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Your Highness Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 19/11/2010 @ 15:49
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 432
Films seen this week: Skyline, Fathers of Girls, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (twice), Peeping Tom, Unstoppable, Rabbit Hole

Awards Season Kick-Off
And they're off! Awards season officially kicked off this week with the release of the shortlists for both the Best Animated Film Oscar and the Best Documentary Oscar. Only three of the fifteen animated films will eventually end up with nominations this year, so the smart money is obviously on Toy Story 3 (golden rule for the Oscars: never bet against Pixar), but I'm hoping the wonderful How To Train Your Dragon gets the second spot.

There are several films on that list that I haven't seen (Alpha and Omega, My Dog Tulip, The Dreams of Jinsha and Summer Wars) but I would expect the third place to go to Megamind (which is excellent) or even Shrek Forever After (which I liked a lot), but again, I really hope that Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist takes the third spot instead.
(Speaking of which, it amused me greatly to read recently that the makers of The Illusionist were sued over the use of the title, lest it be confused with the Ed Norton movie of the same name – thankfully wiser heads prevailed and Team Chomet won their case.) As for the documentaries, I was delighted to see The Tillman Story (which will hopefully now get a UK distributor) and Exit Through The Gift Shop on the Oscar shortlist and I really hope they both end up with proper nominations come January.

I've also heard great things about Waste Land from people who saw it at the London Film Festival and the listing has also prompted me to see Restrepo, which I've somehow managed to miss twice, both at Edinburgh earlier this year and then when it went on general release. The only other documentary on the list that I have a chance of seeing soon is Waiting For Superman, which gets a UK release next week, so I'm very much looking forward to that too. The proper Oscar nominations come out on January 25th, with the ceremony following on February 27th but hardcore Oscar fans can officially start getting excited now. Let the list-making begin!



Films I Am Looking Forward To: Your Highness
Once again, I wasn't aware of Your Highness until the red band trailer (meaning that it's very much Not Safe For Work) popped up on Twitter this week, quickly eclipsing the trailer for Green Lantern, which I'll get to next week. Directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), Your Highness stars Danny McBride and James Franco as two mediaeval brothers (with terrible British accents) who are forced to go on a quest when an evil wizard (Justin Theroux) kidnaps Franco's character's girlfriend (Zooey Deschanel). Along the way, they pick up help in the form of kick-ass adventuress Natalie Portman.

Clearly, co-writers McBride and Ben Best have a lot of love for both Monty Python and the Holy Grail (McBride is a self-confessed British comedy obsessive) and The Princess Bride and this looks like a lot of very silly fun. If swearing in terrible British accents and sex jokes don't do it for you, the trailer also promises quite a bit of actual action and adventure and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing Natalie Portman kicking some mediaeval ass. (Speaking of which, that clip of Portman wearing a thong by the lake has already gone viral and has been turned into animated gifs by internet-savvy wags everywhere).

Normally there'd be a worry that the unusually long, 3 and a half minute trailer contains all the best gags, but I have enough confidence in Green, McBride and Franco to believe that won't be the case. On a smaller note, it's nice to see Britain's own Rasmus Hardiker holding his own alongside the big names as McBride's servant Courtney. Sadly, Your Highness isn't out until June 24th, but at least I'll have forgotten all the jokes from the trailer by then.



Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Four new entries this week, with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Hong Kong horror Dream Home, animated romance Chico & Rita and bizarre Thai fantasy-drama Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (affectionately known in reviewing circles as Uncle Boonmee and the Monkey Space Ghosts) all making it into the top ten. I've dropped Made in Dagenham as it's about to start its second run, but it's still out there if you look hard enough. I'll also put in a good word for Brazilian coming-of-age drama Adrift (starring Vincent Cassel and Camilla Belle) and I also insist that you go and see the re-release of Peeping Tom, which is excellent. Interview-wise, we have an exclusive interview with Dream Home star Josie Ho and you can still read our exclusive one-on-one with Burke & Hare star Simon Pegg and our press conference write-up with stars Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis. Slightly disappointed to note that if I was playing the 'Obtain an interview to go with every entry in the top ten' game I mentioned a few weeks ago, I'd currently only be scoring one point.
Must try harder.

1. Mary & Max
2. The Social Network
3. The Kids Are All Right
4. Another Year
5. We Are What We Are
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I
7. Dream Home
8. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
9. My Afternoons With Margueritte
10. Chico & Rita

DVD Of The Week: A Town Called Panic (out now, RRP £17.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is A Town Called Panic, a Belgian stop-motion animation from the makers of the Cravendale milk ads, in which a Cowboy an Indian and a Horse have a series of adventures after their house is accidentally destroyed. Based on a popular Belgian TV series (the press notes use the word “puppetoon”, which I've never heard before, but I like it), this is a wildly inventive adventure that's like watching a hyper-active child playing with their toys for
78 minutes.

The film is packed with funny lines and hilarious, rapid-fire sight gags (e.g. Cowboy and Indian hiding 50 million bricks on the roof of their house) and you'll be hard-pressed not to find yourself shouting the character names in imitation Belgian accents (“Cowboy! Indian! Cheval!”) after watching it, especially as there's no dubbed version available on the DVD (a brave decision, but a good one, as the spirit of the film would be very hard to capture in a dubbed version). It's fair to say that the sheer manic energy wears thin after a while, but it's also hard not to love any film that features a) a horse reading the newspaper on the toilet and b) a giant robotic snowball-throwing penguin. Extras include the trailer and an interview with directors Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar. Highly recommended.

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