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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

Newsreel (W/e 12 May 2013)

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Tom Cruise to reprise the role of Ethan Hunt for Mission: Impossible 5.

 

Christopher McQuarrie is to write & direct a remake of the Cold War thriller Ice Station Zebra.

 

Shane Black to co-write & direct Doc Savage.

 

Director Bryan Singer confirms that X-Men: Days of Future Past is being shot in 3D.

 

MGM is moving forward with Hot Tub Time Machine 2, but with Parks and Recreation Adam Scott to star as John Cusack will not be returning.

 

Warner Bros. is planning a Dungeons & Dragons movie.

 

Jurassic Park 3’s Joe Johnston is to direct John Travolta in Gotti.

 

Andrew Garfield & Ken Watanabe are to star in Martin Scorsese’s Silence.

 

Universal postpones release of Jurassic Park 4.

 

Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden has been cast as the Prince in Disney’s live-action Cinderella.

 

Robert Redford is to direct & star in A Walk in the Woods, with Nick Nolte in the adaptation of Bill Bryson’s 1998 novel.

 

First CG-animated Marvel film from Disney will be Big Hero 6 is to be released in 2014.

 

Owen Wilson, Joaquin Phoenix & Benicio Del Toro to star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s big screen adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice.

 

William Fichtner has joined the cast of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Could he be playing Shredder?

 

Disney has a shortlist of directors for Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Rupert Sanders & Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman’s Fredrik Bond.

 

WB moves 300 sequel from August to March 7, 2014, and All You Need is Kill from that date to June 6, 2014.

 

Star Wars: Episode VII is to shoot in the UK.

 

Timur Bekmambetov is to produce Squirrels, a new horror-thriller.

 

Robert Downey Jr. is set to team with his Iron Man & Iron Man 2 directorJon Favreau for the indie comedy Chef.

 

Chloë Moretz is set to appear opposite Denzel Washington in The Equalizer.

 

Iron Man 3 continues the battle at the top of the U.S. box-office, while The Great Gatsby surprises everyone at a second place spot.

 

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

Opening & Closing films of the Edinburgh International Film Festival

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Drake Doremus’ emotional drama Breathe In will open this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival on 19 June 2013.

 

The film follows broke cellist Pearce, whose life is turned upside down when a British exhange student comes to stay with his daughter.

 

EIFF’s director Chris Fujiwara commented: “In a healthy year for American cinema, Breathe In is clearly a stand-out. It’s an emotionally powerful, beautifully understated and intelligent work from director-writer Drake Doremus, who reveals tremendous sensitivity, style and skill. He also draws superb performances from Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones. Breathe In is the ideal opening film for our festival this year.”

 

Doremus will attend the European premiere in Edinburgh for the film.

 

There will also be a retrospective of director Richard Fleischer. The filmmaker made a variety of Hollywood movies ranging from film noir to science fiction.

 

“Some of Fleischer’s films, such as The Vikings and Fantastic Voyage, are fantasies that can be appreciated on one level by children and on other levels by adults. Others, such as The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing, The Boston Strangler and 10 Rillington Place, are sophisticated thrillers that work in unpredictable ways to engage and challenge the viewer. He is a great director to study to see how the most mainstream forms of film entertainment can be filled with artistic purpose and imagination,” said EIFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara.

 

The retrospective includes Joan Collins as The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955), The Narrow Margin (1952) , Rachel Welch in Fantastic Voyage (1966), Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda in The Boston Strangler (1968), Richard Attenborough and John Hurt in 10 Rillington Place (1971).

 

While the Festival will close with the world premiere of John McKay’s Not Another Happy Ending, which stars Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan.

 

When struggling, maverick publisher Tomas Duval (Stanley Weber) discovers his only successful author Jane Lockhart (Gillan) has writer’s block. He knows if he does not unblock her, that he is finished. With her newfound success, she’s become too happy and she can’t write when she’s happy. The only trouble is, the worse he makes her feel, the more Tomas realises he is in love with her.

 

Chris Fujiwara, EIFF Artistic Director, said: “Speaking as somebody who, before coming to Scotland, knew Scotland partly through its portrayal in films, I’m really excited to find in Not Another Happy Ending a fresh, interesting, and almost idyllic take on the cultural vibrancy of Scottish city life. The film also shows how well the time-honoured genre of romantic comedy can work in the contemporary Scottish context. The film will add just the right note of celebration with which to close our festival this year.”

 

Producer Claire Mundell called the film “unashamedly upbeat, romantic and funny”.

 

This year’s EIFF runs 19-30 June. It will also see the revival of the missed Audience Award, returning after a two year absence.