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Melancholia Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 08/04/2011 @ 15:37
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 119
Films seen this week: Rubber, Julia's Eyes, 18 Meals, The Way, The Roommate, Pretty In Pink, The Breakfast Club, The Silent House, Armadillo, Hanna, The Angels of Evil, Red Riding Hood

Advice For Aspiring Film Reviewers
I was recently asked to contribute to this excellent piece about breaking into film reviewing by Sam Price but, shamefully, I filed the request away in a folder marked Important Things To Do Later (well, I starred it in Gmail, anyway) and then, um, forgot to go back to it. So I thought I'd post my version here, since it's the sort of thing I frequently get asked, both on Twitter (where I can't really tell the story in 14 characters) and in real life.

When somebody asks me, “How did you get into film reviewing?” I usually say “By spending an awful lot of time on film talkboards in the late '90s.” That is basically the truth of it, since ViewLondon posted their initial call for film reviewers on both the Empire and Guardian Film talkboards and I got in touch and have been here ever since. It was also how I got my first ever written work – when the late, lamented and utterly wonderful Neon magazine died (parent company EMAP killed it off to make way for Heat Magazine, for which I have never forgiven them), I was mourning its loss and slagging off Total Film and Empire on the Empire talkboards. I was then contacted by Emma Cochrane, who had just taken over Total Film (at that time a boys-y picture-led magazine that rated films based on how many explosions and car chases and stabbings they had) and wanted to make it more like Neon.

We met up for a chat and I ended up writing news pieces for Total Film, which was both my first paid written work and the the first time I ever really thought about writing film reviews as a career, even though I'd been routinely reviewing films as talkboard posts since around 1998 or so. My first reviewing work came about in a similar way – a talkboard friend worked for whsmithonline and he asked me to write reviews for them as they were based in Oxford and couldn't always come up to London for screenings. That lead to ViewLondon, which lead to going to my first Edinburgh Film Festival, which lead to meeting people, which in turn lead to writing reviews for Empire (8 months), Hotdog and a variety of other publications, as well as interviews for The Big Issue and various other things.

So I sort of fell into it, basically – I had always loved films but my degree was in literature and I had never studied journalism or anything like that. Things have changed massively since then though and my advice to anybody wanting to break into film reviewing (which is massively rewarding but very badly paid, relatively speaking) today is, as other people in Sam's article have said, to start a film blog and review everything you see. Once you've built up a decent portfolio the next step is to get people reading your work by pimping it out on Twitter and Facebook and so on, but more importantly by networking with other film-reviewing types and the PRs that can get you into press screenings.

Basically, if your work is good enough then someone, eventually, will take notice. Also, though it can be hard to make it pay enough to make a living on in the early days (I had to do tedious rent-paying day jobs for years), if you're nice to your lovely editor (my lovely editor told me to say that), get your work done on time (very important, this) and your copy is good, then it can eventually lead to regular work. Don't go asking ViewLondon though – that's my job.

Films I'm Dying To See: Lars Von Trier's Melancholia
It's probably a little embarrassing to confess that I didn't even know Lars Von Trier had made a new film until the trailer popped up on Twitter this afternoon, so let's quickly move past that. I am a big fan of crazy old Lars – Dogville was one of my favourite films of the noughties - and although his films can often be infuriating, they are always worth seeing and there's no-one quite like him. Just thinking about 2009's Anti-Christ, for example, makes me laugh out loud (baby falling from a building in ultra-pretentious slow motion) and shiver with fear (talking fox - “CHAOS REIGNS”) at the same time.

Anyway, his new film is called Melancholia and it looks pretty amazing, not least because of a fantastic cast that includes John Hurt, Charlotte Rampling (“Enjoy it while it lasts – I myself hate marriages”) Charlotte Gainsbourg, a double helping of Skarsgards (Alexander and Stellan), Kirsten Dunst and even Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland. Gloriously, the film seems to be one of those anguished family wedding movies, only given an extra layer of anguish because the world is about to end, courtesy of a planet that's about to crash into the Earth. Still, I wouldn't worry about it. There's no way the world will end, not with Jack Bauer around. On another note, it's great to see Kirsten Dunst in something again as she seems to have had a two year break between this and How To Lose Friends and Alienate People. I confess I am curious to see what Lars Von Trier's vision of the end of the world looks like and I'm also curious to know who the naked moon-bather is at the 1min14sec mark. The film is released on 1st July and I can't wait.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Only two new entries this week with just animated adventure Rio (check out the delightful specially written song by Jemaine Clement) and Australian teen resistance drama Tomorrow, When The War Began entering the top ten. That said, I'd also recommend two-joke absurdist horror-comedy Rubber (which is out on DVD soon anyway), Uruguayan one-take horror flick The Silent House and embedded Danish documentary Armadillo, but none of them quite make it onto the list.

Interview-wise, we have an exclusive interview with the lovely Rachel Hurd-Wood (star of Tomorrow, When The War Began) and a semi-exclusive interview with Guillaume Canet, director of next week's Little White Lies. Elsewhere you can still read our junket interviews with Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder and stars Emily Browning and Jena Malone, a round table interview with Jim (son of Ken) Loach for Oranges and Sunshine, press conference interviews with Killing Bono stars Ben Barnes and My Good Friend Robert Sheehan, our Eagle press conference interviews and our exclusive interviews with the cast of Chalet Girl (Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick and Tamsin Egerton). We'll have an excusive interview with Source Code director Duncan Jones next week too.

1. True Grit
2. Submarine
3. Source Code
4. Unknown
5. Archipelago
6. Chalet Girl
7. Rio
8. Limitless
9. Oranges and Sunshine
10. Tomorrow, When The War Began

DVD of the Week: Somewhere (out now, RRP £19.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Sofia Coppola's Somewhere. Stephen
Dorff stars as successful but bored Hollywood actor Johnny Marco, who
injures his arm in a drunken fall and holes up in a suite at L.A's
Chateau Marmont in order to recover. He spends most of his time
drinking, smoking  and hiring a pair of perky twin pole dancers (own
poles supplied), until the arrival of his 11 year-old daughter Cleo
(Elle Fanning), who ends up accompanying him on a trip to Rome to
promote his new movie after Johnny's ex-wife unexpectedly dumps her in his care.

Dorff gives one of his best screen performances to date, while Elle Fanning delivers a remarkably unselfconscious turn that's refreshingly different from the way Hollywood usually treats estranged father-daughter stories. The film is also beautifully shot and features a superb soundtrack. It would also make a great companion piece to Lost in Translation, since there are deliberate echoes of that film throughout; by the same token, it's fair to say that while Somewhere will delight fans of Coppola's previous films, it also won't win over her detractors. In short this is a beautifully shot, sharply observed drama that's both enjoyable and engaging. Recommended, especially if you're already a Coppola fan.

Extras include: a 17 minute Making Of featurette. No commentary or deleted scenes though, which is a shame.


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