Saturday, 24 December 2011

Festive feast

That Prometheus trailer...

And a Japanese one for John Carter...

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas catch up

I have, as regular visitors will have gathered, been mostly absent from this blog for the last few months. I've been working on something that's consumed virtually all my time and energies and when something had to give, this was it. Sorry about that folks. Will try harder in 2012 (hey, my first resolution, albeit it a week and a half early!).

It's also the time of year when I would normally be compiling my top ten (or 20) list but since I've yet to see a handful of films that stand a good chance of making it — that lack of time thing, again — I'm postponing the list making for a while longer. Again, apologies.

On the positive side I have seen The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which I liked enormously.

Anyway, the web has been pulling a plethora of crackers out of its digital hat of late, with trailers for many of 2012's biggest releases — The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit et al — as well as, in Prometheus' case, a trailer (or two) for a trailer. (There's also a leaked version of the final trailer on youtube if you can't wait till the official launch tomorrow.) I'm posting a few for your viewing pleasure. Call it a festive round up.

As I write, 2012 is shaping up to be a busy and very exciting year, and I hope to share some of excitement here with you over the coming months. For now...

Be safe. Have fun. And Happy Holidays.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Dragon Tattoo extended trailer

I have to be honest, it's the film that I've been most looking forward to throughout 2011, given the combination of Fincher and Zallian and source material. I've got my screening date in my diary; I've download the 35-minute six-track sampler from the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross; and I've watched this eight-minute trailer a few times already.






Thursday, 1 December 2011

John Carter trailer

I'm on board with this. How about you?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

John Carter

Last year I went to Barsoom. What happened there will be detailed nearer to John Carter's March 2012 release date. For now, we have these two posters as well as a host of photos from director Andrew Stanton's forthcoming adaptation. And tomorrow we've been promised a second trailer. As someone who grew up reading Burroughs' books, Stanton's film can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Brave trailer

The highlight of my recent trip to San Francisco was a visit to Pixar. It's a dream factory in more ways than one. What comes out of it and how they treat those who work there. Brave is the 13th Pixar feature. It looks as amazing as the dozen that came before. And yes, I'm including Cars and Cars 2 on that list because while the critics didn't like them too much, ask any young boy to list their favourite Pixar and they'll invariably included Cars and its sequel on that list.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Blu-ray review: Manhunter

Maybe it’s because I saw Manhunter first (at the cinema, on its initial theatrical release) that I prefer it to Jonathan Demme’s The Silence Of The Lambs, as well as consider Brian Cox’s sublime and scary interpretation of Hannibal Lector (misspelled Lecktor in the Manhunter credits) superior to Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar-winning portrayal.

Released in 1986, Michael Mann’s stylishly haunting adaptation of Thomas Harris’ second novel, Red Dragon, Manhunter revolves around retired FBI profiler Will Graham (William Petersen, years and a beard away from CSI fame) brought back into the game, following a life-threatening injury, to help track down a serial killer dubbed the Tooth Fairy, who’s already slaughtered two families by entering their homes at night and who, investigators believe, is operating on a lunar cycle.

Initially reluctant to put himself at risk again, Graham eventually relents and visits the former psychiatrist turned sociopath, Dr Hannibal Lecktor (Cox), who almost killed him to get what Graham calls “the scent back” in order to hunt down the film’s “main” villain, as played by Tom Noohan. Alas, despite his best efforts, and thanks in no small part of Lecktor’s intervention, Graham is pulled into a maelstrom of violence that puts both his own life and that of his family in jeopardy.

Cox’s Lecktor has even less screen time than Hopkins’ first outing but he makes every second count. Whereas Hopkins’ Hannibal was almost a pantomime villain, a gibbering Grand Guignol cannibal locked away in a dank, dark prison cell in a dank, dark basement prone to lip smacking theatrics, Cox’s subtle, insidious portrayal is a marvel of understatement and all the more chilling for it. In fact, locked in a sterile, all-white room, wearing a white jumpsuit, Cox’s Lecktor doesn’t appear mad when we first lay eyes on him, and it’s only slowly revealed during the following exchange Graham quite how dangerous he is.

Graham: I know that I’m not smarter than you.

Lecktor: Then how did you catch me?

Graham: You had disadvantages.

Lecktor: What disadvantages?

Graham: You’re insane.

The scene is enhanced ever further by Mann’s skilfully framing. He shoots the cell bars between Graham and Lecktor so that as he cuts between the two men, the bars line up exactly.

This Blu-ray release is a joy, spectacularly reproducing both Dante Spinotti’s stunning, colour-coded cinematography with its rich blacks, hot blues and vibrant greens and the film’s hypnotic, synthesized score which has since gone both out and back into fashion. The release also contains Mann’s later director’s cut and while the transfer is better than that included in Anchor Bay’s DVD limited edition release, the picture quality doesn’t compare to that of the theatrical version. Still, it’s well worth watching, as there are some subtle and not so subtle changes throughout, with Mann’s tinkering leading to the reordering of certain scenes, as well as the inclusion of several entirely new sequences. It’s also the version that includes a Mann commentary track. For a more through examination of the differences click here.

Given the relative failure of Manhunter on its original release, producer Dino DeLaurentis reputedly allowed the film rights to Harris’s literary sequel, The Silence Of The Lambs, to be sold to another party. Several years later, having missed out on the Silence success, DeLaurentis tried to make amends by remaking Manhunter under its original title, with Hopkins back as Lecter under the direction of Brett Ratner. The result reworked the same material into a mostly lifeless and visually inert movie devoid of the flair, energy and power Mann brought to Harris’ novel. An essential purchase.

Special Features:

• Director’s Cut
• Director’s Cut Commentary
• Inside Manhunter featurette
• The Manhunter Look featurette
• Theatrical Trailer

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Dark Shadows cast photo

Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive first look at the cast of Dark Shadows.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Thing red band trailer

When I saw John Carpenter's The Thing for the first time I was a mere slip of a boy, managing to sneak into X (now 18) films with my mate Frank who looked far older than I did. I knew little about The Thing beyond it was a remake of an old black and white horror/science fiction movie which I'd seen on TV and was directed by the guy who'd made Halloween, The Fog, Dark Star, Escape From New York and Assault On Precinct 13 and who I was a massive fan of at the time. This was in the pre-internet days when my film info came mainly from the pages of Starburst and Starlog magazines. Pretty much all the pre-publicity I'd seen for The Thing amounted to a small black-and-white photo of Kurt Russell with an icy beard. That was it. I mean, I knew Rob Bottin has done the creature effects, but I didn't have a clue what was in store for me. Maybe Kurt Russell was the monster?

Settling down to see The Thing in a packed cinema on opening night, the film began with a spaceship heading towards earth, followed by the cool title sequence, and then a Husky racing across the ice pursued by a helicopter, accompanied by Ennio Morricone's pulsing electronic score.

"Was that the thing?" the audience began whispering.

Boy, were we wrong.

I mention this only because the red band trailer for The Thing prequel has gone online and, as is the form with trailers nowadays, it shows EVERYTHING. Creature shots, transforming characters, the lot. I gave up after 20 seconds, fearing every surprise being spoiled for me.

Watch it if you want here. I'll wait for the movie.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

[REC]3 teaser

You may remember I was a big fan of [REC], although I was less keen on its sequel. This, however, looks it might get the series back on track...

Friday, 16 September 2011

I've been watching...

Manhunter (1986)

Batman Returns (1992)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Mouth Taped Shut

For those, like me, eagerly awaiting David Fincher's upcoming adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, may I direct you to a cool Tumblr blog that has, thus far, posted some intriguing behind-the-scenes photos and videos from the production. At the moment it's all tease, tease, tease. But expect more substantial goodies as the December release date draws near.

Check it out at

The Awakening trailer

I love a good ghost story and I love the spooky vibe emanating from this trailer. Great cast. too.

Tinker Tailor Q&A

Had the pleasure of hosting a Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Q&A at the BFI Southbank last night and sharing the stage with the very talented quartet of Gary Oldman, John Hurt, director Tomas Alfredson and screenwriter Peter Straughan. Seemed to go well.

We Bought A Zoo trailer

It's been a while, but Cameron Crowe's back. We get his Pearl Jam doc, PJ20, later this month and this adaptation of Benjamin Mee's non-fiction book in late December.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Dear Joe Wright, Please direct more action movies. Thank you.

Saw Joe Wright's Hanna last night. Very impressive. Crisp, elegant, with clean, coherent action, a striking central performance from Saoirse Ronan and a pulsating synth score by the Chemical Brothers, all artfully shot by Alwin Kuchler. At the Q&A that followed, Wright bemoaned the budgetary constraints that meant the originally scripted ending needed major revision, but, that aside, this comes highly recommended.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Eric Bana

Out now and totally free, providing you have an iPad (which I don't), is the latest issue of PROJECT magazine which features my Eric Bana cover story. So, if you have an iPad click here. Load your issue and come back and tell me how it is.

"Kat Dennings is perfect"

Well, we knew that already. Here she is in the trailer for Daydream Nation.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Dante Ferretti

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of moderating a BAFTA Masterclass with legendary production designer Dante Ferretti. We only had an hour-and-a-half to get through a career spanning forty odd years, but I could have quite easily chatted for another hour or two. I certainly didn't get round to all my questions, nor all the planned clips.

"Such is the depth — and weight — of production designer Dante Ferretti’s CV, a full day at BAFTA wouldn’t have been long enough," wrote ScreenDaily. "Instead the packed house for his afternoon masterclass received tantalising extracts from a life spent setting the stages, from his days as an assistant to Pier Paolo Pasolini to six films with Fellini and on to an enduring collaboration with Martin Scorsese and beyond (Baron Munchausen, Interview With The Vampire, the Name Of The Rose — any one of these films would be the crowning glory of another art director’s career). Appearing with his wife and frequent collaborator, the set decorator Francesca Lo Sciavo - they met on the set of La Pelle in 1981 — Ferretti barely scratched the surface of 42-odd years as a production designer (on Fellini’s Medea in 1969, although he had been an assistant for five years by then, starting on Pasolini’s The Gospel According To St Matthew)."

Anonymous trailer

I was on the set of this Roland Emmerich's Shakespearian thriller last year. You can read that piece here.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Gone. But not forgotten.

New Thor trailer

I was slightly underwhelmed by the first Thor trailer but this looks much more promising.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


Apologies once again for the lack of regular posting. I've been embroiled in several writing projects that have taken up pretty much all my time and energies of late. I haven't abandoned the blog and something resembling normal service will start again soon. In the meantime, you can find me on twitter (@mark_salisbury).

Monday, 7 February 2011

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Beginners trailer

I'm a big fan of Mike Mills' promos and documentary work, and yet for some inexplicable reason I never got round to seeing his debut, Thumbsucker. I plan on rectifying that immediately cos this, his second feature, looks right up my street. And he's married to Miranda July.

I love this

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Monday, 31 January 2011

Danny Boyle In His Own Words

Danny Boyle book cover

I haven't yet read Amy Raphael's book, but having done one of these myself and being a huge fan of Danny Boyle (I've visited many of his sets down the years and interviewed him countless times) it's a must-read for me. Not sure why they didn't call it Boyle On Boyle, though. 

Saturday, 29 January 2011


I walked into my local Post Office the other day and the following conversation took place between myself and the bloke behind counter.

BBC: "Do you like Gerry Anderson?"

Me: "Who, the Thunderbirds guy?"

BBC: "You're the only person who's known that."


BBC (contd): "Would you like to see the presentation pack?

Me: "Yes please."

They're very nice, too. Especially the moving ones above.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

I'm lovin' it

First batch of images from X-Men: First Class hit yesterday and it sure looks good so far. If you like that kind of thing. Which I do.



Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Coming soon

I would consider myself a big fan of Brian De Palma. He's made a few masterpieces and many truly memorable movies, and even when he's not quite firing on all cylinders, a De Palma picture will always include several moments pure, cinematic genius. And so I welcome the arrival of Blow Out to the Criterion Collection in April with open arms. Extras include a restored digital transfer, a new hour long interview with De Palma by Noah Baumbach, and Garrett Brown discussing the film's Steadicam shots. Can't wait.

April also brings Kes and White Material to Criterion. A stellar month.

Heady brew

Finally watched Amer.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

BAFTA 2011 nominations

I have shared my thoughts on this year's BAFTA nominations on twitter throughout the day, so please check them out there if you feel so inclined. In retrospect, the final list wasn't all that surprising, aside from some very high profile and shocking omissions that is.

Here is the list of nominations in full. Peruse it at your leisure.

Monday, 17 January 2011

The Golden Globes

68th Annual Golden Globe Awards - David Fincher
Colin Firth

Not much to say, really. I didn't stay up and do that live blog/tweet thing — here's Hadley Freeman's liveblog from The Guardian in its entirety should you wish to catch up — but I woke up this morning thrilled that The Social Network won four — count 'em — Globes: Best Film (Drama), Best Director (David Fincher — hurray!), Best Screenplay (Sorkin) and Best Score (Reznor & Ross). Thrilled too that Paul Giamatti's work in Barney's Version was recognised but fear that, as in recent times, any surprise winner on the acting Oscars has now gone. It's going to be Firth, Portman, Leo and Bale, guarantee it folks.

Here's the full list of winners.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

First look: Andrew Garfield's Spidey

"Ever since I was 4 years old, I wanted someone to call me up and say, 'We want to employ you to pretend to be Spider-Man,'" Garfield told me last year. "It's an extension of a childhood fantasy and that's how I'm treating it. But I feel greatly responsible as well. I feel genuinely honored to be taking on this myth. It's a really sacred thing and I'm fully aware of that."

Fincher's girl with the dragon tattoo

Rooney Mara

Read about Rooney Mara's transformation into Lisbeth Salander at the hands of David Fincher here.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Peter Yates, 1928-2011

The Friends Of Eddie Coyle (1973)

Bullitt (1968)

A new year, a new look

I have been meaning to tweak the look of the site for some time now, particularly in regard to posting bigger photos and trailers than the previous template allowed. And while I haven't settled on this look, I'm slowly warming to it.

Thoughts, anyone? Like? Dislike?

Sunday, 2 January 2011