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Frankenweenie Film Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 09/03/2012 @ 11:35
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 64
Films seen in the last week: The Decoy Bride, The Word (Ordet), John Carter (again), Town of Runners, Cleanskin, Hard Boiled Sweets, We Bought A Zoo, The Forgiveness of Blood, 21 Jump Street, Delicacy

FILM OF THE WEEK: John Carter

Stop the Madness! Hollywood's penchant for title-changing continues unabated
Not that anyone really cares, but all week long I have been doggedly referring to John Carter as “John Carter OF MARS” on Twitter and Facebook, in mild protest at the latest ridiculous title change dictated by The Suits. According to our interview with Andrew Stanton, a series of marketing tests were done in which idiots were asked what they thought of the title “John Carter Of Mars” and the responses were overwhelmingly along the lines of “Ooh, is it sci-fi? Naah, I wouldn't go and see that”. Rather than shouting “WHAT? BUT YOU WENT TO SEE AVATAR AND YOU BLOODY LOVED THAT!” at all of them, the studio decided to change the title to plain old John Carter instead, thereby rendering it an acceptable future double-bill with Michael Clayton or Dean Spanley.



This isn't the only example of Hollywood meddling where titles are concerned. Most memorably, Hugo was shortened from The Invention of Hugo Cabret (just as Amelie was shortened from The Extraordinary Destiny of Amelie Poulain), while in the US, upcoming martial arts flick The Raid has been inexplicably lengthened to The Raid: Redemption. One of the most annoying recent examples is Andrew Dominik's upcoming Cogan's Trade (based on the novel of the same name) being changed to Killing Them Softly, rather ignoring the fact that it's now only one word away from that dreadful softcore thriller with Heather Graham and Joseph Fiennes tying each other up all the time (Killing Me Softly).



If there isn't a blog compiling the ridiculous excuses for all the name-changing then there bloody well ought to be – one of the stupidest recent decisions was Rapunzel changing to Tangled “so as not to alienate boys”. Okay, so that's not an actual quote, but that was the reasoning at the time. Having said all that, I am actually in favour of the Avengers being changed to Avengers Assemble, since that's something they actually say in the comics, but a) it needs an exclamation mark at the end and b) if they're going to actually call it Marvel Avengers Assemble, then I retract my previous statement.



Films I Am Dying To See: Frankenweenie
I used to be a huge fan of Tim Burton, but (Sweeney Todd aside) I haven't properly loved a Tim Burton film for a very long time (I deeply regret the five stars I gave Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and still have no idea what I was thinking). That looks set to change with Frankenweenie, a long-promised Burton project based on his wonderful short film from 1984. The plot, as the title suggests is a simple reworking of Frankenstein: when Victor's beloved dog Sparky (genius) dies, he decides to bring him back to life using the time-honoured combination of electricity, stitched body parts and SCIENCE. Needless to say, things go horribly wrong.



The trailer only shows a few scenes from the film but there are a number of delightful and inspired gags, such as the twitching tail being the first sign of life, said tail flying off into the rubbish bin after an enthusiastic wagging and a brilliant joke whereby an electric shock from Sparky's name-tag gives a poodle a Bride of Frankenstein hairdo. I also love the Igor-like character delivering the line, “Your dog is ALIIIIIIIVE!” On top of that, I'm impressed that the film appears to be in black and white – I was fully expecting that opening sequence to turn out to be a flashback and the rest of the film to be in colour. At any rate, it opens here in October and I can't wait to see it.



Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Only two new entries this week with just fantasy space opera John Carter (OF MARS) and period thriller The Raven making it into the top ten. I'll also put in a moderately good word for Bel Ami, even if it's just for Shallow And Obvious Reasons. Other than that, it's a pretty dreadful week for new releases and particularly for British films, since Payback Season and Hardboiled Sweets are likely to be strong contenders when Worst Films of the Year time rolls around. In another week, British terrorism thriller Cleanskin would probably have been the worst film of the week, but in this company it's actually pretty decent, hence its probably overly generous three stars.

Interview-wise this week, we have: a semi-exclusive round table interview with John Cusack for The Raven (one of the most enjoyable round table interviews I've ever done, plus he answered all my beard and raccoon-related questions, so that was nice); an exclusive interview with John Carter star Taylor Kitsch; an exclusive interview with Lynn Collins (playing scantily clad space princess Dejah Thoris); an exclusive interview with Willem Dafoe and an exclusive interview with director and Pixar supremo Andrew Stanton.

Elsewhere you can still read our exclusive interviews with Minnie Driver and director Marc Evans for Hunky Dory, our exclusive interview with Blood Car director Alex Orr, our Safe House press conference interviews with Denzel Washington and director Daniel Espinosa, our exclusive interview with My Summer of Love director Pawel Pawlikowski for The Woman in the Fifth, and our Muppets press conference interview with Kermit, Miss Piggy and director James Bobin.

1. The Artist
2. The Muppets
3. The Descendants
4. John Carter
5. Young Adult
6. Martha Marcy May Marlene
7. Michael
8. Hunky Dory
9. Chronicle
10. The Raven

DVD of the Week: Sleeping Beauty (out now, online RRP £7.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Sleeping Beauty, directed by novelist turned filmmaker Julia Leigh and produced by Jane Campion. Set in modern day Australia, the film stars Emily Browning as Lucy, a strapped-for-cash college student who takes on a number of part-time jobs, including scientific test subject, office temp, waitress and apparently prostitute. When she answers an ad for silver service waitressing (which turns out to involve being decoratively naked at upper class dinner parties), Lucy meets Clara (Rachael Blake), who offers her a lucrative job whereby she's drugged unconscious so that a variety of male clients can spend the night with her, penetration forbidden. With the extra money, Lucy moves out of her hideous student flat-share and into a luxury apartment, but she becomes increasingly curious as to just what her male clients are up to while she sleeps.



Emily Browning delivers a mesmerising performance as Lucy that single-handedly atones for the atrocity that was Sucker Punch. The film centres on Lucy being a passive, blank-faced and beautiful woman onto whom men can project their – as it turns out, rather pathetic – desires, though it's fair to say that, in much the same way, the enigmatic script resists explanation and allows the audience to see whatever they want to see in the film. Leigh directs with a strongly formal style and here are also strong echoes of both Bunuel's classic Belle de Jour (blank-faced and passive prostitute serving as an erotic conduit for male desire) and Lucile Hadzihalilovic's Innocence (young girls under-going mysterious rituals that are never quite explained), both presumably significant influences on the film. On top of that, there are moments of humour (Lucy's interactions with her horrible house-mates are amusingly familiar) and some powerfully memorable scenes, some shocking, some erotic, some moving and some repulsive (you may want to look away when one of her clients starts licking her face). In short, this is a beautifully shot, stylishly directed and superbly acted drama that's by turns intriguing and disturbing. Recommended.

Sadly, the extras package is fairly poor, with just 12 minutes of cast and crew interviews and the theatrical trailer. The menus are quite good though.

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