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BAFTA Awards Long List

Posted by: Matthew Turner 13/01/2012 @ 11:14
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 9
Films seen in the last week: Haywire, A Useful Life, Tatsumi, The Darkest Hour (3D), Mercenaries, Breathing, If I Were You, Michael


Awards season: BAFTA longlist
It is impossible to take the BAFTAs seriously when they get it so mind-bogglingly wrong, year after year. Instead of proudly celebrating home-grown talent and becoming a respectable, worthwhile awards ceremony like Spain's Goyas or France's Cesars, they naively and wrong-headedly see themselves as an Oscar-predictor (no-one, but NO-ONE in awards circles sees the BAFTAs as an Oscar predictor) and end up pandering to Hollywood with often disastrous results. Looking at their nominations lists over the last few years it's impossible to conclude that they're dictated by anything other than the desire to lure the biggest Hollywood names to the red carpet come awards day.

This year's longlist (released on Friday and not to be confused with the eventual nominations) has so many shocking omissions that it would be difficult to list them all, but to my mind, the three biggest fails are:

1. The lack of recognition for Kill List and director Ben Wheatley (even people who didn't like the film acknowledged that Wheatley is fast becoming one of Britain's best and most exciting directors)

2. No nomination for Terence Davies, Tom Hiddleston, Rachel Weisz or The Deep Blue Sea and

3. No recognition for Andrew Haigh's Weekend, neither for the film, the director or its two stars.

Films deemed more worthy of the title “Outstanding British Film” include: Arthur Christmas, Attack the Block and War Horse. There are plenty of other fails too (the utterly disgraceful all-male Orange Rising Star award shortlist is a subject best left for another blog) but I'm going to have to stop now, because the whole thing is giving me RAGE. Anyway, the Oscars are announced (by Jennifer Lawrence) on 24th January, so at least there's that to look forward to.

Films I Am Dying To See: Moonrise Kingdom
I'm a huge Wes Anderson fan and yet somehow I hadn't heard anything about his new film till the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom popped up yesterday. Needless to say, it is now my most eagerly anticipated 2012 film. It looks wonderful. On the surface, a simple tale about a young boy and girl falling in love and absconding from their respective summer camps in the 1960s, but unmistakably a Wes Anderson film, from the Nouvelle Vague visual references to the 60s French pop soundtrack and the gloriously quirky dialogue. And that's just from the two minute trailer.

Delightfully, alongside returning Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, the wonderful cast also includes Bruce Willis (!!!), Ed Norton (well overdue a return to comedy), Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton. There's so much to love in the trailer (it's also brilliantly edited), from the bizarre visuals (how did that house get up that tree? How did that BIKE get up that other tree?) to the interaction between Murray and McDormand (love the bit with the megaphone) and Norton's delivery of the line, “Jiminy Cricket – he flew the coop!” I may have to play that trailer on a loop between now and whenever the film comes out. Speaking of which, there's no sign of a UK release date yet, but hopefully that will be announced soon. Can. Not. WAIT.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):Three new entries this week with Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender's second collaboration Shame, star-heavy financial crisis drama Margin Call and Spielberg's horse opera War Horse all making it into the top ten. I'll also put in a good word for Tatsumi and it's worth noting that the excellent Margaret is now back to only being shown at the Odeon Panton Street again, so run and catch it if you haven't seen it yet.

Interview-wise we've gone a bit War Horse mental. Check out our exclusive round table interview with the lovely Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston, an exclusive round table interview with lead Jeremy Irvine, an exclusive interview with novel author Michael Morpurgo and a press conference interview with director Steven Spielberg.

We also have a press conference interview with Shame writer Abi Morgan, director Steve McQueen and No Shame actor Michael Fassbender. You can also still read our exclusive interview with Dreams of a Life director Carol Morley, our press conference interviews with Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jnr, Jude Law and Noomi Rapace for Sherlock Holmes 2 and our press conference interviews with Hugo director Martin Scorsese and Hugo actors Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz and Ben Kingsley.

Come back next week for semi-exclusive interviews with Andrea Riseborough and James D'Arcy, stars of Madonna's W.E.

1. The Artist
2. Margaret
3. Shame
4. Moneyball
5. My Week With Marilyn
6. Margin Call
7. Dreams of a Life
8. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
9. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
10. War Horse

DVD of the Week: Final Destination 5 (out now, online RRP £9.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Final Destination 5, the fifth instalment in the popular horror franchise. Directed by Steven Quale, it stars Nicholas D'Agosto as Sam, who has a terrifying vision of a suspension bridge collapse while on a corporate outing and manages to persuade seven of his colleagues – including ex-girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell), best friend Peter (Miles Fisher) and annoying boss Dennis (David Koechner) – to get off their bus and run to safety, seconds before the bridge does indeed collapse, in spectacular fashion.

However, as a mysterious stranger (series regular Tony Todd) informs them, Death doesn't take too kindly to being cheated and sure enough, the “Lucky Eight” soon start dying in a series of freak accidents, in the same order in which they died in Sam's premonition. And then the stranger mixes things up a bit by telling them that each of them can avoid their imminent encounter with Death by ensuring that somebody else dies in their place.

The performances are excellent and the special effects are superb, though the superlative 3D effects from the theatrical version will be missing for most DVD viewers. On top of that, the script gets the tone exactly right, expertly blending suspense, black humour and suitably grisly death scenes. It also has a lot of fun with the conventions of the franchise - basically, you can judge the success of a Final Destination movie by whether or not it has you hyper-alert to the potential dangers in your surroundings afterwards and on that criteria, Final Destination 5 is a huge success. In short, this is a hugely enjoyable, impressively directed thriller that ranks comfortably alongside Final Destination 2 as the best sequel of the franchise. Highly recommended.

The disappointing extras package includes: an alternative death scene (basically a different version of the acupuncture scene); a 5 minute Making Of featurette (Circle of Death) and a featurette on the special effects involved in the bridge scene.


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