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Lincoln Film Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 14/09/2012 @ 14:45
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 309
Films seen in the last week: Looper, The Sweeney, Premium Rush, Ginger and Rosa, To Rome With Love, Taken 2, Savages, Hotel Transylvania, Anton Corbijn: Inside Out

FILM OF THE WEEK: HOPE SPRINGS




2012 San Sebastian Film Festival line-up

Last year, as my enthusiastic blogs here and here attest (not to mention my archived tweets here), I attended the San Sebastian Film Festival for the first time and decided, there and then, that I would be back every year, until death.

Frankly, they could be putting on any old rubbish and I'd still be going. Thankfully, that's not the case, as the line-up this year looks every bit as good as last year's. For one thing, I've already counted seventeen films that are going to be at the London Film Festival, including Ben Affleck's Argo, Dustin Hoffman's Quartet, Michael Haneke's Amour and Ben Lewin's The Sessions. I'm also looking forward to finally seeing British drama Shell, which is also at the LFF and was pulled from Edinburgh under mysterious circumstances back in June.

As for films that aren't crossing over between festivals, the two I'm most excited about are Laurent Cantet's Foxfire (about a group of 1950s girls who form a secret society) and Lasse Hallstrom's The Hypnotist (about a detective who teams up with a hypnotist to solve a murder).

San Sebastian also does a mean line in retrospectives (last year's American Noir and Jacques Demy strands were a joy), so I'm looking forward to catching the Georges Franju retrospective this year.

Weirdly, there's an entire retrospective dedicated to American comedy that includes things like American Pie, Animal House and Anchorman (and that's just the As), so that should be fun too. Although, let's be honest, the main reason to go is right here.


Films I Am Dying to See: Lincoln

This week there was a flurry of activity involving Google Plus Hangouts that I didn't really understand, the upshot of which was that the trailer for Steven Spielberg's upcoming Lincoln biopic was released. My awareness factor on this one was quite high, largely because I always like to know what Daniel Day-Lewis is up to, plus I'm a sucker for biopics of American Presidents. That said, I wasn't aware of the supporting cast, so I spent the trailer shouting “Tommy Lee Jones! Sally Field! Hal Holbrook! David Strathairn! Joseph Gordon-Levitt! Jared Harris!” like a crazy person.



Frankly, they might as well announce its Oscar nominations now – even from the trailer you can already tell it'll get them for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor and one of the above will probably end up with a supporting nom too (my money's on Jones). Judging by the imdb page and the book credit on the trailer (“Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”), it seems that the film is dispensing with Abraham Lincoln: The Early Years and diving straight in where it counts, towards the end of the American Civil War, with Lincoln warring with his cabinet over his proposed abolition of slavery.



My favourite bit in the trailer, incidentally, is when an offscreen voice yells “Leave the Constitution ALONE!”, like he's about to get jam on it or something. Needless to say, Daniel Day-Lewis looks incredible in the part and I love all the tufty hair make-up. Also, that weirdly high voice is apparently accurate, at least according to something I read on the internets somewhere (Twitter).

Curiously, there's no listing for John Wilkes Booth on the imdb page (unless Michael Stuhlbarg is playing him – he's the only well known actor without a named character), so I hope that doesn't mean the film is going to end with Mr and Mrs Lincoln popping out for a night at the theatre. At any rate, it opens in January over here, so less than four score weeks and ten to wait, at least.


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

This week there's only one new entry into the top ten with just David Frankel's Hope Springs making it onto the list. However, I will put in good words for Premium Rush (trashy fun), The Sweeney (better than expected), ParaNorman (problematic but has its moments) and Anton Corbijn: Inside Out as well as British thriller Twenty8K, the film I did the set visit for last year.

Having said that, almost every film released last week is better than anything released this week, so I strongly suggest you go and see Tabu, Anna Karenina, Dredd, Lawless or The Queen of Versailles if you haven't already done so. I will spare you the weekly rant about Seeing Smaller Films First (#SSFF) this week, but the principle still applies.

Interview-wise this week, we have an exclusive interview with Twenty8K star Jonas Armstrong and an exclusive interview with Twenty8K co-director Neil Thompson. Elsewhere you can still read our 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; a press conference interview with Anna Karenina director Joe Wright and stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Matthew Macfadyen; 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 interviews 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 more Twenty8K interviews, including co-stars Nichola Burley, Kaya Scodelario and Michael Socha.

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. Hope Springs


DVD/Blu-Ray of the Week: Avengers Assemble (released 17 September 2012, online RRPs £10.99 DVD, £15.99 Blu-Ray)

This week's DVD of the Week is Avengers Assemble (aka The Avengers), which is, for my money, one of the best films of the year and certainly the best blockbuster of the year. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, the film opens with tricksy Norse god Loki (Tom
Hiddleston) stealing powerful energy source the Tesseract from Nick Fury's (Samuel L Jackson) SHIELD organisation, after which he plans to open a portal to space so that an alien army can invade the Earth.

However, as we've seen over the post-credits stings of previous movies, Fury has been preparing for just such an occasion, so he summons Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr) and nervy scientist Bruce Banner/the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), along with slinky ex-Russian spy Natasha Romanoff/the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and crack archer Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).



Together they must work as a team to defeat Loki and his alien army, but there's the small matter of fighting amongst each other first. The performances are terrific, particularly Ruffalo as the haunted-but-coping Banner and Hiddleston, who brings intriguing layers to Loki and makes him much more than the typical one-dimensional villain. Whedon is a fully-paid up Marvel geek and he duly delivers a fabulous script that's packed with witty lines, knows to keep the plot as simple as possible and is never far away from a jaw-dropping action sequence or a punch-up. He also throws in several nerd-pleasing nods to the comics and, crucially, ensures that the story remains rooted in the characters, while still managing to inject moments that can only be described as Whedonesque.



In addition, Whedon maintains a cracking pace throughout, orchestrating multiple action sequences that are genuinely exciting to watch, including a spectacular alien-bashing third act that is non-stop superhero-based thrills. In short, Joss Whedon delivers what is pretty much the perfect superhero movie, combining a brilliant script, pacey direction, thrilling action sequences and pitch-perfect performances from a terrific cast. Highly recommended.

Extras on the Blu-Ray include: eight deleted/extended scenes, including an abandoned framing sequence that casts the entire film in an interestingly different light (key phrase: “The Avengers were the mistake that saved the world”), and at least one sequence they should have kept in, regarding Steve Rogers (“Steve Rogers: A Man out of Time”); a specially filmed Marvel One-Shot entitled Item 47, about two small-time crooks (Lizzie Caplan and Jesse Bradford) who use a discarded alien weapon to rob banks; a very funny gag reel (which you've probably already seen on YouTube) and a ridiculously short Making Of featurette (there's apparently a longer one on the version you can only buy in Sainsbury's or something). No commentary, sadly, though at least the post-credits sting is present and correct. Also, please note that the DVD only has the Making Of featurette. As an additional bonus, here is a piece I wrote for the MostlyFilm blog about the differences between the Avengers movie and the comics.

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