TFM WELCOME TO TFM’s INDIE CRAFTBOOK ISSUE RELEASED ON NOVEMBER 15TH THIS ISSUE GIVES YOU A ROUNDUP OF THE AFI FEST WITH NEWS REVIEW AND SNAPS AS WELL AS REVIEWS OF CINEMA AND HOME RELEASES. THE INDIE ISSUE ALSO INCLUDES AN EXCLUSIVE INDIE DIRECTORS ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW WITH RICK ROSENTHAL, DEREK FREY AND PETER COGGAN. PLUS LOTS MORE.
INDIE DIRECTORS ROUNDTABLE AFI FEST REVIEWS Pg. 08 - 17
Pg. 04 - 07
+ LONE SURVIVOR REVIEW + THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY REVIEW + INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS REVIEW + BIG BAD WOLVES REVIEW + THE INVISIBLE WOMAN REVIEW
BOXOFFICE REPORT: THOR OPENING
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IN THIS ISSUE
CONTENDERS Q&A: LONE SURVIVOR IN CINEMAS NOW Pg. 18 - 29
Pg. 16 - 17
+ THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE REVIEW + GRAVITY REVIEW + THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS REVIEW + JOBS REVIEW + PARANOIA REVIEW + IN FEAR REVIEW + NEBRASKA REVIEW + ABOUT TIME REVIEW
FOUNDING, NEWS & CHIEF EDITOR JAMES RUSH TV ANALYST OLLIE CHARLES FILM CRITIC CHRIS BYRN FILM CRITIC MATT SETON FILM CRITIC STEFAN PAPE BOXOFFICE REPORTER PETER TURNER FEATURES WRITER MARC ALI
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DIRECTORS ROUNDTABLE ¥THE EDITORS
Á¥TASTIC FILM.COM© †EDITORS ¢”THE INDIE CRAFTBOOK” Ã
TFM INDIE DIRECTORS ROUNDTABLE TR ANSCRIBED BY JAMES RUSH
ROUNDTABLE PARTICIPANTS RICK ROSENTHAL - DRONES (RR) DEREK FREY - THE BALLAD OF SANDEEP (DF) PETER COGGAN - FISHING NAKED (PC) What’s it like when you have your films so well received by the industry ? RR: I think its really hard to appreciate having a film well received. I mean unfortunately were moving so fast that instead of sitting there and going, wow they like me, they really like me you know were looking ahead were looking at the next move, were looking at the what does that mean, you know were looking distribution, we are looking what could that mean in terms of getting a project off the ground and I don’t know about your guys but I’m sort of happiest when I’m shooting and I would say second to that I’m happiest in the cutting room. PC: For me in particularly I’ve gotta really get my self in the right set to be at AFM its got to be a conscious effort, on set time doesn’t exist it just flies but here its just like event when things are going great and we are getting great reception. I feel
myself looking at the watch like its only two a clock, come on lets go and do something else. RR: I mean I’m always thinking of filming as a team sport and I think when you’re playing a sport well and you’re in the zone anything you can do, kind of anything and then you get out, you fall out of the zone and I think shooting it here you’re mostly in the zone as a director and in the cutting room you’re really in the zone. I mean sometimes you can just no matter what the scene is your like bring it on I can cut this I’m in the zone and then you know you go to CAA or William Morris or WME or ICM and your so out of the zone. You feel like a lonely wide receiver who is never gonna get the ball and its amazing how fast you can go from being pretty confident on the set to feeling pretty insignificant in an office its very vulnerable you know. PC: And I would say going one step further than that even especially in a place like AFM, which is where we’re focused this week, it’s sort of wondering around with wide eyes and going I have no idea whats going on. You know, you walk in to one room and its all horror and you walk in to another room and its like there’s nobody here its like well no they’re taking meeting across town and its that there’s a real learning curve. I mean, I know
what to do when theres cameras and light its like a nature but when you’re running around trying to figure out how this system is working and this industry is changing, you know every time you turn around and it is very hard to dedicate the mental resources to stay on top of it and constantly be trying to catch up or stay on top. RR: Well also on set it pretty hard to hide, I mean when you’re directing it pretty hard to be a bullshitter. PC: Ya, Ya there is that. RR: And you go into places like AFM and there is so much bullshit being strung and its so, I mean if you went by what you hear everybody there is making multi-million dollar multi-picture packs and so you’re there kind of being honest and Im just trying to get this one project off the ground but all round you, you’re hearing all this stuff and what’s wrong with me, I can’t even get this one project off the ground and guys I know who where production assistants two years ago they have million dollar movies. DF: Its a real challenge and to kind of cut through all that and you know you have to cut through all that and you know you have to play the game with the producer of the film and a writer and actually the star of the film that we want to make to try and have the that impact but you’re in the lobby of the hotel and its, your hearing all this and you know we felt like well its good to be out there for people to see us but its also very much a challenge to filter though all
that and when you hear about all this, stuff that you hear too you know just want to get it made. RR: And you wonder who are all these people. And now I’m not saying, I mean I have this ability to sort of store useless information so, I mean there are people whose names I’ve heard or I can sort of say oh you did x, y or z and you know and all these people are running around and you’re like come on these guys are not making movies and yet their telling you about this and it very hard not to lose your way. DF: It is, It is. PC: And then theres the vernacular you know that really like a skew with everything else in the business world, you know like apparently the revelation we had yesterday, was you know somebody walked into my room and its like you’re in talks and were close to a deal is someone talked, they might send over a contract so I could review terms and its this whole sort of if you’re an investment banker and somebody said were close to a deal and they’d passed you the paperwork. It would be like no, no we are not going to go so you know being used to other venture capital investment banking terms is very very weird as you say how much bullshit is being spun out.
WATCH THE UNCUT INDIE DIRECTORS ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW AT WWW.TASTICFILM.COM
SURVIVOR BY JAMES RUSH
itness true acts of courage, devotion and vigorous combat as four members of SEAL Team 10 fight to survive whilst stranded in Afghanistan mountaintops and being hunted by heavily armed hostiles. The Lone Survivor follows Operation Red Wings and is set in June, 2005 where four US Navy SEALs are sent to take down a Taliban leader who is solely according to army intelligence responsible for the deaths of twenty marines in the last week. They soon learn that instead of their target being surrounded by a group of 10 soldiers as they thought they uncover a secret, terrorist connected army in the forest. They then fall back and seek cover in preparation to abort the mission however the tables are quickly turned as after an encounter with some young and elderly Afghanistan villagers in the forest where they where spotted they had to ambush them to avoid an attack but then they had do the honorable thing and cut them loose with knowledge of their presence. Although soon later they see the consequences of that decision as they have over 200 targets on their backs as they attempt to navigate the boundless forest landscape to get a signal to be able broadcast for an immediate extraction. The six minuet long opening scene shows a series of recordings of the SEAL training unrelenting training program. Then the opening credits sequences cuts to show a glimpse of the final scene at the beginning of the film, the glimpse joins a member of the SEAL team on a chopper shortly after being rescued and after sustaining heavy injuries. Lone Survivor director Peter Berg has produced an undeniably authentic combat feature by focusing highly on attention to detail to make sure everything
in every shot is portrayed accurately. Although the film is profoundly emotional, touching and accurate it also features a roughly thirty minuet battle sequence paraded with intense violence and bloodshed combat that is not at all for the fainthearted. Despite all the bloodshed the film also features some touching, emotional and dramatic sequences combined with brilliant performances. The SEAL team members include Lt. Mike Murphy (portrayed by Taylor Kitsch), Petty Officer 1st Class Luttrell (portrayed by Mark Wahlberg) and Petty Officers 2nd Class Danny Dietz (portrayed by Emile Hirsch) and Matt Axelson (portrayed by Ben Foster). Lone Survivor made its debut on the festival scene at the American Film Institute (AFI) Film Festival where Marc Walberg and Peter Berg where in attendance
BOX OFFICE REPORT: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS SETS SAIL BY PETER TURNER
along with the original SEAL Team 10 lone survivor Marcus Luttrell all to support their new true tale of honor and combat. The film also received a four minuet long round of applause as the credits rolled on screen with pictures of the members of SEAL Team 10 and others that survived the mission. The film was thoroughly enjoyed and respected by all members of the audience given the immense detail included in the film to fully tell the story of the lone survivor. The film contains a similar feel to that of one of last years Best Picture nominees at the 2010 Academy Awards Zero Dark Thirty which even with immense violence and torture was still well received by Academy voters, critics and audiences although if Lone Survivor doesnâ€™t break into the upcoming award
season it could find its self stranded at the boxoffice even with the pre-award season critical acclaim. The film also follows a large selection of lone survival based contenders on this years festival trail including Gravity, All Is Lost and Captain Phillips all of which stand a chance at Best Picture. The film will receive a limited US release on December 27th to gain Oscar eligibility and will then receive a wide US release on January 10th 2014. The film will also be released in the UK on January 31st 2014.Gravity to life and has re-defined space movies for a decade. Gravity has also surpassed the milestone and has set a new bar for future cinematic space thrillers and making this another festival sensation to add to your years upcoming watchlist.
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS BY
S T E FA N PA P E
he Greenwich Village folk scene has always held much promise as a potentially fascinating cinematic setting, with so few films ever delving into such a time and place to great effect, as a movement somewhat untouched in mainstream cinema. Therefore who better to entrust than the Coen brothers, as Joel and Ethan illuminate the period in the only way they know how, with their latest picture Inside Llewyn Davis. Taking place across an eventful week in the harsh winter of 1961, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a young, talented musician, trying to navigate his way around the popular folk scene, hoping to be discovered at any moment. Playing gigs sporadically, to modest sized audiences, we see the ambitious singer travelling around the city, with his guitar in tow and a friends’ cat by his side, as he moves between different houses and sofas, struggling to find a path to follow or a dream to chase. Spending time with the likes of Jean (Carey Mulligan) and Jim (Justin Timberlake) – he weaves between friendships and adversaries, while the line between the two becomes somewhat blurred. In a similar vein to O Brother Where Art Thou – the Coen’s have used a musical narrative to create a memorable atmosphere, with the songs featured in the film narrating the story almost, providing it with a soundtrack to make for an amiable, pensive piece of cinema. That said, Inside Llewyn Davis is something of a departure for the directors, as they are usually so driven by their stories, whereas this particular piece has a distinct lack of narrative direction. However that is by no means a bad thing – as to an extent we follow the
same path as our protagonist, and given this is such an intimate character study, it seems only right to shadow that of his position in life, where he doesn’t quite know where he’s going. What is consistent of the Coen brothers brand, however, is the sharp dialogue for which they have become so renowned for, with the incredible ability to implement humour in the most inappropriate of places. Meanwhile, Llewyn is an extremely well-crafted character and portrayed lovingly by Isaac, who is a credit to this idiosyncratic creation. Considering Llewyn is the master of his own demise, and his own best enemy, he manages to stay endearing throughout, and we root for him regardless of his naïve actions. Things do just seem
BOX OFFICE REPORT: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS SETS SAIL BY PETER TURNER
to happen to Llewyn too, as he seems to have very little luck – but in a similar mould to A Serious Man – we never once question the situations that arise, as this is thankfully lacking in any form of contrivance. However on a more negative note, the supporting roles are not nearly prominent enough, and the likes of Mulligan, Timberlake and Coen brothers favourite John Goodman, are severely underused in this film, despite the latter showing off his great comedic ability in his cameo role as abrasive raconteur Roland Turner. Though talking about supporting roles, there is a cat (or two) that certainly deserve being mentioned, playing a key role to proceedings. Not only are they so goddamn cute, but they represent Llewn’s protective instinct, as this rare
possession – along with his guitar – shoes that he is able to care for something if he needs to, and though he may struggle to look after his own life, he’ll do whatever he can to ensure the same can’t be said of others. Having set their own standards incredibly high, the Coen brothers will forever be scrutinised if they don’t reach perfection – and although there are certainly faults to be found to Inside Llewyn Davis, it remains a memorable, thought-provoking drama, and one that comes with a real lasting effect, demanding a second viewing. All the while it’s incomprehensibly emotional, with a distinct beauty to this elusive, striking piece of cinema.
BIG BAD WOLVES BY OLLIE CHARLES
he Israeli horror comedy, Big Bad Wolves from Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado and the directors that brought us Rabies. Big Bad Wolves doesn’t fully reveal the power of its own capacity until about half an hour in, but that isn’t to say that the first part isn’t as interesting as the rest. After a series of brutal murders of young girls that have taken place, the police force are hot on the heels of someone they have been following for a while and are waiting to convict as a murderous paedophile, a quiet, lonely, school teacher, Dror (Rotem Keinan). But as it turns out the father of the latest victim, Gidi (Tzahi Grad) has decided to take the law into his own hands and captures Dror, torturing him until he gives up the whereabouts of the head of Gidi’s daughter. What Gidi doesn’t count on is that a police officer, Miki (Lior Ashkenazi) who is working on the case would turn up at his door and join him in this vigilante justice. What Big Bad Wolves does is subvert all audience expectations; alienating them further as the film goes on. As citizens we are taught to obey and believe in our police forces, so if they believe someone to be a criminal, they probably have reasons behind that but Big Bad Wolves cleverly turns the criminal into the victim as Dror is tortured and humiliated in a hidden basement; having his fingers broken and toenails ripped off. Very quickly, the audience are forced to decide whether they agree with this treatment or whether they should believe Dror, who has been protesting his innocence the entire time. There is a dark feeling throughout the film that Dror could in fact be guilty, but cleverly the audience become complicit in his possible crimes. The directors handle this point brilliantly and keep the audience wondering throughout the whole film, only commenting briefly upon the answer in the end but leaving it quite up in the air. It is in fact, the three central performances that are
the highlight of the film; the scenes between Miki, Dror and Gidi are at once haunting, hilarious and expertly performed. There is a balance between the manic Gidi with the coolness of Dror, who is somewhat reminiscent of Hannibal Lector (think The Silence of the Lambs), always knowing more than he is letting on but never fully giving the game away. As well as this, Keshales and Papushado have captured some moments, which are simply hilarious whether it is the mobile ringtone of both Gidi and his father or the telephone conversation with Gidi’s mother, which for every Jew in the crowd was probably the highlight of the film. Big Bad Wolves was made in the light of fairy tales that parents tell their children, where the wolf captures the child and takes them away. But in fact, despite it initially
BOX OFFICE REPORT: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS SETS SAIL BY PETER TURNER
being pretty clear who the wolf is meant to be in this tale, it quickly changes and all three of the main men become wolves in their own right. They each have something to prove and yet they cannot do so without being in tandem with the other two. The film is careful to never judge one of them more than the other two and is also very aware of itself in the light of jokes around Israeliâ€™s; be it their attitude to torture, mothers or even Arabs. This unfortunately may not translate all that well across the world, where the film makes these points lightheartedly, an outside audience may confuse this for heavy handed jokes that may simply be in bad taste. It is also interesting to look at the use of torture and gore in Big Bad Wolves, rather than make it sensational and shocking as the audience is used to from films like Saw
and Hostel, the torture here feels much more personal. The camera doesnâ€™t disguise what is going on, on screen and instead shows the brutality of the violence to the audience. When his fingers break, the audience feel it, when his nails are ripped from him, the audience feel it and once more they are made to level with Dror, making him complicit in his pain and possibly also his torture. In the new wave of Israeli horror cinema, Keshales and Papushado are at the top of their game; they have created in Big Bad Wolves a thrilling story about consequences and conscience. They make the audience question all the way through until the gripping final moments and raise some hugely interesting questions about responsibility as well as the victim/offender dichotomy.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN BY JAMES RUSH
The superbly tragic tale of The Invisible Woman follows Nelly Ternan as she recounts her secretive relationship with the recently deceased Charles Dickens, through as series of suspenseful and extensive flashbacks that chronicle her life throughout her troubled present. The period drama opens on an empty English beach in the winter and follows Nelly Ternan as she navigates her present life shortly after the passing of her secret companion Charles Dickens, where she has changed her identity and is working as a theater teacher. The opening sequence of the film keeps us almost oblivious to the story yet to be told as we see numerous encounters of Nelly reacting to her past which we re-witness towards the ending of the film with more understanding. The feature based on Claire Tomalin’s book was majorly shot around London areas recreated in the tone of the 1860′s. Director of The Invisible Woman Ralph Fiennes has pulled a variety of techniques from his previous period film Great Expectations to help recreate his unique out of time perception style. The complication of Ralph Fiennes (plays Charles Dickens) and Felicity Jones (plays Nelly Ternan) performing together has truly brought the personal tale of the literately legend to the screen. The Invisible Woman made its debut on the festival scene at the Telluride Film Festival, where it was overwhelmingly well received by audiences and
critics it later screened at the Toronto International Film Festival with the cast and crew unexpectedly in attendance where the film also was well received mainly by members of the Academy. The New York, Hampton and London Film Festivals also had the honor of screening the film, before it made its final stop of the festival circuit here at the American Film Institute (AFI) Film Festival. The film will receive a limited Oscar contention release and could certainly be the feature to lead Fiennes back in to the awards race since his only two previous Oscars where presented for features over a decade ago including The English Patient and the well known Schindler’s List. Although the title has had its US rights acquired by Sony Pictures Classics it could be unlikely that the film will receive a wide US release, if it dose not receive at minimum an Academy nomination. The country closest to the heritage of the film, the UK will receive a wide release on February 7th 2014 and has recently received two nominations at the British Independent Film Awards with Felicity Jones for Best Actress and Kristin Scott Thomas with a Best Supporting Actress nomination. The two hour feature is certainly one of the most hopeful period drama contenders for this years Award Season and should defiantly be added to all award voters watch lists.
PHILOMENA B Y S T E FA N PA P E
In the masterful British comedy series The Trip, Steve Coogan spends a lot of his time agonising and lamenting his lack of serious, Hollywood roles. Well, his latest offering proves that he doesn’t need to head over to America to get cast in poignant films, because he can play these roles over here, as the character actor this time tackles that of journalist Martin Sixsmith, in Stephen Frears’ Philomena. As a former foreign correspondent for the BBC and an advisor to the Labour government, Sixsmith finds himself at a loose end, struggling to find a project to excite and inspire him. However when the prospect of doing a real-life piece of journalism is suggested, he finds himself fascinated by the story of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), who was separated from her son when he was just an infant, and now, fifty years on, she wants to be reconnected. Growing up at strict convent in Ireland, her child Anthony was taken away and sold on to an American couple, as punishment for her having sex outside of marriage. This news sends the unlikely pair over to the States to search for a man they know absolutely nothing about. Philomena may be a mere real-life story on the surface, but there is much depth to this title, with religion, faith and traditionalism key themes within this picture. It’s very much of The King’s Speech ilk, Frears evidently knows his target audience and adheres to their taste impeccably, as a film that is exceedingly British, and
complete with a similarly charming Alexandre Desplat score. Dench steals the show with a brilliantly sincere performance as the immensely likeable Philomena, as a well-crafted character, and one that reminds us all of a little old lady we’ve met before – one who is harmlessly, and endearingly, ignorant and stuck in her ways. Coogan impresses too, though sadly his performances suffers from the same issue that comes with his other biopic outings (The Look of Love, 24 Hour Party People), as given his distinct, identifiable personality, you struggle to believe he’s somebody else who genuinely exists. His writing credentials prove dividend though, as this screenplay (which he co-wrote with Jeff Pope) is blessed with a degree of humour, and several memorable one liners. Such an approach works well as a gently balanced counterpart to the tragic narrative, finding a comfortable middle ground between the two, even if at times the inclination to be comedic does deviate away from the severity of the matter at hand. Philomena mostly survives on its fascinating story, as one that is emotionally very rich, even if it presented in a somewhat cliched way at times. It’s a moving tale – and though not particularly unsubtle, the amiable tone and strong leading performances ensures that Frears is on to a winner with this one. Oh, and take tissues – you may just need them.
Q&A LONE SURVIVOR
Cast Discuss Their Journey Creating Lone Survivor, one of the most talked about survival awards contenders of the year. Marcus Luttrell’s tale of true acts of courage, devotion and vigorous combat recreated through the style of director Peter Berg.
Q&A PARTICIPANTS Director Peter Berg (PB) Marcus Luttrell (ML) Mark Wahlberg – Plays Marcus Luttrell (MW)
Can you talk a bit about what its like having that difficult experience that you went through recreated on screen ? ML: Well the crew and everybody did such an outstanding job that when Pete and I first met and had the discussion about taking this story obviously transferring it to a movie that was not going to be in the hands of Hollywood, Pete nailed it he said you can trust me, I won’t let you down. I think he did an outstanding job as what he did, what he had to work with he allowed me to voice my opinions and in any way I saw fit if I went over or not thats a different story all together but mark was great with everybody and all the actors. Peter could you speak a bit about how important authenticity was to you, after you read the book what was the process of research ?
PB: Ya I read the book and I didn’t think I was going to have the time to finish it. What Marcus did and I wanted pertically to get into the experience of what happened up on that mountain and how his best friend died and it made me realise how rare it is for me to spend that amount of time meditating on what it is that these guys go through so it got very critical for me to get it right. I spent a great deal of time with Marcus and I spent a lot of time with family members of the soldiers who were killed, I spent a lot of time with Marcus’ colleagues. I was fortunate enough to have been set to Iraq for a month and to be embedded with a navy SEAL platoon in Iraq. Which was a creative experience in my life but I knew that this film could be seen certainly by the Hollywood community and by the American public, but most importantly it would be seen by Marcus and the families and the widows of the soldiers who were killed so I think I speak for all of us when I say we took it pretty seriously. This is a film that looks so physically demanding for an actor to do, can you talk a bit about the rigidness of shooting this film ? MW: Well its just you know, for us to talk about what we went though up on that mountain it’s just so fake and so false against what these guys did what they went though and I don’t know, Seeing the movie again tonight and just what Marcus when through having family and having a wife that you love them more than anything and you would do anything to protect them and knowing that they won’t ever see their families again. It just it means so much more than movies where I talk about, I trained for four and a half years and I was ‘The Fighter’ f**k all that it really means nothing you know I just love Marcus for
what he has done and I am a very lucky guy to do what I do, I am proud to, I mean its just so much bigger than what I do. Pete when you ment to met Marcus was it after you had written the script or was it before ? PB: I was phoning Hancock my partner, Rick Hancock and he said there is a book you need to read and you need to read it now and I said why and I am working on something and I said no and he said yes and I said no and he said go in your trailer and read it like a man and you know I said ok and I went in and was going to read 20 pages and I read like the whole script, book and that immediately lead me to call Marcus who was in LA meeting everybody who wanted to make this film and I said Id like to have my 10 minuets and Ill show you some of a film that I had done Kingdom and I said if you like it call me and we will sit down if not good luck and he called me and said meet me a at a bar and we had bear a lot of bear and he told me he was willing to do it. So Marcus for you out of all the people who approached you why was Peter the one you wanted to tell the story ? ML: Yes Ma’am, that was the case I was in Hollywood and I think for two or three days and I was on ,my way out and my plane got delayed or whatever it was and the people that I was there with said there is this old boy down, who wants to come film your movie right now with Will Smith and he said hes a great director and he said he would like to meet you and they said his name and I said I loved him in Training Day.
PB: That’s not funny you don’t have to laugh at that. ML: I watched Kingdom and I mean It was his attention to detail on everything in the movie itself and I found myself focusing more on that then the actors or what was being said, it was his attention to detail every little thing. And did he get it right, the authenticity does it ring true ? ML: Yes Ma’am, the cast and crew did an absolutely fantastic job with the time and the assets that they had to work with. I mean just taking something that happened in real life and just trying to transfer it to a book and then from a book into a movie it just twice as hard. I mean some of the military guys will pick up on all the military stuff. For instance when they were first inserted to the mountain they didn’t have any face paint on and I was like what’s going on what are we doing here and Pete was like well the actors you know they really love their face. You know the audience want to see that kind of stuff and I was like well they all have beards on you can barely tell them apart and he was like that’s Mark Walburg and that’s Emile Hirsch. Well we have to wrap up is there anything you would like to say ? PL: Creating this film I wanted to give people the opportunity to turn their phones off and to understand what these men who I have come to believe are the best and most brightest human beings and what we as a country can offer these men and women die and they’re not dying for politics their dying for us and for each other and its important, its very important that we honor them
HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE BY MARC JASON ALI “Will keep you on your toes from start to finish and leave you wanting more” Some would say that ‘sequel’ is a dirty word, what with the plethora of superfluous second offerings that don’t live up to or surpass their predecessors. Thankfully, however, Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire doesn’t fall into that category, as we are instead presented with a film that not only matches the original piece, even manages to surpass it in almost every way. That’s not to say the first was a disappointing film, either, and the mandatory laying down of the narrative and introductory elements were entirely necessary. Nonetheless, Catching Fire is a more accomplished, compelling feature, and a real treat for those yet to read the Suzanne Collins novels of which this is based upon, as the plot twists bear more of a surprise. Meanwhile there is a danger with sequels, that there is always the temptation of going off book somewhat, and really upping the ante with huge spectacles, and while Catching Fire does have a few grandiose sequences, it stays firmly as a character driven piece, expanding the world we were introduced to by Gary Ross. So we are reintroduced to Katniss “The Girl on Fire” Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in her home of District 12, adjusting to life as the victor of the 74th games, and preparing to embark on a ‘District Tour’ alongside fellow winner and apparent love interest Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Away from the bright lights of the Capitol and the impassioned media, Katniss harbours a resentment towards Peeta, and one disregarded when
the cameras are rolling, as the pair appear as the ‘star crossed lovers’ they are pressurised to be. As they embark on the tour, it becomes apparent that an uprising has been sparked and is utilising Katniss as a symbol of hope, however President Snow (played brilliantly once again by Donald Sutherland) has other more sinister plans for the rebels and Katniss, announcing the 3rd Quarter Quell, which is designed to pit past victors against past victors in a game of death, much like the 74th games, only this time the combatants are all advanced and vicious killers. The cast is brilliant as the returning actors all show that they are more comfortable with their characters, while director Lawrence has elegantly built upon the world, showing that Catching Fire is not a mere parody to what came before. He remains faithful to the intense sense of danger and plight that we can connect with, while the love story certainly plays a more superior role – though never overpowering proceedings. Meanwhile the additions to the cast; most notably Sam Claflin as Fennick, Jena Malone as Johanna, Jeffrey Wright as Beetee and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the strategic Games master Plutarch Heavensbee, are all welcomed additions, ensuring that Catching Fire is a fresh addition into an already strong franchise. From Gibbon attacks to poison fog, alliances made and alliances broken, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will keep you on your toes from start to finish and leave you wanting more, and with two more films to come from Francis Lawrence and company, it seems that more is exactly what we’re fortunate to be getting.
GRAVITY BY JAMES RUSH
Hang on tight and grip for dear life, are you ready to whiteness the cinematic masterpiece that is Gravity. Gravity focuses on two astronauts adrift in space after a horrific collision with a field of debri from a rogue spy satellite 300 miles above the surface of the earth where the views are indescribably stunning and where the danger can become inherently real extremely fast. The two astronauts Matt Kowalsky played by George Clooney and Dr. Ryan Stone played by Sandra Bullock fight together to survive until Dr. Ryan Stone is detached an left to fend for herself on her surviving and quickly diminishing oxygen where Sandra Bullock’s performance takes an award winning turn into a truly stunning emotional and physical breakdown of her character Mission Specialist Dr. Ryan Stone. Both astronauts need to survive long enough to be rescued or make an attempt to return to earth although they know that any chance of hope is a longshot on the horizon given that the grounded Houston has no idea that they are even still alive as there ship falls apart piece by piece and is bombarded by satellites time and time again with other space debris they are left adrift will they ever make it back to the surface unscathed. Sandra Bullock playing the lead in Gravity gives a shocking, spectacular and an unexpectedly emotional performance. George Clooney has an unexpected comedic output and plays a Russian astronaut seemingly put in charge of moral for the mission. Although usually misconstrued George Clooney takes the spotlight in most of his major films Gravity sees Cloony in the partly supporting role alongside the thrillingly emotional Sandra Bullock who is all but
certainly on the road to a best actress nomination. Gravity made its debut at the Venice Film Festival where it received an overwhelming and well expected standing ovation from the audience, Gravity then made its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival with Sandra Bullock in attendance and was considered to be one of the centrepieces of the Toronto Film Fest with numerous additional screenings added throughout the almost two week festival period. Gravity is a definite Best Picture Contender throughout the upcoming award season and has hopefully thrusted the world of space movies into the 21st century packed with its sensational visual effects and cinematic tension spilling action. Gravity although unseemingly is in the same league as other legendary space movies that include the classic Hugo nominated Silent Running, the five time Academy Award winning 2010 and Stanley Kubrick’s Academy Award winning sensation the venturistic 2001: A Space Odyssey which redefined space movies in 1968 and for the decades that followed. Gravity showcases a combination of a gripping feel-good tale alongside a variety of intestinally surprising and no doubt sensational visual effects that could also make Gravity a nominee in more than one category for numerous annual award ceremonies. Cinematic innovator Alfonso Cuarón has brought Gravity to life and has re-defined space movies for a decade. Gravity has also surpassed the milestone and has set a new bar for future cinematic space thrillers and making this another festival sensation to add to your years upcoming watchlist.
ABOUT TIME BY JAMES RUSH
The quirkily hilarious About Time transports you through the sensational Deja Vu world of time travel. The film joins Tim as he turns twenty one he discovers a secret that the men in his family can travel in time by going into a dark place and thinking about the moment that they want to travel to throughout their lives. Tim’s family secret although mind bending comes with some limitations as he can only travel back through his own timeline and he unfortunately can’t travel into the future. Although luckily for Tim it was always, only and unquestionably about love, shortly after he discovers his family’s gift he uses it to find himself a girlfriend but it turns out to be harder and more hilarious than you could possibly imagine. Now as we all know too well the mishaps and mess ups that come with the astonishing discovery of time travel in movies like Star Trek and the Back To The Back Future trilogy although it appears that apart from the logical misfire there are very few butterfly effect like moments in the film and director Richard Curtis appears to have kept the film very much grounded to the definition of a non traditional romantic comedy instead of straying into the realms of science fiction any more than needed.
Directed by the irreplaceable Richard Curtis responsible for a variety of breathtaking romantic comedies including but certainly not limited to Love Actually, Bridget Jones Diary and not forgetting the rock and roll kicker The Boat That Rocked. About Time evokes a similar resemblance to the style of the recent festival sensation Ruby Sparks creating a set awkwardly emotional but also hilarious moments combined into a dramatic tension spilling emotional dive. Despite its exceedingly extended runtime of over two hours the opening sequence of About Time flows at a surprisingly rapid pace throwing you head first into the joyful world of self controlled time travel and at the center of it all Tim’s long time family home in Cornwall. The film focuses on Tim played by Domhnall Gleeson who gives a spectacular performance alongside Rachel McAdams as Mary and the legendary Bill Nighy as Tim’s Dad. This is a hilarious mashup of romantically awkward moments and time travel making it a definite must see for any and all romantic comedy addicts.
NEBRASKA B Y M AT T S E T O N
Cinema’s answer to the Great American Novel has got to be the road movie. There is just something about watching your protagonists speeding along endless highways, across deserts and mountains, that is effortlessly able to evoke the spirit of the age and area in which it was made. The road movie can give you an affinity for a world you’ve never even come close to, and Alexander Payne’s Nebraska is no exception. Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) isn’t a stranger to quirky road movies and although this is the first time he hasn’t received a writing credit for one of his films - his dry, deadpan sense of humour is here in abundance. As could be expected with Payne, Nebraska has a typically atypical setup. The film opens with the aged Woody (Bruce Dern) attempting to walk across two states from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect what he believes to be a million dollar prize. He is quickly picked up by the police and it is left to his son David (Will Forte) and wife Kate (June Squibb) to explain that the ‘million dollar’ letter is simply a ruse to sell magazine subscriptions. Woody refuses to believe that he isn’t a millionaire and, following a few more attempted escapes, his son reluctantly agrees to accompany him to Nebraska in the hope of bonding with an impenetrable father who is in the last years of his life. Woody and David are soon held up in central
Nebraska where friends and family members inevitably crawl out of the woodwork, all eager for a piece of Woody’s fortune. The belief in Woody’s millions turns out to be far more important than the actual money. It brings him acclaim he could never have dreamed of otherwise, but the only physical thing he can actually think of buying is a new truck. The plot feels very comfortable to watch, chugging along at a leisurely pace, not afraid to relax and let you take in the atmosphere. It’s helped by a strong cast, with stand-out performances from Bruce Dern’s lead, and June Squibb as Woody’s long-suffering wife. Payne and cinematographer Phedon Papamichael shoot their subject beautifully, often pausing the narrative to linger on some slice of faded americana; a motel sign, a mountain, a field of hay. The film is shot in a stark monochrome that, rather than appearing harsh or sterile, actually provides an atmosphere of calm to the proceedings, making it a very intimate affair. This, coupled with the slow-paced but enjoyable plot and light but straight-faced humour, gives Nebraska a captivating quality that one can’t help but smile at. Nebraska is the kind of film you want to take home and show to your parents.
IN FEAR BY OLLIE CHARLES
Jeremy Lovering’s In Fear is a chiller that gets under your skin from the very start; this horror cum road movie is one of the most stylish, well shot and beautifully directed horror films in years aided by it’s young stars; Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert and Allen Leech. This low budget, British thriller takes leave from the typical strands of contemporary horror cinema filled with obscene violence and gore and instead opts to intelligently alienate and unsettle its audience through psychological fear, extreme tension and one of the best sound designs of the year. De Caestecker and Englert play Tom & Lucy, a young new couple who are still in throws of getting to know each other. They have decided to meet up together to join a group of friends for a music festival but on the way, Tom reveals his plans that the two spend a night together in a romantic village hotel that he has arranged so that they get to know each other better. Despite closely reading the map, as evening draws in the two get lost on the way to the hotel. Whilst they believe it is just the two of them and their car in the middle of these very built up woods, they slowly learn they are not alone and a dangerous game of cat and mouse starts as a masked stranger taunts and torments them throughout the night. Whilst the darkness grows around them, the tension becomes too much for both Tom and Lucy and they start to fear that the very worst may happen to them – if only they can get through this one night together. What In Fear most cleverly plays upon is our fear of the dark; something that horror movies have long since left to children’s stories and retro novels. Yet the greatest fear that someone can have is off the dark, at night when you are all alone and with only your thoughts, anything can happen and very often things do go bump in the night. Lovering’s intelligent filmmaking manages to create a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere, pulling the audience deeper into the woods with Tom & Lucy. Whilst the anxiety of the audience grows throughout the film, so does that of the characters, making their own tensions and worries build with the wonderfully paced script and tight structure of the film. At the high moments, when the two are at their most annoyed or
scared, that is often when explosions of action happen and something shocks the audience. Unlike a lot of current horror films, that rely mostly upon creating moments to make the audience jump and then return to calm until another moment arrives, In Fear slowly but surely creates this sense of horror and torment throughout, gripping from the very start until the final punch. Lovering’s camera is so calm and yet exploratory throughout the film; really admiring both the location and the characters. Whilst the car goes round and round in the forest, there is never a moment when the forest appears boring or that we have seen this all before, but instead the audience grow more tense as the characters appear to get deeper into the woodland. The other aspect that helps this hugely, is the sense of real time. The film cleverly plays with psychological aspects as well; the couple are being chased by a masked man throughout the night but oddly this little terror actually plays deeper on the audience’s psyche and creeps them out. The film is reminiscent of Haneke’s Funny Games but also provides the same shivers as something like The Shining with the unknown terror that surrounds the characters. Furthermore, the sound design is so precise and stunning that it really does cause the audience to be on the edge of their seats throughout as they can hear every little sound amplified in the forest, it is possibly the most powerful sound design since last years Berbarian Sound Studio. The performances from both the main leads are really brilliant and present them both as upcoming British talent to seriously watch out for; they take this simple story, with a tight script in a sparse location and run with it, giving strict and genuinely scared performances. Leech who plays Max, the masked assailant is also terrifying as he confronts the couple and plays the character towards completely insane; further adding to the madness of the film. In Fear is simply one of the scariest, most intelligent and brilliant horror films to have come out of Britain in years. It picks up on psychological troupes that have been long forgotten and reminds us that our deepest fears, may just be off the dark outside.
7 BEST DEALS OF THE AFM
1 - THE INTERN THE NUMBER 1 DEAL AT THE AFM 2013 is the announcment that Robert De Niro and Reese Witherspoon have been cast in “The Intern”. The story of the owner of a successful fashion website who bonds with the elderly intern her company hires.
CAST KRISTEN STEWART AND JESSE EISENBERG
SONY PICTURES ACQUIRES RIGHTS TO KEY INTERNATIONAL TERRITORIES
SPC GRABS U.S. RIGHTS TO “THIRD PERSON”
2013 RUNDOWN The entertainment business decends on the Santa Monica beachfront this November for the so called Open Season on the movie business as dealmakers get front row accessto talent and studios get first call on deals for the coming year. Some of the most notable films to have attracted attention during the crazed 2013 American Film Market include Third Person, Sundance Film Festival’s Afternoon Delight, Fishing Naked and Palo Alto.
LONDON HAS FALLEN
SEQUEL PRODUCTION CONFIRMED
POINT BREAK REMAKE
LIONSGATE SELLS OUT THE RIGHTS
ANGRIEST MAN IN BROOKLYN
LIONSGATE NABS NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS
5 WILDEST POSTERS OF THE AFM
NOVEMBER 26 | BY JAMES RUSH
> Here’s to the famous words, to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, Here’s to the ones who see things differently lets celebrate as the new biopic depicting Steve Job’s episode of inventing Apple is finally released into theatres. The biopic Jobs follows the life of Steve Jobs sensationally played by Ashton Kutcher through his affair with Apple from Steve’s first days as a college dropout passing through his time in India along through his days down sized to leading the Macintosh project even following his time over ten years where he was forced out from Apple all the way till his return to Apple Computers which leads him into becoming one of the greatest motivated creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century. The movie not only follows Jobs but also partly the life of his coworkers and collaborators including two other now Apple icons Steve Wozniak and towards the end quarter of the biopic Jonathan Ive. The fans expectations for Jobs especially after the screening of the film at the 29th Sundance Film Festival rocketed and anticipation for the biopic soared although a mixed amount of the fans still couldn’t believe that Ashton Kutcher could carry out the role as Steve Jobs. Although I can certainly say that Ashton Kutcher was the best casting call made this year as Kutcher almost becomes Jobs for the role then combined with some of Jobs most memorable lines and Job’s limitless outlook on the world Kutcher has given a sensational award
winning performance and has proven that he can be a serious actor compared to just playing a comedic character. Joshua Michael Stern director of Jobs has made a truly moving biopic talking you inside the live, dream and creativity of a modern technology and innovation icon. Stern has let the audience see through the new age of computers through the shear aspirations and innovation of jobs along with Stern’s dramatic cinematic technique this biopic is more than moving its also extensively emotional on countless levels. Jobs made its appearance on the festival scene at the 29th Sundance Film Festival earlier this year along with members of the cast and crew in attendance and was turned out to be the landmark and centrepiece of the festival line-up. The film also saw a not surprising warm welcome from its first audience anywhere and looking back on the reviews was also drastically enjoyed by almost all the critics saying not to underestimate Ashton Kutcher. The biopic Jobs although a indie festival favourite has also become a major anticipated blockbuster over the last couple of months. Despite the extensive runtime of two hours for a biopic of this scale it seems like under an hour as through the amazement of the audience you are almost drawn into the story. For everyone who has ever aspired to or been inspired by the creativity and passion of Steve Jobs this is a definite picture to watch the next time you visit the theatre.
NOVEMBER 19 | BY JAMES RUSH
> In a war between kings even a pawn can change the game, Paranoia is a dramatically intense thriller that lifts the cover off todayâ€™s modern technology world and shows us how being more isolated can make the world feel more connected. Take a dive into the world of corporate espionage deep behind the scenes of corporate success into a deadly world of greed and deception. As two lifelong rivals played by Gary Oldman and played by Harrison Ford go head to head leading behind them an army of pawns working for two of the most powerful tech billionaires in the world. Both CEOâ€™s have a extremely complicated past with each other and they will stop at nothing to destroy each other even if it means sacrificing some pawns, building an army, deceiving each other, spying and of course even to the depths of corporate espionage. A young wannabe tech billionaire played by Liam Hemsworth, is seduced and manipulated by both powers and is deceived by the endless wealth and power falls in the crack between two kings. He becomes trapped in the middle of the twists and turns of their life-and-death game of corporate espionage. By the time he realizes that everyone he has ever met or cared about is in serious danger, he is far far too deep and knows way too much for either of them to let him walk away alive. Directed by the comedy veteran Robert Luketic known best for directing 21, The Ugly Truth and Legally Blonde. Luketic has turned Paranoia into a masterpiece of modern technology culture although a stray from the
genre of most of his previous comedy projects his cinematic style is quickly recognisable and begs a similar resemblance to his recent pawn vs king based project 21. Paranoia was filmed mainly in Pennsylvania, USA during the end of the previous year and has been sitting on the shelf for awhile waiting as the studios decided the right time to release it into the box office and Paranoia has certainly had a spectacular welcome from US audience looking at the box office the thriller snatched up $3,528,376 on its opening weekend with $6,250,293 total gross as of August 25th. The fans expectations were drastically high for this new thriller mainly due to the casting including Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford and Liam Hemsworth who all give a terrific performance. The film also resembles previous thrillers including Duplicity although the two films do stand worlds apart relating to the story of the films although the baseline still remains to be similar. Paranoia is adapted from the New York Times bestselling novel by Joseph Finder whose story has been brought to life though the world of film making it even more thrilling and dramatic although the storyline of the novel has been kept close to the screenplay written by Jason Dean Hall and Barry Levy the film does get slightly lead astray by the world of Hollywood filmmaking. This is a definite must watch for any and all Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford admires as they go head to head in competing roles they rival some of the best previous performances.
THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS DECEMBER 03 | BY JAMES RUSH > Venture into a world of mystery, monsters and war as the first in a soon to be six part franchise The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones takes to cinemas, based on the worldwide bestseller City of Bones by author Cassandra Clare. The Mortal Instruments City of Bones transports you into an alternate almost parallel New York City, where a seemingly ordinary teenager Clary Fray played by the awe-inspiring Lily Collins, discovers a new life in a world that she never knew existed as a descendant of a line of Shadowhunters. A Shadowhunter is a young half-angel warrior destined to protect the world from demons in a never ending war locked between good and evil. Clary has no idea what or who she really is and goes about her life as usual until her mother is kidnapped by demons and Clary must uncover the truth and join forces with a group of Shadowhunters in a world filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures beyond imagination to save the world she never before knew existed. Remember all the stories of legends and creatures from nightmares are true. Director Harald Zwart known best for his work on Agent Cody Banks and the recent Jaden Smith The Karate Kid film takes the audience into a spectacular unbelievable world through the art of visual effects and his tension spilling cinematic style. Zwart previous filmography makes him an almost perfect match for The Mortal Instruments franchise
through his experience creating teen centered worlds full of intense action and comedy. Although the film is not an exact match to the book Zwart has appeared to try to keep the storyline of the film as close to the book as possible whilst still keeping as much of a moderate runtime as possible which has turned out at just over two hours. The fans expectations are drastically high after a six year wait since the release of the City of Bones book it has finally been turned into a breathtaking movie. The franchise is set to remain extremely teen-targeted bringing humorous moments, werewolves and vampires into the spotlight. The franchise is currently slated to continue as work on the sequel is already underway. The franchise is made up of six books so it could be some years before we see the final ending to the mysterious world of mythological creatures and Shadowhunters on screen. The sixth book, City of Heavenly Fire is currently set to be released in May, 2014 and if you thought that this new movie franchise was one to burn out quickly you are completely wrong as back in March 2013 there was a group of prequels to the Mortal Instruments franchise release entitled The Infernal Devices which depending on the box office gross of the upcoming five films could also make there way to our screens. This is an exhilarating story and a cinematic work of art it is a must see for all fans and admirers of the book franchise and is certainly destined to go down a storm at the box office.
THOR OPENING HAMMERS INTO $85 MILLION BY PETER TURNER
hor: The Dark World has flown into first place this weekend, smashing the competition and riding high on the coattails of both the success of The Avengers and Iron Man 3. It bodes well for fellow Avenger Captain America’s own upcoming sequel if the individuals that comprise the super team can all get a boost off the back of being in the most successful superhero film ever. Thor: The Dark World is expected to take over $85 million at the domestic box office on its first weekend on release. That might be less than half of what Iron Man 3 made on its opening weekend but it is still considerably more than the first Thor film made when it was released. This domestic take is of course after the sequel has already made over $240 million worldwide where it was released in many places before the US. There were no other new entries to the top 10 of the box office charts this weekend but Free Birds, Last Vegas and Ender’s Game all managed to stay high
in the charts on their second weeks of release. Only Last Vegas out of these three has approached profitable territory with Ender’s Game doing poorly across the world, including America where it has not even made back half of its huge production $110 million budget. The big success story of the past few weeks is Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa which even after three weeks on release is still at number two in the charts this weekend and now hitting the $100 million mark off the back of a paltry $15 million budget. Gravity meanwhile is being pulled slowly down the charts slipping from number 5 to number 6 this week but it is still riding high from a wave of ecstatic critic’s reviews and since being released has made over 4 times its $100 million budget back. Similarly Captain Philips is now sinking down the charts slowly but has made over $146 million worldwide, making it very profitable for Columbia Pictures.
THOR 2 01
NOV 08-11, 2013 WEEKEND GROSS $86,100,000 TOTAL GROSS $86,100,000