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Christian Bale Outburst

Posted by: Matthew Turner 09/02/2009 @ 16:17
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 36
Films seen this week: Punisher: War Zone, Who Killed Nancy?, Twentieth Century Boys, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, He's Just Not That Into You, My Name Is Bruce, The Young Victoria, Notorious, Franklyn, Push, Paths of Glory (I'm not counting Under the Sea 3D, as it's only 40 minutes long).

Christian Bale Outburst
Unless you've been living in a cave for the last week or so, it can hardly have escaped your notice that someone leaked an audio file of Christian Bale ranting at the director of photography on the set of Terminator: Salvation, because he walked into his eye-line and tweaked the lights during the filming of a crucial scene. (What? You mean you haven't heard the original Christian Bale outburst? Listen to it here, but be warned, it's very much Not Safe For Work). Now that was amusing enough in itself, but the Christian Bale outburst turned out to be the gift that keeps on giving. First, the Dark Knight fanboys all leapt to Bale's defence, including Ain't It Cool's own Harry Knowles. Then the YouTube mash-ups started, including this amusing clip of Bale yelling at the stars of He's Just Not That Into You and, best of all, this hilarious (and remarkably catchy) techno remix (also Not Safe For Work). I defy anyone to listen to that and not have "What don't you ***king understand?" going through their head for the rest of the day. Finally, Bale took it upon himself to apologise and, if you really want to, you can listen to the full apology here. However, as speedy as the apology was, it's probably already too late in terms of damage control, at least judging by the number of times I've heard people use the line "Seriously, man, you and me, we're ***king done, professionally" this week.

Films I'm Looking Forward To: Coraline
First of all, I was wrong about Push last week. It's rubbish. It's worse than a bad episode of Heroes and I mean that to *sting*, dammit. This week's trailer, however, is a different story. I cannot WAIT to see Coraline (opens here May 8th). Based on the best-selling children's book by Neil Gaiman, it's directed by Henry Selick, who made The Nightmare Before Christmas. Aside from being entirely stop-motion animation, it was also filmed in 3D, which should make for a terrific movie-going experience if recent animated 3D movies (Bolt, Beowulf) are anything to go by. The story looks genuinely creepy (briefly, Coraline finds a secret door which leads to an alternate and seemingly better version of her real life), the voice talent includes Dakota Fanning and the wonderful Ian McShane and the animation looks absolutely gorgeous. What with this, the upcoming Monsters vs Aliens and Pixar's highly anticipated Up (due in October), it's shaping up to be an amazing year for animated movies.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's all change this week, with four new entries into the top ten,
including: Woody Allen's best film since last century (TM), Vicky Cristina Barcelona; David Fincher's Forrest Gump (aka The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), acting showcase Doubt (featuring no less than four Oscar-nominated performances) and the latest and best of a slew of doggy movies, Bolt. Unsurprisingly for this time of year, it's a very awards-friendly line-up, with all ten films having received Oscar nominations in one way or another.

1. Slumdog Millionaire
2. Revolutionary Road
3. The Wrestler
4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
5. Milk
6. Frost/Nixon
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
8. Bolt
9. Doubt
10. Waltz With Bashir

DVD of the Week: The Black Balloon (out now, RRP £15.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is The Black Balloon, an Australian coming-of-age drama about a teenage boy growing up with a severely autistic older brother. Criminally, it has gone straight to DVD in this country, despite winning several prizes and being one of the top five films I saw at Edinburgh last year (out of 40+ films). Below is the review I wrote for my Edinburgh blog at the time and you can read our exclusive interview with writer-director Elissa Down here.

Hugely enjoyable coming of age drama, loosely based on writer-director Elissa Down's own experiences of growing up with an autistic brother. Set in a perpetually sunny Australian suburb, the film stars Rhys Wakefield as Thomas, a blonde teenager who's beginning to resent his highly autistic older brother Charlie (Luke Ford), especially now that he's dealing with his first crush (Australian supermodel Gemma Ward as Jackie). Worse, Charlie's parents (Toni Collette and Erik Thomson as Maggie and Simon) have their hands full dealing with a late pregnancy, especially when Maggie is advised to stay in bed, so Thomas has to look after Charlie even more than usual. Luckily, when Charlie accidentally breaks into Jackie's house to use the toilet, Jackie proves remarkably understanding, even if Thomas and Charlie did catch her in the shower. Soon, the three of them are spending the idyllic summer together, hanging out at swimming holes, listening to music and so on. However, Charlie's behaviour constantly threatens to spiral out of control and ruin everything. The performances are exceptional, particuarly Luke Ford, who delivers a boldly physical performance, while Wakefield and Ward have strong chemistry together. There's a lot of cliché-busting going on here – Gemma Ward defies the prettiest-girl-in-school stereotype and her character is full of surprises, while the film also avoids the usual doom-and-gloom final act associated with this kind of movie. The quirky supporting characters are memorable too, especially Erik Thomson (who takes advice from stuffed animals) and the always-excellent Toni Collette, who has seemingly inexhaustible reserves of patience. There are some terrific scenes too: a supermarket freak-out scene is genuinely painful to watch, while the climactic fight sequence at Thomas' birthday party is a brilliantly choreographed scene that feels all too realistic and places you right in the centre of the erupting chaos and violence. This ended up being one of my favourite films of the festival. Four stars.

The DVD also comes with a director's commentary, a photographic slideshow and 30 minutes of interviews with cast and crew. I honestly cannot recommend the film highly enough.

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