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Raindance 2009 Preview

Posted by: Matthew Turner 11/09/2009 @ 19:06
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 310
Films seen this week: The Thing, Miss March, Dorian Gray, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Whiteout, Harry Brown, Bright Star, White Ribbon

Raindance 2009 Preview
Last week saw the announcement of the 2009 Raindance Film Festival line-up and it looks like being a pretty great year. I saw at least five of the films at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year and can highly recommend Zach Clark's Modern Love Is Automatic (blog review here), Kyle Patrick Alvarez's Easier With Practice (blog review also here), starring The Hurt Locker's Brian Geraghty (see interview here), British stand-up drama Crying With Laughter, and the opening and closing night films, Lynn Shelton's mumblecore hit Humpday (starring Joshua Leonard and Mark Duplass as two best friends who drunkenly dare each other to sleep together) and Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience, starring porn star Sasha Grey as a high class Manhattan call girl. Also recommended is Colin The £45 Zombie Movie that was a big hit at FrightFest last week.

The full line-up includes 75 features and over 150 shorts and the general experience looks like being a lot more fun this year, as the venue is the Apollo West End rather than the thoroughly depressing Cineworld Trocadero. Other potential highlights include Black Metal documentary Until the Light Take Us, Stuart Hazeldene's British thriller Exam and the world premiere of Jamie Thraves’ The Cry of the Owl stars Julia Stiles and Paddy Considine. The festival runs from 30th September to 11th October and there'll also be all sorts of fun things happening at the inaugural Raindance Film Cafe, at the Vinyl Factory/Phonica Records basement on Poland Street.

Films I'm Looking Forward To: Inception
It's quite rare for me to hear about a film trailer through word of mouth from actual people rather than via Twitter or film forums or Google Reader, but this week friends (okay, fellow film journalists) were raving about the teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan's Inception so I duly tracked it down and of course, they were right. It's awesome. What on earth is the film about? No idea, but the trailer is a veritable masterclass in the art of the teaser. Establish star? Check – Leonardo DiCaprio. Cryptic tag-line? Check - “Your Mind...Is The Scene Of The Crime.” Crazy visuals to make you wonder just what the hell is going on? Check – tilting water in glass, fight in hotel corridor that looks like it's being tipped upside down. The frankly mouth-watering cast also includes: Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy and Tom Berenger, who hasn't been in a film I've seen since Training Day back in 2001. So it's already a must-see for Berenger fans alone! Unfortunately, it doesn't open here till August 2010 (!) but it definitely looks like it'll be worth the wait.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Three new entries this week, with Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank (anyone seen the poster?), '80s coming of age comedy Adventureland and enjoyable behind-the-scenes-at-Vogue documentary The September Issue all making it into the top ten. I'd also put in a good word for Sorority Row (think of it as being at number 11), which is more fun than it has any right to be. In the meantime, check out our exclusive interviews with Adventureland star Jesse Eisenberg, The Hurt Locker star Brian Geraghty and September Issue director R.J. Cutler, as well as a press conference with Sorority Row star Rumer Willis.

1. Fish Tank
2. (500) Days of Summer
3. District 9
4. Inglourious Basterds
5. The Hurt Locker
6. Moon
7. Big River Man
8. Mesrine: Public Enemy No.1
9. Adventureland
10. The September Issue

DVD of the Week: Encounters at the End of the World (two disc special edition, out now, RRP £17.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is director Werner Herzog's thoroughly entertaining documentary Encounters at the End of the World, in which he observes and interviews a series of people who live and work in Antarctica. Herzog himself never appears on camera but his subjects are a richly varied and endlessly fascinating lot, from Stefan Pashov (credited as “forklift driver and philosopher”), to a not-very-chatty penguin expert, an eccentric, tweed-wearing English volcanologist, a pipe-fitter who believes he's descended from Aztec kings, a banker-turned-Antarctic-bus-driver and an adventurer with a sideline in a novelty act that involves her being zipped into a carry-all bag. All in all, this is an engaging, beautifully shot and genuinely fascinating documentary that will stay with you for weeks afterwards. The two disc edition features an impressive extras package that includes: the trailer, an interview with Herzog and Jonathan Demme, nine different featurettes, including extra under-the-ice footage and various video diaries and a commentary by Herzog, producer and underwater cameraman Henry Kaiser and cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger. Highly recommended.


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