Film Blog

Blog Entry

Dark Shadows Film Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 23/03/2012 @ 10:34
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 78
Films seen in the last week: The Devil Inside, Act of Valour, The Hunger Games, Your Sister's Sister, Titanic (3D), Being Elmo

FILMS OF THE WEEK: Wild Bill and The Kid with a Bike

Page to Screen: The Hunger Games

Please note: the following blog post contains heavy SPOILERS for The Hunger Games and is only intended to be read if you've already read the novel or seen the film.

This is the second in an occasional series of Page to Screen blog posts, as I did the same thing with One Day last year. Again, I was curious to see just how faithful the film would be to the book and, overall, it's pretty damn faithful, with all the major set-pieces present and correct. I think the main problem is that the script too frequently assumes that the audience will have already read the book, which, given that the screenplay is co-written by author Suzanne Collins, is maybe not that surprising.

There are a couple of minor alterations, but I don't think they're of the sort that will have fans of the book up in arms and in fact, one of them has much more emotional impact – the Mockingjay pin (which will attain huge symbolic value over the course of the three books, as you can probably tell from the book covers and the film's logo) is given to Katniss by the Mayor's daughter (a very minor character who never reappears) in the book, but in the film, she gets it at a market as a good luck charm for Prim, who then gives it back to her when she takes her place in the games.

The other change that did annoy me was to the “Mutts” (the Hulk Dog-like creatures at the end of the film) – while I can see that giving them “the faces and eyes of all the dead Tributes” would look ridiculous on film, I didn't like the way they seemed to be created out of thin air. In the book they're released, in the film they seemingly spring out of the earth at the whim of the games designers. So what are they? Robots? Holograms?

That was a bit of a problem with the film – they didn't really establish the world properly, certainly in terms of how the game works. You also lose a lot of the complexity and structure of the set-up, especially in terms of the different districts and how they relate to each other. It's interesting too that there's so much that's lost without Katniss' voiceover, in particular, the complexity of the central relationships; you never really know what's going on with her and Peeta, for example. In the book, she constantly suspects him of using his declared love for her as a survival tactic and she's never sure how she actually feels about either him or Gale (Liam Hemsworth), though in the film it's presented as much more of a straightforward romance.

Finally, the one thing that's obviously been cut from a longer version is the story and character of the Voxes, the slaves that have their tongues cut out as punishment for trying to escape their districts. You catch a brief glimpse of one in the penthouse apartment, but that's it. It'll be interesting to see just how fans react over the next few days, anyway. Thank goodness for Twitter hashtags etc ...

Trailerwatch: Dark Shadows
Occasionally, when I get together with a few like-minded film obsessives, we have conversations along the lines of 'Which of the big-name directors do you think still has it in them to produce something as good and as timeless as their earlier work?' For me, the Coens are usually a shoo-in and I still believe David Lynch has another Mulholland Drive in there somewhere, but I'm less sure about the likes of Scorsese and Spielberg and I'd pretty much written Tim Burton off a long time ago (although I do love Sweeney Todd). That said, Dark Shadows is the first Tim Burton film in a long, long time that looks like it might have a touch of the Burton magic.

First of all, the entire trailer is a delight from start to finish – I was grinning from ear to ear all the way through it. Secondly, Depp's line deliveries are fabulous and if the entire film is filled with gems like “What sorcery is this? Reveal yourself, tiny songstress!”, “You may strategically place your wonderful lips upon my posterior and kiss it repeatedly” and “That was ... a regrettable turn of events ...”, then this might end up being Burton's most quoteable film to date.

The plot seems to be that 18th century nobleman Barnabus Collins (Johnny Depp) is cursed by a witch (Eva Green) and turned into a vampire. He then wakes up in 1976 to find his suburban descendants (including Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Moretz and Johnny Lee Miller) living in his family home and decides to help them, while fending off Eva Green's vengeance-and/or-sex-crazed witch, not always with successful results. Speaking of Eva Green, she seems to have something of a previously unsuspected talent for comedy, if the trailer is anything to go by. Anyway, it looks brilliant and I can't wait to see it. Opens here on 11th May, so not long now.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):Three new entries this week, with Dexter Fletcher's wonderful directorial debut Wild Bill (one of the best British films of the year), the Dardennes Brothers' The Kid With a Bike (one of the best films of the year) and The Hunger Games (see above) all making it into the top ten. I've dropped The Descendants off the list, though it's probably still showing somewhere. I've also dropped both The Raven and Once Upon a Time In Anatolia too, but I'll put in a good word for both of those.

Interview-wise this week, we have an 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, an exclusive interview with Wild Bill star Will Poulter and an exclusive interview with Gideon Defoe, the author of next week's The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists.

Elsewhere, you can still read our semi-exclusive interview with Andrew Haigh and Chris New, director and star of the excellent Weekend, our semi-exclusive round table interview with John Cusack for The Raven; our exclusive interviews with John Carter star Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins (playing scantily clad space princess Dejah Thoris), Willem Dafoe and with John Carter director and Pixar supremo Andrew Stanton. There are also our exclusive interviews with the lovely Minnie Driver and director Marc Evans for Hunky Dory; our exclusive interview with Blood Car director Alex Orr, our exclusive interview with My Summer of Love director Pawel Pawlikowski for The Woman in the Fifth, and our press conference interview with Kermit, Miss Piggy and director James Bobin for The Muppets.

Come back next week for semi-exclusive interviews with (hopefully) director Werner Herzog and, um, Streetdance 2 star George Sampson.

1. Wild Bill
2. The Kid With A Bike
3. The Hunger Games
4. The Artist
5. The Muppets
6. 21 Jump Street
7. John Carter
8. Martha Marcy May Marlene
9. In Darkness
10. Michael

DVD of the Week: Take Shelter (out now, online RRP £9.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Take Shelter, directed by Jeff Nichols.
Michael Shannon stars as Curtis, a small-town quarry worker  who works hard to provide for his wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain AGAIN) and their deaf daughter Hannah (Tova Stewart). However, when Curtis is plagued by dreams of an apocalyptic storm, he can feel his mental state slipping and he worries that he's becoming like his schizophrenic mother (Kathy Baker). As the nightmares get worse, Curtis obsessively builds an underground shelter in his garden to protect his family from the oncoming storm, but his growing paranoia and increasingly erratic behaviour jeopardises his job, which in turn has a knock-on effect on the health insurance for Hannah's upcoming operation on her hearing.

If you were being facetious, you could describe Take Shelter as a film about Michael Shannon trying not to turn into Michael Shannon, since he almost always plays twitchy obsessives of one sort or another. That said, he's on stunningly terrific form here and the sharply written script ensures that we share his fears – both real and imagined - and understand his behaviour every step of the way. On top of that, the ubiquitous Jessica Chastain delivers yet another superb performance as Samantha, torn between her love and support for Curtis and her own fears over what his behaviour will mean for their health insurance. There's also adorable support from Tova Stewart (who is deaf in real life), while Shannon's Boardwalk Empire co-star Shea Whigham is excellent as Curtis' work colleague Dewart.

Nichols expertly builds tension throughout and the nightmare sequences are genuinely terrifying, just as we strongly feel what it might be like to slowly lose your mind. In addition, Nichols orchestrates a number of excellent scenes (a town hall meeting sequence is a particular highlight) and there's a terrific final shot to boot. In short, this is a thoroughly gripping, powerfully emotional drama with a superb script and a terrific central performance from Michael Shannon. Highly recommended.

Extras include: a ten minute Behind the Scenes featurette and six minutes of deleted scenes. No commentary though. You can also read our interview with Michael Shannon too, if you like.


Add A Comment
Write your comment here:


Film Archive

Latest Comment
02/12/2015 @ 22:34
Other Subjects
Clubs (229)
Film (235)
General (2)
Whats On (25)
Recent Entries
by Steve


Tell Us Your View

Seen or know something you want to tell us about? Get in touch with us here.