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Anna Karenina Film Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 13/07/2012 @ 12:04
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 229
Films seen in the last week: Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, Magic Mike, Hit and Run, Electrick Children, The Giants, Rust & Bone, End of Watch


FrightFest 2012 line-up
One of the best consequences of the Edinburgh Film Festival moving from August to June (and one of the reasons that I'm firmly behind that move) is that it means I am free to attend FrightFest every year. I first went in 2008 and I was instantly and completely hooked, to the point where if Edinburgh ever moves back to August, I will have to reluctantly bow out of the last few days and do FrightFest instead.
Anyway, if the five films I've already seen from this year's FrightFest (Peter Strickland's jaw-dropping Mulholland Drive-esque Berberian Sound Studio, found footage compilation horror V/H/S, cockneys vs zombies comedy Cockneys vs Zombies, experimentation chiller Guinea Pigs and hilarious, Tremors-esque Irish creature feature Grabbers) are anything to go by, then this year's festival will be the customarily huge amount of fun.

The full line-up is available for your perusal here but I'm particularly looking forward to the following five films:

1. Festival opener The Seasoning House, directed by splatter maestro Paul Hyett, which looks set to kick things off in suitably gory fashion.
2. Festival closer Tower Block (not to be confused with Attack the Block), which I'm already hearing great things about and which stars Sheridan Smith, Jack O'Connell and Russell Tovey.
3. Scott Derickson's Sinister, starring Ethan Hawke as a true crime writer investigating a smalltown murder by moving into the house where the events took place.
4. Ole Bornedal's self-explanatory The Possession, starring Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan and
5. Jen & Sylvia Soska's American Mary, starring Ginger Snaps' Katharine Isabelle as a medical student who becomes involved in a shady world of body modification.

I'm also tentatively excited to see Jennifer Chambers Lynch's new film Chained, although I still remember the crushing disappointment of Boxing Helena, so I'm not holding my breath on that one (that said, I did enjoy her last film, Surveillance, so there's room for optimism). I have to say though, I'm very disappointed that Eddie The Sleepwalking Cannibal (one of the best films I saw at Edinburgh this year) hasn't made it into the FrightFest line-up, as it is basically the perfect FrightFest line-up. Everyone at FrightFest that I've spoken to says that the film never even popped up on their radar (indicating that they would have had it if it had), so something, somewhere has gone very, very wrong. Shame. Eddie deserves better.

Anyway, FrightFest runs from Thursday 23rd to Monday 27th August 2012 and I can't wait.

Trailerwatch: Anna Karenina
I finally got round to seeing the trailer for Joe Wright's upcoming adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina this week. I should probably confess, I haven't read the book, though I have seen at least two previous cinema adaptations. I'm tentatively excited about the film, even though it does star one of my least favourite actors, Aaron Johnson (as Vronsky). I would have said two of my least favourite actors, but Jude Law's been on something of a winning streak of late, his terrible Australian accent in Contagion aside, so he's earned a reprieve. Also, he is sporting a mighty beard, which seems to be working for him.

The plot is fairly basic: 19th century Russian aristocrat Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) enters into an ill-advised affair with a wrong'un (Aaron Johnson); society disapproves; bit with a train; the end.

Thankfully, the production seems to have decided against having the actors attempt Russian accents, which is probably just as well – as much as I liked Keira's thick Russian line-readings in A Dangerous Method, I think a second Russian accented film might have been pushing it. The film looks absolutely gorgeous from the trailer and I'm intrigued by the rumours that the film takes place essentially on a stage, as if the audience were watching a sumptuous stage production; there are plenty of hints of that in the trailer, but there are also several outside location shots too, so it'll be interesting to see how it works out. At any rate, Wright shot the majority of the film on a single sound stage and the internet is full of whispers about impressively ambitious visuals and so on, so it's all sounding very positive. On top of that, Keira has done some of her best work with Joe Wright and she looks on fine form here – basically, if the film is any good at all, then she's an excellent bet for a Best Actress nomination come Oscar time.

The mouth-watering cast also includes the likes of Emily Watson, Kelly Macdonald, Olivia Williams and Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery, though hopefully Matthew Macfadyen won't be quite as wooden as he usually is. At any rate, the film opens here on 7th September, so it'll be a nice post-Olympics treat.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's a great week for new films this week, with no less than four new entries into the top ten. They include: Belgian coming-of-age drama The Giants (which I'd been dying to see ever since missing it at the LFF and it didn't disappoint), indie coming-of-age drama Electrick Children, apocalyptic road-movie-slash-comedy-drama Seeking a Friend for the End of The World and Soderbergh's male stripper flick Magic Mike (based on the real-life experiences of Channing Tatum).

I will also put in a good word for Tony Kaye's education-in-peril drama Detachment and village-financed British romcom Tortoise In Love, both of which are flawed, but still have plenty to recommend them.
Incidentally, if you are planning on seeing either The Giants, Electrick Children, Detachment or Tortoise in Love in cinemas, please make the effort to see them this weekend, as smaller films desperately need your support on their opening weekends, whereas the likes of Magic Mike will be around for weeks to come (not to mention that the first week's screenings of Magic Mike will be packed with gangs of screaming hen parties. Probably). This message has been brought to you by my one-man See Smaller Films First (#SSFF) campaign. You're welcome, everyone.

Interview-wise this week, we have an exclusive interview with the lovely and talented Rebecca Foster, who did the animations for Tony Kaye's Detachment. Elsewhere you can still read our exclusive interview with Nadine Labaki, writer, director and co-star of Where Do We Go Now?; our exclusive interviews with director William Friedkin and  Gina Gershon for Killer Joe; an exclusive interview with Eduardo Sanchez, director of Lovely Molly; an exclusive interview with Jeremy Jordan, star of Joyful Noise; an exclusive interview with Bobcat Goldthwait and Joel Murray, director and star of this week's God Bless America; our exclusive interview with Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, star of the magnificent A Royal Affair; an exclusive interview with Maiwenn, director, co-writer and co-star of Polisse; and our exclusive interview with The Angels' Share director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty.

1. Moonrise Kingdom
2. The Giants
3. Electrick Children
4. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
5. Magic Mike
6. A Royal Affair
7. Ping Pong
8. The Amazing Spider-Man
9. Your Sister's Sister
10. Killer Joe

DVD of the Week: 21 Jump Street (out now, online RRP £10.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is 21 Jump Street, a big-screen comedy version of the 1980s TV show that made Johnny Depp famous. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill star as Jenko and Schmidt, two L.A. cops and best friends who have to go back to high school after they're assigned to “a resurrected programme from the 80s” that involves baby-faced cops going undercover. However, times have changed since they were high school students and nerdy Schmidt finds he's suddenly in with the cool crowd (Dave Franco and Brie Larson), while ex-jock Jenko finds acceptance with the nerds and outcasts. But will they be able to find the supplier of a deadly drug before their permanently angry boss (Ice Cube as Captain Dickson) shuts them down?

Hill and Tatum make a terrific comic duo, with Hill reigning in the more obnoxious side of his screen persona to good effect and Tatum displaying hitherto unsuspected comedy skills. They also have strong chemistry together, with the bromance angle heavily to the fore in the script (Hill's character even asks Tatum if he'll go to the prom with him). On top of that, there's superb support from a strong comedic cast that includes Ice Cube, Nick Offerman, Ellie Kemper, Rob Riggle and Dave Franco (brother of James and it shows). There are also a few treats for fans of the show, in the form of various cameos, even from bit-part players.

The in-on-the-joke script (Offerman's speech about “reviving a programme from the 80s because the suits lack originality” sets the scene beautifully) is extremely well-written and maintains a pleasingly high gag rate throughout, with some hilarious one-liners and some very funny physical comedy moments, though 109 minutes is ultimately a little too long for a comedy and the film could probably have done with a slight trim. In short, this is a hugely enjoyable, frequently hilarious comedy with a witty script and terrific comic performances from Tatum and Hill.

DVD extras include: a commentary with directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum; an eight minute behind the scenes featurette (“Back to School”) and four deleted/extended scenes.


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