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Brave Film Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 02/12/2011 @ 12:11
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 473
Films seen in the last week: The Red Shoes, Hugo (again), The Thing, The Big Year, Margaret, House of Tolerance, Romantics Anonymous, J. Edgar, The Woman in the Fifth

FILMS OF THE WEEK: Margaret and Las Acacias

Top Ten Soundtracks
Back in January of this year, I did a podcast with film reviewer Cassam Looch (called, brilliantly, Turner & Looch), in which we discussed our top ten soundtracks with special guest Emily Moulder, a freelance film reviewer. Coming up with a top ten list of soundtracks proved insanely difficult but was ultimately rewarding, not least because it showed quite clearly that a film's soundtrack is an essential part of loving a film for me.

Anyway, not being one to let a perfectly good list go to waste, I thought I'd reproduce it here, along with YouTube clips where findable. I encourage you (both of you) to list your own top ten soundtracks in the comments section, but of course you won't ...

1. The Rocketeer soundtrack by James Horner. I really love this one. It's probably the soundtrack I've listened to most often and it's so beautiful that it occasionally brings tears to my eyes. As a film, I've got a lot more to say about The Rocketeer (as much as I love it, it's far from perfect), but I'll save that for another blog.

2. Amelie soundtrack by Yann Tiersen. I love this one too and it's probably the soundtrack I've listened to second most often. You hear imitations of it all the time these days (and one film recently ripped it off entirely) but this is basically perfect. I don't think Tiersen will ever top it, either.

3. Vertigo soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann. Vertigo is, in fact, my all-time favourite film and the soundtrack plays a huge part in that. For my money this is also Herrmann's best score.

4. The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. The write-up on that YouTube video says it all: “From the 'should have been Oscar winning' soundtrack ...” For what it's worth, this is my favourite film of the 00s.

5. Dances With Wolves soundtrack by John Barry. I love this too. It occurs to me that at least two of my favourite soundtracks (this and The Rocketeer) are from films I had to see at least 50 times when I worked at a cinema in 1991. Hmmm.

6. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events soundtrack by Thomas Newman. There wasn't a huge amount of crossover in our lists when we did the podcast, but one thing was clear – we all had at least one Thomas Newman soundtrack on our lists. Cassam and I both had this.

7. The Third Man soundtrack by Anton Karas. No list of the greatest ever soundtracks is complete without the zither theme from The Third Man.

8. O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack by various artists. It's a toss-up between this and two other Coen soundtracks for me, the other two being The Huduscker Proxy and The Big Lebowski.

9. Ghost World soundtrack by various artists. I love almost every song on this album (I can do without the Blueshammer number) but I particularly love this one (Jaan Pehechaan Ho), from the Bollywood film Enid is watching in the opening credits.

10. Brassed Off soundtrack by Trevor Jones (and the Grimethorpe Colliery band). Apparently Mark Kermode shares my obsession with this one, so that's nice. Anyway, I'm a sucker for brass band music.

Trailerwatch: Pixar's Brave
As much as I love Pixar and as much as I love the central idea behind Brave (feisty Braveheart-ish-era Scottish heroine has to save her clan from something or other), I can't say I'm too impressed so far, judging by the trailer alone. It's not particularly funny (although I did laugh at “Feast your eyes”) and the plot isn't at all clear, despite the trailer being two minutes long. Now, okay, the film's not out till August next year, so no doubt we'll be seeing much better trailers in the months to come, but surely they could have done better than this? I am a sucker for archery in films though (particularly animated films, for some reason), so I'm excited about that side of it.

The cast is great too – Emma Thompson and Billy Connolly (Queen Elinor and King Fergus) are both clearly recognisable in the trailer, but the heroine (Merida – again, not a great name, could do better) is played by Kelly Macdonald and the cast also boasts Julie Walters, Craig Ferguson and Kevin McKidd so at least they've gone to the trouble of casting actual Scots (Walters aside).

I'm not sure there's much else to say about the film, except that the red hair looks rather fabulous (with her bow and arrow, Merida looks like a Disney Princess Halloween costume waiting to happen) and that bears seem to be involved somehow. Still, if the last sixteen years have taught me anything, it's that you should never bet against Pixar. Unless cars are involved, that is.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Two new entries into the top ten this week with both Kenneth Lonergan's powerfully emotional coming-of-age drama Margaret (six years to get it to the screen, two and a half hours long and only showing in one London cinema – the Odeon Panton Street – but really worth seeking out and I'm actually regretting not giving it five
stars), and minimalist Argentine road movie Las Acacias both making it onto the list.

It's a fairly mediocre-slash-underwhelming week for new releases but I'm going to put in a good word for sweet French romcom
(Fromcom) Romantics Anonymous. I also quite liked Happy Feet Two, The Big Year, the remake, sorry, prequel to The Thing and Hugo, but none of them are as good as any of the films on the list below.

Interview-wise this week we have press conference interviews with Hugo director Martin Scorsese and Hugo actors Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz and Ben Kingsley (who reputedly insists on being called Sir Ben, so I like to refer to him as just plain Ben wherever possible).
Elsewhere you can still read our exclusive interview with Terence Davies for The Deep Blue Sea, our semi-exclusive (i.e. round table) interview with Michael Shannon for Take Shelter, our exclusive interview with Snowtown star Daniel Henshall, our semi-exclusive round-table interview with Rum Diary (and Withnail & I) director Bruce Robinson, our semi-exclusive round table with The Rum Diary star Amber Heard and a press conference interview with George Clooney for The Ides of March.

Come back next week for an exclusive interview with Harry Potter star Mark Williams, aka Arthur Weasley.

1. Margaret
2. Tabloid
3. Take Shelter
4. Moneyball
5. My Week With Marilyn
6. Las Acacias
7. We Need To Talk About Kevin
8. Snowtown
9. Weekend
10. The Deep Blue Sea

DVD of the Week: The Smurfs (released Monday 5th December, RRP online £9.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is The Smurfs, directed by Raja Gosnell (Scooby Doo) and based on the Belgian comic strip characters created by Peyo. When the evil-but-rubbish wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) discovers the location of the Smurfs' enchanted village, he accidentally chases six of them – Papa Smurf (voiced by Jonathan Winters), Smurfette (Katy Perry), Clumsy Smurf (Anton Yelchin), Brainy Smurf (Fred Armisen), Gutsy Smurf (Alan Cumming) and Grouchy Smurf (George Lopez) – through a magical vortex that transports them all to modern-day New York City. Once there, the Smurfs quickly befriend pregnant housewife Grace (Jayma Mays) and her stressed-out advertising executive husband Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris). While the Smurfs hide out in Grace and Patrick's apartment, Papa Smurf quickly realises that they have to harness the power of the blue moon in order to get home, but Gargamel is hot on their trail and keen to capture their magical essence.

Hank Azaria is perfectly cast as Gargamel (he looks exactly like the comic character) and duly delivers a delightfully comic, Smurf-obsessed performance that's a treat to watch. There's also strong, likeable support from Harris and Mays, while the voice cast acquit themselves nicely (particularly Perry, Winters and Yelchin) and the animation is extremely well done. The film was poorly reviewed on general release (it scores a mere 23% on Rotten Tomatoes) – unfairly so in my opinion, since if you want to see a film about The Smurfs, then The Smurfs gives you more or less the movie you're expecting. (I suspect many critics did not, in fact, want to see a movie about the Smurfs). Anyway, to my mind, despite appearances to the contrary, The Smurfs isn't nearly as annoying as you might imagine and is actually both charming and enjoyable, thanks to lively animation, a strong script, several good jokes and terrific performances from a superb cast.

The fairly decent extras package includes: A Find The Smurfs game (not quite as much fun as it sounds but easy to play); five deleted or extended scenes; a Comic Book to Big Screen featurette; a Meet the Cast featurette; a featurette on Gargamel (featuring interviews with Hank Azaria and everyone gushing about how great he is); a shockingly poor “Blue-per” reel (with just two animated blooper scenes); a Happy Music Montage and Progression Reels (a series of featurettes on the animation process). Worth smurfing.


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