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Twenty8K Set Visit

Posted by: Matthew Turner 20/05/2011 @ 14:28
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 157
Films seen in the last week: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Roderick Rules, Blitz, Honey 2, Potiche


Visit to the set of twenty8K
Last Saturday I went on my very first set visit, to watch the filming of upcoming British thriller twenty8K, co-written by Paul Abbott (State of Play, Clocking Off) and Jimmy Dowdall, and co-directed by David Kew and Neil Thompson. Shot in glamorous Woolwich Docklands (well, the bit we saw was), the film stars Parminder Nagra as a fashion executive who comes to London and turns detective when her brother is accused of murder.

As well as boasting a very high profile writer, the production has secured a fantastic cast of up-and-coming actors, including Kaya Scodelario (Skins), Nichola Burley (Donkey Punch, Streetdance), Jonas Armstrong (TV's Robin Hood) and Michael Socha (This Is England '86, Being Human). There were only two journalists there on the day I went and the two of us managed to grab time with Armstrong (see interview next week), Scodelario, Burley and Socha, as well as co-director Neil Thompson and producer Martin Carr.

We also watched the shooting of a crowd scene and an exciting sequence where Parminder Nagra ... um ... comes into an alley and opens a door. (Exclusive shot of that very door). I also saw what I am certain is The World's Largest Umbrella.

All in all, it was a delightful day and everyone seemed to be having a fantastic time on the film, as well as commenting that it was unusual for a film set to be quite that positive. It was also interesting to watch both co-directors at work during the crowd scene. That said, the day did rather confirm the oft-repeated idea that film sets, far from being super-glamorous, actually involve an awful lot of just standing around. Anyway, the producers are hoping to release the film early next year and I'm really looking forward to it. You can follow the film's progress on the @twenty8K twitter account.

Trailerwatch: The Adventures of Tintin
Like Tintin fans everywhere (I had all the books growing up), I was excited to see the teaser trailer for Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg's upcoming Tintin movie when it was announced that it would “drop” (as I believe the hipster douchebags would have it) this week. After seeing it ... well, I'm going to hold off on proper judgement because it is, after all, just the teaser, but these are my general thoughts so far.

Things I like:
1. The poster is extremely cool and I'm delighted to see that they seem to have got the shape of Snowy right, not to mention Tintin's distinctive hairdo.
2. The animation looks utterly gorgeous and beautifully detailed.
3. By far the most exciting part of the trailer: the already wonderful-sounding score by John Williams – I hope that turns out to be the actual score and not just something he's knocked up for the trailer.

Things I don't like:
1. I'm not sold on rotoscoping (animating over live action, as with Beowulf etc), if I'm honest. The techniques aren't quite perfect enough yet and it's often more distracting than it should be, though if it allows better recreation of the comic book pages, I can see it paying off here. We'll see.
2. That odd-looking bit where it looks as if the Unicorn is sailing through a sea of sand. Is that deliberate and meant to be a fantasy sequence or is it badly rendered water? Hard to tell.
3. If that is meant to be both Thompson Twins at 0m36s, I'm not entirely convinced.
4. Tintin looks disturbingly like Tilda Swinton in that final shot (see last week's blog with pic from We Need to Talk About Kevin for comparison).

On the plus side though, there's still plenty to be excited about – I think Jamie Bell is great casting and the script is co-written by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat, which I'm sure is making particular subsets of nerds everywhere extraordinarily happy.

Officially, the film is based on The Secret of the Unicorn and  Red Rackham's Treasure, but those desert scenes are straight out of The Crab With The Golden Claws (the book that introduced Captain Haddock, trivia fans), so I'm wondering if that's going to feature in the story somehow too. Similarly, that yellow biplane is from another book too, but I can't quite remember which one, which I guess gives me the perfect excuse to re-read all the books. Anyway, it apparently opens here in October and I can't wait.

(Oh, and be sure to mention Captain Haddock on Twitter – not only is there a Captain Haddock Bot but it does exactly what you'd hope it might do).

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Only two new entries this week, with just Thomas McCarthy's Win Win and British drama Third Star making it into the top ten. I'll also put in a good word for Jason Statham thriller Blitz (which is a huge amount of fun while you're watching it but falls apart under a moment's scrutiny) and for Spanish chiller Julia's Eyes, which isn't perfect but has enough going on to make it worth seeing.

Interview-wise, this week we have press conference interviews with Pirates 4 stars Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, as well as a semi-exclusive round table interview with Attack the Block stars Jodie Whittaker and Harry or Luke Treadaway. You can also still read our interviews with Attack the Block writer-director Joe Cornish and star Nick Frost, our press conference interviews with director Kenneth Branagh and the stars of Thor (Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston), our exclusive interview with Source Code director Duncan Jones, our equally exclusive interview with Adele Blanc-Sec director Luc Besson and Adele Blanc-Sec star Louise Bourgoin and our round table interview with Little White Lies director (and star of Farewell) Guillaume Canet here.

Come back next week for an exclusive interview with TV's Robin Hood, aka Jonas Armstrong, from the set of upcoming British thriller twenty8K (see above).

1. Adele Blanc-Sec
2. Love Like Poison
3. Meek's Cutoff
4. Thor
5. Source Code
6. TT3D: Closer to the Edge
7. Hanna
8. Win Win
9. Third Star
10. Cedar Rapids

DVD of the Week: Black Swan (out now, RRP £19.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is the Oscar-nominated Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky. Natalie Portman stars as a professional ballet dancer with the New York City ballet who comes under extreme psychological pressure when the artistic director (Vincent Cassel) casts her as the White Swan in Swan Lake and she becomes convinced that sexy rival dancer Lily (Mila Kunis) is trying to sabotage her.

Portman is sensational and deservedly won an Oscar for a powerful performance that's both heart-breaking and terrifying. The imaginative script has a lot of fun with the Swan Lake parallels and Aronofsky fills the film with intriguing details and subtle visual effects that heighten the increasingly intense atmosphere. In addition, the ballet sequences are beautifully shot and the film builds to an audacious, extraordinarily intense climax that will have you staring open-mouthed with shock and wonder. Impressively directed, superbly written and brilliantly acted, this is an intense psychological ballet thriller (with added lesbian overtones) that's by turns suspenseful, shocking and terrifying. Highly recommended.

However, the extras package only includes a digital copy of the film, sadly, so no interviews, no Making Of, no deleted scenes and no director's commentary. Poor show, DVD makers! That said, if you shop around, you can find a version with the rather gorgeous art cards for the same price, but still, shocking lack of extras.


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