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2012 BAFTA Winners

Posted by: Matthew Turner 16/02/2012 @ 12:56
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 38
Films seen in the last week: Slacker 2011, Payback Season, Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, Position Among The Stars

FILM OF THE WEEK: Position Among the Stars

More BAFTA Ranting
I had intended to watch the BAFTA ceremony over the weekend, but I ended up going on an impromptu visit to Glasgow instead and when I got back and asked the question, “Is it worth watching the BAFTAs on iPlayer?”, the answer seemed to be a resounding “No.” Ironically, at the very moment the BAFTAs were being held, I was at the oh-so-glamorous awards ceremony for the Glasgow Short Film Festival, but that's not important right now.

I'm actually glad I didn't watch the BAFTA ceremony now, because it would almost certainly have given me RAGE, thanks to the BBC's ridiculous decision to a) televise the ceremony two hours after it's actually held (meaning that all the results are already known, since people and press actually AT the ceremony have been tweeting and reporting them for the last two hours) and b) only televise it in an edited version, which means both cutting down on the bits you actually want to see (the speeches, the jokes, the montages) and, worse, only showing some of the awards.

This wouldn't be so bad if they only showed the interesting ones, but some of the decisions are mind-bogglingly stupid. For example, they showed the Best Documentary award (which deservedly went to Senna) but not the Best Animated Feature award (where, happily, the quirky Rango beat out the generic, not-really-trying Arthur Christmas). Equally baffling is the decision to show the Production Design award but not Best Cinematography. However, the one that really infuriates me is the decision not to show the Best Foreign Film award – I mean, seriously, what idiot decided to show Best Production Design over Best Foreign Film? And don't even get me started on Adam Deacon winning the Orange Rising Star award, although, if he hadn't, we would have been deprived of the hilarity of this picture and this picture.

After all that, I can't really work up the energy to rant about the awards themselves, but they went very predictably, with The Artist sweeping seven wins (including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Score and Best Screenplay), Meryl getting Best Actress (which they might as well rename The Streep Award) and the Supporting honours going to Oscar favourites Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer (both well deserved, in my opinion). Hilariously, at least one film journalist was seen on television complaining about The Artist winning Best Screenplay and protesting that “there are no words in it.” Still, it's over now, but seriously, BBC, could we not have at least a live stream next year?

Films I Am Dying To See: The Hunger Games
This weekend I took advantage of a lengthy train journey and finally read Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, which several people whose opinions I respect had been raving about. The PRs involved with the upcoming film are so excited about it that they've been giving away copies of the first and second books to anyone who wants one, so I'm currently 200 pages into the second book and officially hooked.
Anyway, I'd wanted to read the book without knowing anything at all about the film (all I knew was that Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were in it), so I've actually only just seen the full-length trailer and now can't wait to see the film.

I love the Logan's Run vibe (obviously a strong influence) and the casting is more or less spot-on, especially Donald Sutherland as President Snow.
The trailer doesn't give a huge amount away beyond the actual set-up, which is that in a future version of Earth, young people from each district are entered into a lottery and if their name is drawn they have to fight each other to the death in an arena in a televised competition called The Hunger Games. Crucially, the trailer doesn't give anything away from the actual arena, although there are a couple of moments in the teaser trailer that are from the Games. To be fair, I had Lawrence and Hutcherson in my head while reading the book, so I can't really say that they don't fit the characters, but I wonder if the character Lawrence played in Winter's Bone (self-sufficient young girl who could hunt/fish etc) played a part in her casting here?

At any rate, there's a lot to love in the trailer, whether it's Elizabeth Banks in her unrecognisable make-up, Wes Bentley's crazy facial hair (1m54s) or Woody Harrelson as ex-Games winner Haymitch. The film also looks like a production designer's dream and I'm looking forward to seeing how they do the “on fire” dress from the book. Quite apart from anything else, the film looks like a refreshing change from the usual blockbuster/franchise fare, even if it is basically ripping off Logan's Run and The Running Man. Anyway, it opens here on 23rd March and I can't WAIT.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Three new entries this week, with heart-warming Indonesian family documentary Position Among The Stars, Roger Corman doc Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel and Euro-thriller (sort of) The Woman in the Fifth all making it into the top ten. Due to the vagaries of available listings, I'm not entirely sure whether Bombay Beach will still be playing at the ICA on Friday, but if it is, make sure you see it.

Interview-wise this week we have a press conference interview with Nicolas Cage for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and an exclusive interview with My Summer of Love director Pawel Pawlikowski for The Woman in the Fifth.

Elsewhere you can still read our hilarious press conference interview with Kermit, Miss Piggy and Muppets director James Bobin; our press conference interview with David Cronenberg, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender and writer Christopher Hampton for A Dangerous Method; our exclusive interview with Bombay Beach director Alma Har'el, an exclusive interview with Best Laid Plans' Emma Stansfield, a Q&A with the director and stars of Best Laid Plans, our press conference interviews with Descendants stars George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and director Alexander Payne, our exclusive press conference interview with the stars of Intruders (Clive Owen, Daniel Bruhl, Carice Van Houten, Ella Purnell and the lovely Pilar Lopez de Ayala); our semi-exclusive interviews with Andrea Riseborough and James D'Arcy for W.E.; and a press conference interview with Shame writer Abi Morgan and director Steve McQueen and No Shame actor Michael Fassbender.

There's also our exclusive round table interviews with the lovely Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston for War Horse, our exclusive round table interview with lead Jeremy Irvine, our exclusive interview with author Michael Morpurgo; and a press conference interview with director Steven Spielberg. Come back next week for an interview with Denzel Washington and an exclusive interview with Alex Orr, director of Blood Car.

1. The Artist
2. Bombay Beach
3. The Muppets
4. The Descendants
5. Young Adult
6. Martha Marcy May Marlene
7. Chronicle
8. Position Among The Stars
9. Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
10. The Woman in the Fifth

DVD of the Week: Friends With Benefits (out now, online RRP £10.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Friends With Benefits, directed by Will Gluck. Not to be confused with the similarly themed (but bloody
dreadful) No Strings Attached, Friends With Benefits stars Justin Timberlake as Dylan, a Los Angeles art director who's just been dumped by his ex (Emma Stone). When he's head-hunted by also-recently-dumped Jamie (Mila Kunis) for a magazine job in New York, he decides to take it and the pair quickly become friends, not least because Dylan doesn't know anyone else in the city. During a late-night discussion about sex and relationships, Dylan and Jamie realise that they both have emotional commitment issues, so they agree to become “friends with benefits” and decide that they can sleep together without any of that tedious relationship stuff getting in the way. Needless to say, things quickly get complicated, particularly when Jamie starts dating a cute doctor (Bryan Greenberg).

Timberlake and Kunis make an extremely appealing onscreen couple and their sparky interaction is hugely enjoyable; more to the point, not only do they have smoking hot chemistry together, but their friendship feels believable too. On top of that, there's terrific support from a top-notch comic cast that includes Patricia Clarkson, Richard Jenkins, Jenna Elfman and a scene-stealing Woody Harrelson. Gluck keeps things ticking along at a decent pace and maintains an impressively high gag rate, ensuring that we're never too far away from a funny line or a hilarious set-piece (Timberlake's Kris Kross routine is worth the price of admission alone). Similarly, the excellent script strikes the perfect balance between laugh-out-loud funny and genuinely moving. In short, this is a hugely enjoyable romantic comedy that succeeds thanks to a genuinely funny script, assured direction, believable characters and terrific chemistry between its two stars. Highly recommended.

The DVD extras include: a commentary with director Will Gluck, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis; out-takes; and a handful of deleted scenes with optional commentary.


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