Sunday, 31 October 2010

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Trailer: London Boulevard

Haven't heard a word, good or bad, about this one, and yet it opens here in the UK next month. Great cast, though.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Unstoppable featurette

Long time readers will know my fondness/love for the work of Tony Scott (well, all except Beverly Hills Cop 2) and so any new movie from this filmmaker is warmly anticipated around these parts. And his latest, Unstoppable looks like it could be a real hoot.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Tron: Legacy Daft Punk video

I am chomping at the bit for this particular movie, and the steady drip... drip... drip of images and info by Disney over the last 15 months or so has got me all worked up in a way that parallels my, ahem, keenness to see Where The Wild Things Are last year, and we know how much I loved that one.

Trailer: The King's Speech

Saw this at its LFF Gala screening last week and enjoyed it enormously. Certainly, on occasion, it's perhaps a tad too TV in its stylistic approach but the performances — Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter et al — are spot on, the script manages to be both humorous and moving, and director Tom Hooper keeps the whole thing bubbling along nicely and always on the right side of schmaltz. Expect the film — and Firth, especially — to figure in the forthcoming awards season onslaught.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

AO Scott on L'Avventura

It's one of my very favourite films. If you haven't seen it, I urge you to check it out. But before then, listen to what New York Times film critic AO Scott has to say:

Friday, 15 October 2010

Friends, Romans, etc

I have been busier this week than I originally anticipated when I embarked upon Fincherfest and, thus, have failed miserably at the task I set myself: to post a piece on a day on the great man. For that, I must apologise, and hope to rectify at some future juncture.

For now, however, various commitments are pulling me in various directions and blogging might be slow for the next few days. However, I have this one sage piece of advice to offer until I next post: see The Social Network. See it. See it. See it.

It's in UK cinemas from today and it is, I do believe, my — deep breathe — favourite film of the year thus far, with Never Let Me Go and Inception a shade behind.

Should any of you out there — providing there still is anyone out there, since the recent dearths of comments has got me wondering otherwise — take my advice, then do report back with your thoughts.

Until next time...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

This morning

(L-R) Director Mark Romanek, actress Keira Knightley, actress Ella Purnell, actor Andrew Garfield, actress Izzy Meikle-Small, actress Carey Mulligan, author Kazuo Ishiguro and writer Alex Garland attend the "Never Let Me Go" press conference during 54th BFI London Film Festival at the Vue West End on October 13, 2010 in London, England.
That's me on the right, as you look at the photo, hosting the LFF Never Let Me Go press conference.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Fincherfest: Andrew Garfield on working with Fincher

Here's an outtake from my interview with Andrew Garfield where I asked him about working with David Fincher on The Social Network.

"You trust him. You implicitly trust his taste and the amount of time he spends on a scene. You feel you can give yourself over, completely, as an actor. For a bunch of young actors who want to create something real and authentic and good, I think to have him steering us was just a great gift.

"There were a lot of takes, but what it does, which is purely positive, is it sets up space for an actor to get it wrong and by getting it wrong you find a way to get it right, because unless you can you fully let go and allow the scene to be whatever it is, it’s going to be dull, it’s going to be an archetypal, caricatured controlled performance. So what he does is, he wants you to trip up, he wants you to make mistakes, and so to let go, and therefore be a real-life, breathing human being being caught on film. 

"And as we all know, there’s nothing more compelling than watching someone get lost, like watching Daniel Day Lewis doing the incredible work that he does, you’re watching the birth of a real human being every time he sets foot into the frame, he’s alive, he’s just alive. And I think what David manages to set up is a space to allow that potentiality… David’s just really smart, but for sure, doing it was so much fun and free and no pressure because you trust his taste and he’s going to squeeze all the juice out of you, so to speak."

Monday, 11 October 2010

Fincherfest: Casting his Lisbeth Salander

When I spoke with David Fincher recently, it was at the end of his first day of filming The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in Sweden. We talked mostly about things to do with The Social Network but I couldn't resist asking a couple of questions about his latest project, beginning with the casting of Rooney Mara — who had worked with him on The Social Network, playing the girl who dumps Jesse Eisenberg's Mark Zuckerberg in the opening scene — as his Lisbeth Salander.

If the media chatter is to be believed, your search for an actress to play Lisbeth Salander seemed akin to the hunt to find Scarlett O’Hara for Gone With The Wind. What was it about Rooney that convinced you she was the one? 

"It was very tricky. It’s a feline emotional response thing. You kind of go, ‘Who’s the person that you think embodies most of what you’re trying to say about this character?’ I liked working with her, I thought that she worked really hard, I thought she came in really well prepared and didn’t bitch and moan about how many times we were going to shoot it, and I felt like she fed off of what Jesse [Eisenberg] was doing and he fed off of her. And I thought she’s amazing to look at in a really different kind of way. She can be oddly plain or incredibly photogenic and she read for us a bunch of times and continued to persevere and do the work.

"We saw a lot of really fabulous people. There were a lot of people that were interested, and in the end I really felt like I needed a mystery, I needed somebody who was a mystery, and I think she’s got that going for her... Look, you cast a role like this, it’s always a risk, but I also find myself wanting to take risks on people I really like and I really wanna see be successful, and I was like, for all the question marks, and all the things that would scare off of her, when it came down to it, here’s somebody you can call and say, We need you to do this. Or We need you to cut your hair, or We need you to get this pierced, you know, and she was truly great about that, and really wanted to go the whole way."

Is it fair to say you’re adapting the book rather than remaking the Swedish film?

"Yeah. I mean, there are certain similarities. Obviously they’re both based on the same source material but  [screenwriter Steve] Zaillian is Zaillian and he’s done it for himself. He did it over. He started from scratch, and it’s good, it’s really good."

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Fincherfest: Opening credit sequences

Kicking off a series of tributes to David Fincher on the site this week, counting down to the UK release of The Social Network on Friday, here's a selection of Fincher's striking opening title sequences (images and links via the excellent The Art Of The Title Sequence) all of which brilliantly set the tone for what's to come:


Alien3 contact sheet

To see the full credit sequence, click here.

Seven (1995)

Se7en contact sheet

To see the full credit sequence, click here.

The Game (1997)

To see the full credit sequence, click here.

Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club contact sheet

To see the full credit sequence, click here.

Panic Room (2002)

To see the full credit sequence, click here.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Michelle as Marilyn

While I was very much looking forward to what Andrew Dominik had in mind for his version of Marilyn Monroe (see item here), I'm also keen to see what the talented Michelle Williams will do with said icon. Williams stars in My Week With Marilyn which began filming in London this week under the direction of Simon Curtis. Telling the story of Monroe's time on the set of The Prince And The Showgirl with Laurence Olivier, the film also stars Edie Redmayne, Julia Ormond and Dougray Scott.

Trailer: The Way Back

Peter Weir has long been one of my favourite directors, and it's great to know that in a couple of months we'll have a new Weir film in cinemas. Here's a link to the trailer for his latest, The Way Back. As soon as there's a copy on youtube, I'll embed it here.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Norman Wisdom 1915-2010

In the last couple of weeks, we have lost Tony Curtis, Arthur Penn, Sally Menke, and Gloria Stuart to the great cinema in the sky. And now comes news of the death of legendary comic talent Sir Norman Wisdom at the age of 95. If you've never seen one of Wisdom's films you might not understand why Charlie Chaplin called him his favourite comedian. Wisdom could do pratfalls with the best of them but his skill was always to pull at our hearts while making us laugh. I met him once, very briefly, at a book signing in the mid-90s. He seemed like a very nice man. We may not see his like again.   

Zack Synder: Man Of Steel

Last night's news that Zack Synder had been hired to helm the Chris Nolan-shepherded, David Goyer-scripted Superman movie, provisionally titled Man Of Steel, is a smart move by Warners and Nolan. Synder's visual sensibility and kinetic action style will suit the character, and as much as I enjoyed Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, I think Synder's take will be less wholly reverential and more in keeping with what a 21st Century Superman movie needs to be.

Talking to the LA Times' Hero Complex blog, Synder said: “I can’t say why they came to me other than the fact that they know I have a fondness for the character and a real desire to understand him and present him to a new audience. The challenge is huge but you know with Chris and Emma [Thomas] and Debbie [Synder] I have a lot of people I can rely on. And Chris and David have given this the shape with a great story. It is a hard character to crack.”

UPDATE: Over at Bleeding Cool, they have a full rundown of Synder's comments to various US media outlets regarding Superman.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Spent most of last week in Moscow, where I visited the set of Chris Gorak's The Darkest Hour which is currently shooting in the Russian capital. Can't really say much about the alien invasion film right now, other than it looks very promising. Gorak's assembled a smart cast of talented young actors — Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Joel Kinnaman — and is shooting in 3D for a summer 2011 release.