political satire inspired by a Ming Dynasty literary classic; and EVERYBODY’S GONE is an outstanding debut by Georgiy Paradjanov, nephew of legendary master director Sergei Paradzhanov.

 

With New Realities, EIFF features some of the most interesting documentary filmmakers working today, including Thomas Heise, who observes the routines of a crematorium in CONSEQUENCE; PJ Raval, who reveals the lives and loves of three gay seniors in BEFORE YOU KNOW IT; and first-time director Khaled Jarrar, who follows fellow Palestinians’ attempts to cross the wall separating them from Israel in INFILTRATORS. The enigmatic Scottish maker of salmon flies Megan Boyd is the subject of Eric Steel’s KISS THE WATER; and with LUNARCY! Simon Ennis takes an affectionate look at a group of individuals obsessed with the moon. The strand also hosts the World premiere of DESERT RUNNERS by Jennifer Steinman, an intimate film about competitors in RacingThePlanet’s 4Desert Ultra-marathons, and the European premiere of Jeanie Finlay’s THE GREAT HIP HOP HOAX, the stranger than fiction story of Billy Boyd and Gavin Bain, aka ‘Silibil ‘n’ Brains’.

 

Filmmakers and filmmaking is the subject of the Film on Film strand which includes: NATAN, David Cairns and Paul Duane’s moving account of Bernard Natan, a forgotten giant of French cinema; A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILM by Mark Cousins; and Graham Eatough’s THE MAKING OF USr, commissioned by the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.

 

The late-night Night Moves strand hosts the World premiere of OUTPOST 3: RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ, with producer Kieran Parker turning director for the third instalment of the popular Nazi zombie saga; and the European premiere of SHOOTING BIGFOOT, in which British filmmaker Morgan Matthews travels to America and forms uneasy alliances with several Bigfoot trackers. Concept artist Richard Raaphorst directs his first horror flick, FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY, a Nazi v Communist ‘found footage’ horror; while PARIS COUNTDOWN, a high-octane thriller, is director Edgar Marie’s debut feature; and the master of Japanese horror Hideo Nakata brings us THE COMPLEX.

 

EIFF will this year screen 172 short films from 38 countries across 22 programmes. In addition to animated shorts the Festival continues to showcase new work by Scottish, UK and international filmmakers, including DAY TRIP by Park Chan-wook and his brother, Park Chan-kyong.

 

The experimental Black Box strand presents a series of shorts programmes from innovators in the visual art world as well as the World premiere of documentary poem and travelogue ‘10’ from photographer filmmaker Telemach Wiesinger. The Festival enters new territory this year with BLACK BOX LIVE, a
presentation of multi-projector expanded cinema artworks performed live by experimental practitioners Nominoë, Sami van Ingen, and Screen Banditas.

 

The first of the retrospectives previously announced will celebrate the work of French director Jean Grémillon with a programme of features and short films in partnership with the BFI, while the second, presented as part of a wider programme running at Filmhouse, recognises the Hollywood director Richard Fleischer.

 

This year’s two country Focuses showcase work from Korea and Sweden not previously seen in the UK. The Focus on Korea includes films ranging from the commercial mainstream to independent cinema that show the diversity and vitality of Korean film today. The Focus on Sweden includes feature films from contemporary mainstream and experimental filmmakers, a film by an old master from the silent era, and a selection of shorts.

 

A new initiative this year has seen a group of 15-19-year-olds with a keen interest in film select films under the mentorship of the Festival. Entitled ‘Not Another Teen Movie’, their new strand includes include quarter-life crisis comedy OLD STOCK by Canadian director James Genn; 7 BOXES, a thrilling chase movie set in the markets of Paraguayan capital Asunción, from co-directors Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori; STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, starring Chris Colfer and Rebel Wilson; Danish coming-of-age drama YOU & ME FOREVER and a collection of short films.

 

As previously announced, the 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival opens with the European premiere of Drake Doremus’s BREATHE IN with Felicity Jones and Guy Pearce and the Closing Gala is the World premiere of the Scottish romantic comedy NOT ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING, starring Karen Gillan and Stanley Weber. Disney•Pixar’s MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is this year’s Family Gala, screening at Festival Theatre Edinburgh in 3D.

The Hangover Part III ****

THE HANGOVER PART III

 

Run Time: 100 mins            Cert: 15

 

Synopsis: Following Chow’s escape from prison and the death of Alan’s father, the final installment in the Hangover trilogy takes the audience on another badly behaved road trip.

 

The movie begins when Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) escapes from prison in Bangkok while Alan (Zack Galifianakis) gets into a scrape involving a giraffe that results in a fatal heart attack for his father. Following the funeral, Alan’s friends decide to stage an intervention and persuade him to undergo treatment in a psychiatric clinic. Having agreed to this, Alan is on his way to the clinic accompanied by Phil (Bradley Cooper), Doug (Justin Bartha) and Stu (Ed Helms) when they are run off the road by Marshall (John Goodman) and his henchmen. It transpires Chow has stolen gold from Marshall and unless the guys can find Chow and his gold within three days, he will kill Doug.

 

In a similar manner to the previous installments, the main characters resort to outrageous and illegal stunts to find Marshall’s gold and get into sticky situations throughout the film. From their reunion with Chow to their return to Vegas where it all began, the story is entertaining and well written. While the audience may not laugh as hysterically at “The Hangover Part III” as they would have during the first two films, there are still some very comic moments.

 

The three leads give great performances and remain true to their characters. Zack Galifianakis in particular gives another wacky and amusing performance as Alan, while Cooper and Helms are enjoyable to watch as his loyal friends who once again embark on a crazy journey courtesy of Alan and Chow (Jeong). The supporting cast also perform to a high standard with the addition of John Goodman as scary mob boss Marshall, Melissa McCarthy as the pawn shop owner and the return of Heather Graham as Jade the stripper.

 

The film’s soundtrack is both fun and appropriate with music from Hanson, Billy Joel and Nine Inch Nails. A particular highlight is Ken Jeong’s performance of “I Believe I Can Fly” and while it’s obvious Zack Galifianakis doesn’t actually sing “Ave Maria”, it adds to the scene and fits the character.

 

Overall, “The Hangover III” is a good comedy that wraps up the trilogy nicely. While there aren’t many huge twists, it is far from boring and the ending does not disappoint.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan

Newsreel (W/e 26 May 2013)

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Antonio Banderas will star in the Chilean miner movie The 33, as Mario Sepulveda, the charismatic miner known as “Super Mario.”

 

Jonathan Rhys Meyers in talks to star in Star Wars Episode VII.

 

Seth MacFarlane has confirmed that he will not return as Oscars host for 2014.

 

Anthony Hopkins joins the cast of Gotti.

 

Timecop set to be rebooted.

 

Velvet Goldmine’s Todd Haynes is to direct Cate Blanchett & Mia Wasikowska in Carol, adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt.

 

Gael Garcia Bernal to star in Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, Rosewater.

 

American Horror Story’s Evan Peters has joined the cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past as Magneto’s son, Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver.

 

Dazed and Confused director Richard Linklater has revealed that he is working on sequel.

 

Tom Cruise has dropped out of the upcoming Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie.

 

Celine Dion will record the theme song for The Muppets… Again!

 

Charlie Sheen is changing his name back to Carlos Estevez,for the Robert Rodriguez sequel Machete Kills.

 

Blue Is The Warmest Colour by Abdellatif Kechiche has won the Palme d’Or. The Coen Bros’Inside Llewyn Davis took the Grand Prix.

 

Fast & Furious 6 races to the top of the U.S. box-office.

EIFF Jury announced with The Host’s Bong Joon-Ho to head

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South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho will chair the International Feature Film Competition Jury at this year’s Festival.

 

Bong Joon-Ho, whose English-language debut, ‘Snowpiercer’ is expected later this year, came to international attention with his first feature ‘Barking Dogs Never Bite’ (2000). He won Best Director at the San Sebastian Film Festival for ‘Memories of Murder’ (2003). While ‘The Host’ (2006) and ‘Mother’ (2009) received much critical acclaim upon their premieres in the Director’s Fortnight and Un Certain Regard sections at Cannes.

 

Serving with him on the jury is actress Natalie Dormer and film critic Siobhan Synnot. Star of the hugely successful ‘Game of Thrones’, Dormer will be seen later this year in the highly anticipated ‘Rush’, directed by Ron Howard, and Ridley Scott’s ‘The Counselor’, written by Cormac McCarthy. Synnot is chief film writer for Scotland on Sunday and is an award-winning writer and broadcaster who regularly contributes to the BBC and STV, commenting on films and arts issues.

 

They will choose the winner of the Award for Best Film in the International Competition from a selection of films that highlight filmmaking from outside the UK that is imaginative, innovative and deserving of wider recognition. Last year’s winner was ‘Here, Then’ by first-time director Mao Mao.

 

This year’s Festival will also feature two country Focuses, showcasing work from Korea and Sweden. The Focuses will offer Festival audiences the opportunity to see UK premieres of the best recent work from those two countries.

 

EIFF Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara speaking in Cannes said: “It’s a huge honour for our Festival to have Bong Joon-ho, one of the greatest filmmakers, as the Chair of the jury of our International Feature Film Competition. We’re also honoured and delighted that he will be joined by Natalie Dormer, a brilliant and prolific performer, and Siobhan Synnot, one of Scotland’s leading voices for film culture.”

 

“Our Focuses on Korea and Sweden are major components of EIFF’s programme this year. These are undoubtedly two of the most consistently interesting national cinemas, both with a great abundance of filmmaking talent. We have an outstanding selection of stimulating and challenging films from both countries and we’re very happy to be showcasing them.”

 

The Focus on Korea includes films ranging from the commercial mainstream to independent cinema that show the diversity and vitality of Korean film today. The espionage thriller ‘The Berlin File’ from master director Ryoo Seung Wan has been a box-office hit. The domestic success of ‘Jiseul’, the debut from O Muel, is an equally good sign for arthouse films. The film, which recreates a massacre by Korean troops of alleged Communists in Jeju Island in 1948, is one of two films on historical tragedies; the other is ‘National Security’ by Chung Ji-young, which looks at the case of a pro-democracy activist in the 1980s who was tortured into making a false confession.

 

From director Shin Su-won, ‘Pluto’ is a dark and gripping story of how competition for top grades in an elite high school turns murderous. The imaginative hybrid of fiction and documentary ‘Virgin Forest’, which looks at themes of tradition, memory and the past, will be shown with two new shorts: ‘Homo Coreanicus’, an allegorical story about Korean society, and ‘Day Trip’, directed by Park Chan-wook (Old Boy, Stoker) in collaboration with his brother, Park Chan-kyong, which deals with the Korean traditional music form pansori.

 

The Focus on Korea is supported by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korean Film Council and the Korean Cultural Centre UK.

 

The Focus on Sweden includes feature films from contemporary mainstream and experimental filmmakers, a film by an old master from the silent era, and a selection of shorts. Beginning with a phone call from a long-lost lover, the experimental documentary ‘Belleville Baby’ from Mia Engberg is a true story of love that raises questions about identity, class and fate. ‘Call Girl’ by Mikael Marcimain tells the explosive story of underage prostitution amongst the Swedish elite in the 1970’s; while ‘Roland Hassel’ is the debut feature from director Måns Månsson, an intriguing hybrid of fiction and documentary that breathes new life into the 1980’s cult private detective character of Roland Hassel. Emerging Swedish director Karzan Kader was born in Kurdish Iraq; his film ‘Up & Away’ is a charming story about familial love as two brothers try to travel from Kurdistan to America to meet Superman. In ‘Sanctuary’, two fugitives, a father and daughter, abandon civilisation and escape into the wilderness. Fredrik Edfeldt’s second feature expresses powerful emotional undercurrents raging beneath a reflective world of beautiful, almost ethereal stillness.

 

An enchanting rediscovery from the first golden age of Swedish cinema, Mauritz Stiller’s 1919 film ‘Sir Arne’s Treasure’ is an exquisite masterpiece, which will be shown with live musical accompaniment. Finally, a seven-strong selection of some of the finest short-form cinema emerging from contemporary Sweden, presents the undercurrents bubbling fervently just beneath the surface of society.

Mud ****

 

mud

 

Run Time: 131 mins Cert: 12A

 

Synopsis: While exploring an island in rural Mississippi, two teenage boys meet a mysterious man named Mud and help him reunite with his girlfriend.

 

Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, “Mud” begins when teenage boys Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) discover a boat in a tree while visiting a small island near their home in Mississippi. On investigation they realise someone is living there and subsequently meet Mud (Matthew McConaughey). Mud tells them he is there to reunite with his girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) so they can leave together. Feeling sorry for him, the boys decide to help Mud in exchange for a gun he promises them.

 

The story is deep and well written but seems to lose it’s way as it progresses. Although there are elements of action and suspense, it is more of a character driven drama than a thriller and is largely built on relationships rather than events. Towards the end there are a few twists but the ending is disappointing. On leaving the cinema, the audience are likely to wonder why the last few minutes were included as the writer had a perfect opportunity to end the movie on an ambiguous note but chose not to do it.

 

From the outset it is obvious there are different sides to Mud (McConaughey) and the viewer learns more about him throughout the film. His relationship with Juniper (Witherspoon) is central to the story but they only have one scene together. Witherspoon is very average in her role as Juniper. Her character is a woman that does what she wants regardless of the consequences for other people. This makes for an interesting love story which sees Mud risk everything for the woman he loves despite it being clear to the viewer that she only loves herself. Mud’s relationship with retired marine Tom (Sam Shepherd) is also interesting to watch. They have a father-son dynamic that is a recurrent theme throughout the movie.

 

Tye Sheridan gives a realistic portrayal of a teenager dealing with realities such as rejection and family breakdown. Throughout the movie, the viewer sees Ellis interact with a variety of people including his parents, best friend Neckbone, high school girl May Pearl and most importantly Mud. The relationships he forms with those around him are enjoyable to watch and give the character plenty of depth. Despite having a less significant role, Jacob Lofland also gives a good performance as Neckbone, a boy who has grown up without his parents and spends most of his time fishing with his uncle and exploring with Ellis.

 

Overall, “Mud” is an enjoyable film with a solid plot and well developed characters. Although at 131 mins it is a bit longer than necessary, the movie remains interesting and is worth watching.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan

Newsreel (W/e 19th May 2013)

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Warner Bros. have hired Seth Grahame-Smith & David Katzenberg are to produce a new Gremlins movie.

 

Billy Crystal is attached to star in the comedy Winter’s Discontent tone directed by Frank Oz.

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger is in talks for a remake of Toxic Avenger.

 

Will Smith is looking to star & produce a contemporary remake of Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 western classic The Wild Bunch.

 

Christoph Waltz is set to join Robert De Niro in The Candy Store.

 

Composer Michael Giacchino is to score Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

 

Samuel L. Jackson joins Hailee Steinfeld for Kyle Newman’s action comedy, Barely Lethal.

 

Emily Blunt & Christine Baranski are in talks to join the cast of Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the Broadway musical Into the Woods.

 

The Weinstein Company announces that production of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II – The Green Destiny will begin in March 2014.

 

Christopher Nolan has been approached to direct the next 007 movie.

 

Screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber have been hired to pen RED 3.

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s Marton Csokas will play the villain in Columbia Pictures’ The Equalizer.

 

The movie based on Ubisoft’s popular video game Assassin’s Creed, starring Michael Fassbender, will be released on May 22 2015.

 

Star Trek Into Darkness warps to the top of U.S. box-office.

The Great Gatsby ***

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Run Time: 143 mins Cert: 12A

 

Synopsis: Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the movie tells the story of rich war veteran Jay Gatsby and his neighbour Nick Carraway.

 

The movie begins on Long Island, New York in 1922 when Nick Caraway (Tobey Maguire) a war veteran and University graduate, decides to rent a house there while working in the city. On moving there, he hears stories about his neighbour Mr Gatsby (Leonardo Dicaprio) which he is intrigued by. One night he is invited to one of Gatsby’s many parties and a friendship begins.

 

Of the two lead males, Dicaprio gives the stronger performance. He is both entertaining and believable as the title character. His love for Daisy (Carey Mulligan) is the root of everything he does and drives his desire to be rich and powerful.

 

Maguire on the other hand gives a rather dull performance as Nick. His character oesn’t do much except observe and assist Gatsby although his narration is good.

 

British actress Carey Mulligan gives a reasonably good performance as Daisy, Nick’s cousin and Gatsby’s lover. However the character is not particularly likeable. She doesn’t know what she wants and tries to have the best of both worlds. There are times when you feel sorry for her but as the story progresses this is less so.

 

While Daisy’s husband is not the most likeable character, Joel Edgerton gives a fairly good performance. The supporting cast also do a good job with one cast member in particular being unrecognisable until the very end.

 

Despite being set in the 1920s, the film contains modern day pop music as well as new covers of the era’s music. With songs performed by artists such as Beyonce and Florence and the Machine, the soundtrack is one of the movie’s strong points.

 

The 3D was very disappointing. Given that most of the movie’s scenes are at night, there is little room for 3D and the daytime scenes under-utilise it.

 

Overall “The Great Gatsby” is very average. While there are some good performances and a great soundtrack, the film feels a bit flat and drags towards the end.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan

The Look Of Love ***

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Run Time: 101 mins Cert: 18

 

Synopsis: Directed by Michael Winterbottom, this quirky British biopic stars Steve Coogan as club owner and pornography king Paul Raymond.

 

Based on a true story, “The Look Of Love” begins in the 1960s when club owner Paul Raymond decides to venture into erotica. Over the next three decades, he acquires a large number of clubs and other businesses in Soho whilst enjoying a glamorous lifestyle.

 

While on the surface the film appears fun and slightly comic with its over the top sex shows and poppy soundtrack, there is a darker side to the story. The seemingly carefree, extravagant lifestyle that Raymond and those around him live is also one of deceit and manipulation.

 

Steve Coogan gives a comic and sleazy performance as the lead character but lacks depth. Throughout the movie, his only interests are money, sex and spoiling his daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots). While the relationship between Raymond and his daughter could have added depth to the story, it feels slightly superficial.

 

Poots gives a good portrayal of the spoilt daddy’s girl but there are a lot of gaps in Debbie’s story which make it difficult for the audience to understand what is really going on in her life. The film seems to jump from one stage in her life to the next without giving the viewer any explanation as to how she came to be there.

 

In terms of the other leads, Anna Friel gives a mediocre performance as Jean Raymond. Again there are gaps in the story in that the viewer doesn’t really get any explanation as to why their son Howard stayed with her while Debbie ended up with her father. Throughout the movie, Jean only appears sporadically and doesn’t really add much to the story. Tamsin Egerton, while entertaining and attractive, gives a somewhat cheesy portrayal of Raymond’s long-term girlfriend Fiona Richmond.

 

The soundtrack is fun and reflects the times. From the 60s pop to 70s disco music the soundtrack is one of the film’s strong points.

 

Overall “The Look Of Love” is entertaining however its lack of depth and various plot holes make it a three star movie.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan

Monsters University scares at EIFF

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Edinburgh International Film Festival is to screen Disney•Pixar’s “Monsters University” is this year’s Family Gala, screening at the Festival Theatre in 3D on Sunday 23 June with a schools screening on Monday 24 June at Cineworld.

 

Edinburgh audiences were the first in the UK to see “WALL-E”, “Toy Story 3”, “Ratatouille” and “Brave”.

 

Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he has dreamed of becoming a Scarer—and he knows better than anyone that the best Scarers come from Monsters University (MU). But during his first semester at MU, Mike’s plans are derailed when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, “Sulley” (John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer. The pair’s out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University’s elite Scare Program. To make matters worse, they realise they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right.

 

Screaming with laughter and oozing with heart, Disney•Pixar’s “Monsters University” is directed by Dan Scanlon (“Cars,” “Mater and the Ghostlight,” “Tracy”), produced by Kori Rae (“Up,” “The Incredibles”, “Monsters, Inc.”) and features music from future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and award- winning composer Randy Newman.

 

In addition to the Family Gala and schools screening of “Monsters University”, EIFF boasts a number of events and activities for young people keen to explore the world of film.

 

For students aged 15-17 years taking Higher Media Studies, Media Days on 26 & 27 June will provide an exciting insight to EIFF. Each day includes the premiere of a new film and the screening of a short film, along with meetings with filmmaker guests and presentations from individuals from across the film and creative industries.

 

Previous guests have included directors, actors, cinematographers, games designers and composers. Guests in 2012 included director Benjamin Pascoe; Noe Mendelle from the Scottish Documentary Institute; Jacqui Barr from BBC Films; director John Roberts; producer Jonathan Roe; writer Eirene Houston and composer John Lunn.

 

The film opens in UK cinemas on 12 July 2013.

Star Trek Into Darkness ****

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Run time: 131 mins Cert: 12A

 

Synopsis: Starfleet is under attack from vengeful terrorist John Harrison (Cumberbatch). James T. Kirk (Pine) must find and apprehend the criminal, before it is too late.

 

Director J.J. Abrams returns to the Captain’s chair of a franchise that was reinvigorated the last time he was at the helm.

 

For the first film Abrams not only made one of the best Trek movies in years, but he also made the series more interesting to non Trekkies too.

 

In this follow up, the overall tone is darker with some more comedic moments than the first film.

 

Without the weight of establishing how these characters met and their individual timelines, the filmmakers have concentrated more on exploring the actual dynamics of Spock and Kirk’s relationship. While ramping up the relentless action sequences.

 

This is a minor complaint about the overall structure of the plot. In that with so much going on within the set pieces, it feels like there is too much to focus on at one time. An over sensory meltdown of never ending battles.
On the other hand it never feels long and extremely fun.

 

The returning cast work extremely well together. Chris Pine gives Shatner a run for his money, while Zachary Quinto was born to play Spock. Simon Pegg’s Scotty has more screen time and also some of the best lines.

 

The biggest improvement has been with the villain of the movie. In the first film the character of Nero felt weak and underdeveloped. The same cannot be said of John Harrison. This character is complex and calculating.

 

Benedict Cumberbatch underplays Harrison which gives the character a sense of mystery which is essential for a plot full of twists. He has the larger-than-life presence to play the foreboding enemy that Kirk needs.

 

The writers have stuck closely to the original television and film series with this story. Towards the end of does feel like a bit of a parody of those versions.

 

Nevertheless most audiences will be enthralled with this latest entry of the the series. This film shows that J.J. Abrams is a fantastic choice for the next episode of the Star Wars franchise.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan