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Prince of Persia Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 22/01/2010 @ 17:03
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 22
Films seen this week: Ninja Assassin, The Shouting Men, Burlesque Undressed, My Last Five Girlfriends, Leap Year

Awards season maths: Globe wins + BAFTA noms = Oscar predictions
I'd been holding off doing an awards season post for as long as possible, but with the double whammy this week of both the Golden Globe Awards and the release of the BAFTA nominations, it's safe to say that awards season is well and truly underway. Unfortunately, it's already shaping up to be a horribly predictable year – Avatar will almost certainly win Best Film and Best Director at the Oscars (I'm fine with the latter, not so much the former), while Jeff Bridges is a shoo-in for Best Actor (which I'm delighted about, plus the film – Crazy Heart, a bit like The Wrestler, but with country music – is excellent) and Mo'Nique  is a lock for Best Supporting Actress. Similarly, if there's any justice, Christoph Waltz will follow up his Globe win with both a BAFTA / Oscar double.

The Best Actress category is more interesting though, particularly as there's not a huge amount of overlap between the Globes and BAFTAs – Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) and Meryl Streep (for Julie & Julia) all seem highly likely nominees and I'd like to think Abbie Cornish won't be overlooked at the Oscars the way she has been (shamefully, in my opinion) at the BAFTAs.

For all that though, it would be crazy to bet against Sandra Bullock winning Best Actress – I haven't seen The Blind Side yet, but it does seem to scream Oscar. It's also possible that Vera Farmiga will cross over to the Best Actress category for Up in the Air, although that already seems to be losing its Oscar momentum. As for the BAFTAs, I'm hoping Carey Mulligan will win Best Actress and that Fish Tank will win Best British Film. I was also pleased to see Christian McKay (see our interview here) receive a BAFTA nomination for Me and Orson Welles, although I think Christoph Waltz will probably win it here too.
Finally, it remains to be seen whether the BAFTAs will jump on the Avatar bandwagon (at least as far as Best Picture and Best Director are concerned), but I wouldn't be surprised. Roll on February 21st, I say.

Trailerwatch: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Call me a hopeless optimist, but Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time looks like it might be a lot of fun, at least if the trailer is anything to go by. (It's a lot better than the atrocious-looking Clash of the Titans trailer anyway. “Release the Kraken!” indeed). Prince of Persia is one of those based-on-a-video-game movies, though, I confess, it's a video game I've never heard of, so that doesn't have any real impact on my expectations. That said, it's obvious they're going for a Pirates of the Middle East sort of vibe. I do like the fact that the trailer has lovely Gemma Arterton explaining the plot v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

Basically, Jake Gyllenhaal (who, admittedly, doesn't look very Persian) plays Prince Dastan, who teams up with feisty princess Tamina (lovely Gemma Arterton) to take a magic dagger to a secret guardian temple in order to stop the Sands of Time from, um, destroying the world or something. I'm not so keen on the CGI overload at the end (I'm a bit bored of collapsing temples, really) but the action sequences look great (all that leaping around, the arrow-dodging bit) and there's some interesting-looking weaponry floating about too. More importantly, there seems to be decent chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Arterton and Alfred Molina can always be relied upon for a strong supporting turn. I hope Ben Kingsley musters up a bit more EVIL for Nizam than he did for The Hood in the Thunderbirds movie though. Also, am I crazy or is Gyllenhaal doing an English accent? That should be...interesting. Opens May 21st.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Three more new entries this week, with acclaimed French prison drama A Prophet (which made the Best Foreign Film Oscars shortlist this week), Clive Owen single dad drama The Boys Are Back and the 3D revamp of Toy Story 2 all making it into the top ten. Interview-wise, you can read our interviews with BAFTA-nominated Up in the Air stars Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick here and here, as well as co-writer-director Jason Reitman here. Stinker of the week, incidentally, is Ninja Assassin, a film so bad it actually makes ninjas boring.

1. A Prophet
2. Where the Wild Things Are
3. The Road
4. Up in the Air
5. Toy Story 2 (3D)
6. A Serious Man
7. Avatar
8. Crude
9. OSS 117: Lost in Rio
10. The Boys Are Back

DVD of the Week: Freaks and Geeks box-set (R1 only) (out now, RRP £30.67)
This week's DVD of the Week is Freaks and Geeks, which may well be the best TV show you've never heard of. (It was shown once in the UK, on E4, several years ago, and given no publicity at all). You'll have heard of all the people involved with it though – it was created by Paul Feig (now closely involved with the US version of The Office), produced by Judd Apatow and launched the acting careers of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel and Linda Cardellini. Set in 1980, the series centres on Lindsay Weir (Cardellini), an academically gifted student who starts wearing an army jacket and hanging out with the “freaks” (Rogen, Franco, Segal and Busy Philipps as Kim Kelley), while her younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley) and his “geek” friends (Samm Levine and Martin Starr) do typical high school things like lusting after cheerleaders and trying not to get stuffed into lockers on a daily basis.

Brilliantly written and superbly acted, it's an extremely funny, frequently moving show that feels authentic and genuine and will be instantly recognisable to anyone who was ever picked last for games at school. (Incidentally, writer-creator Paul Feig's autobiographical books are also well worth reading). Frankly, it's a tragedy that the show was cancelled after just 18 episodes (see also, the vaguely similar My So-Called Life), because it's better than almost anything else on TV right now. The DVD box set has been lovingly assembled and contains all 18 episodes, complete with 29 different commentary tracks, audition footage, deleted scenes from every episode, outtakes, bloopers, alternate takes, behind the scenes footage and promotional footage. Currently, the series is only available on Region 1 DVD, which is a separate tragedy that's right up there with its cancellation, but it's well worth ordering. You won't regret it. Highly recommended.

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