Blackthorn is the fictional retelling of the Butch Cassidy fable. This story asserts that Cassidy (played by Sam Shepard) wasn’t killed in a standoff with the Bolivian army in 1908, as is reported. Instead, Cassidy survived and escaped to quietly live out his days as James Blackthorn.
Simon Roger Key
This Must Be The Place is something of an oddity for me, because it’s a Sean Penn film that I actually want to watch. Penn plays the wealthy former rock-star Cheyenne -who looks an awful lot like Robert Smith, of The Cure.
Lena Dunham writes, directs and stars in, Tiny Furniture. This is the Dunham’s second feature film and her first, Creative Nonfiction, premiered at SXSW in March 2009.
The Kid with a Bike is set in Seraing, France, and a young boy, Cyril (Thomas Doret), is abandoned by his father and left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hairdresser, Samantha (CÃ©cile De France), agrees to foster him on the weekends.
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is based upon a true story. It’s about a group of men who go searching for a dead body on the Anatolian steppe. The film premiÃ¨red to much praise at 2011’s Cannes Film Festival and it went on to win to the Grand Prix prize*.
While the official synopses lacks any real details, the trailer more than makes up for this, with its breath-taking vistas and scenery; from leaves blowing in the wind, to moustached men looking conspicuous. This is one film to watch-out for and I for one will certainly be seeing it, when it eventually hits the South West.
The Other Side of Sleep looks like it’s going to be a rather intriguing British thriller, from the debut director Rebecca Daly, and if the trailers are anything to go by it’ll feature a dash of surrealism too.
Our protagonist, Arlene, suffers from sleepwalking and she lives in a small town in the Midlands, surrounded by fields, woodlands and country lanes. One morning, Arlene awakens in the woodland, beside the body of a deceased young woman. Arlene flees the scene, but the body of the woman is soon discovered and suspicion spreads throughout the small town community. Confused and scared, Arlene decides to barricade herself in at night, afraid to sleep and haunted by grief, Arlene’s sleeping and waking realities soon merge. But all the while, a mysterious somebody is watching her every move.
This film could well mark the arrival, of a dazzling and new, British talent.
The Four Horsemen is a documentary from director Ross Ashcroft. This documentary looks intriguing because it claims to be interested in igniting a discussion about how ‘we’, can usher in a new economic paradigm, something which the filmmaker and interviewees argue, would dramatically improve the quality of life for billions. So, no lofty aspirations here then!
The documentary also claims to be free of mainstream media propaganda and that it doesn’t feature banker bashing, criticism towards politicians or propagate popular conspiracy theories. So it will be interesting to see what the 23 ‘international thinkers’ -including Noam Chomsky -come up with, aside from revealing how the world ‘really works’, and if there’s the slightest hope of re-establishing a moral and just society.
Heavy stuff, and no doubt a deeply thought-provoking and fascinating watch.
All in all, I reckon that’s a fairly solid weekend’s worth of entertainment, right there!
*It was actually the co-winner
Chris Thomas’ Science-Fiction short, The Water’s Edge, has already enjoyed a healthy run on the film festival circuit in 2011 and it’s set for more screenings during 2012, but what should be made of this Sci-Fi short, penned by the Devon screenwriter Richard Standen?
The Beach House is a short film written and directed by the Devonian duo Richard Standen and Tom Stanley. The majority of the short was filmed on location, at Putsborough Beach, in North Devon, and the cinematography certainly reflects the beauty of Devon’s coastline.
As a critic you attempt to enter each screening with a relatively open mind, unsurprisingly, sometimes this can be rather difficult. John Carter was not a film I was particularly looking forward too, it’s trailer [to me], looked like some sort of homage to the Star Wars prequels and let’s be honest, what sort of idiot would want to pay kudos to those films? So, imagine my surprise when -despite its many flaws -I really rather enjoyed, John Carter (formally of Mars).
The Oscar nominated, Moneyball (Miller, 2011), is an odd proposition. It’s a film all about baseball, specifically, it’s about the Oakland’s Athletics baseball team and their general manager, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), who’s been managing the team since 1998. The reason this film even exists is because Beane and his assistant GM, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), devised a method using statistics to scout and analyse players, instead of using the traditional methods. This matters because it led to Beane’s team, which had been gutted of its star players, winning 20 matches consecutively (some sort of record) and (apparently) changing the face of professional baseball forever. If you haven’t guessed yet, yes, this is based on a true story.
The award-winning team behind the darkly-comic Mrs Lustleigh’s Fancies is back. Yes, the newest OddBodies film, The Nature of Angrove, premiered on Thursday, March 8 at Exeter’s Phoenix to an excited audience.
Skeletons is an odd but hugely enjoyable debut from Nick Whitfield. The film won the Michael Powell award at 2010’s Edinburgh film festival and deservedly so.
The Raven is an odd proposition. On any other week, it probably wouldn’t’ be my ‘top pick’, but this week’s releases are so spectacularly dull, that I had little choice -and I do have a soft spot for John Cusack. Anyway, this is the fictionalised account of Edgar Allan Poe’s (Cusack) last days, in which the poet pursues a serial killer, whose murders mirror those in the author’s stories.
David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method explores the birth of psychoanalysis and the turbulent relationships between Carl Jung and his mentor and father-figure Sigmund Freud and the disturbed Sabrina Spielrein.
Justice, or to give it its original title, Seeking Justice, stars Xander Berkeley, January Jones, Guy Pearce and of course, ‘The King of The Equines’, Nicholas Cage.
You’d be forgiven for disputing the fact, that Trespass is directed by the same man who gave us The Lost Boys, Falling Down, 8MM and Batman & Robin… Ok, scratch that last one. But there was a time when Joel Schumacher, wouldn’t have touched this sort of straight to DVD production, although in fairness this actually did have a theatrical run -albeit it a very, VERY, short one. Also, it’s difficult to figure out why Nicole Kidman decided to star in this, perhaps a burning desire to work with the mastermind behind the nippled-Batsuit or to just share the silver-screen with The Lord of Horses, Nic Cage? Who knows.
Khodorkovsky is directed by Cyril Tuschi. By all accounts, it’s an extremely well researched and entertaining documentary about one of Russia’s wealthiest men, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and how he defied the cuddly, Vladimir Putin.
The film recounts the strange story of the titular, Khodorkovsky, the famous political/business oligarch, who has been imprisoned since 2003 in a Siberian prison, on jumped-up charges of tax-evasion.
The documentary explains how Khodorkovsky made the transition from chemistry student to businessman and weaves together interviews, archive footage and stylised animated sequences, which illustrate key moments from Khodorkovsky’s life, including his arrest. If it’s on near you, I suggest you book a ticket!
Some weeks there are no documentaries, but this week there are two, and both of them look awesome! Directed by CÃ©line Danhier, Blank City, weaves together the definitive history of the ‘No Wave Cinema’ and ‘Cinema of Transgression’ movements, which would influence independent American cinema, for years to come.
The documentary examines the economic landscape, which helped fuel this unique movement in New York’s history. It features interviews with those who lived ‘it’, including Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, Steve Buscemi, and Blondie’s, Debbie Harry (to name but a few). And let’s face it, any film which features archive footage of the young Deborah Harry, can’t be bad -she was unquestionably hot!
My film of the week is Michael, a German film, entered at last year’s Cannes film festival. A film which focuses upon five months in the life of a paedophile, who keeps a 10-year-old boy, locked in his basement. The trailer gives little away, merely suggesting -but not showing -that a middle-aged man is holding somebody, presumably a child, captive in his basement. Paedophilia will always be a difficult subject to tackle in cinema or any other medium, but there have been some successful attempts, if you’ve never seen it, then I suggest you check out Kevin Bacon’s, The Woodsman. There, that’s your homework assignment this week. Watch The Woodsman and then Michael. Now, get out of here!
I’ve always found Roman Polanski’s cinema, with the exception of Chinatown, to be overly portentous and pretentious. And going into Carnage, the fog of pretension was certainly thick, but the trailer did something truly remarkable, it suggested that Polanski had made a comedy. Polanski. Po-lan-ski. I know, remarkable. But what will really doodle your noodle, is that Carnage, is actually funny, and what’s more, it’s, you know, enjoyable.
Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
First up this week is the documentary, Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, which charts the career of one of America’s greatest exploitation director’s, Roger Corman. As far as contributors go, I think it’s safe to say everybody had an opinion/story about Corman and wanted to share it. The film features interviews with Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson, Ron Howard, Peter Fonda, Pam Grier and the little known actor, Robert De Niro. That’s quite the exhaustive list of Hollywood A-listers! If you’re interested in American exploitation cinema, then this will be a must.
Every once in a while, Woody Harrelson shows up in a film to remind us all of what a good actor he actually is. And this weekend just so happens to feature one of those films, in Oren Moverman’s, police thriller, Rampart. Harrelson’s performance aside, this film also boasts a script from crime fiction author, James Ellroy, who wrote, LA Confidential and the ridiculously overlooked, Dark Blue (another cop drama). Rampart is the tale of Dave ‘Date-Rape’ Brown, a cop who isn’t so much dirty, but filthy. It’s set in 1999 and charts the dying days of the renegade, LA cops, charting Dave’s own, disturbing brand of ‘justice’, as he cruises the streets of LA, in his ‘black-and-white’. It’s a film, which is obviously dominated by the homosocial sphere, so it bares obvious comparison to other crime fictions, but most notably the Western.
It’s difficult to choose which of these would be my film of the week, so why don’t you go see both!
Hadewijch is the ‘newest’ film from French provocateur, Bruno Dumont. It’s about the plight of religious enthusiast-extraordinaire, CÃ©line (Julie Sokolowski), a young woman searching for acceptance, love and god. After CÃ©line is turned away from her covenant -because of her ecstatic blind faith -she turns to the streets of Paris and finds herself being led, down a very dangerous path.
I’m not sure why we haven’t seen this in the UK sooner? It was released in France in 2009! Still, if it’s playing in a theatre near you, it should prove to be a thought-provoking analysis, on the potential dangers of religion.
Position Among The Stars
My film of the week is this odd but enthralling looking documentary, from Leonard Retel Helmrich, called Position Among the Stars. Apparently, it’s the concluding film in Lemrich’s award-winning trilogy. The other two films being Eye of the Day and Shape of the Moon.
The documentary takes the POV of Rumidjah, a poor, Christian, grandmother, who lives in the slums of Jakarta. The film illustrates the economic changes taking place in Indonesian society and the influence of globalization, reflected in the lives of her teenage granddaughter Tari and her sons Bakti and Dwi. Helmrich not only directs, but is also the film’s DOP (director of photography) and he follows the family in his own unique style, using a “single shot cinema”, method. No, I’m not sure what that is either, perhaps it’s as obvious as it appears but it should interesting to discover first-hand.
The theatrical releases this weekend range from the tween horror, The Woman in Black, to the 3D release of, Star Wars: Episode I -The Phantom Menace. But sadly they’ll be no more mention of Daniel Radcliffe, nor double ended lightsabres pity.
As a fan of Akira, Science-Fiction and the Super-Hero genre I’m intrigued by Josh Trank’s theatrical debut, Chronicle. I wish I could say I was optimistic, but this ‘chronicle’ concerning three teenage boys, who mysteriously develop super human powers -telekinesis, flight, and invulnerability â€“ looks cheesy at best. Just look at the acting in the trailer -one word, hideous!
Red Light Revolution is an intriguing proposition, it has the potential to be a bawdy comedy, but at the very least it proves to be a light-hearted alternative to Madonna’s directorial debut!
Shame is Steve McQueen’s second feature, but it’s a film which could go either way. For one, it’s got Carey Mulligan in it and everybody knows she’s next to useless in everything but An Education. Plus, the whole sex addict narrative looks rather pretentious, with lingering shots of Fassbender looking pensive, honestly, I hope I’m wrong but I think it has the potential to be, absolutely ridiculous.
De Cauze Films are the award-nominated production company operating out of Devon’s own Newton Abbot and the UK’s capital, London. The Devon-raised brothers Jake and Arthur Cauty are the driving force behind De Cauze Films, and they have already worked with the some of the biggest names in showbiz, including Grand Master Flash, The Pet Shop Boys, the larger than life wrestlers of the WWE and even ITV’s own, Paul O’Grady.
2012 kicks off with the celebration of the Tories most celebrated (and hated) Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. The Iron Lady, features Meryl Streep as Maggie, in a role which has been receiving a plenitude of accolades.