Sunday, August 12, 2007

Trailer: Broken English

This looks like a really nice film, but it's not helping with my extreme desire to meet a beautiful French boy to fall in love with. "I hope you find a penis!" made me LOL quite literally, but really there is no lovelier sound than a French man speaking English.

Trailer: Rocket Science

This looks good! A sweet American indie film about a geeky teenager who gets into the school debating team. Sounds a lot like Thumbsucker but I liked that film so I'm sure I'll like this one too.

Trailers: British Film Special

There are very few British films that I would count among my favourites, and I don't know if any of these will be joining them, but I do think they'll be worth seeing:


I've not read the book but I've heard great things about it and that this film is a good adaptation, although quite unsurprisingly the focus has been increased on Keira Knightley's character. I love James McAvoy but I hated Romola Garai in Daniel Deronda, so we'll have to see if she can win me over.

Hallam Foe

Now this actually looks like the kind of film I'd normally see - something like Art School Confidential or Thumbsucker, but it's British. I haven't seen Jamie Bell in anything since Billy Elliott, so it'll be interesting to see how he is as an adult actor.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Review: Empire Records

At this rate I'm going to run out of superlatives by the end of the week, because I've just discovered yet another favourite film. I can't believe this film has existed for the last 12 years and no-one thought to make me watch it, when it is so clearly one of the best films of the 90s. I'm not sure anything can oust Clueless as my fave 90s comedy, but it's definitely up with The Brady Bunch Movie.

I loved all of the characters in this film, especially Lucas, AJ, Eddie, Mark and Gina. Lucas was like Pacey from Dawson's Creek with a little of Seth Cohen's humour, so I wonder if either of those characters were inspired by him. AJ was adorably sweet and looked like Kavana did in the 90s, which is definitely a good look. Eddie and Mark reminded me extremely of some lovely friends of mine, and Eddie also made me want to watch White Oleander again because Patrick Fugit's character looks just like him. Gina is played by Renée Zellweger, and while I do like Renée as an adult actress, as a teenage character (although she was actually 26 in 1995) she was exceedingly ace.

Not very much happens in this film - in fact, it's all set within one day, but it's the strength of characters and humour which make it brilliant. Personally I prefer films like this, because although a fast-moving, exciting film can be thoroughly enjoyable, I find that a film with great characters and a general good vibe will stick with me and be fun to watch again and again. If a film is just about the plot's twists and turns, then once you've seen it once or twice it's too predictable and holds no interest. A film like this will never run out, and I am off to buy my copy right away. If you haven't seen it I suggest you do the same, or just search for it on YouTube because the whole movie is there!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Review: Paris, je t'aime

I have rarely been as excited about seeing a film as I was about this one, so it was a bit of a worry that I might be disappointed, but I'm very pleased to say with absolute certainty that there was not a thing disappointing about this brilliant film project. The idea is that a selection of the best film-makers in France and worldwide would make a short film each about Paris and love and the love of Paris. It is a treat for Francophiliacs and film buffs alike, as you can spot all the most wonderful Paris landmarks while keeping an eye out for your favourite film stars and directors.

Paris Je T'Aime is an independent/world cinema-lover's dream. For me almost every section held some excitement, whether it was an actor from or director of one of my favourite films. Just to explain how exciting this was, let me list all the actors and directors I jumped for joy at the appearance of, and the reasons why: Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham), Gus Van Sant (Elephant), Gaspard Ulliel (A Very Long Engagement), Elias McConnell (Elephant), Steve Buscemi (Ghost World), Juliette Binoche (Chocolat), Ludivine Sagnier (8 Femmes), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko), Elijah Wood (Everything Is Illuminated), Emily Mortimer (Bright Young Things), Rufus Sewell (A Knight's Tale), Alexander Payne (Election), Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and Natalie Portman (Garden State). Most of those films are in my top picks of all time, so if you are still reading this, can I ask why? If you're not racing off to buy your cinema ticket or at least pre-order the DVD, this is really not the blog for you.

This film is really a summary of every reason that independent and world cinema is so many millions of times better than the commercial blockbusters. I can't see why anyone would rather watch the latter when actors, actresses and film-makers like these ones exist. The film is mostly in French, even some of the sections with non-French directors and actors, giving it a properly French feel as opposed to packaging Frenchness for an outside audience. France is probably my favourite country for films (think Science of Sleep, L'auberge Espagnol, Amelie etc.) but it's even better to have the special French touch mixed in with a variety of the most talented film-makers and actors in the whole world. It's like a pick and mix of film brilliance, and I couldn't have made it up better myself!

The unusual format of the film may prevent it from getting all the critical acclaim it deserves, but I hope everyone who even slightly enjoys foreign or independent films will see this, because it will open up a whole world of brilliant but often hidden talent that is so much more exciting than the endless series of remakes and sequels provided by the mainstream film outlets. As a taster, here are some of my favourite sections, which I have found on YouTube:

Faubourg Saint-Denis - beautiful and inspiring! Stars Natalie Portman, playing a similar character to Garden State.
Père-Lachaise - two lovely English actors show how British cinema could be just as great as French if we tried.
Tour Eiffel - I don't normally like mime but this is hilarious and wonderful.