Total films seen so far this year: 415
Films seen in the last week: Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan, Monsters Inc 3D, The Velvet Vampire, Jimi Plays Berkeley, Here Comes The Boom, People Like Us, Alps, Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger, The Oranges, Gambit
FILM OF THE WEEK: ARGO
Five Random Things
It's been ages since I've done a Five Random Things, hasn't it? Yes.
Yes, it has. So here, without further ado, are Five Random Things I found on the internets this week (with thanks to @emmafgreen).
1. Fittingly for the week in which President Barack Obama was re-elected, this lovely excerpt from his memoir Dreams From My Father, in which he describes going to see Black Orpheus with his mother, aged 16: (And since we're on the subject of Obama, I currently can't get enough of both this picture of Obama's smiley voting face or, indeed, this frequently updated tumblr of White People Mourning Romney).
2. This photo of 11 year old “horror fan” David Lynch meeting Vincent Price.
3. This story about a new record for the world's longest movie marathon being won by a Bolivian man.
4. This video compilation of the Top 250 Imdb Films in 2 and a half minutes.
5. And finally, not strictly film-related, but one of my favourite things on the entire internet, this long-running webcomic by David Allison.
Films I Am Dying To See: Stoker
I wasn't really aware of Stoker until yesterday when a friend mentioned it in enthusiastic terms. Having now seen the trailer, it has shot right to the top of my Dying To See list. Directed by Park Chan-wook (the Korean director of Old Boy, making his English language debut), the film stars Mia Wasikowska as outcast teenager India, whose vampish mother (Nicole Kidman) takes up with her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) after the mysterious death of her father.
However, Charlie turns out to have a mysterious secret of his own (I'm guessing serial killer from the trailer) and India becomes increasingly drawn to him. The fact that Goode's character is called Uncle Charlie, coupled with his twisted relationship with India suggests that the film is a possibly not-so-subtle reworking of Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt, albeit with Kidman's evil mother thrown into the mix.
At any rate, it looks fantastic: dark subject matter, offbeat dialogue and chilling performances from Goode and Kidman (her opening speech in the trailer is fabulous) all served up with Park Chan-wook's signature visual style. I particularly like the intimation of inter-family power-plays towards the end, with India's delivery of the line “We don't need to be friends – we're family”.
The supporting cast is promising too, with Jacki Weaver playing India's grandmother and Ralph Brown playing a sheriff. I have slight concerns over just how much of the plot is revealed in the trailer, but hopefully there are more surprises in store.
Incredibly, the film is produced and co-written by Wentworth Miller, best known for playing Michael Scofield in TV's Prison Break. I still can't quite get my head around that. At any rate, the film opens here on March 1st and I can't wait to see it.
Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Five new entries into the top ten this week, with Ben Affleck's terrific thriller Argo, toe-tapping aboriginal girl band drama The Sapphires, Dogtooth director Giorgos Lanthimos' Greek drama Alps, loving Harryhausen documentary Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan and British drama My Brother the Devil all making it onto the list.
I will also put in a good word for both Hollywood drama People Like Us and low-key political comedy-drama Grassroots, both of which are well worth seeing and are effectively at places 11 and 12 on the list.
There now follows the traditional plea to See Smaller Films First
(#SSFF) – if you are planning on seeing My Brother The Devil, Alps or Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan this week then please, please, PLEASE see them in the cinema this weekend, as smaller films need visible opening weekend support to survive, whereas the likes of Argo and The Sapphires will both be around for weeks to come.
Interview-wise this week, we have an exclusive interview with The Sapphires director Wayne Blair, an exclusive interview with Grassroots star (and My Good Friend) Jason “Biggsy” Biggs, an exclusive interview with Grassroots director Stephen Gyllenhaal and an exclusive interview with Lorene Scafaria, writer-director of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (see DVD review below).
Elsewhere you can still read our semi-exclusive interview with Rust and Bone director Jacques Audiard and screenwriter Thomas Bidegain; our exclusive interview with Room 237 director Rodney Ascher; our exclusive interview with Ginger & Rosa star Alice Englert (also the star of upcoming franchise smash Beautiful Creatures); our exclusive interview with Tim Burton for Frankenweenie; our exclusive interview with Martin Landau for Frankenweenie; our exclusive interview with Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara for Frankenweenie; our semi-exclusive interview with actor Paul Dano and co-director Jonathan Dayton for Ruby Sparks; a press conference interview with Dano, Dayton, writer-star Zoe Kazan and co-director Valerie Faris; our press conference interview with Emma Watson for The Perks of Being a Wallflower; and our semi-exclusive interview with Liam Neeson for Taken 2.
1. The Master
5. Rust and Bone
7. The Sapphires
8. My Brother The Devil
9. Room 237
10. Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan
DVD of the Week: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (out now, online RRP £9.99)
This week's DVD of the week is quirky apocalyptic comedy-drama Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, written and directed by Lorene Scafaria. The film stars Steve Carell as Dodge, a 40-something insurance worker whose wife immediately leaves him when it's announced that a deadly asteroid will destroy the earth in three weeks' time.
When Dodge's quirky British neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley) returns all the mail she'd been saving for him, Dodge finds a letter from his childhood sweetheart declaring her love for him, so he decides to take a road trip to visit her before it's too late. At the same time, Penny breaks up with her useless boyfriend (Adam Brody) and is distraught because she's missed the last commercial flight home to see her family, so Dodge agrees to help her, as he knows someone with access to a plane. Along the way, the pair have a variety of offbeat encounters and gradually start to develop feelings for each other.
Carell is superb as Dodge, reigning in his usual screen persona and under-playing to winning effect; as such he's convincing as a man gradually coming out from under a cloud, even if that cloud, along with the rest of the earth, is about to be blown to smithereens.
Similarly, Keira Knightley is terrific as Penny, delivering a quirky, likeable performance that is utterly charming and generating strong, affecting (though admittedly non-sexual) chemistry with Carell.
Scafaria gets the tone exactly right, striking a tricky balance between absurd, often surreal end-of-days humour (“Hey everyone, Sarah and Dave brought heroin!”) and Dodge's central melancholia, while painting a surprisingly convincing central relationship and delivering some powerfully emotional moments. In addition, the film has a fantastic soundtrack, which perhaps isn't that surprising, coming from the writer of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist.
In short, this is a hugely enjoyable, brilliantly acted comedy-drama that's simultaneously thought-provoking, laugh-out-loud funny and powerfully moving. Highly recommended.
Extras on the DVD and Blu-Ray include: out-takes, the trailer and two short featurettes: A Look Inside Seeking A Friend For The End of The World and Music For The End Of The World: What's On Your Playlist? No deleted scenes or commentary though, sadly. As a bonus bonus feature you can read our exclusive interview with Lorene Scafaria here.
I love Argo movie the rescue mission of 6 peoples inspired by a true love story.