Archive for November, 2008

Interview with Summer writer Hugh Ellis

28 November, 2008

It’s not often that the dizzying glitz of a film premiere comes to Nottingham. But next week will mark the release of locally shot independent film Summer, with a special Gala Premiere event at the Broadway Cinema.

Summeris the story of two childhood friends, Shaun and Daz. Struggling with school on account of his undiagnosed dyslexia, Shaun battles against the establishment finding the only solace in best mate Daz and his first love Katy. Twenty years later, a wheelchair bound Daz has just eight weeks to live, leading him and Shaun (now Daz’s full-time carer) to relive the memories of their childhood and one particularly memorable summer.

To mark the release of the film, directed by Kenny Glenaan and starring Robert Carlyle, I caught up with the film’s writer and native Bolsover resident, Hugh Ellis, to chat about all things related to the film – shot on location around Bolsover – and the writing process.

You can hear the full interview with Hugh on working with the cast and crew, and how the film came about by clicking the player above.

Summer will be released in selected cinemas across the country on 5th December, with the premiere being held at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema on 3rd December – featuring the cast and crew of the film.

Trailer-blazing

27 November, 2008

In the light of all the praise and devotion I have given to the mighty film poster on this blog of late, I have decided that it would only be fair to dedicate a similar amount of space and time to the art of the movie trailer and the latest and greatest pledges of what’s to come in cinema land.

So here it is, my definitive round-up of the best ‘coming to a cinema near you soon’ moments sprawling their glittery, Look-at-how-ace-I-look delights over big screen across the country. Film fans, behold:

Terminator Salvation

I love the first two Terminator films with a truly, truly unhealthy passion. Too often do I find myself waking up in the middle of the night, hammering boards to the doors in a  frenzied panic that an unstoppable robot is coming for me, shortly before rolling around on the floor spouting line after line of dialogue like some ungodly incantation. As a result, news of this fourth installment (we shall never, ever speak of the third) got me very excited. Despite hearing that the diabolically poor McG would be directing and star Christian Bale has been unhappy with the production from pretty much day one, this trailer still makes me incredibly happy in all the right ways. I am, perhaps naively, keeping the faith on this one.

 

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

The sixth installment of the Harry Potter series that, frankly, I don’t know anyone that’s heard of, is due for release in July next year and the darker tones of previous forays into J K Rowling’s world conquering cash-cow seem to be continuing. The trailer for Potter’s latest exploits drips with gloomy, ‘not suitable for younger children’ tones and looks all the better for it in my opinion.

 

Watchmen

One of the most anticipated comic book adaptations ever, Watchmenis directed by 300 helmer Zach Snyder and based on Alan Moore’s comic of the same name – widely accepted as the Citizen Kane of comics. Trapped in development turmoil for years as producers fought over who owned the film rights, the film looks back on track and this latest trailer looks like it might just be as fantastic as the millions of fans, hell-bent on protecting every aspect of their beloved comic and ensuring it is exactly as Moore imagined it, are hoping for. No pressure.

 

Star Trek

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a massive Star Trek fan in any respect. nor do I think there’s anything wrong with being a Trekky. But watching this trailer with an open mind it’s hard not to get at least a little bit excited about it. I’ve already spoken on this blog about how much i like director J J Abrams and the way he seems to be genuinely interested in pushing things in different creative directions, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out. There’s a lot to like about this trailer, including a much darker looking Captain Kirk, a greased up Simon Pegg as Scotty and and old and wizened looking Mr Spock. Could this be waht it takes to make Trekking cool again?

 

The Wrestler

For those in a more serious, Oscar-like frame of mind, Darren Aronofsky’s latest film is already causing a great amount of murmuration in the golden statue circles. The story of a retired pro-wrestler who tries to work his way back into the industry for one final fight, The Wrestler is being praised for star mickey Rourke’s performance in a role which in many ways reflects his own troubled life. From the trailer it’s easy to see why Rourke is getting attention and this feels a lot to me like this year’s Brokeback Mountain.

 

Monsters Vs Aliens

Next summer is shaping up to be a real animated battleground. As has become the custom, Pixar, Dreamworks and Disney will all be releasing their CGI heavy-hitters at around the same time, although thankfully they do all seem to be different this time. Disney’s Boltand Pixar’s Up look to have been pipped this time around however by Monsters Vs Aliens, which boasts not only the most interesting looking story but also the best cast thanks to the likes of Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Keifer Sutherland, Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon. A contender to finally topple Pixar? I think so.

 

Is there anything you’re particularly excited about at the moment? Any films in the making you can’t wait for? Why not leave a comment below and discuss with other merry film lovers. Marvelous.

“Holy lawsuits Batman, looks like we’re in trouble…”

11 November, 2008

As much as I appreciate how perilously close I am getting to actually posting on this blog every day, I feel compelled to share this utterly, utterly bizarre piece of news with you, fair readers, as a matter of urgency.

Batman is suing The Dark Knight director, Christopher Nolan, over unauthorised use of the name ‘Batman’.

Yes, you heard. But sadly this is not proof that the caped crusader actually exists, rather it refers to Batman, the well known Turkish city. Obviously.

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The town, located in the South East of the country, has begun looking into legal action against the British director – not DC Comics, owner of the franchise, or creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger – after the falling on harsh times.

The Hurriyet Daily News reports:

“The royalty of the name ‘Batman’ belongs to us … There is only one Batman in the world. The American producers used the name of our city without informing us,” [Mayor of Batman city, Hüseyin] Kalkan told the Doğan news agency… Mayor Kalkan, speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News and the Economic Review, said last year foreign media picked up on Batman and the city’s increasing suicide rates among women. He said a columnist asked why Batman’s mayor did not sue the movie Batman for royalties while struggling with economic problems. “We found this criticism right and started to look for legal possibilities of a case like that,” he said.

Luckily, however, it would seem DC Comics anticipated this move some time ago, and reprimanded the caped crusader for his actions – which apparently also included jewel theft amongst his nefarious deeds:

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So there you go.

 

Also, while this post seems to be teetering on the brink of absurdity, let’s seal the deal with this youtube diamond. Simultaneously the nerdiest and greatest thing I have ever laid witness to. Behold…

This week’s picks

10 November, 2008

Welcome back to Chad Cinema and this week’s exhaustive list of all cinematic happenings you should and shouldn’t be paying attention to.

In a typically pre-festive amble, most of the big studios are holding on to what remains of this year’s big hitters until Christmas. And although this typically makes for a great time for lesser known gems to sneak in and hog all the big screen glory, they clearly don’t fancy it this week.

New multiplex releases are led by the epically poor looking Max Payne – another fanboy cash-in of meaningless action, based on the 2001 video game of the same game – which has so far met with let’s say less than raving reviews.

Also out in popcorn wonderland is Zack and Miri Make a Porno, the wittily titled joint venture between comedy brat-pack favourite, Seth Rogen, and director Kevin Smith. I’ve never been completely sold on Seth Rogen’s particular canon of work; when he’s on form it’s great but take him off the boil and the act becomes very tiresome, very quickly. This latest sees Rogen as Zack, broke and living with best friend Miri (Elizabeth Banks) when the pair decide to make a special grown-up film together – in case you hadn’t figured that out from the title.

If you’re after something a little more thought provoking, Steve Mcqueen’s (no, not that one) heavy going, but rewarding Hunger is showing at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema. which shows the final months of Irish Republican Army activist, Bobby Sands, as he battles against prison guards while on hunger strike in protest of his incarceration. The film won the Camera D’Or award at this year’s Cannes film festival and is the first feature length film from the Brit artist-turned-director, already making waves in the British cinema scene.

The fifteen best film posters ever…probably

5 November, 2008

And so here we are, the difficult ‘follow-up’ blog. I’m assuming the same rules apply to blogs as any popular director/band/musician/artist, and therefore the contents of this post will be rendered totally irrelevant, overshadowed by the fact that it is doomed to be criticised from the start – purely for not being as ground-breaking as its predecessor.

After making this acute observation I wept for several hours at just how fickle you, the fair reader, can be. And after that I decided to talk about film posters.

 

Production companies spend millions upon millions of dollars promoting films. More so than ever these days. But as promotional material is having to become more and more innovative to stand out, the humble film poster can be easily overlooked.

This is not to take anything away from the ingenuity and effectiveness of modern promotional techniques. The first film of the last decade which springs to mind as a true example of the rule-book-out-the-window method is The Blair Witch Project, with its faux-documentary narrative being carried along with the films pre-release build up. And the method worked like a charm, with droves of bright spark Americans logging on to the film’s website – filled with mocked up newspaper cuttings and reports of the ‘missing’ teens – and clogging police phone lines in the hope of helping their investigations.

In more recent years Lost creater J J Abrams got cinema-goers salivating by shooting, editing and releasing the enigmatic 1-18-08 trailer for his feature film Cloverfield before shooting any other scenes for the film. More recently still The Dark Knight conjured up an admirable viral advertising campaign which tore it’s way through the internet – culminating in fans receiving bizarre answerphone messages from characters and hunting around cities across the world on cryptic treasure hunts.

Something still remains to be said for the humble film poster however. The best can be iconic, memorable pieces of artwork, capable of representing an entire generation or a snapshot in time with just a single glance. And so here is my tribute to the ten greatest film posters to have ever been put to print.

The list is, as ever, definitive and indisputable. But if you have any of your own suggestions, leave a comment below and I will explain how and why you are wrong.

 

15. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western masterpiece kicks our list off. The plain background makes the focal points of the poster stand out, while the chaotic depiction of America’s Civil War running through the middle splits the text and imagery. The simple, left to right staggered lay-out also guides your eye through the poster. All clever stuff.

 

14. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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Andrew Dominik’s criminally underrated, poetic, and overly titled 2007 biopic comes next. The poster for the beautiful neo-western reflects the film perfectly, with a brooding, foreboding air about it – made all the more striking by Casey Afleck’s sinister Robert Ford jolting the focus away from Pitt in the centre.

 

13. Apocalypse Now

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Famously the film that almost bankrupted Francis Ford Coppola, the poster for his ever changing and iconic Vietnam epic is as eerie as the film itself. The impact comes from the striking red and orange colour scheme and the floating images of the film’s stars – particularly Marlon Brando’s seemingly melting face of the estranged Colonel Kurtz.

 

12. Irreversible

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Shockingly violent and consistently relentless, Gaspar Noé’s disjointed, back-to-front film became an instant icon of modern French cinema on its release in 2003. The poster may be considerably easier to look at than the film, but still gives viewers a hard time with the backwards lettering and writing and jarring angles.

 

11. Straw Dogs

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This simple and striking poster for Sam Peckinpah’s controversial and shocking 1973 film gets the point across perfectly. The shattered lens of Dustin Hoffman’s glasses adds an unsettling feel to the extreme close up of the stars face, echoed by the still calm of his face.

 

10. Dead Man’s Shoes

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The eye-catching use of colour in this poster for Brit Shane Meadows’ 2004 revenge film is what makes it stand out. Paddy Considine’s axe wielding silhoette dominates the frame, while the three-coloured title cuts through him.

 

9. Silence of the Lambs

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The instantly unsettling imagery of this is what lands it in the top ten of my list. The cold blue of the background gives the poster a chilling feel, while the moth silencing Clarice Starling just adds to the unsettling nature of the image.

 

8. Alien

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Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterclass in science-fiction/horror comes next. Simplicity is the key once again, with the darkness of the poster breaking only for the neon, alien green of the franchise’s H. R Geiger designed creature, alongside the film’s title and legendary tagline.

 

7. E.T

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Another Spielberg classic and one of cinema’s most endearing moments, this is the image that raises fond smiles in generations of cinema-goers, young and old, and epitomises childish escapism of sitting down, watching a brilliant film, and leaving the world behind.

 

6. The Exorcist

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The poster to William Friedkin’s 1973 horror is instantly recognisable and the face of controversial horror films. The image still carries the same impact today with the striking lighting and the ill-fated Father Merrin’s silhouette.

 

5. Secretary

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Straight forward, sexy and provocative, this poster to Steven Shainberg’s shockingly under-seen 2002 film says everything about the subtle, obscurely romantic and brilliant story of a girl struggling to find her identity.

 

4. The Thing

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John Carpenter’s 1982 arctic horror is a shining achievement of the genre. Arriving just at the cusp of a computer generated tsunami which, for better or worse, changed the face of American cinema, Carpenter stuck to his guns – opting for sophisticated animatronics and clever film making to terrify audiences. This poster conveys all of the mystery and enigma of the film eponymous monster, while still creating a striking image to look at.

 

3. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

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The ultimate snapshot film poster. Bold primary colours and chic design combine with the image of the most beautiful woman every to grace to silver screen to create an image totally symbolic of the 60s.

 

2. Bladerunner

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Another Ridley Scott science-fiction icon. The poster for his 1982 classic mirrors the film’s stark, dirty futuristic world, dominated by the image of a worn-down Harrison Ford and the 2019 Los Angeles cityscape from the film’s breathtaking opening scene.

1. Jaws

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 Simple, direct and iconic. This is the benchmark for film posters since the release of Spielberg’s classic aquatic horror in 1975, proving that there was far more leaving audiences shaking in their seats than blood, guts and special effects.

 

Keep checking back at Chad Cinema for the latest film releases and news. Also, don’t forget to check out Chad reporter James Hoy’s review of the latest James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace, here.