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Gulliver's Travels Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 05/11/2010 @ 10:54
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 416
Films seen this week: Chatroom, Due Date, Mammoth, Fit

Hollywood Wish List – Part One
Most discerning film-fans have a Hollywood Wish List (for shorthand purposes “Hollywood” here means the film industry in general).
Essentially it's a list of either fantasy projects that currently only exist in your head or long-awaited, possible, once-mooted projects (like the idea for a sequel to Dude, Where's My Car? called Seriously, Dude, Where's My Car?) that still seem nowhere near fruition. Or it could just be a list of things you want to happen. Anyway, for what it's worth, here's the first instalment of mine. Feel free to suggest yours in the comments section below, both of you.

1. Denzel Washington to make more Easy Rawlins movies. If you've never seen Denzel Washington's 1995 detective thriller The Devil In A Blue Dress, then rent it immediately, as it was one of my favourite films of the 90s. More importantly, it's the film that launched Don Cheadle's career, as he plays  Easy's psychotic, trigger-happy best friend Mouse. Anyway, the film was based on the first in a series of Easy Rawlins detective novels by Walter Mosley (all of which I highly recommend) and I've always wondered why Denzel Washington never made any more of them. The early ones have a strong historical background (the Communist witch-hunts, the Watts riots etc) and would make great thrillers. Rest assured, if I ever get the opportunity to interview Washington, it's the first thing I'm asking him. Actually, while we're Hollywood wish-listing, I'd like more detective movies in general, please.

2. A blanket ban on 3D features for at least the next 2 years. I don't know about you, but I'm bored to tears with 3D, at least in live-action features. Case in point – I just watched the Gulliver's Travels trailer (see Trailerwatch, below) for the first time and groaned out loud when the 3D announcement came up at the end. Basically, if you can't make your 3D as good as it is in Avatar, I'm not interested and the recent booing of 3D announcements at Comic-Con (as well as something of a blogging backlash) has hopefully given Hollywood pause for thought. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Warner Brothers recently decided to release Harry Potter 7.1 in good old-fashioned 2D after all, as the 3D post-processing wasn't up to scratch. Here's hoping other studios follow suit.

3. Scorsese to make Dino. Every time Martin Scorsese finishes a new movie, I get excited that his next one might finally be Dino, his long-awaited biopic of Dean Martin. It actually looks like I might finally getting my wish – sort of, anyway – as the imdb seems confident that Scorsese will produce and direct Sinatra sometime next year. Frankly, I'll believe it when I see it, but in the meantime, let the casting speculation begin!

4. John Allison's Scary-Go-Round characters to feature in a film. I'm a huge fan of John Allison's web comic strip Scary-Go-Round (and its new incarnations, Bad Machinery and Giant Days, but let's keep this simple). If Scott Pilgrim can be a film, I see no reason why the likes of Shelley Winters, Amy Chiltern, Ryan Beckwith, Esther De Groot and Desmond Fish-Man can't appear on the big screen too. Make it happen, Hollywood!

5. A Modesty Blaise movie. It's a constant mystery to me why no-one has chosen to remake Joseph Losey's 1966 spy thriller Modesty Blaise, based on the comic strip character created by Peter O'Donnell and Jim Holdaway. I'd love to see it remade in faux-1960s style (like Jean Dujardin's OSS-117 movies), especially since the 1960s are currently enjoying something of a revival in the wake of the success of TV's Mad Men. Actually ... Christina Hendricks as sexy superspy Modesty Blaise. Now we're talking. Excuse me, I may have to lie down for a minute ...

Trailerwatch: Gulliver's Travels
If you've seen the current Orange ad with Jack Black you're probably already sick to death of Gulliver's Travels. I've only seen it once and once was enough. At any rate, the proper trailer was released this week and, well, it looks pretty good. At any rate it looks like it could go either way. Giving Gulliver's Travels a modern-day update isn't a bad idea per se (it's unclear from the trailer just how modern the Lilliputians are) and Jack Black's a likeable comic actor providing he reigns in the manic excesses. (Did I mention I met him in the Troy Club once? No? Well, that's a story for another time).

Director Rob Letterman seems to have come from animation (Monsters vs Aliens and Shark Tale), so it'll be interesting to see what he brings to a live-action film. The special effects look really good at least, though whether we'll also get to meet the giant Brobdingnagians, the inhabitants of the flying island of Laputa or the horse-like Houyhnhnms remains to be seen, though I'm guessing probably not. The thing that most excites me about the trailer is the excellent supporting cast, which includes Amanda Peet (as Black's real-world love interest), Emily Blunt (as, from the looks of things, a Liliputian princess), Jason Segel and, rather wonderfully, Billy Connolly and Catherine Tate as the King and Queen of Lilliput (or, as the film seems to have renamed it, Lilliputia). Catherine Tate's single line (“I wanted a bracelet, not a big, hairy beast”) steals the entire trailer and I have no doubt she'll steal the film too. The film opens here on Boxing Day and you can colour me tentatively excited.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Technically there are only two new entries this week, though I'm also correcting an oversight, because I somehow left the wonderful Mary and Max off the top ten last week and that deserves the number one spot. It's a bit of a lukewarm week for new releases this week and I didn't give anything over three stars, but Lukas Moodysson's Mammoth (starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams) and Mike Leigh's Another Year both make it in anyway, largely because several other films (e.g. Enter the Void) have now completed their runs.

Interview-wise, this week we have an interview with Robert Downey Jnr and Zach Galifianakis from the press conference for Due Date and you can still read our exclusive interview with Simon Pegg for Burke and Hare. And since they're still on general release, you can also read our interviews for Winter's Bone here and here, and our interviews for Made In Dagenham here and here. I'll also give a gratuitous plug to this excellent interview with Involuntary director Ruben Ostlund.

1. Mary and Max
2. The Social Network
3. Winter's Bone
4. Involuntary
5. The Kids Are All Right
6. Buried
7. Made In Dagenham
8. Mammoth
9. Another Year
10. The Hunter

DVD Of The Week: The Concert (released November 8th, RRP £19.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is The Concert, a French farce directed by Radu Mihaileanu. Alexei Guskov stars as Andrei, a former conductor who decides to get his old orchestra back together and reclaim his reputation when he illicitly accepts a gig in Paris that will require them to pose as the Bolshoi Orchestra. With the help of his loyal friend Sacha (Dmitri Nazarov) and their old manager Ivan (Valeriy Barinov), Andrei succeeds in persuading all the musicians to reunite, but things start to unravel when they get to Paris, with all the members more interested in sight-seeing than turning up to rehearsals.

Meanwhile, for reasons of his own, Andrei becomes obsessed with persuading rising-star French violinist Anne-Marie (Melanie Laurent) to play Tchaikovsky's violin concerto. The performances are superb and the script is often very funny and neatly avoids some of the expected cliches (though not all of them). The music is exceptional throughout and the whole film builds to a beautifully directed climax that is powerfully emotional. In short, this is a superbly directed, beautifully acted French farce that's both extremely moving and laugh-out-loud funny. Disappointing extras package though – extras only include a 13 minute interview with director Radu Mihaileanu and the trailer.


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