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American Reunion Film Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 30/03/2012 @ 11:39
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 87
Films seen in the last week: Tiny Furniture, Bonsai, Two Days In New York, Mirror Mirror, Babycall, Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life, Battleship, Wrath of the Titans (3D), Barbaric Genius

FILMS OF THE WEEK: Tiny Furniture

See Smaller Films First: A Plea
During the previous series of BBC1's revamped Film 2012 show, journalist Charles Gant did a fascinating report on the inner workings of the UK distribution system, from which it emerged that a film's opening weekend performance, rightly or wrongly, plays a strong part in determining how many cinema screens that same film will play on in the following week. The obvious drawback of this is that it's almost impossible for a small film to garner momentum via word of mouth if it doesn't make at least a bit of a splash in its first week.

For example, I've been going on a lot about Hunky Dory to various friends and when one of them decided she wanted to go and see it as a result, she discovered that it had disappeared from cinemas after only a couple of weeks. (Hopefully it will find an audience on DVD, as the music sequences alone make it worth seeking out). More recently, this week, Charles wrote about the disappointing box office for Dexter Fletcher's wonderful Wild Bill in his excellent weekly column for The Guardian and while no-one can seem to agree on what exactly went wrong, the fact remains that its poor box office means that it's unlikely to stick around on as many screens as it was on last week. (By contrast, The Kid With A Bike did remarkably well, but it had few rivals on the arthouse release circuit).

Clearly, aside from the unseasonably good weather last weekend, a significant factor was the release of The Hunger Games, which duly scored the biggest UK opening of the year. Now, the thing is that The Hunger Games will be around for months (it will probably still be playing in July) and playing on multiple screens within the same cinema to boot, so film-loving audiences (i.e. someone who wants to see all three of Wild Bill, The Kid With A Bike and The Hunger Games) need to essentially change their cinema-going habits and support the smaller films before going to see the big ones (as tempting as the lure of a blockbuster on opening weekend undoubtedly is, and therein lies part of the challenge).

For example, this week the big new releases are The Pirates: In An Adventure With Scientists and Wrath of the Titans, whereas smaller films like Herzog's Into The Abyss and Lena Dunham's wonderful Tiny Furniture are the ones that need your support, so if you're the sort of person that's going to see at least three of those films, please, please, PLEASE go and see the smaller films first. Could this idea catch on? I hope so. It even has its own attractive-looking hashtag (#SSFF), for just such an eventuality ...

Trailerwatch: American Reunion
I confess, I am secretly looking forward to American Reunion. American Pie was a genuine treat when it came out, when it was rightly praised for giving equal time and importance (to say nothing of equally filthy
lines) to its female characters and even if the second and third films never really matched up to the first, at least they retained the successful mixture of sweet-natured characters and gross-out material that characterised the 1999 film. It's almost impossible to get that balance right and only Harold & Kumar movies have managed it in recent memory, so it's encouraging that the Harold & Kumar directors (Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg) are on board for American Reunion.

The trailer doesn't give away an awful lot in terms of plot, except to point out, pleasingly, that almost the entire cast of American Pie are present for the Reunion – the only one missing from the trailer is Natasha Lyonne's Jessica, though I note that she's listed on the imdb page so hopefully she'll have more than a token cameo. (“Whatever Happened To Natasha Lyonne?” is worthy of a blog post on its own – at one time she could have pre-Emma Stoned Emma Stone).

The concept of the film also has its own rather grim fascination, in that none of the stars have really had sustainably huge careers – Hannigan is on a hit TV show (but was already a hit TV show star before American Pie) and both Coolidge and Levy had their profiles significantly raised by the film, but only Seann William Scott still has a successful post-Pie career. The junkets are going to be interesting, let's put it that way. I'm also curious to see how many of the characters will be essentially reduced to cameos this time round - that Shannon Elizabeth scene in the trailer looks like a token appearance to me, but I could be wrong. The clean trailer doesn't give away too many jokes (although I love that opening gag with the bed), but let's face it, we're all dying to know what happens when Jim's dad meets Stifler's mom. And in case the trailer makes you think the filmmakers have toned down all the content, this restricted trailer (essentially a single scene) provides some reassurance on that account. At any rate, the film opens here on 2nd May, so not long to wait now.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Three new entries this week, with American indie Tiny Furniture, stop-motion piratical romp The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists and Werner Herzog's death row documentary Into The Abyss all making it into the top ten. I will also put in a good word for Wrath of the Titans, largely for its jaw-dropping visual effects sequences in the finale (make sure you see it in IMAX, if you see it at all) and I've dropped Martha Marcy May Marlene, but you can still find that in second run cinemas if you look hard enough.

Interview-wise this week, we have a semi-exclusive interview with director Werner Herzog (I could listen to that recording over and over
again) for Into the Abyss, an exclusive interview with Gideon Defoe, author of The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (perhaps the year's most unwieldy title) and a semi-exclusive interview with Streetdance 2 star George Sampson. There's also interviews with Freaks & Geeks star Linda Cardellini (for next week's Return) and Paolo Sorrentino, director of This Must Be The Place.

Elsewhere you can still read our exclusive interview with actor-turned-writer-director Dexter Fletcher (actually two exclusive interviews, since half of it was done in San Sebastian and the other half in London) for Wild Bill and an exclusive interview with star Will Poulter; our semi-exclusive interview with Andrew Haigh and Chris New, director and star of the excellent Weekend; and our semi-exclusive round table interview with John Cusack for The Raven. There's also our exclusive interview with John Carter star Taylor Kitsch; our exclusive interview with Lynn Collins; our exclusive interview with Willem Dafoe; and an exclusive interview with director and Pixar supremo Andrew Stanton.

No blog next week, but come back in a fortnight for interviews with the stars of Battleship.

1. Wild Bill
2. The Kid With A Bike
3. The Hunger Games
4. Tiny Furniture
5. The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists
6. Into The Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life
7. The Artist
8. The Muppets
9. 21 Jump Street
10. John Carter

DVD of the Week: Moneyball (out now, online RRP £9.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is the Oscar-nominated sports drama Moneyball, directed by Bennett Miller. Based on the non-fiction book by Michael Lewis, it stars Brad Pitt as ex-baseball-player-turned-general-manager Billy Beane, whose small budget team the Oakland Athletics lose all their best players to higher-paying bigger clubs, leaving Billy the seemingly impossible task of rebuilding the team on a tiny budget. However, when Billy meets number-crunching economics graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Peter convinces him that there's a way to field a successful team comprised of cheap and in some cases written-off players, based purely on how often they get on base.

Brad Pitt is superb as Billy and there's a previously unseen middle-aged world weariness to his performance that gives the character an edge and works well. He also has terrific chemistry with Jonah Hill, who shines in a rare straight dramatic role and delivers his best screen performance to date as a result. The intelligent script is co-written by two of Hollywood's most successful screenwriters (Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian), so it's no surprise that it's packed with great dialogue, but they also manage to convey both the mathematics of the Moneyball system and the over-abundance of baseball jargon without alienating non-baseball-fans. In addition, the film neatly avoids the usual clichés and resists the sports movie temptations of sugary sentimentality. In short, this is a hugely enjoyable, emotionally engaging and intelligent sports drama with a superb script and terrific performances from Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill – it's also one of the best films of last year. Highly recommended.

Extras include: an adorable almost three minute blooper clip of Brad Pitt getting the giggles during a scene; three deleted scenes; a fifteen minute featurette on the real-life Billy Beane (including interviews with Beane himself); and an eighteen minute Making Of featurette. No commentary though, sadly.


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