Archive for August, 2013

Toronto International Film Festival (5-15 September, 2013)

August 31st, 2013 - Graham Eley

The Double
Richard Ayoade

 

Richard Ayoade works the doppleganger theme and binary opposites in his follow up to ‘Submarine’, which premiered at Toronto three years ago.  Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska and Wallace Shawn star in this comedy drama, where a downtrodden introvert encounters a charismatic double, seemingly hell-bent on taking over his life.

 

 

Abuse of Weakness
Catherine Breillat

 

Surprisingly overlooked in the Toronto build-up, the latest film from Catherine Breillat, ‘Abuse of Weakness’, sees the controversial French filmmaker collaborate with leading actress, Isabelle Huppert, for the first time.  With obvious parallels to Breillat’s own life and her allegations against Christophe Rocancourt, Huppert plays a filmmaker who falls prey to an infamous con artist when recovering from a stroke.  Expect a brutally honest portrayal in keeping with this most uncompromising of filmmakers.

 

 

Can a Song Save Your Life?’
John Carney

 

John Carney returns to the same territory as his best known feature, ‘Once’, which picked up the Sundance audience award in the world cinema dramatic section and an Independent Spirit prize for best foreign film.  His seventh feature, ‘Can a Song Save Your Life?’, has a world weary record producer (Mark Ruffalo) discovering a heart broken singer (Keira Knightley) who is suffering alone in Manhattan.

 

 

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Justin Chadwick

 

Idris Elba and Naomie Harris star as Nelson and Winnie Mandela in Justin Chadwick’s ambitious biopic of the former South African President, which covers his early years through to the post- Apartheid era.  Based on Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, it has the benefit of first-hand evidence but comes with the usual ‘personal accounts’ health warning even for the great man.  Chadwick’s ‘The First Grader’ won second place in the People’s Choice Award at Toronto three years ago.

 

 

Attila Marcel
Sylvain Chomet

 

After making his name with the innovative hand-drawn animated films, ‘The Triplets of Belleville’ and ‘The Illusionist’, Sylvain Chomet now turns his hand to live-action features for the first time.  Guillaume Gouix, best known for his performance in ‘Jimmy Rivière’, which received a César most promising actor nomination, plays a thirty something pianist, whose emotional development ended when both parents died during his childhood.

 

 

The Fifth Estate
Bill Condon
Opening Night Film

 

Veteran filmmaker, Bill Condon (‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Parts 1 and 2’, ‘Dreamgirls’), takes on the ultimate political hot potato, WikiLeaks.  Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Brühl play Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg in the dramatisation of the furore following the jaw dropping revelations on the website for anonymous whistleblowers.  It raises questions surrounding the ethics of secret information in so-called democracies and begs others concerning ongoing contemporary events as suitable subjects for films.

 

 

Devil’s Knot
Atom Egoyan

 

Atom Egoyan has a long association with Toronto, winning the best Canadian feature four times (‘Family Viewing’, ‘The Adjuster’, ‘Exotica’ & ‘The Sweet Hereafter’) and receiving a special jury citation once (‘Adoration’).  His latest feature is a dramatisation of the topical West Memphis Three rough justice case, which has already received wide coverage in film form through high profile documentaries (Joe Berlinger’s and Bruce Sinofsky’s ‘Paradise 1-3’, Amy J. Berg’s ‘West of Memphis’).

 

 

Singing Women
Reha Erdem

 

One of the most creative, interesting and – sometimes – unsettling filmmakers in world cinema, Reha Erdem, makes a welcome appearance at Toronto with his latest feature, ‘Singing Women’ (‘Sarki Söyleyen Kadinlar’).  As a starting point, a group of women confront their hardship through rebellious songs, before, no doubt, the film meanders in unpredictable directions.  Erdem’s previous film, ‘Jîn’, debuted at Berlin earlier this year.

 

 

The Invisible Woman
Ralph Fiennes

 

Ralph Fiennes caught the eye with his cinematic and thoughtful adaptation of Shakespeare’s political play, ‘Coriolanus’, giving it a resonant and uncontrived contemporary relevance.  For his sophomore directorial feature, Fiennes turns to another giant of English literature, Charles Dickens, and a portrayal of his secret affair with Nelly, a married schoolteacher.

 

 

Third Person
Paul Haggis

 

Paul Haggis returns to the ‘old hat’ interweaving stories formula of his Oscar winning sub-‘Magnolia’ drama, ‘Crash’, doing the La Ronde bit Fernando Meirelles ‘360’ style , – yes, you guessed it – with three couples in three cities, this time Rome, New York and Paris, all with secrets connected to love and betrayal.  But, you never know, with an ensemble cast including James Franco, Mila Kunis, Liam Neeson, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde, Maria Bello and Kim Basinger, it might be better than it sounds.

 

 

Those Happy Years
Daniele Luchetti

 

Like his best known feature, ‘My Brother Is an Only Child’, which won a best film Italian Golden Globe, Daniele Luchetti’s sardonically titled, ‘Those Happy Years’ returns to early Seventies’ Italy.  Kim Rossi Stuart (Romanzo Criminale) and Micaela Ramazzotti star in a domestic tale where two children must come to terms with a self-obsessed father and unfaithful mother.

 

 

How I Live Now
Kevin Macdonald

 

Kevin Macdonald returns to fiction mode following his latest documentary, ‘Marley’, with a retro sounding idyllic English rural summer set in the future, with things taking a dark turn.  Saoirse Ronan plays a teenage New Yorker on holiday in the UK where war breaks out for no apparent reason.  Macdonald, not one to take a breather, has his next doc, ‘Christmas in a Day’ and another fiction thriller, ‘Black Sea’ under way.

 

 

12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen

 

Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years a Slave’, arguably the programme’s most keenly anticipated film, tells the true story of a free black man unlawfully sold into slavery during 1841.  Chiwetel Ejiofor leads a stellar cast, which includes, amongst many others, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and McQueen regular, Michael Fassbender.  It is the filmmaker’s first feature to start life at Toronto and will launch an aggressive award season push ahead of a limited US release on October 18.

 

 

Labor Day
Jason Reitman

 

Leading North American filmmaker, Jason Reitman, follows his outstanding and – in some quarters – undervalued ‘Young Adult’ with another look at the darker side of US society.  Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin join experienced child actor, Gattlin Griffith, in this tale of a single mother and son, who take in a desperate stranger with a disturbing backstory.  Reitman regular, Eric Steelberg, returns as cinematographer.

 

 

Quai d’Orsay
Bertrand Tavernier

 

The latest feature from veteran filmmaker, Bertrand Tavernier, starring Thierry Lhermitte, Raphael Personnaz and Niels Arestrup, looks at the opposing ends of political careers with a French foreign minister – resembling former PM, Dominique de Villepin – and his new naive speechwriter.  It is Tavernier’s follow up to his carelessly overlooked ‘The Princess of Montpensier’, which suffered from impetuous Cannes reactions from those who should know better.

 

 

The Railway Man
Jonathan Teplitzky

 

Australian filmmaker, Jonathan Teplitzky, brings Eric Lomax’s bestselling memoir, ‘The Railway Man’, to the big screen for his fourth feature.  Colin Firth stars alongside Nicole Kidman and Jeremy Irvine and plays Lomax, a POW former torture victim, who, during later life, decides to confront his Japanese tormentor.  It is Teplitzky’s third film to debut at Toronto following ‘Burning Man’ and ‘Better Than Sex’.

 

 

Fading Gigolo
John Turturro

 

One filmmaker/actor, John Turturro, directs America’s most famous of them all, Woody Allen, in his latest comedy, ‘Fading Gigolo’.  Making his first big screen appearance for over a decade in a film that he has not directed, Allen plays a bookseller cum pimp to John Turturro’s unlikely gigolo.  It is Turturro’s fifth feature, the first of which, ‘Mac’, won the Camera d’Or at Cannes.

 

 

Dallas Buyers Club
Jean-Marc Valleé

 

Experienced Canadian filmmaker, Jean-Marc Valleé, returns to Toronto where he won best Canadian feature with ‘C.R.A.Z.Y.’ eight years ago.  His latest film ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, starring Matthew McConaughey, dramatises the true story of Ron Woodroof, who set up a ‘buyers club” for fellow HIV-positive sufferers needing urgent drugs not authorised in the US.  It has already generated a significant buzz ahead of the Toronto screening and Focus Features will now open the film five weeks earlier than scheduled on Nov 1 for a longer award season push.

 

 

Enemy
Denis Villeneuve

 

Denis Villeneuve’s latest thriller is the second ‘special presentation’ world premiere at this year’s edition to explore the doppleganger theme but it is an altogether darker take than Richard Ayoade’s ‘The Double’.  Based on José Saramago’s novel carrying the same title as Ayoade’s feature, a professor, already divided between his wife and mistress, becomes entangled in a dangerous game of life and death with his double where only one can survive.  The ‘Enemy’ is one of two thrillers that the busy Villeneuve is launching at Toronto (see below) and both films star Jake Gyllenhaal.

 

 

Prisoners
Denis Villeneuve

 

Hugh Jackman leads an outstanding cast in Denis Villeneuve’s second thriller debuting at this year’s Toronto, which, in addition to the ‘Enemy’ star Jake Gyllenhaal (see above), includes, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo and Viola Davis.  This one has a father taking the law into his own hands when his daughter goes missing and the the police struggle to find tangible clues.  Villeneuve’s last film, ‘Incendies’, won multiple awards including best Canadian film at Toronto.doxycycline costbuy doxycycline ukdoxycycline genericdoxycycline buybuy doxycycline ukprice of doxycyclinedoxycycline buy

Ben Wheatley to adapt sci-fi classic

August 30th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Ben Wheatley (‘Kill List’, ‘Sightseers’) will direct a big screen adaptation of JG Ballard’s dystopian novel, ‘High Rise’, for Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company.  Thomas has been working on the film for years and almost brought it to fruition during the late Seventies with Nicolas Roeg in the director’s chair.  Wheatley’s deadpan blend of reality and absurd exaggeration should make him a perfect fit for Ballard’s savage satirical attack on the modern world.doxycycline costbuy doxycycline ukdoxycycline genericdoxycycline buybuy doxycycline ukprice of doxycyclinedoxycycline buy

Sundance hit starts roll out

August 30th, 2013 - Graham Eley

The Film Arcade will test the water this weekend, releasing ‘Afternoon Delight’  in two theatres, one in each of New York and Los Angeles.  Jill Soloway’s comedy drama, starring Kathryn Hahn and Juno Temple, picked up the dramatic director’s award in the US section at this year’s Sundance before making three further festival appearances, all in the US.  It is the latest addition to the ‘housewife angst’ sub-genre with a Los Angeles’ hipster homemaker giving a stripper a chance of a new life as her live-in nanny but discovering a different one for herself.doxycycline costbuy doxycycline ukdoxycycline genericdoxycycline buybuy doxycycline ukprice of doxycyclinedoxycycline buy

‘The Grandmaster’ makes move

August 30th, 2013 - Graham Eley

After exceeding expectations during last weekend’s limited North American release, averaging a $18,894 per site average, the Weinstein Company will expand Wong Kar-wai’s ‘The Grandmaster’ today from seven to a high 749 theatres.  Five years in the making, the Berlin opener is Wong Kar-wai’s first martial arts film and brings the life of Bruce Lee’s trainer, Ip Man, to the big screen.  Weinstein provoked outrage earlier this year with the revelation that it had slashed the Berlin version by 15 mins for English speaking audiences.doxycycline costbuy doxycycline ukdoxycycline genericdoxycycline buybuy doxycycline ukprice of doxycyclinedoxycycline buy

‘Louder Than Bombs’ on hold

August 29th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Joachim Trier (‘Reprise’, ‘Oslo, August 31st’) has abandoned plans to enter production later this year on ‘Louder Than Bombs’, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Isabelle Huppert, after the necessary finance package fell apart.  It would have been the Norwegian filmmaker’s first English language film and the producers are still hoping to resurrect it at a later date.  An ‘unreliable narrative’ plot has the family of a late war photographer discovering a secret from her past that is subject to crucial but contradictory multiple variations.generic levitrasilvitrageneric silvitrasilvitra cheapgeneric silvitra onlinesilvitra new zealandsilvitra generic online

eOne Films come aboard TIFF doc

August 29th, 2013 - Graham Eley

eOne Films have taken global sale rights (except Canada) to TIFF documentary title ‘Watermark’, the latest collaboration between filmmaker, Jennifer Baichwal, and photographer, Edward Burtynsky, who receive joint director credits.  Using state of the art high-definition video, they explore our complex relationship with water from many unexpected slants.  Baichwal came to the fore with ‘Manufactured Landscapes’, which blended art and reality in revealing the impact of industrial work on our environment through Burtynsky’s stunning photography.generic levitrasilvitrageneric silvitrasilvitra cheapgeneric silvitra onlinesilvitra new zealandsilvitra generic online

Easy win for Lee Daniel’s The Butler during quiet weekend

August 26th, 2013 - Graham Eley

1. Lee Daniel’s The Butler (TWC) WTC Int’l $17m ($52.3m) (1)
2. We’re The Millers (Warner Bros) WBPI $13.5m ($91.7m) (2)
3. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (Screen Gems) Mister Smith $9.3m ($14.1m) (NE)
4. The World’s End (Focus Features) UPI $8.9m (NE)
5. Planes (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $8.6m ($59.6m) (4)

 

‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ easily won the North American box office, grossing a further $17m for a strong second weekend hold.  Although it is early days, Weinstein’s aggressive distribution strategy, launching on a high 2,933 theatres, seems to have paid dividends, setting up an extended run until deep into the awards season.  The historical drama, which only fell by 31% since last weekend, has already earned an impressive $52.3m domestically.

 

Warner Bros’ ‘We’re the Millers’ continued its remarkable run in second place, dropping just 26% with a $13.5m weekend.  The daring comedy’s domestic running total now stands at $91.7m after three weekends in play against a modest production budget of $37m.  It remains active in a market high 3,445 theatres.

 

‘Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’, grossed a mediocre $9.3m over the weekend and $14m since its Wednesday launch, both in line with already low expectations.  The fantasy adventure, which received a ‘B+’ CinemaScore from first night audiences, opened in 2,835 theatres.

 

Edgar Wright’s ‘The World’s End’, starring Simon Pegg, received the same CinemaScore but performed stronger, taking a decent $8.9m from 1,548 theatres during its opening weekend.  It boasted the highest per-screen average of the session.

 

The other weekend wide opener, ‘You’re Next’ was a disappointment.  Adam Wingard’s low-budget horror, starring Sharni Vinson and mumblecore stalwart, Joe Swanberg, could only muster $7m notwithstanding strong reviews.  A ‘B-‘ CinemaScore indicates a disconnect between critics and word of mouth.

 

Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’ did not breakout in the way that Sony Pictures Classics had planned with the bold expansion from 229 to 1,283 theatres, but it should still become the indie sectors’ most commercially successful film of the year so far.  An early awards season buzz had inspired the expansion and the dark comedy’s $4.3m earnings over the session increased its domestic tally to $14.8m after five weekends in play.generic levitrasilvitrageneric silvitrasilvitra cheapgeneric silvitra onlinesilvitra new zealandsilvitra generic online

Jurassic Park 3D takes China by storm

August 26th, 2013 - Graham Eley

The twentieth anniversary 3D version of Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ made a flying start in China, grossing an outstanding $28.8m from 2,500 theatres over a six-day release.  The family adventure revamp, which had a 12 month 3D conversion, was only active in 11 international territories over the weekend session and finished on $30m to claim the No. 1 spot.  It now stands on $44.5m internationally and, after factoring in North America, $89.9m worldwide.

 

Last weekend’s No. 1, ‘Elysium’, had a strong international hold, earning a further $20m from 47 territories.  Neill Blomkamp’s action sci-fi arrived top in the UK after earning $4.8m over the three day period, which was on a par with the launch of the filmmaker’s debut film, ‘District 9’ four years ago.  France delivered the film’s second highest weekend tally with a solid $2.5m holdover.

 

Another feature benefiting from a China debut boost, ‘Monsters University’, came in third after grossing a further $19.6m.  Disney’s adventure animation has now taken $424.8m internationally.

 

‘Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters’ was close behind on $18.4m from 43 markets, taking its international tally to $62.6m.  Russia led the way with a $4.9m debut.

 

‘Despicable Me 2’ passed the $800m worldwide milestone on Saturday.  The comedy sequel is currently the second highest worldwide release of the year – behind ‘Iron Man 3’ – and the seventh most successful animation of all time.  It is still to arrive in South Korea, Japan and Italy.generic levitrasilvitrageneric silvitrasilvitra cheapgeneric silvitra onlinesilvitra new zealandsilvitra generic online

‘In Bloom’ claims best film at Sarajevo

August 25th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Nana Ekvtimishvili’s and Simon Gross’ coming of age drama, ‘In Bloom’, set within 1990’s Georgia, has won best film at the 19th Sarajevo Film Festival.  Newcomers, Lika Babluani and Mariam Bokeria, who play two young girls carrying on as normal in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, shared the best actress prize.  The latest success comes on the back of the film picking up the international critics’ (Fipresci) award at the Hong Kong IFF.generic levitrasilvitrageneric silvitrasilvitra cheapgeneric silvitra onlinesilvitra new zealandsilvitra generic online

North American box office faces quiet weekend

August 25th, 2013 - Graham Eley

An end of summer lull has hit the North American box office with the weekend’s three wide releases failing to make an impact.  All much of a muchness commercially, ‘Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’, ‘You’re Next’ and ‘The World’s End’ are heading for weekend tallies around the $9m mark.

 

This left the path clear for ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ to lead the pack on Friday.  The historical drama grossed a further $4.8m, being a fall of just 43% from last week’s impressive opening.  Although it is on pace for a strong $16m second weekend hold, it would still be the lowest No. 1 total for six months.

 

Sony Classics’ gamble with the massive expansion of Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’ from 229 to 1,283 theatres has not paid off.  The dark comedy drama had made a flying start at the box office, debuting in the speciality market with a $102,011 per screen average from six theatres and taking its tally to $10m before this weekend’s expansion.  In making the film Allen’s widest ever domestic release, Sony was looking to capitalise on its early awards buzz and emulate the success of the auteur’s ‘Midnight in Paris’, but Friday’s $1.1m return suggests that it is not breaking out as the studio had hoped.  As things stand, the film is facing a disappointing $3.7m over the three days.generic levitrasilvitrageneric silvitrasilvitra cheapgeneric silvitra onlinesilvitra new zealandsilvitra generic online

Bling Ring, The

August 24th, 2013 - Graham Eley

A classic case of the truth being stranger than fiction sees seven celebrity obsessed teens, the ‘Bling Ring’, taking the ‘wannabe’ culture to a new level, mimicking the Hollywood brat lifestyle with vulgar designer gear nicked from the stars’ mansions during daring night-time raids.

 

But the more the kids get close to the ‘A’ listers, the more another portrayal emerges; that of the celebs playing the same fame game, striving to embody their own star personae.  They too are wannabes; emulating something that does not exist beyond media representations and, seduced by an identical lie as the kids, finding themselves caught in a vicious circle of cannibalistic star addiction and inevitable self-loathing.

 

Desperate self-idolatry manifests itself in its most complete form with Paris Hilton’s shrine to herself, doubling up as a home, where hundreds of her images look back from magazines covering the walls, incised on shoes and handbags and even printed onto countless ostentatious cushions.  Shockingly, this is no camped-up Hollywood set, Hilton having allowed filmmaker, Sofia Coppola, to shoot in her actual residence and, further compounding the sense of complicity, the socialite cum ‘everything’ joined Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ lead, Kirsten Dunst, with a fleeting appearance in a cameo role.

 

Another victim, Lindsay Lohan, the former Disney actress, who, herself, was accused of a ‘keeping up with the Jones” necklace theft, briefly shared a cell with a Bling Ring member; a coming together of two sides of the same coin in the irony of all ironies, one not lost on the media.

 

The kids themselves cease to exist beyond metaphoric reflections of magazine headlines and on-line gossip sites; snorting coke in state of the art stolen cars and imitating the stars in repulsive nightclubs.  Their conversations are a strange mix of rich kid arrogance and street level pseudo-smartness, cancelling each other out in a humdrum groan of blandness.  This is the stuff of a dystopian hangover where nothing exists beyond flashbulb gloss and a shiny Baudrillard hyperreality destined to implode.

 

The acting is solid throughout with the standout performance coming from Israel Broussard as Marc, the gang’s only male member, who adopts traits from a media construct of femininity without forcing the point.  There was the usual eye-catching photography from outstanding cinematographer, Harris Savides (‘Zodiac’, ‘Elephant’), who sadly died during the production.  And the pounding soundtrack, superbly designed by Coppola regular, Richard Beggs, gives the film much of its character.

 

This is one of two recent films, confronting the audience with a snapshot of a society that it has helped to create.  The other was Harmony Korine’s ‘Spring Breakers’ and both are important additions to contemporary American cinema.generic levitrasilvitrageneric silvitrasilvitra cheapgeneric silvitra onlinesilvitra new zealandsilvitra generic online

Huge expansion for Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’

August 24th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Sony Classics are looking to capitalise on the early awards buzz for Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’ with a massive expansion in North America this weekend from 229 to more than 1,200 theatres.  The dark comedy drama will be Allen’s widest ever domestic release and comes on the back of the $10m that the film has already grossed since last month’s stunning limited opening, when it averaged $102,011 per screen from six theatres.  The move still carries some risk after a comparatively queit spell at last weekend’s box office and Sony must gross more than $56.8m for it to top ‘Midnight in Paris’, Allen’s most commercially successful film in the territory.generic levitrasilvitrageneric silvitrasilvitra cheapgeneric silvitra onlinesilvitra new zealandsilvitra generic online

David Lowery takes on dystopian nightmare

August 24th, 2013 - Graham Eley

David Lowery is reuniting with his ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ star, Casey Affleck, giving the big screen treatment to Paul Broks’ sci-fi short story ‘To Be Two or Not To Be’.  An analogy for our perceived identity crisis during the technological age, it is a dystopian nightmare where humans are digitally remastered with the ability to teleport.  The busy Lowery is currently linked to several other high-profile projects, including writing Disney’s remake of ‘Pete’s Dragon’.generic levitrasilvitrageneric silvitrasilvitra cheapgeneric silvitra onlinesilvitra new zealandsilvitra generic online

Lee Daniels developing Janis Joplin biopic

August 22nd, 2013 - Graham Eley

As ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ leads the way at the North American box office following last weekend’s launch, the ‘Precious’-filmmaker is busy developing his follow-up, the long-gestating ‘Get It While You Can’.  It is another biopic, this time tackling the challenge of capturing the enigmatic singer, Janis Joplin, on the big screen.  Amy Adams is already on board to play the lead.generic levitrasilvitrageneric silvitrasilvitra cheapgeneric silvitra onlinesilvitra new zealandsilvitra generic online

Wadjda (وجدة)

August 20th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Something of a cinematic milestone, this debut film from Haifaa Al- Mansour (هيفاء المنصور) was guaranteed a place in film history even before its world premiere at last year’s Venice.  Al- Mansour threw down the gauntlet to the Saudi ruling elite and other conservative hardliners by simply making the film, the first from a woman filmmaker shot entirely within the territory.  It breaks every domestic rule in the book and just like the progressive filmmakers in Iran, Al- Mansour treads a fine line between provoking dangerous retribution and bringing a perverse reflected glory to the country through the film’s international acclaim of the kind that kept the Iranian filmmakers out of jail for ten years until Jafar Panahi (جعفر پناهی) sided with the green revolution.

 

And Al- Mansour’s film has much in common with the Iranians; a restrained but considered style and narrative that brings us close to reality without yelling out its realist credentials in a self-defeating sort of way.  Like Panahi’s first two films, ‘The White Balloon’ and ‘Mirror’, it features a child – a ploy that Panahi successfully employed to mitigate against the Iranian culture police’s beady eye – but Al- Mansour’s young girl is altogether more subversive, strutting around with serious attitude and rejecting anything illogical, including the unwritten rule that girls cannot ride bikes.

 

Newcomer, Waad Mohammed (وعد محمد) is superb in the title role, bringing a genuine ‘street cred’ knowingness to Wadjda (وجدة) and possessing a tomboyish cheeky smile that her character uses as a social weapon, repeatedly getting herself out of trouble after crossing the line with deliberate intent.

 

Wadjda is desperate to purchase a bicycle for racing her best friend, a local boy unconcerned with the extreme edicts of this patriarchal society.  It seemed an impossible task, raising a bit here and there from a spot of black marketeering in the school yard, until she had the opportunity to enter a Qur’an reading contest with a cash prize.

 

The bicycle takes on its usual role as a cinematic symbol of freedom and liberation, brilliantly exploited most recently in Christian Petzold’s ‘Barbara’, set in another totalitarian regime, the former East Germany.  Wadjda’s plan excites outrage but not, as we might think, from the ruling men, but from women, who, shockingly, are fully complicit in their own crushing suppression.  We see Wadjda’s schoolmistress rule with a rod of iron, ruthlessly punishing any gender lapse, indoctrinating the next generation.

 

It all plays out against the backdrop of Wadjda’s parents’ potential split; her mother being unable to deliver the requisite son.  What starts as a familiar but tragic case of societal rejection unfolds in a way that offers some hope for the future and leads to an upbeat feel-good ending reminiscent of the Dardennes’ ‘The Kid With a Bike’ (‘Le Gamin au Velo’).

 

And the attention that the film has received since debuting in Venice’s Orrizonti strand for new trends, eclipsing many of the Golden Lion nominees, is as much to do with its winning blend of childlike charm and knowing subversion as the historical implications.motilium cheapgeneric Motiliumpurchase motiliumBuy Motilium onlinemotilium buy ukBuy domperidonedomperidone for sale online

‘Elysium’ wins close battle at the international box office

August 19th, 2013 - Graham Eley

‘Elysium’ expanded from 17 to 41 markets and claimed the top spot at the international weekend box office after grossing a further $23.4m from 4,640 screens.  Neill Blomkamp’s action sci-fi now stands at $39.2m with Sony relying on a strong international run to compensate for a lacklustre performance in North America.  France proved its most successful territory on $4.1m.

 

Last weekend’s No 1, ‘The Smurfs 2’ was not far behind, earning an impressive $20m over the three days.  It remains active in 66 markets after three weekend in play.motilium cheapgeneric Motiliumpurchase motiliumBuy Motilium onlinemotilium buy ukBuy domperidonedomperidone for sale online

‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ off to a flying start in North America

August 19th, 2013 - Graham Eley

1. Lee Daniel’s The Butler (TWC) WTC Int’l $25m (NE)
2. We’re The Millers (Warner Bros) WBPI $17.8m ($69.5m) (2)
3. Elysium (Sony TriStar-MRC) SPRI $13.6m ($55.9m) (1)
4. Kick-Ass 2 (Universal) UPI $13.57m (NE)
5. Planes (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $13.1m ($45.1m) (3)

 

‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ grossed an outstanding $25m over the weekend, fully justifying Weinstein’s decision to launch the historical drama in a high 2,933 theatres, rather than the more usual ‘slow burn’ platform release for award contenders.  Capitalising on the high profile legal battle over the film’s title and Oprah Winfrey’s extensive publicity drive, it dominanted the box office, earning $5m more than market predictions.  Forest Whitaker plays a real life White House butler, who served eight US presidents, and adopts an unusual inside outsider view of the postwar years.  It is Daniels’ follow up to ‘The Paperboy’, and connected with first night audiences, receiving an ‘A’ CinemaScore.

 

It was a poor weekend for Universal’s ‘Kick-Ass 2′, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz, which the market expected to compete with ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ for the No. 1 spot.  Going from bad to worse after a quiet Friday opening, it finished the three days on a shocking $13.6m.

 

In the end, with ‘We’re the Millers’, enjoying a strong second weekend hold with a $17.8m return, and last weekend’s No. 1, ‘Elysium’, grossing a further $13.6m, the superhero comedy could only muster a fourth place finish.motilium cheapgeneric Motiliumpurchase motiliumBuy Motilium onlinemotilium buy ukBuy domperidonedomperidone for sale online

Locarno Film Festival 2013 (7-17 August)

August 18th, 2013 - Graham Eley

This year’s Locarno Film Festival gets under way on Wednesday with artistic director, Carlo Chatrian, at the helm for the first time.  A varied competition line-up, which boasts 18 world premieres, includes keenly awaited new features from Corneliu Porumboiu (‘When Evening Falls on Bucharest and Metabolism’), Sangsoo Hong (‘Our Sunhi’) and Joanna Hogg (‘Exhibition’).  The international premiere of Baltasar Kormákur’s ‘2 Guns’, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, will open the festival out of competition three days after claiming the top spot at the North America box office over the weekend.

 

World Premieres in the main competition

 

E Agora? Lembra-me (What Now? Remind Me)
Joaquim Pinto

 

Joaquim Pinto’s first film for ten years, ‘E Agora? Lembra-me’ (‘What Now? Remind Me’), is a personal portrayal of the filmmaker’s battle fighting HIV after being diagnosed with the virus over twenty years ago when his life expectancy was short.  Early indications suggest that it will be a modernist reflection on time, memory and shifting realities within the perimeters of the filmmaker’s very testing circumstances.  Pinto competed for the Golden Leopard with ‘Twin Flames’ in 1992.

 

Expectation – highly promising with the film’s potential to operate on multiple but connected levels.

 

 

El Mudo
Daniel and Diego Vega

 

Daniel and Diego Vega made an immediate impression with their debut feature, ‘October’, which picked up an Un Certain Regard jury prize at Cannes three years ago.  The Peruvian filmmaking duo now return with their keenly anticipated second feature, ‘El Mudo’, a dark comedy portraying a paranoid judge in fear for his life.  The siblings’ own company, Maretazo Cine, co-produced with France’s Urban Factory and Mexico’s No Dreams Cinema.

 

Expectation – it is likely to be a pretext for exploring frequent allegations surrounding the Peruvian justice system and corruption.

 

 

Exhibition
Joanna Hogg

 

Potentially, Joanna Hogg’s most experimental film so far, ‘Exhibition’, previously known as the ‘London Project’, deconstructs a couple’s psychological associations with a house that they plan to leave.  The Slits’ former guitarist, Viv Albertine, and conceptual artist, Liam Gillick, star alongside Hogg regular, Tom Hiddleston, who appeared in both of the filmmaker’s previous films, ‘Archipelago’ and ‘Unrelated’, the last of which picked up the FIPRESCI prize at the London Film Festival.

 

Expectation – intriguing casting, which sees YBA conceptual artist, Liam Gillick, give his first performance in a film exploring themes that would not be out of place in a gallery.

 

 

Feuchtgebiete (Wetlands)
David Wnendt

 

Carla Juri (‘Someone Like Me’) stars in David Wnendt’s big screen adaptation of Charlotte Roche’s controversial novel, ‘Wetlands’ (the more precise translation is ‘Moist Areas’), which, for a time, was the world’s No. 1 bestseller.  The wetlands/moist areas are either provocative references or lavatorial humour for female sexual organs – take your pick – and the heroine will recount her sex exploits from a hospital bed after an anal shaving mishap.

 

Expectation – sexual expression as a means to women’s freedom is old hat but the film will still have the curiosity factor.

 

 

Gare du Nord
Claire Simon

 

Experienced filmmaker, Claire Simon, has switched between documentary and fiction, and she employs both disciplines in her latest feature ‘Gare du Nord’.  Set in the French railway station that lends the film its title, Simon explores globalisation from different perspectives through the comings and goings of overseas travellers, French citizens and immigrants.

 

Expectation – setting the film in a transient network – or non-space – provides huge scope for Simon to make a telling contribution towards the topical globalisation sub-genre.

 

 

Historia de la Meva Mort (Story of My Death)
Albert Serra

 

Casanova meets Count Dracula in Albert Serra’s latest feature, ‘Story of My Death’, starring Vincenc Altaio Morral and Lluis Massanellas Serrat, for a surreal take on the emergence of a new Romantic spirit at the outset of the 19th century.  Serra is best known for ‘Honour of the Knights (Quixotic)’, which won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2006 Viennale.

 

Expectation – a potentially interesting exploration into cultural myths could equally prove self-indulgent unless Serra strikes the right balance.

 

 

L’Etrange couleur des larmes de ton corps (The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears)
Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani

 

Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani made an immediate impression with their debut feature, ‘Amer’, an imaginative revision of Italian giallo horror.  Their follow-up, ‘The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears’, is another dark tale, this time based on the vanishing woman theme.

 

Expectations – should be another smart deconstruction of genre conventions.

 

 

Mary, Queen Of Scots
Thomas Imbach

 

Thomas Imbach returns to the late Tudor period for another version of ‘Mary, Queen Of Scots’ with Camille Rutherford in the title role.  It is the first time that the Swiss filmmaker has competed for the Golden Leopard since his sci-fi drama ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun’ twelve years ago.

 

Expectations – after Nikolaj Arcel’s ‘A Royal Affair’, perhaps we should not be too hasty writing off tiresome sounding historical dramas.

 

 

Pays Barbare
Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi

 

The latest film from veteran documentary filmmaking team, Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi, explores the parameters of fascism from an historical perspective.  It is a continuation of the pair’s long deconstruction of ideologies and their conflicts.

 

Expectations – Gianikian’s and Ricci Lucchi’s highly experimental approach towards filmmaking should breathe new life into a familiar subject.

 

 

Sangue (Blood)
Pippo Delbono

 

Far-left paramilitaries continue to attract European filmmakers long after their heyday.  Pippo Delbono is the latest to tread this path with ‘Blood’ (‘Sangue’), a contemporary drama where a former Red Brigade activist forms a dangerous friendship upon his prison release.  Best known as an actor, Delbono has recently appeared in ‘I Am Love’ (Luca Guadagnino) and ‘Me and You’ (Bernardo Bertolucci).

 

Expectations – it will be interesting to see whether Delbono can transcend the sub-genre with a contemporary twist.

 

 

A Time in Quchi (2013)
Chang Tso-Chi

 

Chang Tso-Chi’s new film, ‘A Time in Quchi’, features a young boy who discovers happiness through an unlikely source when his world appears to be falling apart.  It is the follow-up to the Taiwanese filmmaker’s ‘When Love Comes’ (‘Dang Ai Lai De Shi Hou’), which bagged the top prize at the Golden Horse Film Festival three years ago.

 

Expectations – could be an interesting mix of charm and harsh realism.

 

 

Tableau Noir (Black Board)
Yves Yersin

 

Yves Yersin’s potential feel good documentary, ‘Blackboard’, takes a look at a mountain school that develops education alongside happiness.  The veteran Swiss filmmaker made a Locarno appearance 34 years ago with his best known feature, ‘Les petites fugues’.

 

Expectations – unlikely to offer us anything new but you never know.

 

 

Tomogui (Backwater)
Shinji Aoyama

 

Shinji Aoyama returns to Locarno where he picked up a special jury prize for ‘Tôkyô kôen’ two years ago.  Masaki Suda, Misaki Kinoshita and Yûko Tanaka (‘The Milkwoman’, ‘Hibi’) star in his latest feature, ‘Backwater’, a dark tale where a father and son both inflict abusive sex on their partners.  Aoyama is best known for ‘Eureka’, which won a FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes.

 

Expectations – a potentially different spin on abusive relationships from festival favourite, Shinji Aoyama, who will always attract interest.

 

 

Tonnerre
Guillaume Brac

 

After picking up a César nomination for his short(ish) ‘A World Without Women’, Guillaume Brac makes the move to features with ‘Tonnerre’.  A young woman, who is psychologically trapped in an earlier romance, dumbfounds a thirty something musician played by Vincent Macaigne.

 

Expectations – an early interest in Guillaume Brac’s debut feature has already translated into a pre-festival buzz.

 

 

U Ri Sunhi (Our Sunhi)
Sangsoo Hong

 

Jeong Yu-mi reunites with Sangsoo Hong after working together on ‘In Another Country’ and plays a 30 year old woman who has enigmatic encounters with three men from her past.  A key figure in the vibrant South Korean indie film sector, Hong is best known for ‘Hahaha’, which won the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes two years ago.

 

Expectations – Hong’s strong reputation on the festival circuit and beyond makes ‘Our Sunhi’ an early possible contender for the Golden Leopard.

 

 

Une Autre Vie (Another Life)
Emmanuel Mouret

 

Emmanuel Mouret returns to Locarno where his last feature, ‘The Art of Love’, premiered two years ago.  Joey Starr, who received a César best supporting actor nomination for his performance in Maïwenn’s ‘Polisse’, plays an electrician who wants to start a new life with a famous pianist but has the complication of an existing marriage.

 

Expectation – the complex relationship set-up has a familiar ring to it in a French sort of way.

 

 

Când se lasă seara peste Bucureşti sau metabolism (When Evening Falls on Bucharest and Metabolism)
Corneliu Porumboiu

 

A key player in the Romanian new wave, Corneliu Porumboiu won the Camera d’Or at Cannes for his debut feature ’12:08 East of Bucharest’ and picked up a jury prize and the FIPRESCI award at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard’s sidebar for his follow up, ‘Police, Adjective’.  He now returns with the evocatively titled ‘When Evening Falls on Bucharest and Metabolism’, where a director’s affair with a supporting actress takes an unexpected turn.motilium cheapgeneric Motiliumpurchase motiliumBuy Motilium onlinemotilium buy ukBuy domperidonedomperidone for sale online

 

Expectation – arguably the most keenly anticipated film from this year’s competition selection.

Golden Leopard surprise at Locarno

August 18th, 2013 - Graham Eley

The international jury led by Filipino filmmaker, Lav Dia (‘Norte, the End of History’, ‘Melancholia’), caused a surprise at this year’s Locarno Film Festival when it awarded the Golden Leopard to Albert Serra’s ‘Historia de la Meva Mort’ (‘Story of My Death’).    Serra’s imaginative seventh feature has Casanova meeting Count Dracula in a surreal take on the Romantic spirit emerging during the early 19th century.

 

There was wide recognition for Joaquim Pinto’s ‘E Agora? Lembra-me’ (‘What Now? Remind Me’), which received a Special Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI (international film critics) award.  Pinto’s first film for ten years is a personal portrayal of the filmmaker’s battle fighting HIV after being diagnosed with it over twenty years before.

 

The best director’s award went to one of the key figures in South Korea’s vibrant indie film sector, Sangsoo Hong, for his latest feature,  ‘U Ri Sunhi’ (‘Our Sunhi’).  Jeong Yu-mi reunited with Hong after they worked together on ‘In Another Country’ and plays a 30 year old woman, who has enigmatic encounters with three men from her past.

 

Claire Simon’s ‘Gare du Nord’ had emerged as the pre-ceremony favourite, but left empty handed.

 

International Competition winners:

 

Golden Leopard
Story of My Death by Albert Serra, Spain/France

 

Jury Special Prize
What Now? Remind Me by Joaquim Pinto, Portugal

 

Leopard for Best Director
Hong Sangsoo for Our Suhni, South Korea

 

Leopard for Best Actress
Brie Larson for Short Term 12 by Destin Cretton, United States

 

Leopard for Best Actor
Fernando Bacilio for The Mute by Daniel Vega and Diego Vega, Peru/France/Mexico

 

Special Mentions
Short Term 12 by Destin Cretton, United States
Tableau Noir by Yves Yersin, Switzerland

 

Ecumenical Jury Prize
Short Term 12 by Destin Cretton, United States

 

Ecumenical Jury Prize – Special Mention
Tableau Noir by Yves Yersin, Switzerland

 

FIPRESCI – International Film Critics’ Prize
What Now? Remind Me by Joaquim Pinto, Portugal
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First English-language film from Iranian director in exile

August 18th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Mohsen Makhmalbaf (‘Kandahar’) is piecing together his first English-language feature, ‘The President’, with shooting scheduled for early next year.  Set in a fictional country, a deposed dictator goes into hiding as a disguised musician and revises his opinion of ordinary people after first-hand experience.  Makhmalbaf left his native Iran following the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad eight years ago.motilium cheapgeneric Motiliumpurchase motiliumBuy Motilium onlinemotilium buy ukBuy domperidonedomperidone for sale online

‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ exceeds expectations at the North American box office

August 18th, 2013 - Graham Eley

‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ fully justified Weinstein’s decision to release the awards contender in a high 2,933 theatres, grossing a fabulous $8.3m on Friday for a $8,300 per-screen average.  The prominent legal wrangling over the title’s ownership raised the film’s profile even before the strong publicity during recent weeks and the film now has the boost of a first night audiences’ ‘A’ CinemaScore, indicating a very positive word of mouth.  It all suggests that the historical drama is heading for a $26m weekend, some $6m above market predictions.  Forest Whitaker plays the real life butler of the film’s title, who served eight US presidents, and it sets up an unusual insider’s view of the postwar period.

 

There was a rare disappointment for Universal upon the opening of ‘Kick-Ass 2’, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz.  Market expectations were on a par with those for ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ but, in the end, it went the other way, grossing an underwhelming $5.8m.  The action comedy is now on pace for a three-day $16.2m.

 

‘We’re the Millers’ was the most successful holdover.  The R-rated Jennifer Aniston vehicle only fell  by 42% to earn a strong $5.4m and will be embroiled in a close contest with ‘Kick-Ass 2’ for the weekend’s second place.  It now stands on an impressive $57m overall after ten days in play.motilium cheapgeneric Motiliumpurchase motiliumBuy Motilium onlinemotilium buy ukBuy domperidonedomperidone for sale online

Sarajevo honours Bela Tarr

August 16th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Sarajevo Film Festival will award Bela Tarr the honorary ‘Heart of Sarajevo’ at its 19th edition, which opens today.  Tarr is best known for the seven-and-a-half hour long ‘Satan’s Tango’, which epitomised his trademark black and white extreme realism.  The Hungarian director announced his retirement from filmmaking last year.motilium cheapgeneric Motiliumpurchase motiliumBuy Motilium onlinemotilium buy ukBuy domperidonedomperidone for sale online

Darren Aronofsky lines up next project

August 15th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Talks are under way for Darren Aronofsky (‘Black Swan’) to direct a big screen adaptation of Jason Matthews’ post Cold War spy thriller, ‘Red Sparrow’, as his next project after the biblical epic ‘Noah’, currently in post production.  A honey trap tale of double and triple crossing which tests the protagonists’ patriotic assumptions when operating at the edge offers Aronofsky huge scope to revisit his most dominant theme, obsession, from a new angle.  Matthews followed in the footsteps of Graham Greene, Ian Fleming and John le Carré, boasting significant experience with the secret services before turning his hand to writing spy novels.motilium cheapgeneric Motiliumpurchase motiliumBuy Motilium onlinemotilium buy ukBuy domperidonedomperidone for sale online

Latest Wim Wenders’ feature enters production

August 12th, 2013 - Graham Eley

As with his groundbreaking documentary, ‘Pina’, Wim Wenders is looking to discover different ways of exploiting 3D technology in a new feature, ‘Everything Will Be Fine’, which starts filming tomorrow.  James Franco stars alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg and Marie-Josee Croze, playing a writer who accidentally causes a child’s death in an intense tale of guilt and redemption.  Renowned cinematographer, Benoît Debie (‘Spring Breakers’, ‘Enter the Void’) will be behind the camera.motilium cheapgeneric Motiliumpurchase motiliumBuy Motilium onlinemotilium buy ukBuy domperidonedomperidone for sale online

‘The Smurfs 2’ claims top spot on the back of expansion

August 12th, 2013 - Graham Eley

‘The Smurfs 2’ expanded from 43 to 65 markets and won the international weekend box office by the tightest of margins ahead of last weekend’s No. 1, ‘Pacific Rim’.  The animated comedy grossed a further $34.6m over the three days, taking its early international tally to a so-so $110m after two weekends in play.

 

Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’ played in 61 markets but 3,320 less screens than ‘The Smurfs 2’ and finished the weekend on a strong $33m.  China lead the way with $21.8m and the sci-fi adventure has now grossed $76.5m in the territory since last weekend’s impressive opening.  The film will cross the $250m mark internationally during the early part of this week.

 

‘Elysium’ provided Sony with some encouragement, grossing $10.9m from 2,050 screens in just 17 markets.  Sony will be looking for a strong international run after Neill Blomkamp’s ‘District 9’ follow up underperformed on its North American launch.  It arrives in much of Europe next weekend.fluoxetine 40 mg capsulecan you buy fluoxetine over the counter fluoxetine for social anxietyfluoxetine 20 mg buy online prozac liquid formfluoxetine buy online uk fluoxetine 20 mg cap

‘Elysium’ falters at the box office

August 12th, 2013 - Graham Eley

1. Elysium (Sony TriStar-MRC) SPRI $30.4m (NE)
2. We’re The Millers (Warner Bros) WBPI $26.6m ($38m) (NE)
3. Planes (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $22.5m (NE)
4. Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters (Fox) Fox Int’l $14.6m ($23.5m) (NE)
5.  2 Guns (Universal) Foresight Unlimited $11.1m ($48.5m) (1)

 

Neill Blomkamp’s ‘Elysium’ grossed $30.4m to take the No.1 spot at the North American box office but, with competition from three other wide releases, it finished almost $5m below Sony’s expectations.  The sci-fi drama, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, will join a growing list of summer releases relying on the international markets to bridge the gap.  It is the follow-up to Blomkamp’s surprise debut hit, ‘District 9’, but average reviews and a ‘B’ CinemaScore from first night audiences have hindered attempts to build on natural momentum.  Blomkamp’s third feature, the sci-fi comedy, ‘Chappie’, with Sharlto Copley and Dev Patel leading the cast, is currently in pre-production.

 

It was a successful session for the R-rated Jennifer Aniston vehicle, ‘We’re the Millers’, which exceeded expectations with an impressive $26.6m weekend, taking its early tally to $38m since Wednesday’s launch.  The daring comedy defied critics with an ‘A-’ CinemaScore and the strong word of mouth propelled it to a close race with ‘Elysium’ on Saturday, where just $0.5m separated the two films.

 

Disney’s decision to run with a theatrical release for the 3D ‘Cars’ spin-off, ‘Planes’, paid off with a strong $22.5m opening weekend.  The studio originally produced it for the VoD market, restricting the budget to a comparatively low $50m for an animated feature.

 

‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’ earned a further $14.6m over the three days, increasing its running total to $23.5m since arriving on Wednesday.  The family sequel performed in line with market predictions but fell $7.5m short of its predecessor’s opening.

 

Meanwhile, last weekend’s No.1, ‘2 Guns’, dropped by a steep 60%, grossing $11.1m  in fifth place.  But it still boasts a strong $48.5m overall after ten days in play domestically.fluoxetine 40 mg capsulecan you buy fluoxetine over the counter fluoxetine for social anxietyfluoxetine 20 mg buy online prozac liquid formfluoxetine buy online uk fluoxetine 20 mg cap

‘Elysium’ leads openers during crowded box office

August 10th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Neill Blomkamp’s ‘Elysium’ led the pack of four wide openers at the North America box office after grossing $11.2m on Friday but its tally was still a tad below expectations.  The sci-fi drama, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, which received a ‘B’ CinemaScore from first night audiences, should finish the three days on a weekend high of $30.5m.

 

The R-rated Jennifer Aniston vehicle, ‘We’re the Millers’, grossed a further $8.5m on Friday, taking the crime comedy to an early $18.5m since Wednesday’s launch.  It received an encouraging ‘A-‘ CinemaScore and remains on pace for a strong $35m five-day opening haul.

 

Disney’s 3D ‘Cars’ spin-off, ‘Planes’, came in third on Friday after earning $8.1m on its debut.  But with family audiences turning out on Saturday and Sunday combined with strong word of mouth following an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore, it should exceed expectations over the weekend, finishing on $24m.

 

‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’ took $4.5m on Friday in line with market predictions.  The family adventure should take $15m during the weekend, leaving it on a solid $25m since arriving on Wednesday.fluoxetine 40 mg capsulecan you buy fluoxetine over the counter fluoxetine for social anxietyfluoxetine 20 mg buy online prozac liquid formfluoxetine buy online uk fluoxetine 20 mg cap

Stories We Tell

August 10th, 2013 - Graham Eley

As with Carol Morley’s ‘Dreams of a Life’, this latest feature from Sarah Polley is a semi-documentary investigation that strives for an approximation of the truth from various storytelling techniques, where many questions will always remain unanswered, but discovers some kind of a reality between emotion and memory, striking a chord with the audience and, in this instance, having deep personal significance for the filmmaker.

 

What starts as a cine-memoir of Polley’s deceased mother through talking heads, archive footage and Super 8 faux home movies gradually and unintentionally shifts its focus to the present and natural relationships that circumstances have denied and strong ties built on false assumptions and the almost irreparable conflict between the two.

 

Both of her parents, Michael and Diane Polley, were actors and reasonably well known in their day.  They formed an intense bond after meeting on stage but their temperaments often pulled in very different directions.  It was a marriage with strains rather than in crisis where the reality was understood but not discussed and goes some way to explaining Sarah’s thematic exploration of marital complexities in her first two features, ‘Away From Her’ and ‘Take This Waltz’.

 

Diane was a vivacious free spirit, always the life and soul of the party but striving for a happiness that seemed beyond her grasp or, at least, until she was away from home appearing in a play during her early forties.  A lively friendship with a young actor gave rise to gossip but she found an altogether more profound soul mate in Harry Gulkin, a starry-eyed film producer who has never come to terms with what’s what.

 

Michael was measured and reserved and raised Sarah on his own from the age of eleven after Diane’s devastating death from cancer.  Father and daughter were close, almost inseparable when time allowed but a recurring family joke, one of those that are less innocent than they first appear, made reference to their oddly different appearances.

 

‘Stories We Tell’ unmasks the backstory behind this joke, giving Michael, Harry,  Sarah’s siblings and other relatives and friends a say in a process that is less democratic than it first sounds.  Pride of place went to Michael, who reluctantly reads a lengthy narration from a glass booth with Sarah occasionally interjecting, asking him to repeat emotionally charged lines.  “What a vicious director you are” he responds during one exchange.

 

And how different Sarah is to her mother, retaining a professional objectivity throughout potentially life changing revelations.  We look on with astonishment as Sarah coolly takes in her stride an account of how close she came to being no more than another abortion statistic; Diane only changing her mind on the day itself.

 

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that notwithstanding an intricate multiple narrative, the various participants are generally in agreement on the facts.  These are eloquent and intelligent people making sense of one of life’s messes where no one is pointing the finger and what could have been an exercise in self indulgent filmmaking proves to be compelling and, at times, affecting viewing.fluoxetine 40 mg capsulecan you buy fluoxetine over the counter fluoxetine for social anxietyfluoxetine 20 mg buy online prozac liquid formfluoxetine buy online uk fluoxetine 20 mg cap

New Venice title

August 9th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Patrice Leconte’s big screen adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s novella ‘Journey into the Past’ will receive its world premiere out of competition at this year’s Venice International Film Festival.  Rebecca Hall stars alongside Alan Rickman and Richard Madden in the period drama where the wife of a powerful industrialist falls for her husband’s young assistant.  One of Zweig’s best known novellas ‘Letter from an Unknown Woman’ gave rise to Max Ophüls’ classic film of the same name.fluoxetine 40 mg capsulecan you buy fluoxetine over the counter fluoxetine for social anxietyfluoxetine 20 mg buy online prozac liquid formfluoxetine buy online uk fluoxetine 20 mg cap

New York Film Festival announces closing film

August 8th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Spike Jonze’s next feature, ‘Her’, will receive its world premiere closing this year’s New York Film Festival, which runs from Sep 27 – Oct 13.  Joaquin Phoenix heads a strong cast, including Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Scarlett Johansson, and plays a lonely writer, who forms a friendship with an advanced operating system.  Programmer, Kent Jones, refused to provide any other plot details.fluoxetine 40 mg capsulecan you buy fluoxetine over the counter fluoxetine for social anxietyfluoxetine 20 mg buy online prozac liquid formfluoxetine buy online uk fluoxetine 20 mg cap

‘Snowpiercer’ faces controversial changes

August 7th, 2013 - Graham Eley

There is trouble ahead, it seems, with news emerging today that Harvey Weinstein may cut/butcher Bong Joon-ho’s apocalyptic drama, ‘Snowpiercer’, starring Chris Evans, Jamie Bell and Tilda Swinton.  Reports suggest that Weinstein plans new voice overs and a 20 minute reduction for the version heading to North America and other English speaking countries notwithstanding the film’s record breaking debut in Bong’s native South Korea.  This is a new experience for the innovative auteur, who has built his reputation on the back of ‘The Host’, ‘Memories of Murder’ and other genre transgressing features where he has enjoyed absolute editorial control.  Expect concerted protests in the coming weeks.fluoxetine 40 mg capsulecan you buy fluoxetine over the counter fluoxetine for social anxietyfluoxetine 20 mg buy online prozac liquid formfluoxetine buy online uk fluoxetine 20 mg cap

Locarno Film Festival gets under way

August 6th, 2013 - Graham Eley

This year’s Locarno Film Festival gets under way tomorrow with artistic director, Carlo Chatrian, at the helm for the first time.  A varied competition line-up, which boasts 18 world premieres, includes keenly awaited new features from Corneliu Porumboiu (‘When Evening Falls on Bucharest and Metabolism’), Sangsoo Hong (‘Our Sunhi’) and Joanna Hogg (‘Exhibition’).  The international premiere of Baltasar Kormákur’s ’2 Guns’, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, will open the festival out of competition three days after claiming the top spot at the North America box office over the weekend.

 

World Premieres in the main competition

 

E Agora? Lembra-me (What Now? Remind Me)
Joaquim Pinto

 

Joaquim Pinto’s first film for ten years, ‘E Agora? Lembra-me’ (‘What Now? Remind Me’), is a personal portrayal of the filmmaker’s battle fighting HIV after being diagnosed with the virus over twenty years ago when his life expectancy was short.  Early indications suggest that it will be a modernist reflection on time, memory and shifting realities within the perimeters of the filmmaker’s very testing circumstances.  Pinto competed for the Golden Leopard with ‘Twin Flames’ in 1992.

 

Expectation – highly promising with the film’s potential to operate on multiple but connected levels.

 

 

El Mudo
Daniel and Diego Vega

 

Daniel and Diego Vega made an immediate impression with their debut feature, ‘October’, which picked up an Un Certain Regard jury prize at Cannes three years ago.  The Peruvian filmmaking duo now return with their keenly anticipated second feature, ‘El Mudo’, a dark comedy portraying a paranoid judge in fear for his life.  The siblings’ own company, Maretazo Cine, co-produced with France’s Urban Factory and Mexico’s No Dreams Cinema.

 

Expectation – it is likely to be a pretext for exploring frequent allegations surrounding the Peruvian justice system and corruption.

 

 

Exhibition
Joanna Hogg

 

Potentially, Joanna Hogg’s most experimental film so far, ‘Exhibition’, previously known as the ‘London Project’, deconstructs a couple’s psychological associations with a house that they plan to leave.  The Slits’ former guitarist, Viv Albertine, and conceptual artist, Liam Gillick, star alongside Hogg regular, Tom Hiddleston, who appeared in both of the filmmaker’s previous films, ‘Archipelago’ and ‘Unrelated’, the last of which picked up the FIPRESCI prize at the London Film Festival.

 

Expectation – intriguing casting, which sees YBA conceptual artist, Liam Gillick, give his first performance in a film exploring themes that would not be out of place in a gallery.

 

 

Feuchtgebiete (Wetlands)
David Wnendt

 

Carla Juri (‘Someone Like Me’) stars in David Wnendt’s big screen adaptation of Charlotte Roche’s controversial novel, ‘Wetlands’ (the more precise translation is ‘Moist Areas’), which, for a time, was the world’s No. 1 bestseller.  The wetlands/moist areas are either provocative references or lavatorial humour for female sexual organs – take your pick – and the heroine will recount her sex exploits from a hospital bed after an anal shaving mishap.

 

Expectation – sexual expression as a means to women’s freedom is old hat but the film will still have the curiosity factor.

 

 

Gare du Nord
Claire Simon

 

Experienced filmmaker, Claire Simon, has switched between documentary and fiction, and she employs both disciplines in her latest feature ‘Gare du Nord’.  Set in the French railway station that lends the film its title, Simon explores globalisation from different perspectives through the comings and goings of overseas travellers, French citizens and immigrants.

 

Expectation – setting the film in a transient network – or non-space – provides huge scope for Simon to make a telling contribution towards the topical globalisation sub-genre.

 

 

Historia de la Meva Mort (Story of My Death)
Albert Serra

 

Casanova meets Count Dracula in Albert Serra’s latest feature, ‘Story of My Death’, starring Vincenc Altaio Morral and Lluis Massanellas Serrat, for a surreal take on the emergence of a new Romantic spirit at the outset of the 19th century.  Serra is best known for ‘Honour of the Knights (Quixotic)’, which won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2006 Viennale.

 

Expectation – a potentially interesting exploration into cultural myths could equally prove self-indulgent unless Serra strikes the right balance.

 

 

L’Etrange couleur des larmes de ton corps (The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears)
Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani

 

Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani made an immediate impression with their debut feature, ‘Amer’, an imaginative revision of Italian giallo horror.  Their follow-up, ‘The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears’, is another dark tale, this time based on the vanishing woman theme.

 

Expectations – should be another smart deconstruction of genre conventions.

 

 

Mary, Queen Of Scots
Thomas Imbach

 

Thomas Imbach returns to the late Tudor period for another version of ‘Mary, Queen Of Scots’ with Camille Rutherford in the title role.  It is the first time that the Swiss filmmaker has competed for the Golden Leopard since his sci-fi drama ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun’ twelve years ago.

 

Expectations – after Nikolaj Arcel’s ‘A Royal Affair’, perhaps we should not be too hasty writing off tiresome sounding historical dramas.

 

 

Pays Barbare
Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi

 

The latest film from veteran documentary filmmaking team, Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi, explores the parameters of fascism from an historical perspective.  It is a continuation of the pair’s long deconstruction of ideologies and their conflicts.

 

Expectations – Gianikian’s and Ricci Lucchi’s highly experimental approach towards filmmaking should breathe new life into a familiar subject.

 

 

Sangue (Blood)
Pippo Delbono

 

Far-left paramilitaries continue to attract European filmmakers long after their heyday.  Pippo Delbono is the latest to tread this path with ‘Blood’ (‘Sangue’), a contemporary drama where a former Red Brigade activist forms a dangerous friendship upon his prison release.  Best known as an actor, Delbono has recently appeared in ‘I Am Love’ (Luca Guadagnino) and ‘Me and You’ (Bernardo Bertolucci).

 

Expectations – it will be interesting to see whether Delbono can transcend the sub-genre with a contemporary twist.

 

 

A Time in Quchi (2013)
Chang Tso-Chi

 

Chang Tso-Chi’s new film, ‘A Time in Quchi’, features a young boy who discovers happiness through an unlikely source when his world appears to be falling apart.  It is the follow-up to the Taiwanese filmmaker’s ‘When Love Comes’ (‘Dang Ai Lai De Shi Hou’), which bagged the top prize at the Golden Horse Film Festival three years ago.

 

Expectations – could be an interesting mix of charm and harsh realism.

 

 

Tableau Noir (Black Board)
Yves Yersin

 

Yves Yersin’s potential feel good documentary, ‘Blackboard’, takes a look at a mountain school that develops education alongside happiness.  The veteran Swiss filmmaker made a Locarno appearance 34 years ago with his best known feature, ‘Les petites fugues’.

 

Expectations – unlikely to offer us anything new but you never know.

 

 

Tomogui (Backwater)
Shinji Aoyama

 

Shinji Aoyama returns to Locarno where he picked up a special jury prize for ‘Tôkyô kôen’ two years ago.  Masaki Suda, Misaki Kinoshita and Yûko Tanaka (‘The Milkwoman’, ‘Hibi’) star in his latest feature, ‘Backwater’, a dark tale where a father and son both inflict abusive sex on their partners.  Aoyama is best known for ‘Eureka’, which won a FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes.

 

Expectations – a potentially different spin on abusive relationships from festival favourite, Shinji Aoyama, who will always attract interest.

 

 

Tonnerre
Guillaume Brac

 

After picking up a César nomination for his short(ish) ‘A World Without Women’, Guillaume Brac makes the move to features with ‘Tonnerre’.  A young woman, who is psychologically trapped in an earlier romance, dumbfounds a thirty something musician played by Vincent Macaigne.

 

Expectations – an early interest in Guillaume Brac’s debut feature has already translated into a pre-festival buzz.

 

 

U Ri Sunhi (Our Sunhi)
Sangsoo Hong

 

Jeong Yu-mi reunites with Sangsoo Hong after working together on ‘In Another Country’ and plays a 30 year old woman who has enigmatic encounters with three men from her past.  A key figure in the vibrant South Korean indie film sector, Hong is best known for ‘Hahaha’, which won the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes two years ago.

 

Expectations – Hong’s strong reputation on the festival circuit and beyond makes ‘Our Sunhi’ an early possible contender for the Golden Leopard.

 

 

Une Autre Vie (Another Life)
Emmanuel Mouret

 

Emmanuel Mouret returns to Locarno where his last feature, ‘The Art of Love’, premiered two years ago.  Joey Starr, who received a César best supporting actor nomination for his performance in Maïwenn’s ‘Polisse’, plays an electrician who wants to start a new life with a famous pianist but has the complication of an existing marriage.

 

Expectation – the complex relationship set-up has a familiar ring to it in a French sort of way.

 

 

Când se lasă seara peste Bucureşti sau metabolism (When Evening Falls on Bucharest and Metabolism)
Corneliu Porumboiu

 

A key player in the Romanian new wave, Corneliu Porumboiu won the Camera d’Or at Cannes for his debut feature ’12:08 East of Bucharest’ and picked up a jury prize and the FIPRESCI award at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard’s sidebar for his follow up, ‘Police, Adjective’.  He now returns with the evocatively titled ‘When Evening Falls on Bucharest and Metabolism’, where a director’s affair with a supporting actress takes an unexpected turn.

 

Expectation – arguably the most keenly anticipated film from this year’s competition selection.
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Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi adventure enjoys massive China opening

August 5th, 2013 - Graham Eley

‘Pacific Rim’ returned to the No. 1 position at the international weekend box office on the back of an outstanding $44.4m return from its five-day China opening.  Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi adventure remained active in 58 territories and grossed $53m during the session from 5,840 screens.

 

‘Smurfs 2’ disappointed slightly on its international debut, grossing a lukewarm $49.4m from 43 territories.  Sony were banking on the international markets, where its prospects seemed strong, to make emends for a poor North America opening.

 

Last weekend’s No.1, James Mangold’s ‘The Wolverine’, grossed a further $37.4m over the three days, taking its international tally to an impressive $160.1m.  The sixth instalment of the X-Men franchise accumulated its total from 12,865 screens in 66 markets.

 

And, Bong Joon Ho’s apocalyptic drama, ‘Snowpiercer’, grossed a record breaking $18m in the filmmaker’s native South Korea.  There is still no news of a North America release date.fluoxetine 40 mg capsulecan you buy fluoxetine over the counter fluoxetine for social anxietyfluoxetine 20 mg buy online prozac liquid formfluoxetine buy online uk fluoxetine 20 mg cap

Battle Of The Sexes, The

August 5th, 2013 - Graham Eley

How strange it seems today, returning forty years to the most watched tennis match ever, the extravagantly billed Battle of the Sexes, where self-styled male chauvinist, Bobby Riggs, takes on Billie Jean King for a $100,000 winner-takes-all prize and the even more important bragging rights in the fiercely contested gender war raging within the game itself and wider society.

 

What a preposterous event this was.  Bobby Riggs, a superb champion in his day, was now in his mid-Fifties and doing battle with arguably the greatest woman tennis player of all time during her peak.  And yet, a fanatical 30,000 plus packed into the Houston Astrodome to witness the encounter first hand and another 100 million tuned in on their tellies, elevating this glorified foregone conclusion, a metaphorical circus act, into a historic 20th century sporting spectacle.

 

Co-directors, James Erskine and Zara Hayes, go with the flow, capturing the media frenzy during the match’s build-up and the palpable tension of almost every shot but, at the same time, setting the scene with some first-class contextualisation that demythologises the hype, revealing the real stories unfolding below the surface.

 

The women tennis players’ fight for equality plays out like a microcosm of the feminist struggle across the board.  Some of the film’s best moments provide insight into nine leading players breaking away from the US Tennis Association and the split it causes within the women’s game.  Billie Jean leads the way, arguing her case elegantly and emerging as a more important figure within the women’s movement than history sometimes remembers.

 

Riggs was a slippery character, playing the buffoon but in a media savvy sort of way, attracting huge attention with battle cries like “the best way to handle women is to keep them pregnant and barefoot” and constantly raising the stakes.  He had already psyched out top women’s player, Margaret Court, winning a farce of contest where his opponent barely turned up.

 

Unsurprisingly, the politically switched on Billie Jean was reluctant to participate, aware of the underlying sexism beneath Riggs’ challenge, but felt compelled to accept after the Court fiasco.  It was a best of five sets with Riggs fishing for political capital from the red herring argument that the men’s longer game warranted higher pay, rather than prize money being linked to bums on seats.

 

The pair go toe to toe with lively banter during press conferences but are noticeably comfortable in each others’ company.  Billie Jean confronts him with a knowing smile, just as she does with her conservative husband who expresses views similar to Riggs’ but in a less offensive manner and it’s in these moments that we see glimpses of the real battle at ground level, a constant vying for power positions within American institutions where personal relationships complicate things.

 

A couple of gripes with this otherwise compelling documentary; the portrayal of the Court encounter is repetitive, making for a disjointed timeline and we could have done without the embarrassing tributes from today’s women players at the end.fluoxetine 40 mg capsulecan you buy fluoxetine over the counter fluoxetine for social anxietyfluoxetine 20 mg buy online prozac liquid formfluoxetine buy online uk fluoxetine 20 mg cap

Universal retains grip on domestic box office

August 5th, 2013 - Graham Eley

1.  2 Guns (Universal) Foresight Unlimited $27.4m (NE)
2. The Wolverine (Fox) Fox Int’l $21.7m ($95m) (1)
3.  The Smurfs 2 (Sony) SPRI $18.2m ($27.8m) (NE)
4. The Conjuring (Warner Bros) WBPI $13.7m ($108.6m) (2)
5. Despicable Me 2 (Universal) UPI $10.4m ($326.7m) (3)

 

Universal continued its strong year with ‘2 Guns’ becoming its seventh No.1 at the North America box office from nine releases.  Baltasar Kormaku’s secret agent’s drama, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, received a ‘B+’ CinemaScore from audiences during its Friday opening and went on to gross a strong $27.4m by Sunday night.

 

There was more disappointment for James Mangold’s ‘The Wolverine’ after last weekend’s modest opening.  The sixth instalment of the X-Men franchise, earned a mediocre $21.7m over the three days from a market high 3,924 theatres.

 

‘Smurfs 2’ struggled in the overcrowded children’s market, only grossing $18.2m over the weekend and a miserable $27.8m since its Wednesday debut.  Although Sony will be disappointed, the international market is its main target where the original grossed a strong $420m.

 

One of the summer’s success stories, ‘The Conjuring’, passed the $100m mark during its third weekend in play.  Continuing to defy the usual sharp falls for the horror genre, James Wan’s low budget surprise package enjoyed an excellent weekend in fourth place, grossing a further $13.7m.silvitra generic namesilvitra online purchasesilvitra for salesilvitra costsilvitra costsilvitra pricesilvitra price

‘2 Guns’ exceeds expectations

August 4th, 2013 - Graham Eley

Baltasar Kormákur’s ‘2 Guns’, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, made a strong start at the North America box office, grossing an unexpected $10m on Friday.  The undercover action comedy, which received a ‘B+’ CinemaScore from first night audiences, opened in a modest 3,025 theatres and should finish the three days just short of the $30m mark.

 

There was disappointment for Sony’s ‘The Smurfs 2’, which could only muster $5.5m on Friday, taking its early running total to $14.5m since Wednesday’s release.  Family audiences should give the comedy sequel a slight boost during Saturday and Sunday but its five day tally is unlikely to exceed a poor $28m.

 

Things did not improve for James Mangold’s ‘The Wolverine’ following last weekend’s quite start.  The sixth instalment of the X-Men franchise returned $6.4m during Friday from a market high 3,924 theatres, and it is on a pace for a second weekend $20m, being a heavy 69% drop.

 

There was no such problems for ‘The Conjuring’, which continued to defy the normal horror trends.  James Wan’s low budget surprise package enjoyed a $4.1m Friday for a fall of just 43% and it should end the weekend between $12-13m.silvitra generic namesilvitra online purchasesilvitra for salesilvitra costsilvitra costsilvitra pricesilvitra price

Chinese master makes his first Hollywood movie

August 1st, 2013 - Graham Eley

Ever since ‘Hero’ claimed the No. 1 spot at the North American box office, it has been on the cards that Zhang Yimou would make the move to Hollywood.  That day has now arrived with the Chinese master agreeing to direct a big screen adaptation of Victor Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback Of Notre Dame’ for Warner Bros, starring Josh Brolin.  Tim Burton was originally slated to direct but, in many ways, Yimou offers a more intriguing prospect with severe hardship being one of his major themes.  Yimou firmly established his reputation in the indie sector with high profile wins on the festival circuit, including the top prize at both Berlin and Venice (twice).silvitra generic namesilvitra online purchasesilvitra for salesilvitra costsilvitra costsilvitra pricesilvitra price