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Hyde Park on Hudson Film Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 24/08/2012 @ 13:56
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 279
Films seen in the last week: ParaNorman, The Three Stooges, Petit Nicolas, Anna Karenina, Now Is Good, Great Expectations, Sinister


R.I.P. Tony Scott

Like film fans everywhere, I was shocked and saddened by the death of director Tony Scott, who committed suicide by jumping from a bridge in L.A. earlier this week. At the time of writing, the reasons for his suicide are unclear, despite various rumours floating about, but whatever they are, it's a terrible loss.

Personally, I'd got to the point where I would look forward to the next Tony Scott movie more than I would the next Ridley Scott movie. Scott's death brought forth several articles hailing him as a populist director in touch with his audience (you'd definitely choose a Tony Scott film over a Michael Bay film, for example), which in turn prompted several sniffy remarks on Twitter from other film types saying things like, 'It's just a shame he wasn't celebrated this way when he was alive'.

Both of those things are equally true – he made extremely entertaining thrillers and never quite received his due, at least, not critically. As a mark of how busy he was at the time of his death, the IMDB lists 26 projects as being “in development”, whether as a producer or director.

I confess I haven't seen all of his films (somehow never quite got around to Days of Thunder or The Fan, yet I feel like I've seen both of them), but my favourite Tony Scott films, in order, would be:

1. True Romance
2. The Last Boy Scout
3. Crimson Tide
4. The Hunger and
5. Man On Fire (where else are you going to see Denzel Washington shove a grenade up a man's arse?), though I have a soft spot for Domino, which is terrible but brilliantly so.

There's a nice filmed interview with Scott here, in which he wears his trademarked faded pink cap. I will miss that cap. R.I.P. Tony Scott.

Trailerwatch: Hyde Park on Hudson

I saw the trailer for Hyde Park on Hudson at a press screening this week (a rare but welcome occurrence, as I almost never see trailers in the cinema anymore) and yet again, it's a film that I was completely unaware of until it popped up in front of me.

It's not hard to see the influence of The King's Speech on the movie, not least because it features at least two of the same characters, in King George VI (here played by Samuel West) and Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Coleman, genius casting). More likely, I suspect Hyde Park on Hudson has its eye on The King's Speech's Oscar haul, as there seem some likely contenders for some acting nods here, assuming the film is any good at all.

It tells the true story (well, it's “based on real events”, anyway) of the relationship between President Franklin D. Roosevelt (possible Oscar nomination for Bill Murray) and his distant cousin Margaret Suckley (possible Oscar nomination for Laura Linney), set over a weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of England visit them in upstate New York in order to try and persuade Roosevelt to back the United Kingdom in the imminent war. Cue various fish out of water gags with the Royals looking horrified at being served “hot dogs” and so on, plus there's a suggestion that Roosevelt takes a perverse pleasure in fucking with the Royals, on some level, at least in the early stages.

Still, it all looks very breezy, with bright sunshine in almost every shot, at least in the trailer, though perhaps we shouldn't expect too much in the way of darkness from the director of Notting Hill. Murray actually seems a little stilted in the trailer and I almost wish they'd let him play the part with his own natural delivery and rhythm, but we'll see how it works out. The cast also includes the wonderful Olivia Williams (currently popping up in all kinds of things) as Eleanor Roosevelt – I'm not sure how long she'll be in it for, given the nature of the central relationship, but I'm looking forward to seeing her performance anyway.

At any rate, it opens here on February, which means it's a very good bet for the London Film Festival, the line-up of which is announced next week.

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

A whopping four new entries this week, with the sensational documentary The Imposter (more on that later), James Marsh's IRA thriller Shadow Dancer, French children's comedy Petit Nicolas and, yes, The Three Stooges (honestly, it's really funny) all making it into the top ten.

There now follows the weekly plea to See Smaller Films First (#SSFF) – if you are planning to see either The Imposter or Petit Nicolas then please, please, PLEASE see them this weekend, because the longevity of smaller films is entirely dependent on how they do on their opening weekends. The system, basically, is fucked and we need to change it.

There's a veritable interview bonanza this week too. Not only do we have an exclusive interview with The Imposter director Bart Layton, we also have an exclusive interview with the legend that is Charlie Parker, P.I., the private detective who plays a key part in The Imposter. So tempted to repeat his key line, but trust me, after you've seen The Imposter, you will be dying to read this interview – I can honestly say it was one of the most pleasurable interviews I've ever done.

As if that wasn't enough, we also have an exclusive interview with Shadow Dancer director James Marsh and an exclusive interview with Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley, stars of the excellent Grabbers, which went down a storm at FrightFest last night.

Elsewhere you can still read our exclusive interviews with Brave director Mark Andrews and producer Katherine Sarafian; an exclusive interview with Brave star Kelly Macdonald; an exclusive interview with Brave co-stars Robbie Coltrane and Kevin McKidd; an exclusive interview with Sean Hogan, writer-director of The Devil's Business; our exclusive interview with Offender star Joe Cole; our exclusive interview with Matt Kane and Natasha Loring (Beaver Falls), stars of The Dinosaur Project; our exclusive interview with Fernando Meirelles, director of 360; our semi-exclusive interview with Searching For Sugar Man director Malik Bendjelloul and the film's subject, Mexican-American singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez; our exclusive interview with director William Friedkin for Killer Joe; an exclusive interview with Gina Gershon for Killer Joe; and our exclusive interview with Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, star of the magnificent A Royal Affair.

Come back next week for exclusive interviews with Kris Marshall and Kevin Bishop, stars of A Few Best Men, as well as various people from Cockneys vs Zombies.

1. The Imposter
2. Searching For Sugar Man
3. Brave
4. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
5. The Dark Knight Rises
6. The Amazing Spider-Man
7. The Three Stooges
8. Petit Nicolas
9. Shadow Dancer
10. Take This Waltz

DVD of the Week: Headhunters (out now, online RRP £10.99)

This week's DVD of the Week is Headhunters, which was one of the surprise hits of last year's London Film Festival. Directed by Morten Tyldum, the film is based on the novel by Jo Nesbo and stars Aksel Hennie as smooth-talking recruitment specialist Roger Brown, who moonlights as an art thief in order to keep his drop-dead gorgeous (not to mention taller) wife Diana (Synnove Macody Lund) supplied with a constant stream of cripplingly expensive gifts.

When Diana introduces Roger to charismatic, super-suave Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Roger plots to steal the famously “lost” Rubens painting he boasts of owning, under the guise of helping him land a high-powered job. However, while stealing the painting, Roger makes a shocking discovery and soon he's running for his life, pursued by both the police (who think he's a murderer) and a high-tech assassin who somehow seems to know his every move.

Aksel Hennie is superb as Roger, managing to keep Roger sympathetic, even though he's an objectionable character in many ways; consequently, the script delights in heaping as many indignities on him as possible, from stripping him naked to forcing him to hide in six feet of human shit. Tyldum maintains a terrific sense of pace throughout, keeping Roger constantly on the move once things kick off and orchestrating some genuinely thrilling set pieces, such as a Duel-style collision with a truck or a blackly comic scene involving a tractor chase and a dead dog.

It's perhaps no coincidence that the lead character is named Roger – the name is almost certainly a nod to Cary Grant's character in North By Northwest, with which the film shares its relentless sense of pace, its paranoia-inducing man-on-the-run plot and a delicious streak of jet-black humour. There's also an intriguing tinge of horror that works well, plus an undeniably enjoyable timely element that's the modern-day equivalent of the yuppie-in-peril movie.

In short, this is a hugely enjoyable, blackly comic Norwegian thriller with a strong sense of pace, a superb script and a terrific central performance from Aksel Hennie. Recommended.

Extras on the DVD include: a 22 minute Making Of featurette.


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