Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wednewsday 29th Feb

Good News: The Artist gets the grand slam and reigns triumphant at the Oscars with Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Score.

Bad News: The Avengers will now be called Marvel Avengers Assemble in the UK. Not exactly catchy.

Mad News: 'Man or Muppet' won the Oscar for Best Song, which makes The Muppets an Oscar-winning film and Bret Mackenzie from Flight of the Conchords an Oscar-winning song writer! Mad but awesome!

Biblical News: Russell Crowe looks set to take the title role in Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic, Noah. It will be like Evan Almighty but without the slapstick.

Trailer News: the new full-length trailer for Marvel Avengers Assemble (such a daft name) is online and looks epic. And the final few seconds reveal the ultra-villain who Loki has been working with... it's comic book nemesis Fin Fang Foom! And it is big.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Oscar Winners 2012

Another Awards Season has been brought to a close with the usual grand finale of the Academy Awards.

The clear winner on the night, as it was throughout the past two months, was The Artist which picked up most of the big gongs. Meanwhile, the ever-lovable Hugo swept up the technical awards and can be considered a respectable runner-up.

My thoughts on the Oscars in bullet-points:
  • Big names will always get nominations regardless of whether they deserve them or not. Prime example: Brad Pitt for Moneyball.
  • Biggest surprise: George Clooney, an Academy-friendly America, losing out to Jean Dujardin.
  • Biggest disappointment: Meryl Streep winning the Oscar for a by-the-numbers political role. A very overrated performance, considering some of her competition.
  • Punch-the-air-moment: 'Man or Muppet' winning Best Song! Flight of the Conchords' Bret Mackenzie is now an Oscar winner! I wonder if they'll put that on the trailer for The Hobbit?
  • There is always a pointless bit which gets the media excited. This year it was Angelina Jolie showing a bit of leg. The leg now even has its own Twitter account with a bonkers 34,131 followers. Click here if you don't believe me.
  • Conclusion: as with the past few years, Award Season has been a one-horse race with everyone backing a five-star unlikely hit. There is certainly a trend of each major awarding body (Globes, BAFTAs, Oscars) bidding on the early favourite. This is not to say The Artist was clearly the deserving winner but it is a shame that controversial surprise wins seem a thing of the past.


BEST DIRECTOR: The Artist - Michel Hazanavicius

BEST ACTOR : Jean Dujardin - The Artist

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christopher Plummer - Beginners

BEST ACTRESS: Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer - The Help
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Descendants - Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen

BEST FILM EDITING: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: The Artist - Ludovic Bource

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Man or Muppet - The Muppets, Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wednewsday 22nd Feb

Here is a quick round-up of news from the past seven days...

Good News: Edgar Wright will be directing Johnny Depp in The Night Stalker as a tabloid journalist who contends with zombies, vampires, werewolves and other fun things.

Bad News: I Am Legend is getting a follow-up. A prequel would be dreary and a sequel would be tedious.

Mad News: Fast & Furious is getting a sixth and seventh instalment. The Rock is back for both.

Bond News: Sam Mendes is doing video blogs for Skyfall! Check the first one out here.

Trailer News: the American Pie: Reunion trailer is online and looking fine. Check it out below.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

BAFTA Winners 2012

Well, the BAFTAs took place on Sunday, the highlight of any British film fan's year.

I live-tweeted for the whole two-hour show, which you can read here.

And just in case you haven't heard, the winners are below. In short, The Artist ruled the night.

BEST FILM: The Artist - both a masterpiece and a homage. Read my five-star review here.

DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist - he directed the Best Film. Of course he was going to win.

LEADING ACTOR: Jean Dujardin, The Artist: a pleasant surprise. Everyone expected this to go to Clooney or Fassbender.

LEADING ACTRESS: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady: a lazy choice. Streep was good but Swinton, Williams and Bejo were far more deserving for much less Oscar-baiting performances. No one will be watching The Iron Lady twelve months from now. Read my review here to find out why.

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christopher Plummer, Beginners: predictable but he hardly faced stiff competition.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer, The Help: Spencer was playing a character fighting racism and adversity. Of course she won.

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - a very British film and a predictable win.

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER: Tyrannosaur - a tough category but well-deserved. And they kind of had to give them something considering the Twitter backlash when Olivia Coleman didn't even get a nomination for her performance in this film.

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: The Skin I Live In - a haunting, psychological film. Essentially Saw with plastic surgery.

DOCUMENTARY: Senna - haven't seen it. Need to see it.

ANIMATED FILM: Rango - I'm amazed the very British Aardman Animations didn't win this one for Arthur Christmas.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist - Woody Allen got the Globe but not the BAFTA. It was a pleasure to see Hazanavicius take home this BAFTA for a silent movie. After all, words do not make a screenplay.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - the film may be poorly-paced and complicated but Straughan did a sterling job to cram all that plot into two hours.

ORIGINAL MUSIC: The Artist, Ludovic Bource - naturally. The score was the third lead character.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: The Artist, Guillaume Schiffman - the look was the fourth lead character.

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS: Harry Potter VIII - it had to win at least one BAFTA.

THE ORANGE WEDNESDAYS RISING STAR AWARD: Adam Deacon - honestly thought the fanboys would vote for one of the Thor actors or the girls would crown O'Dowd's lovable Irish mug. Fair play to Deacon.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Amazing Spider-Man, Amazing Trailer

The Spider-Man franchise is getting a much-needed reboot with Amazing Spider-Man.

Marc Webb's fresh take on Spidey is already looking more stylish, brutal and interesting than the slow-paced, camp and dreary Raimi trilogy. 

The Raimi trilogy may have been well-received, although film fans were a lot less picky about comic After all, Spider-Man was one of the first 21st century superhero films alongside X-Men. But the scripts were lacking, the actors void of charisma, the humour was AWOL and there is little re-watch value.

None of these problems look set to weigh down the reboot, however, as this trailer will testify. And anyone in attendance at Empire's Big Screen last August will be happy to agree, having glimpsed entire scenes of unreleased footage. They confiscated our phones and everything.

Anyway, click below and get ready to be excited. This is the Spider-Man film that fans have been waiting for. And in the 2012 blockbuster stakes, Bond, Batman and Bilbo better watch their backs.

Nazis in Space!

There's nothing quite like a high concept film and it doesn't get any higher than a Nazi base hidden on the moon since World War II. 

The year is 2018 and when the swastika-shaped base (known as Schwarze Sonne) is discovered by a US astronaut, the Space Nazis decide to attack America ahead of schedule. The American President, every bit a Sarah Palin caricature, fights back. Cue dogfights in space, orbital zeppelins and plenty of dodgy Nazi/Palin accents.

Bonkers, brilliant, Finnish and potentially the greatest B-Movie of 2012. Check out the trailer.

Bourne Reborn

The trailer for the Bourne Legacy has hit the internet giving fans the first glimpse of Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, another Treadstone manufactured bad-ass in the same vein as Matt Damon's Jason Bourne (who is 99% likely not to appear).

To show marginal continuity with the Bourne trilogy, the film will feature Joan Allen and Albert Finney. Indeed, both feature in the trailer. Plus, they even mentioned Jason Bourne by name to justify using 'Bourne' in the title and therefore keeping the franchise ticking over.

Aside from that, it is hard to know how much Bourne Legacy will resemble the Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass originals. Neither director is returning but Tony Gilroy is at the helm and has written all four Bourne screenplays which is a good sign.

That said, the action in the trailer looks a lot more over-the-top than the gritty approach taken by Gilroy's predecessors. Anyway, see for yourself....

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Empire Magazine's Done in 60 Seconds

The Empire Awards 2012 (sponsored by Jameson) are fast approaching and, each year, members of the public are invited to submit their own 60 second film parody in the hope of bagging the much-revered Done in 60 Seconds Award.

The short list has been assembled and you can vote for one of these twenty entries.

Highlights include Lee Hardcastle's mash-up of Hostel and A Town Called Panic; Thom Hoffman's Point Break complete with Family Guy reference and Michael Whaite's summary of the Star Wars prequels via C-3PO.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sundance 2012: The Highlights

Sundance 2012 officially wrapped on Sunday and Total Film have written a superb blog listing their Top 20 Highlights for those of us who weren't there. You can read it here. Considering these will be some of the most talked about films over the next twelve months, it is well worth a look.

The full list of winners is below.

And remember, Robert Redford is bringing the best of Sundance to the UK for the first time ever and you can buy tickets for the big event on the O2 Arena website.

  • Grand Jury Prize: Documentary - The House I Live In
  • Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic - Beasts of the Southern Wild (pictured right)
  • World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary - The Law in These Parts
  • World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic - Violeta Went to Heaven (Violeta se Fue a Los Cielos)
  • Audience Award: U.S. Documentary - The Invisible War
  • Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic - The Surrogate
  • World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary - Searching for Sugar Man
  • World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic - Valley of Saints
  • Best of NEXT Audience Award - Sleepwalk with Me
  • U.S. Directing Award: Documentary - The Queen of Versailles
  • U.S. Directing Award: Dramatic - Middle Of Nowhere
  • World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary - 5 Broken Cameras
  • World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic - Teddy Bear
  • Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award - Safety Not Guaranteed
  • World Cinema Screenwriting Award - Young & Wild
  • U.S. Documentary Editing Award - Detropia
  • World Cinema Documentary Editing Award - Indie Game: The Movie
  • Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary - Chasing Ice
  • Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Dramatic - Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary - Putin's Kiss
  • World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic - My Brother the Devil
  • U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for an Agent of Change - Love Free or Die
  • U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance - Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
  • U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing - Smashed and Nobody Walks
  • U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting - The Surrogate
  • World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Artistic Vision - Can
  • World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize for its Celebration of the Artistic Spirit - Searching for Sugar Man
  • Short Film Audience Award - The Debutante Hunters

Get The Gringo, Watch The Trailer

Mel Gibson is back in Lethal Weapon action mode with his latest flick Get The Gringo, formerly titled How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

Judging by this trailer, we can expect fisticuffs, prison brawls, slo-mo grenades, Jon Favreau as a gangster and Gibson's trademark dry humour. And Gibson is one of only three actors who can turn getting beaten up into an art form (the other two are Harrison Ford and Nathan Fillion) so expect plenty of comical sucker-punches.

Get The Gringo is out on May 11.