Movies by Mills (June 2014)

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EDITORIAL Welcome to the 14th issue of Movies by Mills. It is always a hectic time on the first Sunday of the month to meet the deadline but the key emotion is passion in getting this out to you every month. So, here is another packed scintillating edition for all our devoted readers. Our cover star is Jim Sturgess who plays the lead in our main film feature review Upside Down. His co-star is Kirsten Dunst and this original and quite beautiful film was part of London’s Sci-Fi Film Festival. The film also features Timothy Spall in a role not quite like anything he has ever done before – he is wonderfully childlike. Jim Sturgess is one of the most exciting actors around today with a wide range of acting performances to his credit. If you haven’t seen him in Across the Universe, homage to The Beatles, then you are in for a treat when you do see it. Also try catching him in The Way Back and Cloud Atlas. Next up for him will be Electric Slide in which he plays a notorious bank robber who charms the lady bank tellers before he asks them to handover the money. Three other reviews which are currently on release in the UK, The Two Faces of January, Fading Gigolo, Miss and the Doctors. are also reviewed. A major feature was The Gate Cinema Notting Hill’s 103 Year Celebration,a beautiful cinema and one of the few remaining single screen cinemas in the country. Patrons were welcomed with goody bags and food and wine. MbM enjoys nothing more than celebrating the longevity of a cinema and so this was a very special occasion. If you were unable to attend this magical event, then I hope you will get the feel of it by our feature which includes historic images of the cinema from the twenties through to the eighties. If you have never visited The Gate, and love films, then make sure you go and see this enchanting cinema. All the regular features: Filmfest Follower, Extras are here plus a look at films that you can expect to see over the next three months in COMING SOON. I would like to thank the following for their help and support: all at Milana Vujikov, marketing manager of The Gate Cinema, and its manager, Rob McCrae and all at Picturehouse Cinemas and to Paul Ridler who painstakingly designs the look of the magazine, and of course to you the reader who take the time to tell your friends about MbM. Thank you. Enjoy the read.

Brian Mills 3

MISS AND THE DOCTORS Spoiler Alert Do you often leave your daughter alone? She could go into a diabetic coma. Do you realize that? I know diabetes inside out. My daughter and I control things. French are experts at love triangles and this film offers the premise that two paediatrician brothers, Boris & Dimitri Pizarnik played by Cedric Kahn and Laurent Stocker, fall in love with the same woman: Judith (Louise Bourgoin) a beautiful barmaid who takes her daughter to see them because she suffers from diabetes. The woman’s husband has left her, or as she recalls, she told him to leave because she longer loved him. Either way she soon falls in love with one of the brothers leaving the other one, who attends an alcoholics anonymous group, shattered and confused as to why she would choose his brother rather than him. This leans to being a romantic comedy, a dosage of 90% romance and 10% comedy. The plot is a little contrived but it is still good entertainment. The brothers played by Cedric Kahn and Laurent Stocker are very good but it is Louise Bourgoin who really commands your attention from the moment she first appears. She is known for her title role in Luc Besson’s fantasy The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec. Cedric Kahn is a writer as well as a director and is famous for his film Une Vie Meillure. The beautiful theme music in the film which dominates the trailer is hardly used at all in the film and is a sad loss. There is much to like in Miss and the Doctors and it generally fills the gap, of showing how one man’s dreams can be shattered by unrequited love and thus painfully questioning and endangering a brother’s bonding The ending of the film seems to be an afterthought of showing the brother’s secretary talking to one of their 4

patients. Somehow it seems incongruous and merely shows that the director Axelle Ropert did not know how to end his film. There is also the unexpected arrival of Max, Judith’s absent husband, which appears to be easily accepted by her and her child, and then just as easy to accept his departure so as to conveniently allow for Judith to resume her love affair with Boris. French cinema is very popular in the UK and as readers of MbM will know we have publicised and reviewed some of its finest films, many of which have appeared in their biannual season Rendezvous with French Cinema and we have had the pleasure of interviewing Romain Duris and Deborah Francois in the very first issue of this magazine for the film Populaire. Romain can be seen shortly in Chinese Puzzle and later in the year in Mood Indigo. Both of these films also starred Audrey Tautou, another favourite, who came to fame with the classic Amelie. She can also be seen opposite Duris in Chinese Puzzle and Mood Indigo. Francois Cluzet, the star of The Intouchables, again another gem among movies, was also in the thriller Tell No One and Little White Lies. Next up for him is Sophie Marceau’s Quantum Love. Cluzet’s co-star in The Intouchables was Omar Sy who provided the exhilarating dance sequence in the film, can be seen in the forthcoming Mood Indigo and has just wrapped on The Good People with James Franco and follows that with Samba with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Tahar Rahim. Marion Cotillard shot to international fame in the screen biography of Edith Piaf: La Vien En Rose, but was already well established in France. She gained notoriety also abroad in A Very Long Absence and Little White Lies. Under Woody Allen’s direction she starred opposite Luke Wilson in Midnight in Paris, one of Allen’s most successful films in years. Forthcoming films for Cotillard are The Immigrant with Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner and Two Days, One Night. Another successful and revered French star is Vanessa Paradis; among her most treasured parts have been in The Girl on the Bridge, My Angel, Heartbreaker, and Fading Gigolo, which is reviewed in this issue. She is undoubtedly the best part of the movie. Vanessa’s next film is an omnibus film called Rio. I Love You. She is in the segment Quandos Nao Ha Mais Amour in which she plays opposite John Turturro again. There are of course many other French stars, too many to mention here. 5



UPSIDE DOWN *Spoiler Alert

I come from the only known solar system with two twin planets, each with its own opposite gravity. In our world it is possible to fall up or rise down. Is love greater than gravitational force is a question posed by the protagonist Adam (Jim Sturgess) in this very intriguing film by Argentinean director Juan Solinas. The story begins with two teenagers Adam and Eden (Kirsten Dunst) who under unusual circumstances meet and become friends and fall in love but then an accident separates them and we are fast forwarded ten years and meet up with Adam who is living on the lower planet and Eden on the higher planet. A corporate from the giant Transworld, a building which connects the two words, reminds all: We don’t go down into their world and we certainly don’t want them coming up to ours; a doctrine that gave birth to the class system which is still practised in many countries. Adam’s quest is to be with Eden again which means, no matter how impossible, to get to the upside world. This is a romantic fantasy so anyone, and there will be some, who will question the physics and begin to nitpick their way through the film will be bored and wasted on Upside Down and may well be better off at home where they can calibrate their grey cells. The director and production designer wanted to use real-life environments as much as possible, but 8

green screen was necessary to expand beyond the set. For the Floor Zero scenes, Production Designer, Alex McDowell’s team built two sets, which set side-by-side, as if the screen had been sliced down the middle and folded open. When characters between the two worlds interact, the “down” scene takes place on set and the “up” scenes takes place on the other, simultaneously. The scene where Adam first puts on the weights and flips upside down is actually shot in a room that is suspended in a big giant wheel. The room itself, and everything inside it, moves 360 degrees. The camera moves with the room, so you can’t tell if the room is moving, but you can see Adam flipping upside down. Jim Sturgess: I was just sent the script for the film and I read it and I agreed to meet Juan, the director, which I did; the minute I met Juan I knew straight away that he was going to create a world that was going to be exciting to exist in. Kirsten Dunst: Well the whole idea of these parallel universes is that they connect and I knew that this movie could be visually incredible and such a beautiful story. Alex McDowall: It is an amazing design challenge just to think about this idea of two worlds, somewhat parallel to our own but with this proximity of two gravities and all the complexity that that means. We are constantly checking ourselves in the 3D models and flipping the camera but also looking how the pieces go together. Timothy Spall: What is really nice when you meet directors who have vision is that they are giving you the freedom to join in with them. Director, Juan Solinas, is definitely a visionary. He came to be noticed with his first featurelength film Northwest, which told the story of two women who meet and find support in each other’s misery. One is French who has gone to Argentina to adopt a baby and the other is living in a rural world with her son; capitalism exploiting the poorest and leaving them helplessly behind. Upside Down closed this year’s Sci-Fi London Film Festival. No theatrical release date has been scheduled for the film at present. 9




I have a very funny story to tell you. Today I was at my dermatologist. She tells me that she was with her girlfriend and they came to the conclusion that they both wanted to have a ménage. She asked me if I know anybody and I said yeah, it will cost you a thousand bucks. I was thinking of you. Fading Gigolo is the latest Woody Allen film but not directed by him but by John Turturro. It came about when John Turturro told his barber, Anthony, about the idea and since he was also Woody’s barber too, he told Woody, and he in turn contacted Turturro and the film was born. The dermatologist of the story, Dr Parker, is played by Sharon Stone and her friend by Sofia Vergara Now you have to accept the unlikelihood that someone who looks like Sharon Stone would be sexually frustrated enough to not have a man or a whole queue of them lining up for her. So, let us say we go along with that. We are later asked to elasticise our belief even further in accepting that a woman like Vanessa Paradis, yes that’s right Vanessa Paradis, who plays Abigail a Jewish widow, is considering and then following through her decision to pay a visit to a man, Fioravante, who is a reputed gigolo who looks like John Turturro. Now with all due respect to him, Turturro is not in the George Clooney looks league, but hey, we will go along with it that these fine looking women seek sexual comfort and will pay him for servicing them. But here is the funny thing, preposterous as it may seem, but the aforementioned scenario is funny – and it works! There are plenty are Jewish jokes about the Orthodox religion, territory that Allen has visited in his earlier films and has almost milked them dry, but there is still material there and when he is arrested and pushed into a car and has to stand in front of Rabbis to defend his definitely unorthodox behaviour – it is funny. 12

I expected going into this movie that Woody would steal the honours as he usually does but I was wrong. This film belongs to John Turturro and Vanessa Paradis. Turturro gets to the core of his character: shy, trusting his life-long friendship with Murray, Woody Allen’s character and really trying to help him out with his idea of making money after he lost his book store. Then everything changes when he meets Vanessa Paradis and falls in love with her. Their scenes together are worth paying the money for – hearttugging. Vanessa Paradis is wonderful and endearing showing her character’s inexperience of male attention and forgetting what it was like to have someone touch her, to cook a meal for her. Her vulnerability and tenderness is a joy to behold as she is able to be released from her cage of constriction. There is a scene that is reminiscent of The Artist, when she stares at a dress in a shop window and her refection is superimposed over the dress. There is a surprising crane shot that opens a sequence where we see Turturro and the women sitting in their beautiful lounge. The photography is magical. What is John Turturro’s take on the movie? What would he hope the audience would glean from the film? “The majority of the people who go to see it come out delighted that they went through this whole experience that they were surprised by, but it had some kind of resonance to them, especially the female audience, it seems to be. You know, I think my mom would be really happy that I did something like that. That is really encouraging. I can’t tell them what to feel you know, but they are delighted by the experience and they have had some fun and it moved them a little bit, you can’t ask for anything more...but I can see it on their faces.” And of course that is what seeing films is all about, being entertained, having a vicarious experience, and hopefully leaving the cinema feeling good and uplifted. Regarding Woody, well he is back in the autumn in theatres with his latest direction Midnight in the Moonlight, starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone. It is about an Englishman who is called in to investigate a woman who claims to be a spiritual medium. It looks like Woody is on to another winner. Fading Gigolo is screening at The Gate Cinema, Notting Hill. 13








The truth is we’re joined at the hip. I get caught, I take you down. You get caught, you turn me in. This film is not short of thrills but lacks suspense. I kept thinking how different it would have been had Hitchcock handled the plot – MacGuffin and all. The master of suspense would have had you leaning forward in your seat with nailbiting anticipation, but as it was there were too many gaping holes in the narrative to justify one’s mind engaging with your taste buds for ice cream. The story is about an American couple, Chester and Collette, played by Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst. They get involved with an American tourist guide named Rydel (Oscar Isaac), while holidaying in Greece. Chester is a con artist who has taken money from clients for shares which do not exist. When a collector calls on behalf of them to retrieve their money, a fight ensues resulting in Chester killing him. Rydel, a con man himself, helps Chester to hide the body in a room believing that the man has passed out from drink, while 20

Chester only wants him to assist him so that he has an accomplice in the crime. Once Collette, Chester’s beautiful wife, knows that something has gone horribly wrong and her husband is in trouble, she turns her attention to Rydel who is trying to help by providing them with fake passports to leave the country, but matters get worse for Chester and all of them when he realises that Rydel is in love with his wife. Ironically, Chester and Rydel become reluctant friends intertwined as they are with their plotting and scheming, and as Chester dives deeper and deeper into despair and drink, Rydel seems the only one that he can turn to as the police start hunting him down. The music is conspicuously used to signpost the moments of tension, a trick that fails to impress but manages to annoy. The two most impressive elements of the film are the ravishing landscapes of Greece and Turkey and the captivating performance of *Oliver Isaac who looks like a young Al Pacino. He is definitely an actor to watch after his performance in the critically lauded Inside Llewyn Davis. Max Minghella is credited as one of the producers and the story is based on a Patricia Highsmith thriller. It was Minghella’s father, Anthony, who directed another Highsmith novel for the screen: The Talented Mr Ripley, a film that The Two Faces of January never comes close to matching. *In Ex Machina, he plays a reclusive CEO of the world’s largest internet company. The film is due for release in the UK later in the year and merits an MbM recommendation. 21




T.S. SPIVET Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeaunet Stars: Kyle Catlett. Helena Bonham Carter. T.S. Spivet lives on a remote ranch in Montana with his parents, his sister Gracie and his brother Layton. A gifted child with a passion for science, he has invented a perpetual motion machine, for which he has been awarded the prestigious Baird Prize by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. But no one suspects that the lucky winner is a ten year old boy with a very dark secret. UK RELEASE: JUNE 13

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS Directed by Josh Boone. Stars: Shailene Woodley. Ansel Elgort. Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Hazel’s other constant companion is an oxygen tank, and Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they fell in love at a cancer support group. UK RELEASE JUNE 20

CHEF Directed by Jon Favreau Stars: Jon Favreau. Sofia Vergara. Scarlett Johansson. Robert Downey Jnr. John Leguizano. A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family. UK RELEASE JUNE 27

JERSEY BOYS Directed by Clint Eastwood Stars: Christopher Walken. Francesca Eastwood. John Lloyd Young. The story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. 24


THIRD PERSON Directed by Paul Haggis Stars: Liam Neeson. Olivia Wilde. James Franco. Mila Kunis. Adrian Brody. Kim Basinger. Three interlocking love stories involving three couples in three cities: Rome, Paris and New York. UK RELEASE JUNE 27

BOYHOOD Directed by Richard Linklater Stars: Patricia Arquette. Eltar Coltrane. Ethan Hawke. The life of a young man, Mason, from age 5 to age 18. UK RELEASE JULY 11

BEGIN AGAIN Directed by John Carney Stars: Keira Knightley. Hailee Steinfeld. Mark Ruffalo. A dejected music business executive forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan UK RELEASE JULY 11

JUPITER ASCENDING Directed by Andy & Lana Wachowski. Stars: Mila Kunis. Channing Tatum. In the future, a young destitute woman gets targeted for assassination by the Queen of the Universe. UK RELEASE JULY 25

MOOD INDIGO Directed by Michel Gondry. Stars: Romain Duris. Audrey Tautou. Gad Elmaleh. Omar Sy. A wealthy inventive bachelor endeavours to find a cure for his lover Chloe after she is diagnosed with an unusual illness caused by a flower growing in her lungs. UK RELEASE AUGUST 1

2 DAYS, ONE NIGHT Directed by Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne. Stars: Marion Cotillard. Fabrizio Rongione. Sandra, a young woman assisted by her husband, has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job. UK RELEASE AUGUST 22




Sydney Film Festival 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH

Directed by Ian Forsyth & Jane Pollard Drama and reality collide in this extraordinary portrait of musician Nick Cave. A visually astonishing and highly stylised imagination of Cave’s 20,000 days on earth.


Directed by John Carney Starring: Keira Knightley. Mark Ruffalo. The director of “Once” returns with this uplifting comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together.


Directed by Richard Linklater Starring: Ethan Hawke. Patricia Arquette.Ellar Coltrane. A groundbreaking film which was shot over 12 years, telling the story of a family with rare authenticity and wonderful performances.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: HER HIM Directed by Ned Benson Starring: Jessica Chastain. James McAvoy. A very ambitious first feature which is made up of two separate films telling the story of a broken relationship from two different perspectives.


Directed by Gabe Klinger Two mavericks of the movie world, avant-garde film artist James Benning and indie filmmaker Richard Linklater, talk life and movies in this award winning documentary.


Directed by Kasimir Burgess A stunning debut: a dreamlike tale of nature, revenge and redemption. It marks the emergence of a distinctive new voice on the Australian film scene.


Directed by Stuart Murdoch This poignant indie-pop musical is a coming-of-age story about a troubled girl (Emily Browning) who sings and dances her way through the streets of Glasgow. 27


Directed by Palo Virsi This stylish thriller features an incisive look at Italian society. Starring: Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi.


Directed by Sophie Fillieres Starring: Emmanuelle Devos. Mathieu Amalric. A comedy/drama about a couple who’ve been together a long time and have reached an impasse

I WANT TO DANCE BETTER AT PARTIES Direted by Matthew Bate. Gideon Obarzanek A grieving man takes up dance classes with a young instructor.


Directed by David Gordon Green Starring: Nicolas Cage. Tye Sheridan.. . A hard-drinking tough guy who takes a 15 year old under his wing.


Directed by Mami Sunada Studio Ghibli, the award-winning Japanese animation studio and the latest works of its genius founders: Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.


Directed by David Zellner A lonely Japanese woman is determined to find the fortune from the film “Fargo.”


Directed by Steve James Influential film critic Roger Ebert’s life is documented. It is a poignant tribute and a must-see for all movie lovers.


Directed by Gia Coppola A portrait of adolescence based on short stories by James Franco.


A delightful and absurd comedy about a thirtysomething’s surprisingly eventful summer spent housesitting. 28


Edinburgh Film Festival WE’LL NEVER HAVE PARIS Directed by Simon Helric & Jocelyn Towne This eccentric and charming romantic comedy draws on the true story of how, in their case, the course of true love definitely did not run smooth.

BLIND DATES Directed by Levan Koguashvilt An enchanting melancholic comedy with a big heart.

A FULLER LIFE Directed by Samantha Fuller A gripping tribute to American maverick director Samuel Fuller.

A MOST WANTED MAN Directed by Anton Corbijn Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman. Rachel McAdams. Robyn Wright. William Dafoe. A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg where he gets caught in the international war on terror.

HAN GONG-JU Directed Su-Jin Lee Despite her efforts to keep a low profile, a high school teacher can’t escape her past that she is an exceptional singer.

I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS Directed by Leah Meyerhoff Davina, an imaginative teenage girl escapes from the reality of caring for her disabled mother into a fairy-tale-inspired fantasy life. She looks for another kind of escape in a new relationship with the charming denizen of a grungy underworld. A fresh look at adolescent romance touched with a delicacy and magic rare in films.

A NIGHT IN OLD MEXICO Directed by Emilio Aragon Starring: Robert Duvall. Jeremy Irvine. When the bank seizes his property, a tough old rancher embarks on the road to Mexico with the twentysomething grandson he has just met.

THE SKELETON TWINS Directed by Craig Johnson A brother and sister twins with much emotional baggage try to connect. 29




FILM ****

Spike Jonze’s masterpiece which rightly won him the Oscar for Best Screenplay. This is undoubtedly one of the best films of all-time. Why? Because it captures the time we are living in or getting close to, where a computer generated operated system comes into our lives to control us and our feelings. But in this film, the lonely protagonist played by Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with the computer voiced by Scarlett Johansson. This is a film with a futuristic premise which has at its centre a heart of gold. Compulsive watching..


None at the time of publishing, which is a shame, but so far Sony have not issued any information on EXTRAS. 30


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