Archive for January, 2015

‘American Sniper’ heading for another easy win

January 31st, 2015 - admin

Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’ is heading for another easy win at the North American weekend box office as Warner Bros expands it to 3,885 theatres, a new high for a R-rated title. The Navy SEAL thriller should gross a further $40m during the three days en route to passing the $250m milestone notwithstanding the growing controversy over its ethics. It’s the film’s third weekend on wide release.

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Celluloid boards Panahi’s Berlin title

January 27th, 2015 - admin

Celluloid Dreams have boarded international sales on Jafar Panahi’s Berlin competition title, ‘Taxi’, being his third feature in defiance of his twenty year filmmaking ban for supporting the Green Wave uprising. It has a similar structure to Abbas Kiarostami’s ‘Ten’ and stars Panahi as a taxi driver discussing controversial subjects with a cross-selection of passengers. Celluloid will not being charging a fee.

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‘American Sniper’ goes from strength to strength

January 26th, 2015 - admin

Clint Eastwood’s controversial ‘American Sniper’ went from strength to strength at the North American box office with the highest ever January weekend holdover and an extraordinary $17,444 per theatre average. The Oscar nominated Navy SEAL biopic grossed a further $64.6m over the three days, taking its domestic tally to an exceptional $200.4m.


Newcomer, ‘The Boy Next Door’, starring Jennifer Lopez, also performed well in second place with a lively $14.9m at the top end of expectations. Neither shocking reviews – 13% aggregate rating on RT – nor a moderate ‘B-‘ CinemaScore seemed to have much impact on word of mouth, with the sexy thriller sub-genre establishing a momentum of its own.


Both of the other weekend wide releases performed below already scaled-down expectations, leaving ‘Strange Magic’ and ‘Mortdecai’ facing box office oblivion. They could only muster an ugly $5.5m and $4.2m respectively.

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‘Birdman’ pulls away as Oscar frontrunner after SAG success

January 26th, 2015 - admin

SAG has reinforced Birdman’s status as frontrunner for the best film Oscar by awarding the jet black comedy its top prize. It took almost two months for Boyhood to establish a convincing Oscar lead after success in the Golden Globes, Critics Choice and pre-Christmas critics awards, and just two days for the powerful producers’ and actors’ guilds to demolish it. The PGA took pundits by surprise on Saturday night when favouring Birdman but the SAG award was more predictable with the film’s high profile in the award season acting categories.


That said, Eddie Redmayne took the best actor prize for his performance in The Theory Of Everything ahead of Birdman’s Michael Keaton, the previous Oscar frontrunner. Redmayne will now head to the Oscars as favourite but it remains a competitive category.


But the same doesn’t appear to be the case for best actress, supporting actor and supporting actress, where the respective SAG winners, Julianne Moore (Still Alice), JK Simmons (Whiplash) and Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) look foregone conclusions for Oscar success.

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‘American Sniper’ enjoys another bumper Friday

January 25th, 2015 - admin

Clint Eastwood’s controversial ‘American Sniper’ continued to grab the headlines with another spectacular Friday at the North American box office. The Navy SEAL biopic exceeded expectations with an outstanding $18.3m haul, putting it on pace for a never before achieved $60m during a film’s second weekend on wide release in January.


It was also a strong Friday for newcomer, ‘The Boy Next Door’, starring Jennifer Lopez, which grossed $5.6m at the top end of market forecasts and the erotic thriller should finish the frame around an impressive $15m. Audiences liked it more than critics with a ‘B-‘ CinemaScore – not bad for the genre – against a putrid critical 13% aggregate rating on RT.


Both of the other weekend wide releases bombed just below the $1.5m mark, leaving ‘Mortdecai’ and ‘Strange Magic’ facing box office oblivion. Although below already low market expectations, it won’t surprise anyone.

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‘Birdman’ is shock winner of influential PGA award

January 25th, 2015 - admin

The hugely influential PGA has breathed unexpected life into the best film Oscar race by awarding its top prize to ‘Birdman’. After success in the Golden Globes and Critics Choice, ‘Boyhood’ seemed to be establishing an unassailable lead after dominating the pre-Christmas critics awards but, arguably, has now lost its frontrunner status. It was also a bad night for ‘The Imitation Game’, which failed to receive the industry support that some had anticipated. Suddenly, tonight’s SAG ceremony has taken on paramount importance; particularly with ‘Birdman’ having enjoyed the most award season acting exposure.


Two films not in Oscar contention, ‘Life Itself’ and ‘The LEGO Movie’, won best documentary and animated feature respectively.

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Scorsese’s period drama entering production

January 24th, 2015 - admin

Martin Scorsese will commence filming at the end of the month on his long gestating period drama, ‘Silence’. Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver all star in the tale of Christian persecution during 17th century Japan, which Scorsese has long identified as a key project. Paramount already holds US distribution rights and it will appear in theatres during 2016.

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Funny Balloons pick up new Pablo Larraín drama

January 24th, 2015 - admin

Funny Balloons have wasted no time in taking world sale rights to ‘The Club’, the latest drama from the leading Chilean new wave filmmaker, Pablo Larraín. The production remained under wraps until the film made an appearance in Berlin’s main competition line up and it features five secluded priests struggling to purge past sins. Roberto Farias, Antonia Zegers and Alfredo Castro all return in starring roles from Larraín’s Oscar nominated best foreign language film, ‘No’.

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‘The Boy Next Door’ defies shocking reviews

January 23rd, 2015 - admin

Rob Cohen’s torrid affair thriller, ‘The Boy Next Door’, starring Jennifer Lopez, grossed a strong $500,000 from 1,869 theatres upon arriving at the North American box office on Thursday night. Putrid reviews – currently an ugly 13% on RT – could hinder momentum, putting it on pace for approximately $12m over the weekend. It expands to 2,602 theatres today.

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Magnolia Pictures swoop for Sundance title

January 22nd, 2015 - admin

Magnolia Pictures have moved quickly to pick up world rights on Andrew Bujalski’s fifth feature, ‘Results’, ahead of its world premiere at Sundance next Tuesday. Bujalski breaks free from his Mumblecore roots with a romantic comedy that has Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders playing two mismatched personal trainers encountering an idiosyncratic client. His last film, ‘Computer Chess’, won the Alfred P. Sloan award at Sundance two years ago for its unique portrayal of artificial intelligence.

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Coen Bros’ preside over Cannes jury

January 20th, 2015 - admin

Former Palme d’Or winners, the Coen Bros, will be this year’s jury presidents at the Cannes Film Festival, which runs from May 13-24. It comes after eight of their films have screened in the main competition during an association that dates back almost twenty years. The prestigious appointment marks the first time that the jury has had co-presidents.

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‘Taken 3’ takes int’l crown during 3rd weekend

January 20th, 2015 - admin

Fox’s adventure thriller, ‘Taken 3’, grossed a solid $31.6m from 58 markets to win the international weekend box office. The UK was its strongest market for the second weekend running after racking up an impressive $5.2m, with Germany close behind on $4.4m. The film’s overall international tally now stands at $99.5m following three weekends in play.

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SPC takes Vera Brittain biopic

January 19th, 2015 - admin

Sony Pictures Classics have picked up North American rights to James Kent’s London Film Festival title, ‘Testament of Youth’. Alicia Vikander plays Vera Brittain, who famously surrendered her Oxford University scholarship to join the troops as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse on the WW1 frontline. ‘Calendar Girls’ co-writer, Juliette Towhidi, adapted the script from Brittain’s First World War memoir of the same name.

‘American Sniper’ smashes MLK weekend record

January 19th, 2015 - admin

Clint Eastwood’s controversial R-rated ‘American Sniper’ smashed the North American box office record books over the weekend with the highest ever January three day opening and has already surpassed the previous Martin Luther King holiday four day high with Monday still to come. What’s more, the Navy SEAL thriller will easily cross the magic $100m milestone over the extended session, a good $40m ahead of top end market forecasts, after clocking up an astounding $90.2m by Sunday night. Clearly, Warner Bros have timed the expansion to perfection, maximising a rare ‘A+’ cinemaScore and multiple Oscar nominations, but the film’s commercial success coincides with growing concern over the ethics of its real life ‘hero’, Chris Kyle.


Somewhat overshadowed, two newcomers are fighting a close battle for second place after registering higher than expected returns of their own. Kevin Hart’s R-rated comedy ‘The Wedding Ringer’ currently stands at $24.8m, a narrow $0.5m ahead of the ‘Paddington’ adaptation, with respective ‘A-‘ and ‘A’ cinemaScores powering momentum.


The other wide newcomer, ‘Blackhat’, continues to bomb spectacularly. Michael Mann’s $70m crime drama faces box office oblivion after grossing a truly awful $4m over the three days.




Clint Eastwood’s Navy SEAL thriller, ‘American Sniper’, finished the MLK weekend with a record breaking $105.3m, doubling market expectations.
‘Paddington’ came from behind to take second place with $25.2m after family audiences turned out for the Michael Bond adaptation.
Kevin Hart’s R-rated comedy ‘The Wedding Ringer’ was only just behind on $24.5m after the two films were neck and neck throughout the frame.
And, Michael Mann’s $70m crime drama, ‘Blackhat, could only muster a disastrous $4.4m.

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‘American Sniper’ sets new record with wide release

January 18th, 2015 - admin

Multiple Oscar nominations and powerful word of mouth since its limited release in the speciality market have propelled Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’ to a stunning $30.5m Friday after going wide at the North American box office. It’s the highest ever single day January tally in the box office’s history and sets up an astonishing $80m+ haul over the four-day Martin Luther King weekend; making a mockery of market and studio forecasts.


There’s a close battle for second place between two of the weekend’s wide releases. Kevin Hart’s R-rated comedy ‘The Wedding Ringer’ established an early lead on Friday with a solid $6.9m but the Michael Bond adaptation, ‘Paddington’ grossed a higher than predicted $4.6m and has the advantage of family audiences during the remainder of the session. Both films have strong word of mouth – an ‘A-‘ cinemaScore for ‘The Wedding Ringer’ and an even better ‘A’ for ‘Paddington’ – and they should earn $25m apiece over the four days.


The other wide newcomer, ‘Blackhat’, has bombed. Michael Mann’s crime drama could only muster $1.3m on Friday and will barely clear $5m during the session against a $70m production budget. And with audiences awarding it a ‘C-‘ cinemaScore and critics agreeing – 31% on RT – there seems no hope for a recovery.

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Sundance World Premiere 2015: Craig Zobel’s ‘Z for Zachariah’

January 18th, 2015 - admin

Craig Zobel adapts Robert C. O’Brien’s sci-fi thriller, ‘Z for Zachariah’, for his follow up to the challenging but well received morality thriller, ‘Compliance’. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie and Chris Pine play three parties to a love triangle in a post-apocalyptic future, which becomes a pretext for exploring the corrupting impact of power and science. David Gordon Green’s regular collaborator, Tim Orr, provides the cinematography.

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Sundance World Premiere 2015: Joe Swanberg’s ‘Digging For Fire’

January 18th, 2015 - admin

The discovery of a bone and a gun becomes the unlikely trigger for a married couple to embark upon separate adventures during the course of a weekend. Filmmaker, Joe Swanberg, co-wrote it with Jake Johnson, who also features in the impressive cast, including Anna Kendrick, Rosemarie Dewitt, Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson and Sam Rockwell. Swanberg remains best known as a leading architect of the ‘mumblecore’ movement.

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Sundance World Premiere 2015: Louie Psihoyos’ ‘Racing Extinction’

January 18th, 2015 - admin

Louie Psihoyos made a massive splash with his debut feature, ‘The Cove’, which went on to win the Oscar for best documentary. He is on the animal rights campaigning trail again with his keenly awaited follow up, ‘Racing Extinction’, and infiltrates the endangered species black market. Mark Monroe returns as the writer.

Sundance World Premiere 2015: John Crowley’s ‘Brooklyn’

January 17th, 2015 - admin

John Crowley’s ‘Brooklyn’ returns to Fifties Ireland and New York for a romance-drama that explores loyalties split between two different communities. Nick Hornby adapted the script from Colm Toibin’s novel of the same name and Saoirse Ronan leads a strong cast including Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent. It’s Crowley’s first film to debut at Sundance.

Sundance World Premiere 2015: Amy Berg’s ‘Prophet’s Prey’

January 17th, 2015 - admin

Investigative filmmaker, Amy Berg, turns her attention to Warren Jeffs, who abused his position as leader of a Latter-Day Saints fundamental church in carrying out multiple sex crimes but still wields influence over his congregation from a prison cell. It’s Berg’s second documentary to look at institutionalised church sex offences after the Oscar nominated ‘Deliver Us from Evil’ eight years ago. She is currently best known for the rough justice doc, ‘West of Memphis’.

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‘Selma’ under-performs after wide expansion

January 11th, 2015 - admin

Selma’s disastrous week continued when Paramount expanded Ava DuVernay’s civil rights drama from 22 to 2,179 theatres at the North American box office. After missing out at the Producers Guild and BAFTA nominations, it could only muster a poor $3.7m on Friday notwithstanding a rare ‘A+’ CinemaScore and an exceptional 98% current Rotten Tomatoes aggregate critics rating (and 96% with top critics). This will leave it facing a soft $11m weekend, below market and studio expectations.


The other wide weekend release, ‘Taken 3’, starring Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker and Maggie Grace, fared much better; grossing a stronger than expected opening $14.7m off 3,593 theatres, including $1.6m from Thursday night previews. Audiences enjoyed the final instalment of the franchise much more than critics with a ‘B+’ CinemaScore against a 11% Rotten Tomatoes critics aggregate. The action thriller should finish the three days around $36m.

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Kapadia expands cast for ‘Ali & Niño’ adaptation

January 11th, 2015 - admin

Maria Valverde is the latest recruit for Asif Kapadia’s adaptation of Kurban Said’s bestseller, ‘Ali & Niño’, and will star alongside rising star, Adam Bakri (‘Omar’).  Set in the Azerbaijan capital at the outset of the 20th century, a young Muslim forms an unlikely romance with a Christian girl when surrounded by political turmoil and war. Kapadia’s is best known for his outstanding documentary, ‘Senna’.

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January 10th, 2015 - admin

Here’s one for flag-wavering, bible-bashing patriots from the ‘Land of the Free’ who demand that the Oscars are little more than a patronising tribute to their homeland and its ideology.


And, yet, it has a breathtaking opening scene par excellence that throws us into the action aboard a B-24 bomber, with Roger Deakins performing the kind of cinematographic gymnastics to match last year’s ‘Gravity’ before the film – like the fighter plane itself – nosedives.


It’s Angelina Jolie’s second feature in the director’s chair, being not only a celebration of real life multiple hero, Louie Zamperini, but of genre filmmaking, and WW2 action movies in particular, leaving us to count the clichés and familiar conventions as the film becomes an unintentional but inevitable parody of itself.


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Prolonged and tedious scenes of his 47 days adrift on the Pacific Ocean suffer in comparison to J.C. Chandor’s outstanding survival movie, ‘All Is Lost’, with a ‘Jaws’ moment being the film’s lowest point.


And Zamperini’s torture at the hands of the Japanese drifts too close to racial stereotyping for comfort but, otherwise, is reasonably well handled.


Rising star, Jack O’Connell, makes the most of a tired script – astonishingly, co-written by the Coens – but has less scope to shine in the lead role than with the excellent ‘Starred Up’ and ’71’.


And there’s an eye catching performance from Miyavi as a sadistic POW commander, ‘The Bird’, who responds to guilt with increasingly more demented acts.


Ultimately, though, this was never going to work without Jolie transcending the genre.

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Matthias Schoenaerts boards ‘The Danish Girl’

January 10th, 2015 - admin

Matthias Schoenaerts is the latest high profile addition to the cast of Tom Hooper’s ‘The Danish Girl’, which already includes Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard and current Oscar hopeful, Eddie Redmayne as the lead. It’s Hooper’s follow up to ‘Les Misérables’ and dramatises Einar Wegener’s relationship with his fellow painter and wife, Gerda, after undergoing a sex change operation during the 1930’s. Lucinda Coxon adapts the script from David Ebershoff’s novel of the same name.

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‘Taken 3’ makes solid start

January 10th, 2015 - admin

Fox’s action thriller, ‘Taken 3’, starring Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker and Maggie Grace, grossed a satisfactory $1.6m from Thursday night previews at the North American box office. A good kicking from the critics – currently 11% on RT – is unlikely to deter the franchise fan base and the film should be heading for an opening $30m+ weekend. It expanded from 2,499 to 3,593 theatres last night.

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Berlin announces opener

January 10th, 2015 - admin

Berlin International Film Festival opens with the world premiere of Isabel Coixet’s latest feature, ‘Nobody Wants the Night’ in competition. An impressive ensemble cast includes Juliette Binoche, Rinko Kikuchi and Gabriel Byrne and the film focuses on two women enduring extreme conditions in Arctic Greenland at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s the third time that Coixet has competed for the Golden Bear.

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Alexander Payne and Reese Witherspoon reunite

January 8th, 2015 - admin

Reese Witherspoon joins the cast of Alexander Payne’s social satire, ‘Downsizing’, reuniting the pair for the first time since ‘Election’ fifteen years ago. Payne is writing the script with long term collaborator, Jim Taylor, and it focuses on an idiosyncratic forty something with an extreme view of downsizing. Long in development, the film seemed to be heading nowhere until Payne cast Matt Damon in the lead role last November.

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Five Armies retains international crown

January 7th, 2015 - admin

Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies’ won the international box office for the fourth consecutive weekend after grossing another $52.5m. It remained active in a high 65 markets but still has China to come with a January 23 launch. The weekend’s impressive haul was enough to take the film over the $500m international milestone.

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US pursuing Polanski extradition

January 7th, 2015 - admin

The US is renewing efforts to secure the extradition of legendary filmmaker, Roman Polanski, almost forty years after he fled the country. Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year old girl as part of a well documented plea bargain and would have faced a certain jail term. The Prosecutor General’s office in Warsaw will interview Polanski during its consideration of the extradition request.

‘American Sniper’ rewrites box office record books

January 5th, 2015 - admin

Clint Eastwood’s Navy SEAL thriller, ‘American Sniper’, rewrote the record books at the North American speciality box office with a sensational $160,000 per-location average from four theatres during its second weekend in play. That’s the highest ever average first weekend hold and provides another major boost to the film’s late award season surge. It goes wide on Jan 26.


J.C. Chandor’s third feature, ‘A Most Violent Year’ also caught the eye with a strong $47,000 per-location average from four theatres. The crime drama has now taken $300,000 since arriving on New Year’s Eve to secure qualification for this year’s Oscars. It’s Chandor’s follow up to ‘All Is Lost’ and remains an outside bet – at best – in the Oscar nomination race.


Another Oscar hopeful, ‘The Imitation Game’, made quite a splash of its own taking a stunning $7.7m off just 754 theatres during its sixth weekend for the best per-screen average from any film on wide release. The Alan Turing biopic has now grossed $30.8m domestically.


The top end followed a predictable course with Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ grabbing another $22m to claim its third consecutive win.


‘Into the Woods’ and ‘Unbroken’ enjoyed strong holdovers in second and third spots after earning $19m and $18.4m respectively.


And the weekend’s only new wide release, ‘The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death’ over-performed in fourth. Poor reviews – 24% on RT – and a disappointing ‘C’ cinemaScore didn’t deter the resilient horror crowd as Tom Harper’s horror sequel grossed $15m from 2,602 theatres. Relatively picked it up for a bargain basement $1m.

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‘The Woman In Black’ sequel enjoys strong Friday

January 4th, 2015 - admin

Tom Harper’s ‘The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death’ exceeded expectations at the North American box office with a strong $7.7m opening Friday from 2,602 theatres (including $1.5m off Thursday previews). Poor reviews – 24% on RT – and a disappointing ‘C’ cinemaScore are unlikely to deter the horror crowd and the film should finish the weekend around $16m, just $4m off the original’s launch. It’s a noteworthy achievement, after factoring in that Relatively picked it up for a bargain basement $1m and Daniel Radcliffe has not returned.


It will not be enough to derail ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ in claiming a third consecutive weekend win. The Middle Earth adaptation grossed a further $8.3m on Friday, putting it on pace for a strong $23m session.


There were also solid holds for ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Into the Woods’ with both earning an additional $17.4m respectively. Expect both films to overtake the ‘The Woman In Black’ sequel during the weekend.

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‘The Woman In Black’ sequel heading for a steady start

January 3rd, 2015 - admin

Tom Harper’s ‘The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death’ arrives in 2,602 North American theatres this weekend and should gross around $10m over the three days. This would equal approximately half the original’s opening tally but Relatively picked it up for a modest $1m. Jeremy Irvine leads the cast with Daniel Radcliffe not returning.


Harper made his name in the indie sector with the hard hitting ‘The Scouting Book for Boys’ five years ago and his switch to cheap horror fare should be short lived – hopefully.

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Two Bens to compete against each other

January 2nd, 2015 - admin

Ben Russell and Ben Rivers, who co-directed last year’s superb meditative feature, ‘A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness’, will compete against each other in this year’s Tiger Shorts Awards at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.


Russell’s evocatively entitled, ‘Greetings To The Ancestors’ explores apartheid’s impact on future hopes in the borderlands of Swaziland and South Africa.


Whilst Rivers examines his own possessions in ‘Things’ with the objectiveness of a third party.


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Bible, Tommy Hartung (US)


Blinder, Tim Leyendekker (The Netherlands, Brazil)


La Fievre, Safia Benhaim (France)


Greetings To The Ancestors, Ben Russell (US, South Africa, United Kingdom)


The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music, The Propeller Group (Vietnam)


Mainsqueeze, Jon Rafman (Canada)


The Main Colors Of The Sky Radiate Forgetfulness, Basim Magdy (Egypt)


Moon Blink, Rainer Kohlberger (Austria)


Night Soil – Fake Paradise, Melanie Bonajo (US, The Netherlands)


Our Body, Dane Komljen (Serbia, Germany)


Panchrome I, II, III, T. Marie (US)


Quiet Zone, Karl Lemieux (Canada)


Raking Light, James Richards (Germany)


Raymond, Nina Yuen (US)


Swimming In Your Skin Again, Terence Nance (US)


Things, Ben Rivers (United Kingdom)


Tijd En Plaats, Een Gesprek Met Mijn Moeder, Martijn Veldhoen (The Netherlands)


Untitled (The City At Night), Ane Hjort Guttu (Norway)


Voice-Over, Roy Villevoye (The Netherlands)


You’re Dead To Me, Min-Wei Ting (Singapore)

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January 1st, 2015 - admin

A contemporary reworking of an older source often drifts into contrivance as the grander scheme bears heavy on the plot and such is the case with Andrei Zvyagintsev’s somber assault on post-Soviet Russia notwithstanding some outstanding moments along the way.


This is the retelling of Job’s suffering set in the back of beyond where a fishing village on the North Russian coast looks as cold as the Arctic Ocean and a tyrannical mayor is a Satan figure in cahoots with the Russian Orthodox Church.


An enormous whale skeleton lies on the beach, conjuring up images of the film title’s sea monster, which a simple car mechanic, Kolia, has to catch “with a fish-hook” as a cynical ungodly priest puts it.


And title’s blatant and sardonic secondary reference to Thomas Hobbes’ call for legitimate government in his masterpiece of the same name would have been enough to see the film banned in the not so distant past, but its submission as Russia’s official entry for a best foreign language film Oscar suggests that new Russia has prioritised reflective glory over anti-filmic ‘subversion’.


The plot – and Kolia’s loss, of course – starts with the simple premise that the mayor will stop at nothing to seize Kolia’s inherited property for his own expansive land development and follows a familiar patten, at least initially, when Kolia’s friend, a Moscow lawyer, arrives on the scene.


Things become more complicated as the State, Church and the individual intersect around an abuse of power and a deceit that’s rooted in both history and the recent change; a new lawlessness that takes the worst of the East and the West.


Superb performances avoid caricature or character types with Roman Madyanov as the standout as the mayor unable to conceal his vulnerabilities.


And the drama is engaging and intense for three quarters of the film but a Dostoyevskian despair and copious Vodka drinking – laying on the analogy too thick – eventually overpower it; a pity.

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