Month: August 2013

Dial M for Murder 3D – a review in 2 dimensions

 

The perfect murder?

Dial M for Murder 3D. During what has become my unofficial Hitchcockathon at the British Film Institute this month, I had the chance to watch a restored version of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950s classic in 3D. Possibly a surprise given my aversion to this technique/technology but with such a legendary film-making figure using it way back when, it proved too tempting to resist. Let’s start with the basics (spoiler alert) of plot: ex-tennis player Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) plots to have his adulterous wife, Margot Wendice (Grace Kelly) killed by blackmailing an old friend from university days, C.A. Swann (Anthony Dawson). The scheme is elaborate and has taken months of planning and preparation. Confident his wife will be killed and that “the perfect murder” will have been committed, Tony’s dastardly plan is foiled when Margot kills the intruder, setting off a chain of events that lead ultimately to his capture.

Hitch wasn’t a huge fan of this film, making it because he was under contract and because another project had fallen through. Whether this influenced his use of 3D or not, I can’t say, but it is used sparingly and sensibly. I was certainly more aware of a lower camera angle to take in things like tables and lamps in the foreground, with the actors further away. And of course there are memorable scenes such as that where Grace Kelly reaches behind her to grasp the scissors. But that aside, we’re not “treated” to particularly staged shots as such and the movie feels very natural. It could well be that in choosing to keep the action 95% in the apartment (it was an adaptation of English playwright Frederick Knott’s successful play) Hitchcock’s hand was forced in minimal use of 3D. From his interviews with Francois Truffaut, we know that he chose not to open-up the film with needless outside shots of people approaching the apartment, or being taken in a police car to the courtroom. In fact there isn’t even a court room for that particular sequence.

With news that ticket sales for 3D films have been declining – presumably in part due to less content – I wanted to re-examine the subject and Dial M was the perfect opportunity. So, where does this leave us with a new but old take on 3D? Well, when it’s used like this, I cannot complain. It is when things start to feel contrived that I have problems and the sense of gimmickry overrides the natural flow or appearance of the film. And post-conversion is of a course a no-no in my book, serving nobody’s best interest. So, what are the motivations for audiences in watching 3D movies and more importantly, what are the motivations for film-makers wanting to use 3D? I remain convinced that viewers do not necessarily expect 3D in all movies and moreover, that entire movies need not be shot this way. If it was good enough for Hitch to use it in only 1 film and even then in very few set-pieces, then I think that speaks volumes. What is also clear, is that sales of 3D televisions are relatively poor. Even those that have sold, have not all been bought purely with 3D in mind – the purchase cycle of simply buying a new and Smart TV will take some credit here. Perhaps consumers just aren’t ready to sit at home and wear glasses for occasions where they are habitually used to not doing so.

This leaves moviemakers and what they want to gain by using 3D. Quite clearly we have the ultimate exemplar in James Cameron’s Avatar and some stunning scenes in Ang Lee’s Oscar

I love you darling & would never have an affair with this chap behind me

winning Life of Pi. However I would argue that one is a good film and one isn’t. In the case of Avatar, we have a (perhaps justifiably) hyped Fern Gully where the effects come thick and fast, but tellingly, is not a good experience in 2D. With Life of Pi, we have a more measured use of the effect and a darned strong film that will still work in 2D due to its superior story. 3D alone will not a good movie make; there simply needs to be substance over style. If Christopher Nolan – who knows a thing or two about making good movies that also make a metric f*ck ton of money – won’t work in digital, let alone 3D, how far can we expect the landscape to change? Martin Scorsese has of course released Hugo and has repeatedly said he is interested in the medium, but appears to have gone no further with it. For a technology that has been around for decades, surely we would have seen literally thousands more features employing three dimensions? We haven’t and what we have had has been generated in fits and starts – a few years where 3D is employed more heavily and then fallow periods where it’s back to usual.

I’ll theorise that when studios have conducted market research over the years and have perhaps asked “what do you want to see more of in movies?” cinema-goers haven’t replied in their droves “oooh, definitely more movies in 3D please”. So why this push over the last few years? I’ll refer to a recent interview with James Cameron where he talked about making 3D movies where you don’t need to wear glasses (which would be a great start) but also in which he talked about his own company pushing that technology into theatres. I think this is perhaps the biggest clue of all: money and James Cameron’s belligerence in using technology from which he stands to make even more of it. There’s just no pleasing some people is there? Don’t forget that the third dimension costs more (of our!) money and is also no guarantee of a great film. I personally don’t want to ban movies in 3D, but at least give me the choice please. And whilst I won’t be betting against James Cameron, I’ll wager we have a good many years ahead of us before he gets his wish.

Getting back to the film that started this verbal meander, I’d like to recommend everyone to watch it – 3D or not. Grace Kelly is as beautiful as she ever was, the story is clever and Hitchcock gives us genuine will he-won’t he? moments, stringing the audience along right to the very end. Measured use of 3D adds a little bit of something to an already great film and if you’re in France, this will be the first time those old enough to watch the original get to see it as the director intended. For some reason, the French theatres at the time couldn’t be bothered to install the necessary equipment spend the necessary money. Perhaps there’s a lesson in that, from the nation that gave birth to cinema.

 

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Inside Llewyn David Trailer

Here is the trailer for the latest Coen Brother’s movie Inside Llewyn Davis, after winning the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

As usual the Coen’s have brought together an amazing cast of performers in Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan (unrecognizable as a brunette), John Goodman (Coen’s regular and always amazing), Garrett Hedlund (looking very un-Tron-ish) and Justin Timberlake (who always makes interesting cinematic choices to star in)

I hated the TV show Numb3rs so not a huge fan of Oscar Isaac, although we’ve seen him on other things along the way, that show was just horrible and some of us he might always be the guy who had a penis drawn on his face in “10 Things I Hate About You”.

According to the synopsis: INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles—some of them of his own making.

The trailer looks hella depressing, even if the music sounds very soothing. The Coen’s have a great ear for music so defintely looking forward to this one when it comes out in January 2014.

 

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Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa Poster and trailer

Here’s the new poster and a first trailer for Jackass’ spin off movie Bad Grandpa, starring Jonny Knoxville as Irving Zisman.

Maybe not the most popular of Jackass characters and certainly not my favourite, but they seem to have mixed in real people with their pranks into a narrative reminiscent of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat.

It certainly seems to work and the trailer looks hilarious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAD GRANDPA which hits cinemas in the UK on October 25th

@asimburney

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About Time: Review

4 weddings in Notting Hill, actually

About Time is the latest film from British director Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Four Weddings). A great cast of Brits, plus of course Rachel McAdams and Margot Robbie (Neighbours and the ill-fated/rubbish Pan-Am). With the exception of those Blackadder episodes and The Boat that Rocked, usually a “new Richard Curtis” breaks me out in a cold sweat, so, what lies in store?

At the age of 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he can travel in time. After yet another crap New Year party (yep, I can relate to that), Tim’s father (Bill Nighy) tells his son that the men in his family have always been able to travel in time. Tim cannot change history, but he can change what happens and has happened to his own life—so he decides to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend (Mary, played by McAdams) Accidentally wiping out the timeline, he must try and win her back once again.

Not a bad set-up that, to start! But, if like me, you’re used to Curtis’ way of doing things, then I think you will tire. Tim already has a pretty sweet life by most people’s imagination (he’s studying for the bar…not the one that serves alcohol) and the locations also reflect this. Gorgeous place on the coast with the parents and a mighty impressive gaff (owned by playwright Tom Hollander) in London. I also could not get Groundhog Day out of my head, nor the Time Traveller’s Wife. So, we’ve got a typically well put together and lush looking movie that we’ve come to expect. I do think it’s easy to pick holes in time travel movies and I won’t dwell on that here – you will see the example I’m alluding to. Kudos for taking time travel out of the realm of science-fiction though; the intention is to be applauded.

Basically it’s Gleeson and McAdams who hold this movie together – great casting or just lucking out? I’m not sure, but they’re brilliant. I also really liked the soundtrack, so this combined with some of the funnies and high quality production mean that this is a decent, if not great date movie. I guess as a viewer, either you buy into the notion that Tim chasing Mary back through time…and again…and again, is really worth the message that his father delivers. That the gift of time travel is to make your life better…as good as it can be. I don’t quite buy into that and so we have an end product that’s a tad anodyne for my liking as you’ve probably guessed.

About Time opens in the UK on September 4th.

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Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!

Hitch, in one of his lighter moods

In honour of what would have been Alfred Hitchcock‘s 114th birthday this August, Upodcasting is delighted to shed some light on the great man’s films, legacy and influences.  Kicking things of for us, is this wonderful introduction by Elizabeth Eckhart.  One or two more articles celebrating Hitch will appear in the coming days.

Few filmmakers have had the sort of enduring influence that Alfred Hitchcock has had. He was innovative, contemplative, and it’s clear that he understood that film was truly the synthesis of all artistic practices. He understood, with seemingly greater clarity than anyone who came before or after, how technical and narrative devices could operate in tandem with one another to heighten drama and make for a more engaging (and believable) cinematic experience for the viewer.

For instance, he demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of how camera effects could illustrate something about the perceptions or internal struggle of a character on-screen, such as the “zolly” or “reverse tracking shot” he pioneered for the film Vertigo (See here.) But beyond merely his technical achievements (and certainly, he made many of those) the things that make Hitchcock truly fascinating to modern students of cinema are his more abstract flourishes.

For example, Hitchcock films were often self-reflexive and toyed with notions of reality. He reinforced, perhaps more than any other filmmaker ever, what the term “diegesis” truly means when describing the various layers of artificial reality within the film world.

Diegesis relates to the narrative sphere within a literary or cinematic work. As a theatrical term, historically diegesis may be differentiated from mimesis in that diegesis deals with narrative details that are given to the audience orally (through narration itself), whereas with mimesis, pieces of the narrative are articulated through action or movement.

Within the context of film specifically, diegesis is commonly used to discuss a self-contained internal reality inhabited by the characters; it may encompass the narrative “space” and may include fragments of the narrative, but also histories and events that are never depicted on-screen – such as events and actions which preceded the action of the story, or characters who are discussed, and thought to inhabit the artificial reality within the film, but may never be shown.

When we talk about “diegetic sound” in film, we are talking about sounds which are being made “actually” within the sphere of action in the film. In other words, if a character sits down to play a piano, or you see and hear a choir singing, or if a character plays a record on a record player, the sound is diegetic. If the sound is being superimposed over the film, and a sound cannot be traced to a “real” source within the constructed “reality” of a film (i.e., music that is being played over credits at the beginning or end of a film) than the sound is either “non-diegetic” or “extra-diegetic.”

Consider Hitchcock’s film The Birds (1963) does not use any non-diegetic or extra diegetic music. Sure, he used analog synthesizers to create the screeching sounds of the birds, but those sounds are all attributed to “natural” occurrences within the narrative sphere of the film.

The film Rear Window, which is itself largely a commentary on media consumption and discusses film, TV and mass media as having inherently voyeuristic qualities, ironically features diegetic sound almost exclusively — all of the sounds and music the audience hears are attributed to some sort of “real” source within the narrative sphere of the music. This is interesting, as it presents diegetic sound mimicking the function of non-diegetic sound and music in film and television. James Stewart‘s character is spying on his neighbours, but look at how it plays out! Look at the highly stylised dramatic nature of the supposedly “real world” occurrence he is watching!

Hitchcock will be forever treasured by filmmakers, viewers, and scholars alike for his innumerable contributions to the world of cinema – which makes it all the more tragic that so many contemporary makers seem to fixate on the most titillating and intellectually pedestrian pieces of his body of work (namely, sex and murder). Let us hope that, in years to come, more filmmakers will produce works that reveal a more complete understanding and appreciation for the complexity of his craft — which would mean that they, essentially, have a better comprehension of what the medium has the potential to do.

Author Bio: Elizabeth is a film blogger for Direct-ticket.net where she writes about film, television, and sports. She is an avid film watcher, and among her favourite directors are Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, and Werner Herzog. Elizabeth lives at home with her tabby cat named Mochi.

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Pain and Gain review: Michael Bay’s best film?

Your pain, their gain, our laughs

A good title for this movie I have to say.  Adapted from a truly horrific real life story Michael Bay‘s newest on screen adventure is a crime-comedy starring Mark WahlbergDwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie. The film is based on a story published in a 1999 series of Miami New Times articles written by Pete Collins and compiled in his book Pain & Gain: This is a True Story, which details the kidnapping, extortion, torture, and murder of several victims by criminals that included a number of bodybuilders affiliated with the Sun Gym.

After being inspired by motivational speaker Johnny Wu (a hilarious Ken Jeong character) and his women, money, boats etc, Lugo persuades John Mese, the gym’s owner (Rob Corddry) to be part of his scheme, as a notary.  With the other beefcakes along for the ride, things start to get ugly.

Things I liked about P&G abound – there’s a lot to like.  Dwayne Johnson (Paul Doyle) is excellent and Marky Wahlberg  (Daniel Lugo) perfectly cast.  Ever wanted to see Dwayne Johnson as an evangelical Christian, recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict?  To be fair, that thought had probably never crossed your mind, but now’s your chance.  Anthony Mackie (playing Adrian Doorbal) who I’d not really seen in anything other than Hurt Locker is excellent as the even less bright 1 of the 3, playing the part of an impotent steroid-using body builder.

Ed Harris (Ed Du Bois III) has his moments and is as convincing as can be as the private detective who takes up the case after the local police dismiss the complaints of Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub) as the ravings of a madman.  It is this that I found perhaps the most interesting.  Whilst he is utterly abused and tortured, there is very little sympathy for him.  Not in the sense that he deserves it perhaps, but that he is such an unpleasant man, that even his employees prefer Lugo as their boss. In turn, I ended up siding with the bad guys.

Quite clearly it pays to be inept at crime.  For a short while at least.

Also livening-up proceedings is Rebel Wilson (Robin).  This time she plays Doorbal’s love interest.  And when she is scorned, boy does she not hold anything back – her line in the court scene near the end is brilliant.

So, that’s what’s hot, but what’s not?  Not much to be fair.  I understand some of the criticism levelled at the movie has come from its light-hearted take on what is of course a terrible story.  However, whilst Pain and Gain takes the less horrendous aspects and presents them accordingly, it is by no means played exclusively for laughs. Michael Bay does still find time for some lovely shots of helicopters, which are frankly unnecessary and I think it’s quite natural that those more familiar with the true story will object to the portrayal of 3 hugely despicable human beings.

Other criticism has been that there is perhaps too much poetic licence…that for example we have a made-up character and a semi-made-up character in key roles.  To this, I say nonsense.  Using our podcast to come for example, about Empire State, this would have worked so much better if someone had tried to be inventive or creative with an existing story.  Just because something is true, doesn’t necessarily make it interesting straight out of the can.

In light of this and my blog’s title, it’s interesting to note that this only cost $26 million.  Partly because Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson are taking profit-share and of course partly because there are so few complicated action set-pieces, car chases, guns and special effects.  All credit to Michael Bay for directing this and for apparently loving the project from day one.  I am notoriously hard on “Michael-every shot’s a shot-Bay” but I genuinely believe this is his best film.  I do love The Rock  and Bad Boys, but they take themselves very…way too seriously.  Perhaps this is the dawn of a era for Bay.  Enough of the robots and the excessive CGI; get some budget, some great casting, a believable storyline & decent script and show us what you’ve got.  The camerawork has never been my contention in his films and Pain and Gain shows how effective he can be without all of the nonsense a $100m+ budget can bring.

Thanks Mike, for this one.

Pain and Gain previews this week and opens August 30th in UK cinemas.  Enjoy the trailer below

 

 

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Chennai Express Upodcast Interviews

We’ve kept you waiting but finally our Chennai Express Upodcast Episode is finally ready! Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and Siddarth Roy were in town promoting their biggest Eid release which has also become the biggest box office earner in the history of Hindi Cinema.

How long it will be able to hold that position is another story with Dhoom 3 and Krish 3 (I refuse to learn how to write the title of this movie) releasing soon.

So being in the unique position of attending the Press Conference, the journalist round table as well as doing a 1-2-1 interview, we had so much content for our listeners, it took us a while to find the right format since none of us are genius editors as the listeners of our shows know too well.

If you want the Video interview head over to HeyUGuys by clicking here.

For all the other, Listen/Download/Share our chat with SRK and Deepika as well as our “5 things we learnt” by clicking below:

@asimburney

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Sky Share

Sky Social

Got Sky, love Facebook and want to keep your mates up to speed on the latest and greatest that you’re watching? Sky Share is probably the thing for you in that case.

Well, I say that, but you don’t need a subscription to get the Facebook App even. I guess you’d just be spying on your mates’ TV if you didn’t. Sky Share features shows from Sky Atlantic, Sky 1 and Sky Living and also offers a record function if you have Sky+, so if you forget to record something, before you leave the house, then you can just use this App.

Aside from sharing your own shows and seeing what your mates watch, you can also see what’s trending, the most recorded shows and the most shared.

For a demo, click here  or here for the App.

Martin

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Madras Cafe Review

Director Shoojit Sircar’s latest – Madras Cafe, sees him teaming up again with actor/producer John Abraham after the successful Vicky Donor to bring a different story to life. This time, John takes matters in his own hands, as he takes centre-stage as the big and brawny Indian Army Officer Vikram Singh, who is dropped in the middle of a country in civil war. Set mostly in India and Sri Lanka, Madras Cafe depicts the tale of 25+ years of the Sri Lankan Civil War, which eventually resulted in the assassination of one of India’s ex-Prime Minister.

The events in the story demand the plot to be taken seriously, and Madras Cafe wants to be a lot of things. From a political espionage thriller, to a war drama, to even a conspiracy theory about the dealers of war, Madras Cafe does not shy away from the grim side of politics and war. It does not necessarily take any sides, or show a blatant support to anyone. The one opinion it projects however, is how humanity is completely destroyed when the wrath of war strikes.

With cinematographer Kamaljeet Negi’s lens sweeping the tropical landscapes of Sri Lanka and the Southern coast of India, Sircar expertly captures the ugliness of how a nation gets torn into pieces when its people go to war. Enter our hero Vikram, who is on a mission to “conspire” peace by dealing with the ones who are the centre of it. Turns out, things are more convoluted than it seems, and caught in the action are not only the neighbouring countries, but a hell lot more. With so many dramatic elements playing, Madras Cafe does get a bit confusing at times.

And yet, it somehow feels a bit inadequate in its storytelling.  The scenes where RAW officers are in a cabinet meeting, making the calls on what would happen on the field is reminiscent to many political thrillers. And yet, it lacks that extra oomph that would grip us. It often feels like the dialogues by Juhi Chaturvedi were instead written by an intern who was provided with an outline of the scene, and just wrote the first thing that came into their heads. It is blatantly obvious at times, sometimes obvious enough to make you cringe.

It is unfortunate to see a brilliant supporting cast such as Siddharth Basu, Piyush Pandey, and the Bongs from Vicky Donor to be undermined by these badly written lines. Having said that, Siddharth Basu does seem effortlessly natural in his role as the head of RAW. Thankfully, there  is no sexual tension explored between John Abraham and Nargis Fakhri’s character, however it did come a bit close. Fakhri is not as annoying here as she was in Rockstar, however her character makes me confused. Why would a war reporter (apparently intelligent and pretty attractive) go in a jungle full of sexually starved men, dressed like she was? All for the job eh!

Madras Cafe also sees the debut of News Reporter Debang as a “khabri”, and one can only laugh when he says with a deadpan face – “Ye meeting kabhi nahi hui”  (This meeting never happened).

For those who expected this to be a John Abraham version of Ek Tha Tiger, they would be utterly disappointed. Because our hero is a mere mortal, and not a Sunny Deol, who’d gatecrash the Jaffna border, and win the island back with a handpump in one hand, and a baby in the other. Abraham’s Vikram Singh is a helpless protagonist who is compromised by moles in the organisation, kidnapped, beaten, and who eventually ends up as a drunkard in Kasauli. If you are not ready for your hero to be that, you should rather catch the Chennai Express. John does seem to play his part well, and I think it is all down to a director like Sircar to cut down the theatrics and treat the story as how it should be. However, I do have a problem with the lead guy being treated as one, when it comes to fashion. There are several moments where it does look like a snippet from a shirt advert.

In conclusion, all I would like to add is that Madras Cafe is an earnest effort at telling the tale of the Srilankan civil war and its aftermath. However, it does fall short as a captivating movie, and it is entirely the writer’s fault. There are scenes which you can predict coming from a mile, and for a thriller, that just should not be. With scenes involving hacking code that will make you giggle more than having a “Whoa” moment, Madras Cafe could have been so much more. Instead, it is a fairly simplified version of one of the many espionage conspiracy political thrillers that we have seen.

Rating: A disappointing 2.75 stars out of 5.

Find more of Sujoy’s work on : OneKnightStands | Bollypop | @9E3K

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First Trailer India’s 24 Looks Dhin-a Din Da!

Never been a huge fan of Indian Television, which are formulaic, melodramatic family dramas that keep going on and on! But there was always potential in the vast audience and talent available and it seems that legendary actor Anil Kapoor has finally tapped into it with the adaptation of “24”, produced by him which also marks his debut on the small screen.

Following the format but not the story line of the massively successful TV show, which ran for 9 seasons and ended every episode with a cliffhanger, we will see Anil Kapoor playing Jai Singh Rathod together with Anupam Kher, Tisca Chopra, Shabana Azmi and Rahul Khanna.

The show was a run away success in the wake of 9/11 and it’s tough, non negotiating brand of counter terrorism appealed to a global audience, but the concept got stale after a couple of seasons so it’s going to be interesting to see what director Abhinay Deo (who we interviewed when he was in town for promoting his debut Delhi Belly) and writing team of Rensil D’Silva and Milap Zaveri do with the format and if they’ll be able to breath live to serialized story telling in India.

Already the production values and cinematography looks like a vast improvement from what we usually see on South Asian Channels.

Here is the first trailer and poster. We’re just happy to see more of Anil Kapoor on screen, time to dust off that Lakhan costume we still have hidden in our wardrobe somewhere.

 

 

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Man Of Steel DVD and Blu Ray will release in time to save Xmas

If per chance you are looking to send your favorite movie and Podcast host some well deserved Xmas gifts, then the Man Of Steel Blu Ray is probably a sure shot.

Available to pre-order from August 23rd in the UK, the disc contains over 4 hours of special features. Although streaming your movies has become a lot more popular over here as in the US, there still aren’t any streaming services that offer director commentaries or any other of the behind the scene goodies.

We loved the Zach Snyder reboot and we waxed lyrically about it on our Man Of Steel Upodcast with special guests Paresh from the CurrySmuggler (Check out their awesome season finale DJ showdown by going here) and Sujoy aka @93ek.

Here are some pack shots and some more info on the contents of the discs:

The Blu-ray includes nearly 4 hours of special features

All disc versions feature UltraViolet™

The fate of mankind is in the hands of one man when “Man of Steel”™ arrives onto Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray 3D Steelbook, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download on 2nd December from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. In “Man of Steel,” Clark Kent is forced to confront his extraterrestrial past and embrace his hidden powers when Earth is threatened with destruction.

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures comes “Man of Steel,” starring Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Kal-El under the direction of Zack Snyder.

The film also stars four-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams (“The Master,” 2012), Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” 2008), Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves,” 1990), Oscar® nominee Diane Lane (“Unfaithful,” 2002), Oscar® nominee Laurence Fishburne (“What’s Love Got to Do with It,” 1993), Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, and Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator,” 1992).

“Man of Steel” is produced by Charles Roven, Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder. The screenplay was written by David S. Goyer from a story by Goyer & Nolan, based upon Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster and published by DC Entertainment. Thomas Tull, Lloyd Phillips and Jon Peters served as executive producers.

The Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray 3D Steelbook, Blu-ray and DVD will include UltraViolet which allows consumers to download and instantly stream the standard definition theatrical version of the film to a wide range of devices including computers and compatible tablets, smartphones, game consoles, Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players.

SYNOPSIS

A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth.  As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do.  But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS

The “Man of Steel” Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray 3D™ Steelbook and Blu-ray™ contain the following special features:

·      Strong Characters, Legendary Roles – Explore the legendary characters of the Superman mythology and how they have evolved in this new iteration of the Superman story.
·      All-Out-Action – Go inside the intense training regimen that sculpted Henry Cavill into the Man of Steel and Michael Shannon and Antje Traue into his Kyptonian nemeses.  Includes interviews with cast and crew.
·      Krypton Decoded – Dylan Sprayberry (Clark Kent, age 13) gives the lowdown on all the amazing Krypton tech, weapons and spaceships featured in “Man of Steel.”
·      Exclusive to UltraViolet – Journey of Discovery: Creating “Man of Steel” – This immersive feature-length experience allows you to watch the movie with director Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and others as they share the incredible journey to re-imagine Superman.

“Man of Steel” DVD contains the following special features:

·      Krypton Decoded

MAN OF STEEL™

AVAILABLE ON
BLU-RAY 3D™, BLU-RAY™ 3D STEELBOOK, BLU-RAY™, DVD AND DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
FROM 2ND DECEMBER

PRE-ORDER IN THE UK FROM 23rd AUGUST

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Blue Jasmine Trailer: Woody Allen’s forthcoming release

Sometimes you loose count if it’s in vogue to like Woody Allen’s movies or not, Blue Jasmine has some great buzz surrounding it but when it comes to Woody, you’re in or your out as he has been doing his kind of movies for decades now.

As usual he has a great cast of actors, with Cate Blanchett taking over the titular lead (which people always dubiously claim is a surrogate for Woody himself), Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg and Alec Baldwin. We even get a shot of the hilarious Louis C.K. which was very surprising.

I’ve never missed a Woody Allen movie and don’t intend to miss this one either!

After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal (Alec Baldwin),  elegant New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) moves into her sister Ginger’s (Sally Hawkins) modest apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself  back together again.

Jasmine arrives in San Francisco in a fragile mental state, her head reeling from the cocktail of anti-depressants she’s on. While still able to project her aristocratic bearing, Jasmine is emotionally precarious and lacks any practical ability to support herself. She disapproves of Ginger’s boyfriend Chili (Bobby Cannavale), who she considers another “loser” like Ginger’s ex-husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay). Ginger, recognizing but not fully understanding her sister’s psychological instability, suggests that she pursue interior design, a career she correctly intuits that Jasmine won’t feel is beneath her. In the meantime, Jasmine begrudgingly accepts work as the receptionist in a dentist’s office, where she attracts the unwanted attentions of her boss, Dr. Flicker (Michael Stuhlbarg).

Feeling that her sister might be right about her poor taste in men, Ginger starts seeing Al (Louis C.K.), a sound engineer whom she considers as a step up from Chili. Jasmine sees a potential lifeline when she meets Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), a diplomat who is quickly smitten with her beauty, sophistication and style.

Jasmine’s flaw is that she derives her worth from the way she’s perceived by others, while she herself is blind to what is going around her.   Delicately portrayed by a regal Cate Blanchett, Jasmine earns our compassion because she is the unwitting instrument of her own downfall. Woody Allen’s new drama BLUE JASMINE is about the dire consequences that can result when people avert their eyes from reality and the truth they don’t want to see.

BLUE JASMINE hits the silver screen on 27th September.

@asimburney

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2 Guns Trailer

After quite a successful release in the US, 2 Guns is prepping arrival at our shores on august 16 with a brand new trailer.

Denzel Washington is probably the most reliable actor on the planet and the odd couple teaming up with Mark Wahlberg seems to be good combination although some of the scenes veer in to The Other Guys territory.

You could call this “comfort cinema” if you’re in the mood for it, I doubt you would come out unsatisfied out of the theater.

 

Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg star in this explosive action comedy that tracks two operatives from competing bureaus who are forced to run together. But there is a big problem with their unique alliance – neither knows that the other is an undercover federal agent.

For the past 12 months, DEA agent Bobby Trench (Washington) and US naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman (Wahlberg) have been reluctantly attached at the hip.  Working undercover as members of a narcotics syndicate, each man distrusts his partner as much as the criminals they have both been tasked to take down.

When their attempt to infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel and recover millions goes haywire, Trench and Stigman are suddenly disavowed by their superiors.  Now that everyone wants them in jail or in the ground, the only person they can count on is each other.  Unfortunately for their pursuers, 2 Guns prove they’re better than one!

2 GUNS is released in UK cinemas 16 August 2013

@asimburney

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Insidious: Chapter 2 Trailer

James Wan has a developed quite a knack for scaring the bejusus out of audiences with genre that have been done to death. Fresh off the success of The Conjuring )which is still playing very successfully in theaters now and also stars Patrick Wilson) we already get to see the trailer of his next offering Insidious: Chapter 2 which is his follow up to the 2010 hit, teaming up with writer Leigh Whannell who had also worked on Saw.

It should be a criminal offense not to watch everything Rose Byrne is in but even more so James Wan knows his classic horrors and has a tight grip on scares making this a very effective trailer.

The nightmare continues…

The famed horror team of director James Wan (Saw and The Conjuring) and writer Leigh Whannell (Saw), creators of the original Insidious in 2011 are back with Insidious Chapter 2, a terrifying sequel to the acclaimed horror film.

With Josh (PATRICK WILSON) and Renai (ROSE BYRNE) coming to terms with the death of parapsychologist Elise (LIN SHAYE), the Lambert family move into grandmother Lorraine’s home (BARBARA HERSHEY) while the police investigate the bizarre incident.However all is not well as Josh and Renai continue to experience the demonic forces that are set on turning their lives to chaos.

With Josh’s increasingly odd behaviour following his return from The Further, Renai and Lorraine are  forced to seek help from Elise’s paranormal investigators to protect their family and uncover the truth to why this dangerous spirit world still haunts them, they soon learns the shocking reality……Josh didn’t come back alone.

The renowned horror duo join forces again with producer JASON BLUM (Paranormal Activity) to take you on another mind-bending and chilling journey into the world of the unknown.

Insidious: Chapter 2 releases to UK cinemas on 13th September 2013.

@asimburney

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How I live Now Trailer

Following the trend of adapting Young Adult novels, here is the trailer for Kevin Mcdonald’s How I Live Now starring Saoirse Ronan which starts out like a coming of age story set in idyllic English country side which turns into something quite different midway.

Saoirse is definitely a very talented young lady. The novel How I Live Now written by Meg Rosoff and ended up winning quite a few awards, and of course Kevin Mcdonald won an best Documentary academy award back in 2000 but most people probably remember him for The Last King Of Scotland.

 

Here is the trailer and Synopsis:

American teenager Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) has attitude to burn. Her mother died giving birth to her, her dad has sent her away for the summer to live with her aunt and cousins in the English countryside. Defiant and unhappy, city girl Daisy refuses at first to warm to her bucolic new surroundings or the three cousins she’s meeting for the first time: 17-year-old Edmond (George MacKay), 14-year-old Isaac (Tom Holland) and 8-year-old Piper (Harley Bird).

But although it looks to be crumbling around them, her cousins’ farm, Brackendale, is an enchanted place. With their mum (Anna Chancellor) engrossed in her role as a peace negotiator, they have the run of this romantic bohemian idyll to themselves along with their friend Joe (Danny McEvoy), two dogs and a goat. Slowly, Daisy begins to thaw. Plus, there’s something about her quiet, watchful older cousin that not only intrigues Daisy, but stirs something deep inside. Before she knows it, she’s falling madly in love with Edmond, and he with her…

Their perfect summer is blown apart by the sudden outbreak of a 21st century world war, leaving them isolated and forced to fend for themselves. When they are violently separated Daisy must embark on a terrifying journey in order to be reunited with the boy she loves. Edmond is never far from Daisy’s mind but as her journey to find him becomes more desperate, the idea of what she may or may not find consumes her consciousness and haunts her soul.

How I Live Now is the big-screen adaptation of the award-winning young-adult novel by Meg Rosoff, directed by acclaimed, Academy-Award winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, Marley, The Last King of Scotland) and starring Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones, Hanna) as Daisy. The film also stars George MacKay (The Boys Are Back, Hunky Dory) as Edmond, Tom Holland (The Impossible) as Isaac, Harley Bird (‘Peppa Pig’) as Piper, Danny McEvoy as Joe and Anna Chancellor as Aunt Penn.

Macdonald directed from a screenplay by Jeremy Brock (The Eagle, The Last King Of Scotland), Penelope Skinner (‘Fresh Meat’) and Tony Grisoni (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, ‘Red Riding Trilogy’). The film is produced by Charles Steel and Alasdair Flind of Cowboy Films, and John Battsek and Andrew Ruhemann of Passion Pictures, and was co-developed by Film4 and the UK Film Council and co-financed by Film4 and BFI Film Fund. Protagonist Pictures is selling How I Live Now internationally. Entertainment One, will distribute the film in the UK.

The creative team included Director of Photography Franz Lustig, Production Designer Jacqueline Abrahams, Costume Designer Jane Petrie and Editor Jinx Godfrey. The music was composed by Jon Hopkins.

How I Live Now is released in UK cinemas on 4th October 2013

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The Evil Dead: coming to your home from August 12th

Think happy thoughts, happy thoughts.

Released this Monday, August 12th, the DVD and Blu-Ray of Evil Dead, one of my movies of the year so far.  A fitting remake for the 21st century, this has some things the original lacks: consistently good acting across all the cast, special effects and budget.  That’s not to slag the original which is an all time favourite of mine, but I do feel it was ripe for updating.  A little synopsis and the trailer are below so you know a bit about what’s coming if you haven’t seen either this or the first.  Happily I can also say that the sequel has been agreed, so there will be more gore to come!

Is it me, or is it raining blood?

A remote cabin in the woods (reminds you of another movie you may have seen last year?) becomes a blood-soaked chamber of horrors when a group of 20-something friends unwittingly awakens an ancient demon in Evil Dead, the brilliant reworking of Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult-hit horror film The Evil Dead. Starring Jane Levy (Suburgatory), Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood), Lou Taylor Pucci (Carriers), Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield) and Elizabeth Blackmore (Legend of the Seeker), Evil Dead is a bone-chilling film that combines all the raw excitement and gleeful gore of the acclaimed original with a series of shocking new twists.

For fans, there are some special releases:

·         A 2-disc collector’s edition available at Sainsbury’s on DVD and Blu-ray http://bit.ly/122Ofgo
·         The limited edition steel-book only available online at Zavvi http://bit.ly/17mya7z

Shahid Review at LIFF 2013

Everyone that listens to UPodcast knows that my tastes veer towards massy entertainers that have had some thought put into it. I don’t need added sound effects to punctuate punch lines but I cant’ stand slow, dreary movies that only get praise from other movie directors (usually friends) or snobby critics.

So when we received the line up of films at this year’s London Indian Film Festival, I naturally try to find the ones I have some connect with, be it an actor or director whose name sounds familiar or a story that would connect with me somehow.

Shahid was high on my list of movies to watch at this year’s LIFF as it starred Raj Kumar Yadav (now shortened to just Raj Kumar as the statute of limitations have surely expired on that foot fetishist from Pakeezah) who had the stand out performance as the lecherous pervert in Love, Sex Aur Dhoka as well as the goody goody in Kai Po Che. The other vague familiarity was that the movie was directed by Hansal Mehta (Does anyone own Woodstock Villa on Dvd except me?) and appreciated his short in Sanjay Gupta produced Dus Kahaniyan starring Jimmy Shergill.

 

Shahid is based on the story of Muslim human rights lawyer Shahid Azmi who (SPOILERS for Real LIFE) was shot dead in his own office after trying to defend people wrongfully incarcerated under terrorism charges in India.

 

One of the reasons I have yet to see Bhaag Milka Bhaag is that autobiographies in my book just have the same “inspirational” story arc and a movie about an interesting person, doesn’t necessarily make an interesting movie.

Shahid doesn’t avoid all “inspirational biography” trappings but gives the audience enough in Raj Kumar lead performance (who looks a bit like Shahid Kapoor’s more talented but less buff older brother) , it’s the tight screenplay and fiery courtroom scenes. The story starts with Shahid’s murder and then in flashback mode we jump in a linear fashion through the major chapters that lead him to his end.

 

After seeing the slaughter first hand in the ’92 Mumbai communal riots, Shahid tries to get some sense of vindication as wayward youths do by joining an Islamic Militant group in Kashmir but very soon he finds out that it’s not the right place for him as he doesn’t have any interest in the physical training or the stomach for beheadings (as one would). Unfortunately, when he finds his way back home, the Bombay police pick him up and he is sentenced under TADA (now defunct anti terrorism law) and ends up serving 7 years hard time.

In jail he picks up a law degree and wants to make sure he can do all he can to help people who suffered the same faith as him when he is released.

 

Shahid has some excellent supporting mostly unknown actors (his older brother (who was Imran Khan’s friend in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), the female lawyer in his final case, his prison mentor) and quite surprising cameos by Kay Kay Menon (who almost pulls a Kosmo Kramer the way he appears in the movie) and Tigmanshu Dhulia (who in my mind will always be Romance Singh thank you Qtipya’s Gangs of WasseyPur Spoof).

 

It was also refreshing that Shahid isn’t mythologized and is shown with real human flaws and weaknesses without resorting to clichés. He is a weak man when it comes to his small family and avoids confrontation but when it comes to the fighting for his defendants he is on fire. His passion for his cause is undeniable in the courtroom scenes, which seem to be done quite realistically, so there are no “Dhai Kilo Ka Haath” monologues that illicit wolf whistles but illustrates the frustration of bureaucracy and process very well.

The movie is shot beautifully from the small alleys to the middle classes houses and offices in Mumbai to the majestic beautiful vistas of Kashmir.

 

Some of the editing can be jarring because of that some of the chronology can be confusing but these are minor issues with an overall satisfying movie without screaming it’s own importance.

 

Shahid has been picked up by UTV Films so will be getting a wide release. And for my money it was one of the best movies at the London Indian Film Festival that I saw this year.

 @asimburney

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Madras Cafe New Images and Video’s

Whatever we’ve seen of Madras Cafe until now has been quite intriguing, it might be because John Abraham makes a savvier producer than leading man and because casting Nargis Fakri as a foreign war correspondent might actually work.

We received some new images and plot synopsis, which explains a bit as the movie itself was shrouded in mystery.

 

The political action thriller is set against the backdrop of the tumultuous and controversial Sri Lankan civil war of the 1990s. The film stars John Abraham as an Indian Army Intelligence Agent sent to Sri Lanka to break a resolute rebel group.  Once there, he meets a charismatic female journalist, played by Nargis Fakhri who is determined to uncover the truth about the civil war. Together the pair uncover a deeper, sinister conspiracy by a faceless enemy.

Madras Café releases nationwide on 23rd August 2013.

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‘Diana’ First Official Trailer

Moving from darker themed movies like The Experiment and The Downfall in his native Germany, director Oliver Hirschbiegel is now taking on the final 2 years of Princess Diana’s life.

The most interesting part in these biographies is how much the actors manage to get into the skin of their subjects and Naomi Watts is quite a talented actress. Still the subject might still be a bit too touchy for a lot of people.

Here is the trailer and the plot synopsis, how do you think Naomi Watts pulled off the role?

Celebrated and adored by millions, she was the Queen of people’s hearts, yet the bittersweet story of the last man to truly capture hers has never before been told.
Princess Diana (double Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts), at one time the most famous woman in the world, inspired a nation with her generosity, compassion and kindness – and in her final years she would meet the man who, in turn, inspired her.

When Diana met Doctor Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews), she found someone who could see beyond the exterior, to the vulnerable and complex woman underneath. An incredible source of strength to her, it was during this relationship that Diana accomplished some of her most rewarding and successful humanitarian work. As Diana fell in love with Dr Khan, she didn’t just feel like a Princess – but like the woman she truly was.

In a story that until now has remained untold, DIANA introduces a time in the Princess’s life that was uniquely important in shaping her final years, fulfilling her search for true happiness and sealing her legacy. The film is directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, stars Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews and is produced by Ecosse Films.

Diana  is released in UK cinemas on September 20th.

 

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