Sleepless Night: The French Take on Taken?
Aug 2012 01

Most people want to be action film heroes. Sure, there might be some who might try to deny it, pretending to be too “mature”, or say they’re “pacifists” and other made up words. But ultimately, we all want a glock in our hand, and a cause in our heart.

However, what with our increasingly sedentary lives, allied to an abdomen-expanding diet, these days most regular people are further away than ever from being action heroes (or heroines). We all like to think that if it came to it, we’d have it in us to rise to the challenge. If only we had a suitable cause, an emotion-fuelled motivation, a vindictive and psychotic nemesis to spur us to action, we’d be unstoppable.

While we sit around watching soap operas, waiting for said motivation to come along, we watch action movies to sate our appetites for righteous violence. 2008’s Taken starring Liam Neeson (written and produced by Luc Besson), showed that a “particular set of skills” and a kidnapped daughter can do wonders for your get-up-and-go. And maybe Taken was just the start? Unknown followed in 2011, and Taken 2 is due to come out this year. All of these are French/European movies, with a less large-scale story premise than your average Nuke-obsessed 80s testosterone ‘n’ bullets-fest.

In this vein of effective French action movies comes Sleepless Night. Like the recent Indonesian action flick The Raid: Redemption, a man has to enter a hostile building, and work his way to the top through many (many) henchmen. Unlike The Raid, where the protagonist had a whole SWAT team with him, cop Tomer Sisley has to do this all on his lonesome. His partners have betrayed him, and a vengeful club-owning mobster has kidnapped his son. Cue much adrenaline-saturated fighting, and a liberal sprinkling of some pulse-pounding tension. One of the most effective things about the film is its sense of place, it gives the audience a good sense of where everything and everyone is, even in the midst of some frantic gun-and-fist-play. With some believable performances and some suitably gritty visuals, you’ll be in for a cinema seat-based treat.

‘Hey Dad, I know this isn’t really the time, but I really need to go to the bathroom!’

Sleepless Night won’t rock your world, change your life, or finally give you that action-star motivation, but if you like this sort of thing, and you’re feeling French, you’ll be in for a cracking and visceral action movie. Check out the trailer below, and leave a comment, if you’re hard enough.

TA

Where are all the Olympic Movies??
Aug 2012 02

Running a website like this one you try to look ahead and plan collections of articles that you can link to current events.  For example Nick Poulton wrote a series of posts about films that were overlooked for Oscars on the run up to the Oscars ceremony.   So obviously the biggest event in the world at the moment is the London 2012 Olympic Games, the editorial meeting went pretty much as follows:

TW: We need to write a series on the greatest Olympic movies.

NP: Good Idea

TA: Chariots of Fire!

TW: Cool Runnings?

NP: That is Winter Olympics…

TW: Still Counts, what else?

NP: Ermmm, Munich?

TA: Tenuous,  I can’t think of any others, you?

NP, TW: No….

And that is were the idea for a series died.

As I sit here watching Sir Chris Hoy win his 5th Gold Medal I ask myself why with all the drama and human interest are there not more Olympic movies?

We did miss one other Olympic movie worth mentioning ‘Miracle” the 2004 Kurt Russell film about the 1980’s US Olympic team Hockey coach.  But still this is a Winter Olympics film, were are all the Summer Olympics movies?

Did ‘Chariots of Fire’ put filmakers off from making further films incase they couldn’t cope with the comparison? Or is it just the story idea has been told before in thousands of other sports films of triumph over the odds,tragedy or oppression?

Here are three ideas to get you started Hollywood:

‘Bolt: The Usain Bolt Story’ the story of the fastest and coolest man on earth?  Will Smith in the lead role and with a cameo by Boris Johnston dangling from a zip wire in the back ground.

‘2012 & Coe’ The story of Sebastian Coe’s work organising the games with a cameo by Steve Ovett playing the head of G4S security Nick Buckles.

‘EEL’ The story of Eric the Eel Moussanbani the Equatorial New Guinea swimmer who through two false starts managed to be the only swimmer left in his heat of 100 meters freestyle and barely won it.

Killing Them Softly: Sounds Like The Fugees, But is Actually Brad Pitt’s New Film
Aug 2012 04

Brad Pitt is an odd actor, as it happens. With his matinee idol good looks, and ridiculously toned physique, you’d think he’d be set fair for a nice, safe career in mainstream movies and nothing more (He’s married to Angelina Jolie for f*&%’s sake!).

It’s clear though, that he’s always yearned for respect, respect as a serious actor, and as an artist (or should that be ‘artiste’?). If he is slightly limited as an actor (he can’t have everything), he’s often made the most of what talent he has (I’m not knocking the guy, he’s a good actor, just not a great one). And with that talent, he’s taken a loose version of the ‘one for you, one for me’ approach to his film choices. He’s gone for studio-shmoozing, mainstream successes like Ocean’s Eleven and Mr and Mrs Smith, but he’s also dared to stray outside his comfortable spotlight, and done more left-field flicks such as Twelve Monkeys and Burn After Reading.

So, with this penchant for the not-so-mainstream fare in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that his latest film is another collaboration with Aussie auteur, Andrew Dominik. Pitt worked with Dominik on the divisive, but (at least in my opinion) majestic The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This was a film that was at an immediate disadvantage, in a lot of ways. Brad Pitt’s mainstream fans would be turned off by the length and glacial pacing of the movie, and those drawn to the film by Dominik’s debut (the Eric Bana-launching Chopper) wouldn’t know what to expect from a film so different in setting and subject matter. Upon its release, despite gorgeous cinematography, a wonderful, intentionally charisma-less performance from Casey Affleck and some rave (some not so rave) reviews, the film more or less tanked. Box Office Mojo has it down as making $15 million from a $30 million budget. Not exactly gangbusters.

If that hairstyle doesn’t just scream “wrong side of the tracks” I don’t know what does

Killing Them Softly is a crime tale in which Brad Pitt plays Cogan, a point man (a sort of scout) working for a hitman who begins to look into an audacious robbery of the mob’s assets. A simple enough story that clearly has a lot of potential to take some dark twists and turns. The early reviews coming out of festivals have been positive, and since Andrew Dominik was able to use Brad Pitt’s real-life star persona to draw possibly his best performance out of him in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, we have reasons to be optimistic about this one. Reasons to be negative are: the involvement of Harvey “Scissorhands” Weinstein, and that we really don’t know what to expect from Andrew Dominik at this stage.

It’s likely that this film probably won’t have huge fanfare around its autumn debut, despite the involvement of the Weinsteins. So this is the perfect opportunity to nonchalantly recommend it to friends and thenceforth be worshipped as some kind of film-recommending GOD.

Killing Them Softly will probably be released circa October in your local independent Cinema. Check out the trailer below, and feel free to leave comments ALL IN CAPSLOCK and abusing my mother, if that’s what works for you.

http://youtu.be/4RaEF2aIbJQ

TA

Aug 2012 06

Some of you may not be aware but Kathryn Bigelow has made a film about the American mission to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden.  This is the first footage we have seen from the film so far.  My personal view is it is a bit too soon to be making a film of such a politically sensitive event but I trust Kathryn Bigelow to deliver a realistic and even telling of the events of that night in Pakistan.

TW

Woody Allen, Michael Mann, Francis Ford Coppola, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese List Their Top Ten Films
Aug 2012 07

Woody Allen.

Francis Ford Coppola.

Michael Mann.

Quentin Tarantino.

Martin Scorsese.

All 5 of the above names will be instantly recognisable to any self-respecting cinephile. Even if you don’t like their work, each name commands respect, and it’s undeniable that their influence will exert itself on the world of film for decades to come. So, with this in mind, surely the chance to find out each director’s favourite films would be good? Well, it turns out that you’re in luck. The excellent ‘The Playlist‘ blog at Indiewire has reproduced each director’s top ten favourite films from the pages of Sight & Sound, and it certainly makes fascinating reading. We here at RBT are big fans of the directors in question, and would advise you to read the full Playlist article, to find out their choices. To do so, click here.

A veritable cornucopia of truly classic films are on display – as are a few lesser-known gems – and it certainly serves as a great insight into the inner workings of each director’s mind. Anyone looking to broaden their filmic horizons could do a lot worse than getting to know the films on these lists.

Now, if only it were simply the case that watching these films would imbue us all with their powers of creating art, why, we’d all be millionaires! I don’t know about you, but my Amazon shopping basket has just had a few new additions, and hopefully next year, we’ll all be vying for the best Oscar win. May the best person win!

As always, leave any opinionated and/or diplomatic comments below.

TA

Indie Game: The Movie REVIEW
Aug 2012 08

Indie Game: The movie is a documentary made by two Canadian film makers Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky.  Reportedly their first film which is an amazing achievement, it is well structured and professionally shot.  The film as the title suggest is about the making of independent computer games, specifically for the Xbox Live Arcade platform.

 

The making of the film is as modern as its subject matter, it was financed by two rounds of Kick starter funding the second one reaching its goal in 24 hours.  Kick Starter for those who don’t know is a website which you can pitch your project or prototype product to the public and ask for cash backing.  In the case of Indie Game the movie the first round of backing if you donated enough money you would get a credit and the second round was a way of gathering pre-orders and using that to fund the last of the post production.  Fitting as most modern Indie games are funded in the same manner.

 

Indie Game: the movie could be the perfect of Narrow Casting paid for and made by people who were interested and love the subject matter.  Off the top of my head I can’t think of another film which is so target at one group of society.

 

The film concentrates on three main indie games and follows one of them through the final seven months of production and its launch.  The games they follow are a already proven hit at the time of filming ‘Braid’, ‘Super Meat Boy’ the plucky new comer and ‘Fez’ the emperors new clothes of indie games.  Each game gives you a unique angle on the developers and the intelligence and determination required to get a game released.


Braid


Super Meat Boy


FEZ

I have been playing computer games since the C64 in the 80’s and believe that the story telling and design in modern game design is highly underrated by most of the press and public.  Modern games and especially indie games are much more like interactive art than the blockbusting ‘Call of Duty’s’ of this world.

 

Although I earlier said this was a perfect example of narrow casting the beauty of this film it is about people and you don’t need to be interested in computer games to enjoy it documentary.

Indie Game: The Movie Trailer
7 out of 10

 

TW

Aug 2012 09

WB eyeing Ben Affleck to direct ‘Justice League’ – Entertainment News, EXCLUSIVE, Media – Variety.

 

Variety are reporting this morning that Ben Affleck has been approached about directing the ‘Justice League’ movie.  Justice League is DC’s answer to the avengers with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman etc…

Interesting to see how this pans out, I have been impressed with his directing so far but the scale of this project will surpass anything he has done before.

 

TW

Aug 2012 11

Vulture.

Click the link above to read the full story on the Vulture website.  But the basics are Keanu and Alex Winter are in and have been working on the script for a while now, but the good news is they have a director on board Dean Parisot who directed Galaxy Quest.

New Film: Antiviral by Cronenberg… Not That One
Aug 2012 12

There’s no doubt about it, David Cronenberg’s films aren’t for everyone. In his 80s/early 90s heyday, his disturbing and distinguished films may not have created the ‘Body Horror’ genre, but they certainly defined it. The Fly, Scanners, The Brood, and the infamous Crash all brought a heretofore unseen psychological depth to splatter, finding new and interesting ways to make people feel all icky inside.

Hardcore Cronenberg fans have been somewhat disappointed by his recent output. A History of ViolenceEastern Promises, Spider and A Dangerous Method have all disappointed fans by having a distinct lack of exploding heads and vaginal imagery. Now, however, perhaps those fans’ perverse bloodlust will be satisfied by the latest Cronenberg joint. Except it’s not David who made the forthcoming Antiviral; it’s his son.

Cut that hair!

There’s no doubt about it, making your directing debut not just in the genre your father specialised in, but the very epoch of the genre that he more or less made his own takes balls, and Brandon Cronenberg is clearly in possession of big ones, hewn from brass. Even the plot smacks of classical Cronenberg: Syd Merch (Caleb Landry-Jones) works for a company who specialise in harvesting diseases from celebrities, and then infecting paying clients with said diseases.

Early festival reviews have veered between joyous and underwhelming, but when it came to the Cronenbergian cinematic output, at least in the early days, it was ever thus. Whether Brandon Cronenberg will make it as a director, it’s too early to say, but as first films go, this certainly a provocative and attention-grabbing one.

Check out the trailer below, whatever the critics say, watching Antiviral promises to be an interesting experience. Currently it has no set release date, so fingers crossed it hits soon.

TA

Aug 2012 15

I was a big fan of the original Universal Soldier film and avoided the subsequent plethora of follow ups.  Did you know there have been 6! yes 6 Universal Soldier films not including the imminent release of Day Of Reckoning.  I’m not sure who is watching them but it is nice to see the return of the original Universal Soldiers and from the trailer it looks like this latest instalment could be a blast.
TW

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