Sunday, December 31, 2006


  • The History Boys now has a US Trailer, suggesting it will be receiving a wider release over the Atlantic in 2007. Note the omission of the word "fucking" in the first line, replaced strangely with the word "bloody", which Americans don't even use.
  • Nominations in 2007's Independent Spirit Awards include Little Miss Sunshine and Pan's Labyrinth for Best Feature (quite prestigious as past winners include Brokeback Mountain and Lost In Translation), while lovely youngsters Amber Tamblyn and Paul Dano are among those hoping to win awards for their acting.
  • I have a new favourite website - on you can watch all the big US TV shows and loads of recent and classic movies for free. Perfect for students with no TV signal and lack of funds for new DVDs. Check out Accepted and Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants for starters.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Flannel Pajamas

There are so many movies around that focus on the relationships of 20-something men and women, so they need to have something special to stand out. This one seems very simple, but the trailer, which has no speech, only music, is quite compelling, so I'll be interested to see if the whole film has this warmth and jolliness (without being too quirky) about it. Obviously I'll wait for the title to be spelt correctly first.


  • Russian Dolls (Les Poupées Russes in French), the sequel to the brilliant French/Spanish film L'auberge Espagnole (or Pot Luck as it was titled in the UK), is finally set for UK release on 22nd January 2007. I've heard that it's just as good as the first film so I'm counting down the days already! If you can't wait check out Romain Duris' other recent film, The Beat That My Heart Skipped.
  • Tonight is the European Film Awards, where highly respected director Pedro Almodovar has 6 nominations for his movie Volver, which stars Penelope Cruz. His main rival is Ken Loach for Irish civil war drama The Wind That Shakes The Barley, while the only British film to get a nomination is Pride & Prejudice, for its music and cinematography.
  • Notes on a Scandal follows Starter For Ten to be the second book championed in Richard & Judy's book club to be released to the big screen, and with Judy Dench and Cate Blanchett as its stars it's pretty sure to be a hit. Here is the trailer, it's out on the 2nd of February.

Trailer: Sweet Land

This looks so lovely! Take your mum.

Trailer: Backstage

Click here to watch the trailer.

The French films I've seen have all been on quaint, timeless subjects, so it's interesting to see their take on a very modern subject, the obsession with celebrity. Lucie adores and emulates the singer Lauren Walks. This film shows the lengths she will go to in order to get close to Lauren, and the effect it has on each of them. I am interested to see it, but it has a harsh edge about it that I think I will dislike, and a lack of warmth which could make me engage more with the characters. However, I won't judge it until I see it and I look forward to doing so. It was released in the USA last week, although limited to New York, so hopefully a UK release will follow.

Review: What To Do In Case Of Fire

Or 'Was tun, wenn's brennt?' in German. You may have noticed my fascination with films where a group of interesting people with similar political views (i.e. anti-capitalism/establishment) club together to try and make the world a better place, usually in rather unorthodox ways. Together and Edukators are the best examples, but the spirit is reflected in such films as Good Bye Lenin, L'auberge Espagnole and A Home At The End Of The World. I love these films because they leave me wanting to do something important, make a difference, and they give me hope that it is possible. Perhaps they romanticise the notion of 'the revolution starts at home' - in reality the closest I can find to this revolutionary spirit is university politics, which is of course a minefield of arrogant twats ignoring anyone's opinion but their own and using long words to intimidate any well-meaning ordinary student who makes the mistake of getting involved. There is none of the togetherness of Together, only the bad times in the middle where they all argue.

However, this isn't a blog about the rubbishness of other people, it is about the brilliance of films like this one. Unlike The Edukators there isn't so much time spent on the politics - What To Do... is more about the people involved and the effect their time as rebellious, communal-living Berlin anarchists in the 1980s has had on their lives. For some characters it is all in the past, while for others there will never be anything more important than staying true to their cause, so when a bomb the group planted 11 years before goes off, their responses differ greatly. Some want to turn themselves in or just hope the bomb won't be traced back to them, while others take this as ammunition for one last attempt to get revenge on the authorities who had caused the dispersion of their group in the first place, when one member had been run over during a protest. The latter group soon persuade the former and a plot to retrieve the evidence which incriminates them is put into action, with many heart-warming and hilarious moments along the way.

The plot-line maybe isn't the best thought out ever (we are after all meant to side with a group who like to blow things up) but the politics and moral questions are, for me at least, not the point of this film. To me it shows the importance of standing up for what you believe in, even if it's hard in the 'real world' to get together a group of people who are really willing to do so, and realistically there is just too much to lose by going against authority these days, when authority rules everything. However, they don't always make a good job of it and if this truly is a democracy, they can't rule us without our support, so it is never impossible to make a difference, and that is one thing that we must not let go. If more people saw films like this (if they could first get over their fear of subtitles), perhaps the romanticised notion would be realistic.