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Where The Wild Things Are Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 27/03/2009 @ 18:46
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 82
Films seen last week: My Boss's Daughter, The Boy Friend, Tormented, Knowing, The End of the Line, Strange Behaviour, Long Weekend, I Can't Think Straight

Four Hidden Gems
During a conversation with other like-minded film obsessives this week, the subject turned to Hidden Gems, i.e. films that for whatever reason don't get a fair crack at the box office, either going straight to DVD or receiving a blink-and-you'll-miss-it theatrical release before vanishing without trace. One of the main problems is that films just aren't given the chance to build word of mouth these days, so if a smallish film under-performs in its first week, the chances are it won't get a second week. The following are four such Hidden Gems that are definitely worth checking out on DVD.

1. The King of Kong. There was only one press screening of this last year, but almost everyone who saw it (myself included) ended up putting it on their Top Ten of 2008. The film is a documentary about the bitter battle between a likeable middle school science teacher and the smarmy reigning champion as they attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the Donkey Kong high score. By turns laugh-out-loud funny and nail-bitingly suspenseful, it's the sort of film you'll want to tell all your friends about.

2. Appaloosa. This excellent western was another one with a sparsely-attended last-minute press screening and a practically non-existent theatrical release. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen star as a pair of gunslingers who are hired to protect a town from Jeremy Irons' vicious rancher. Renee Zellweger spoils things a little, but Harris and Mortensen are so good together that you hope they make more movies about the same characters (not beyond the realms of possibility as the characters feature in a couple of novels).

3. I blogged about Elissa Down's excellent Black Balloon a few weeks ago, but it's worth mentioning again here. Despite winning a host of audience and festival awards, the film inexplicably went straight to DVD over here, which is a huge shame. Loosely based on Down's own family, it stars Rhys Wakefield as an Australian teenager trying to come to terms with his autistic older brother (Luke Ford). Heartwarming, frequently funny and genuinely moving, it's also beautifully shot and features a typically excellent performance by Toni Collette as the boys' mother.

4. Death Defying Acts. Another blink-and-you'll-miss it theatrical release for this thoroughly entertaining drama set in 1920s Edinburgh. Guy Pearce stars as Houdini, who falls for psychic-slash-con artist Mary (Catherine Zeta Jones) when she accepts his challenge to tell him his mother's dying words. Both leads are terrific, but the film is stolen by Atonement's Saoirse Ronan as Mary's daughter.

The long-awaited Where The Wild Things Are trailer
Finally! Spike Jonze’s eagerly-awaited Where The Wild Things Are trailer was released this week and the internets went wild. It looks absolutely fantastic and James Gandolfini is inspired casting as the main monster at the beginning. I've already watched the Where The Wild Things Are trailer more times than is probably healthy but all I can say is: Let the wild rumpus start!

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Several changes this week, with Michael Sheen's splendid turn as Brian Clough in The Damned United, Michael Winterbottom's excellent Don't Look Now remix Genova, Pascal Laugier's controversial French horror Martyrs (check out our exclusive interviews with the director and stars) and numbers-based apocalypflick (sic) Knowing (Nic Cage's best film in ages – check out our interviews with Cage and Rose Byrne) all making it into the top ten. This could also be your last chance to see the excellent Wendy and Lucy and Anvil! The Story of Anvil, as both films are approaching the end of their runs.

1. Watchmen
2. Wendy and Lucy
3. Anvil! The Story of Anvil
4. In The City of Sylvia
5. Slumdog Millionaire
6. The Class
7. The Damned United
8. Genova
9. Martyrs
10. Knowing

DVD of the Week: Waltz With Bashir (released 30th March, RRP £15.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Waltz With Bashir, Ari Folman's animated documentary in which the director tries to piece together his experiences of the Lebanese War. Deservedly Oscar-nominated (in the Best Foreign Film category), it's a beautifully animated, superbly directed documentary that is both deeply moving and utterly mesmerising. The extras package is slightly disappointing though – it only has two trailers and a 12 minute interview with Folman. Fans of the film might also like to know that a graphic novel has been released too.

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