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The Hobbit Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 03/02/2012 @ 12:05
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 29
Films seen in the last week: Journey 2 The Mysterious Island, Drive (again), Black Gold, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Vow

FILM OF THE WEEK: Bombay Beach

Awards Season: SAG Awards and Oscar Predictions
As the Oscars rumble ever closer, it's time to make a few predictions.
There's one golden rule with the Oscar Prediction Game and that's
this: Never Bet Against The SAGs. The Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced this week and with those in mind, here are my guesses for all the main categories. I'm actually quite annoyed that I didn't nail my colours to the Dujardin mast earlier - I've been saying for weeks that Jean Dujardin would beat George Clooney to the Best Actor Oscar and before the SAGs no-one was agreeing with me, whereas now, Dujardin is definitely the front-runner, despite nonsense stories like this doing the rounds.

Thrillingly (there was a lot of whooping on Twitter when this was announced live), Viola Davis beat Meryl Streep to Best Actress at the SAGs and there's now speculation that she could nab the Best Actress Oscar too. Like I said, never bet against the SAGs. It's safe to say that both Christopher Plummer (for Beginners – heh, “Christopher Plummer For Beginners”) and Octavia Spencer (The Help) are now firmly nailed on in the Best Supporting Categories.

What's really interesting is the “Outstanding Performance By A Cast” award, which is basically the SAG's equivalent of Best Picture. In that case, both supposed Oscar Best Picture front-runners (The Artist and The Descendants) were beaten by The Help, so on that evidence, I wouldn't rule out a sweep by The Help at the Oscars next month. At any rate, in the minds of most Oscar-watchers, the win by The Help has turned the Oscars into a three horse race (four, if you count War Horse).

So, basically, my predictions are the same as the SAGs, though I still think The Artist will win Best Picture, just because Oscar voters can't resist the chance to be a part of Oscar history and if The Artist wins it will be the first silent film to win an Oscar since Wings in 1927 (the first ever Oscar ceremony). I'm also going to stick my neck out and say that Terence Malick will win Best Director. My only other prediction at this point is that A Separation will win Best Foreign Film, but I'm hoping Midnight In Paris wins Best Original Screenplay and Moneyball wins Best Adapted. Roll on 26th Febuary!

Trailerwatch: The Hobbit
Cards on the table time: I never read The Lord of the Rings. I read The Hobbit though, several times, so I'm actually much more excited about The Hobbit than I was about the LOTR trilogy. There's certainly a lot to be excited about, judging by this trailer – Martin Freeman is great casting for Bilbo (he's also uncannily perfect for a young Ian Holm) and it's obviously great news that McKellen is back as Gandalf. I don't actually remember Galadriel being in the book (I haven't read it for over 25 years), but at any rate, I'm not too keen on the digitally de-aged Cate Blanchett and it also seems to me that the trailer is going to various lengths to disguise how dodgy that looks, such as only showing her briefly from the side or from behind.

The imdb casting page reveals all kinds of people who are basically hidden under thick dwarf make-up in the trailer – I confidently expect Richard Armitage (as Thorin Oakenshield) to reach Viggo Mortensen levels of stardom/sex symbol-hood after The Hobbit comes out. Also, Brian Blessed is listed on the imdb as “rumoured” and I think we all hope that rumour comes true. If anyone was born to be in a Hobbit movie, it's Brian Blessed. The cast also includes the once-in-a-lifetime teaming of James Nesbitt, Evangeline Lilly (so THAT'S why she was going out with Dominic Monaghan) and – yes! - Barry Humphries. Amazing.

The trailer doesn't give away an awful lot and I notice they're keeping Smaug (the dragon) firmly under wraps, but at least we get a welcome glimpse of Gollum and get to hear him say “Bagginses” and “precious”. Here's the bad news though, Hobbit fans – it's not out till 14th DECEMBER. So, you know, only a year to wait. No doubt there'll be several more trailers before then.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's all change this week with a whopping five new entries into the top ten. It's been a surprisingly good week for new films. Top of the heap is Alma Har'el's excellent Bombay Beach (a smalltown USA documentary with dream-like dance sequences), but there's also Charlize Theron in Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman's acerbic Young Adult, the superb Martha Marcy May Marlene (one of the highlights of both San Sebastian and the LFF) and superhero/found footage/high school movie mash-up Chronicle, which a) has come completely out of left-field and b) is everything that the TV series Heroes should have been and more. I've also chucked in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, just because it has The Rock riding a GIANT BEE. You don't see that every day. I'll also put in a good word for Man on a Ledge, which is trashy but fun, at least until the ridiculous finale.

Interview-wise this week we have an exclusive interview with Bombay Beach director Alma Har'el, an exclusive interview with Emma Stansfield (star of this week's Best Laid Plans) and a Q&A with the director and stars of Best Laid Plans.

Elsewhere you can still read: our press conference interviews with Descendants stars George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and director Alexander Payne; our exclusive press conference interview with the stars of Intruders (Clive Owen, Daniel Bruhl, Carice Van Houten, Ella Purnell and the lovely Pilar Lopez de Ayala); our semi-exclusive interviews with Andrea Riseborough and James D'Arcy for W.E.; our exclusive round table interviews with the lovely Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston for War Horse, our exclusive round table interview with lead Jeremy Irvine, our exclusive interview with author Michael Morpurgo, a press conference interview with director Steven Spielberg; our press conference interview with Shame writer Abi Morgan and director Steve McQueen and No Shame actor Michael Fassbender.

Phew. Come back next week for ... wait for it ... THE MUPPETS! Yay!
*Kermit wavy arms dance*

1. The Artist
2. Bombay Beach
3. Margaret
4. The Descendants
5. Young Adult
6. Martha Marcy May Marlene
7. Chronicle
8. Shame
9. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
10. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

DVD of the Week: Midnight In Paris (released 6th February, online RRP £11.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Woody Allen's Oscar-nominated Midnight In Paris, which was one of my top ten films of last year. Owen Wilson stars as Gil, a Hollywood screenwriter who's struggling to write his first novel. When he and his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) tag along on her father's (Kurt Fuller) business trip to Paris, Gil takes a moonlit walk one night and finds himself magically transported to the Paris of the 1920s that he has always romanticised about. Soon he's spending his nights hanging out with the likes of Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Cole Porter (Yves Heck), Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill), Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody) and Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), who agrees to cast a critical eye over his novel.
However, things get more complicated when Gil falls for Picasso's beautiful muse Adriana (Marion Cotillard), while his behaviour back in the real world causes Inez's father to hire a private detective (Gad
Elmaleh) to find out where he goes at night.

Wilson turns out to be the best Woody surrogate in years and he's perfectly cast as Gil, with his distinctive comic delivery proving a natural fit with Allen's dialogue. There's also terrific support from Cotillard and fabulous comic turns from Stoll, Pill and particularly Brody, who reveals an unexpected comic gift. The superb script brings to mind the sweetly surreal charm of Allen's short stories while also subtly echoing The Purple Rose of Cairo and exploring some moving and thought-provoking ideas about nostalgia. Needless to say, it's also frequently laugh-out-loud funny and there are some inspired gags, both visual and verbal. On top of that, Darius Khondji's exquisite camerawork makes Paris look even more beautiful than it already is, while Allen's usual choice of a traditional jazz score feels entirely appropriate for once.

In short, this is a terrific return to form for Woody Allen, thanks to a wonderful script and fabulous performances from a superb ensemble cast. Highly recommended. No extras on the DVD though. Not even a trailer. Poor show, DVD makers!


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