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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Film Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 07/09/2012 @ 15:41
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 300
Films seen in the last week: Killing Them Softly, Ruby Sparks, On the Road


2012 London Film Festival line-up

This week I attended the press launch of the 2012 London Film Festival (cheekily nicknamed PASTRYFEST because of the vast number of pastries provided). This year the festival has a new artistic director and I was keen to see what changes Clare Stewart would make. At a cursory glance, the most welcome innovation is the introduction of several new strands – gone are the dedicated nods to French cinema and “International” and in their place we now have eight themed strands entitled Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey and my personal favourite, Sonic.

I'm in the rare position of having seen several of the films already this year, though I'm frustratingly embargoed on most of them. Let's just say that I can highly recommend Tim Burton's Frankenweenie (expanded from his early animated short film and opening the festival), Ben Wheatley's wonderful Sightseers (like Mike Leigh's Nuts in May goes psycho), A Prophet director Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone (starring Marion Cotillard), Australian girl group comedy-slash-true story The Sapphires, New Orleans childhood drama Beasts of the Southern Wild, Kubrick conspiracy theory doc Room 237 and (sort of) found footage-style cop thriller End of Watch.

I'll admit I was disappointed that Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master and the Coen Brothers remake of Gambit weren't in the line-up, but there's a tasty selection of galas on offer nonetheless. The ones I'm looking forward to most are Rolling Stones doc Crossfire Hurricane, Ben Affleck's Argo (based on a true story about a secret agent posing as a film producer to free six American prisoners in Tehran), Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut Quartet, Paul Andrew Williams' drama Song For Marion, Michael Haneke's Cannes hit Amour, Ben Lewis' drama The Sessions and delightful-looking animated feature Ernest and Celestine, about the friendship between a mouse and a bear.

In the Official Competition strand (another new innovation for this year), I'm really looking forward to Sally Potter's Ginger and Rosa and not just because it means Christina Hendricks might attend the festival. I'm also delighted that Seven Psychopaths (see trailer section last week) is playing at the festival, as well as Alex Gibney's new documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.

As for the various strands, the films I'm most looking forward to are Xavier Dolan's Laurence Anyways (Love), Marilyn documentary Love, Marilyn (Love again), Celeste and Jesse Forever (Laugh), Craig Zobel's Sundance hit Compliance (Thrill), amazing-looking Spanish thriller Painless (Thrill) about children that can't feel pain, John Dies At The End (Cult), Michel Gondry's The We and the I (Journey) and coming-of-age drama Spike Island, about a group of Manchester kids trying to crash a Stone Roses gig. So, all in all, quite a lot to be excited about, The Master or no The Master. Can. Not. Wait.

Trailerwatch: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

I'm a big fan of both Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner, so it's fair to say that Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (that colon had better be on the poster, poster-makers; grammar is IMPORTANT - we don't want a Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life situation on our hands
again) has been on my radar for quite a while now. What I hadn't realised was that it was directed by Tommy Wirkola, who made Zombie Nazi thriller Dead Snow, owner of the glorious tag-line, “Ein! Zwei! DIE!”

The plot is pretty self-explanatory: narrowly avoiding being eaten by a witch in a traumatic ginger house incident, siblings Hansel and Gretel grow up into professional witch hunters. However, when it comes to their latest assignment (involving Famke Janssen as what looks like the latest in a noble cinematic heritage of sexy witches), they may have bitten off more than they can chew. There's a lot of action in the trailer, but it appears that they've been set up and lured into a trap for what are no doubt sexy-witch-related reasons.

I can't quite decide whether I'm a fan of the whole tricked-out mediaeval weaponry thing – it backfired hugely in the recent terrible Three Musketeers movie, for example. It does look pretty cool here though, or maybe that's just because Gemma and Jeremy are better weapon-wielders. The imdb page for the film lists characters like Tall Witch (played by Zoe Bell, so you can bet that Tall Witch gets killed by getting thrown through a plate glass window or something), Candy Witch, Etruscan Witch and Horned Witch as well as revealing that one of the actors, gloriously, is named Sebastian Hulk. This is why you should always read imdb pages. Anyway, Peter Stormare looks like a pretty decent villain and I'm pretty certain that that's a TROLLLLLLLLLLL at the end of the trailer (I've seen Troll Hunter - I know the signs), so that's something to look forward to. It doesn't open here until March 2013, so quite a while to wait yet, but I am officially excited to see it.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):

It's all-change this week with a record-breaking (and, I think,
unprecedented) SIX new films all entering the top ten. They include:
Miguel Gomes' wonderful Tabu (the second best film I saw at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year, after The Imposter); Joe Wright's breathtakingly imaginative adaptation of Anna Karenina; hilarious and moving credit-crunch-hits-the-obscenely-rich documentary The Queen of Versailles; John Hillcoat's moonshine 'n' bootleggers drama Lawless (in which Tom Hardy wears the hell out of a cardigan); comic-book adaptation Dredd 3D (the film Dredd nerds have been waiting for); and found footage Blair Witch-style horror A Night in the Woods. I'll also put in a good word for Shut Up And Play the Hits, which I liked a lot, despite knowing nothing about the band in advance.

There now follows the weekly plea to SEE SMALLER FILMS FIRST (#SSFF). If you are planning to see either Tabu, The Queen of Versailles, A Walk in the Woods, or Shut Up and Play The Hits, then please, please, PLEASE make sure you see them this weekend, as the likes of Anna Karenina, Lawless and Dredd will all be around for several weeks yet and smaller films need the support of a healthy opening weekend if they're going to survive.

Interview-wise this week, we have a semi-exclusive interview with Dredd star Karl Urban; a semi-exclusive interview with Dredd writer Alex Garland; an exclusive interview with Lawless director John Hillcoat; and a press conference interview with director Joe Wright and stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Matthew Macfadyen for Anna Karenina.

Elsewhere you can still read our exclusive interview with Kris Marshall and Kevin Bishop, stars of A Few Best Men; an exclusive interview with Cockneys vs Zombies stars Alan Ford and Ashley Thomas; an exclusive interview with Cockneys vs Zombies director Matthias Hoene and writer James Moran; our exclusive interview with The Imposter director Bart Layton; our exclusive interview with the legend that is Charlie Parker, P.I. (the private detective who plays a key part in The Imposter); our exclusive interview with Shadow Dancer director James Marsh; our exclusive interview with Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley (stars of the excellent Grabbers); our exclusive interview with Brave director Mark Andrews and producer Katherine Sarafian; our exclusive interview with Brave star Kelly Macdonald; an exclusive interview with Brave co-stars Robbie Coltrane and Kevin McKidd; and our semi-exclusive interview with Searching For Sugar Man director Malik Bendjelloul and the film's subject, Mexican-American singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez.

Come back next week for interviews with the director and stars of upcoming British thriller Twenty8K.

1. Tabu
2. The Imposter
3. Anna Karenina
4. Searching For Sugar Man
5. The Queen of Versailles
6. Brave
7. Lawless
8. Berberian Sound Studio
9. Dredd (3D)
10. A Night in the Woods

DVD of the Week: Coriolanus (out now, online RRP £6.99)

This week's DVD of the Week is Coriolanus, directed and produced by Ralph Fiennes. A contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's play, the film stars Fiennes as Coriolanus, a returning war hero-turned-politician in “a place calling itself Rome” (but actually shot in Serbia and resembling a deserted London council estate), whose refusal to court the public's favour leads to his exile, engineered in part by two rival Tribunes, Sicinius (James Nesbitt) and Brutus (Paul Jesson).

However, when Coriolanus encounters his former, recently defeated enemy Tullus Aufidius (a heavily bearded Gerard Butler), the latter is moved by his plight and the pair join forces and return to Rome to take revenge. This is an impressively staged adaptation and the updating to contemporary times is remarkably effective, making clever use of news programmes and the like to tell the story and strongly evincing the intended parallels with modern-day politics. The battle scenes are nicely handled too and there are some striking images, most notably a blood-soaked Fiennes striding through the war zone to confront Aufidius.

Needless to say, the performances are excellent: Fiennes brings a steely intensity to the title role, while Vanessa Redgrave is riveting as Coriolanus' ambitious mother Volumnia and there's strong support from the always-excellent Brian Cox as Coriolanus' friend Menenius. Similarly, Gerard Butler acquits himself nicely as Aufidius, though the ubiquitous Jessica Chastain is completely wasted as Coriolanus' wife Virgilia and barely even has any lines.

The main problem with the film is that, unless you've studied it at A-evel, the play just isn't all that exciting – indeed, the actual plot is rather slight and doesn't carry the emotional weight of, say, Julius Caesar, despite also being based on the life of a real-life Roman leader. Similarly, the decision to cast Jon Snow (who gamely speaks his lines in iambic pentameter) as the newsreader backfires considerably because it elicits howls of unintentional laughter and immediately jars you out of the film.

In short, the staging and performances are commendable and the film will doubtless prove a huge hit with A-level students everywhere, but this is ultimately hampered by not being one of Shakespeare's best in the first place.

Extras on the DVD include a 25 minute Behind The Scenes featurette with Will Young for some reason (apparently his cameo was cut out of the film) and a director's commentary with Ralph Fiennes.


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