Month: April 2014

Sold Will open the 2014 London Indian FilmFestival

We look forward to the London Indian Film Festival and this year they seem to be bringing in the big (although maybe slighlty downbeat) guns for this year’s premiere.

Sold will have its red carpet European Premiere at the opening of the Fifth annual London INDIAN Film Festival (10 – 17 July). Based on the bestselling novel Sold by Patricia McCormick, the film is a powerful drama based on real life events, and tells of a young Nepali girl’s struggle for survival after being sold into prostitution in Kolkata, and an American photographer (Gillian Anderson), who, against the odds, attempts to rescue her and other young women. The X Files and The Fall star Gillian Anderson is expected to participate in a Q&A in London at the film’s opening night amongst other talent.

Director Jeffrey D. Brown, Executive Producer Emma Thompson and Producer Jane Charles have worked tirelessly to bring this film to the screen researching every aspect of the story in depth with charities which deal directly with child trafficking in India including: Apne Aap, New Light, Sanlaap, Prajwala and in Nepal: Maiti Nepal, Shakti Samhua and Childreach International. Emma Thompson, president of the The Helen Bamber Foundation, works with survivors in London which is why she is informed on this issue and cares deeply about it.

The film is a collaboration between US and Indian production teams and includes supporting cast David Arquette (Conception) and Indian actors Seema Biswas (Bandit Queen), Parambrata Chatterjee (Apur Panchali), Tillotama Shome (Monsoon Wedding) and Susmita Mukherjee (Dostana). Debutante Niyar Saikia plays the central role of Lakshmi, the young girl from Nepal.

Now Europe’s largest platform for Asian cinema, the London Indian Film Festival returns to the Capital, celebrating Independent cinema and bringing to UK audiences a rare selection of cutting-edge films from some of India’s hottest independent talents. Going way beyond Bollywood, the festival presents a kaleidoscope of new films that challenge, shock, generate debate and present a more realistic view of India and the subcontinent today, in all its diversity.

The festival will open in the West End at the historic Cineworld Haymarket, and continue at BFI Southbank, ICA and Cineworld Cinemas around London. The festival is grant funded by the BFI Film Festival Fund.

About the screening, Executive Producer Emma Thompson comments: “It is wonderful to have our film premiered at London Indian Film Festival, to raise awareness of child-trafficking, which is an issue close to my heart and is shockingly on the increase world-wide. We hope that this film will make people think and highlight the support for key charities such as The Helen Bamber Foundation and others working in this difficult area in India, Nepal and elsewhere”

About the film, Actor Gillian Anderson states: “Working on this sensitively told film and with young women who have themselves experienced the un-believable trauma of abduction and trafficking has opened my eyes to the horrors these young people face on a daily basis as well as the often life threatening danger those working at the charities put themselves in to free these innocent victims from modern day slavery”

Gillian Anderson has been on a roll with some amazing performances in the past few years like The Fall and Hanibal, and being a huge fan and spending a large chunk of my adolescence watching her as Scully in X-Files, I am quite excited to see Sold, even though the subject is such an important one, I do wonder if it might be a depressing start to such a colorful festival.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see what the rest of the programme looks like, every year they manage to show some great movies, we so have faith in the team led by Cary Raj Sawhney.

 

 

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Singh Is Bling: New Posters for Akshay and Prabhu Deva’s latest team up

Akshay Kumar doesn’t make it easy to root for him as a fan, not only repeating the same genre repeatedly but now he seems to be revisiting characters too. Singh Is King was a massive success although I did not care for it much ( the non stop repeats on Asian channels do not help) and now Akshay follows it up with Singh is Bling which looks equally propesterous.

Working again with hit machine Prabhu Deva after Rowdy Rathore, Sing is Bling according to the press release is: “Going to be an outright entertainer and Akshay’s character in the film will leave an everlasting impression on the viewers. There couldn’t have been a better title for the film and we are extremely excited that Prabhudheva will be directing Grazing Goat Pictures’ next Hindi feature film.”

I think personally I disagree with at least 10 statements contained in the snippet above.

But I still like Akshay a lot and end up watching and getting annoyed by him in equal measures (see also our Holiday Trailer Breakdown)

Here are the posters:

‘Singh is Bling’ directed by actor, director and dance choreographer, Prabhudheva and produced under Akshay Kumar and his partner Ashvini Yardi’s production banner, Grazing Goat Pictures. The film is set to release on 31st July 2015.

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After the night (Ate ver a luz): Review

After the Night (Ate ver a luz)

After the night is a portrayal of life in the slums of Lisbon.  Directed by Basil da Cunha we see life through the eyes of Sombra, who returns to his life as a drug dealer after coming out of jail.

His life is a hard one, juggling the money he has lent and can’t get back and the money he owes the local neighbourhood gang leader.  His only sources of comfort are an iguana – Dragon – a young girl called Clarinha and an old fashioned oil lamp.  As the days pass he starts to think he is better off back in jail or perhaps even dead.

The cast all look like they could have lived on the very streets being so realistically filmed, but the lead, Pedro Ferreira is the stand out, bringing a genuinely haunting an unnerving presence.  Sombra (a play on words, it is close to Portuguese for dark/shadow) spends his time living at night and sleeping in his tiny shack.  As he starts to run out of time to pay back his debts, Sombra’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic as if he is having the very life sucked out of him.  A man who has given up.

I really loved the scenes with Sombra and Dragon; he seemed to be about as happy as he could be and also with Clarinha.  When he starts to let go of the things that mean so much to him I felt particularly sad, knowing that this signified his letting go of life.  After the Night is not a simple watch, but is rewarding.  It is filmed beautifully and like a documentary throughout – the darkly lit scenes with an orangey-gold light are almost halo-like and offer a glimmer of hope.   Some things aren’t quite conveyed as clearly as I would have liked but if you pay attention then you will see some lovely touches.

I have to say that I didn’t really enjoy the ending, but this is purely a personal matter and down to how good the lead is.  Throughout, I was reminded of La Haine (and also City of God to an extent) so it’s great to see a new film maker using such a realistic approach 20 years later.  Not one to take the kids to see, but I recommend you check this out.  After the Night is released April 25th in theatres and VOD.

 

How To Train Your Dragon 2: 5 Minute Preview!

Probably my favorite animated movie of the past years is How To Train Your Dragon, the world and character building the filmmakers showed was so touching, funny and heartpounding, there wasn’t a shadow of a doubt in my mind that they could pull it off again in the sequel.

When I am over the moon about a movie, I usually stop watching any trailers after the first teaser (which was AMAZING) now the Dreamworks team has released a 5 min preview, which we’re posting here, but I have no clue what it’s about as I for one want to revist Hiccup and Toothless unspoiled.

But for those who can’t wait, here is a whole 5 min preview!

 

 

The thrilling second chapter of the epic HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON trilogy brings us back to the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years after the two have successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 hits cinemas nationwide 4th July 2014

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Sabotage New TV Spots: Cartels and Gunshots!

Good ‘ole Guvernator has been slowly coming back to the big screen lately, and he continues to work with exciting filmmakers and in ensembles instead of going solo.

Teaming up with director David Ayers (Training Day, End Of Watch) and writer Skip Woods who wrote such modern day classics as X-Men : Wolverine Origins and A Good Day to Die Hard, Arnie heads up a crack elite DEA team supported whole cast of actors some of who look pretty darn unrecognizable (Sam Worthington, Josh Holloway) .

This could be mindless fun or just a paint by numbers action movie with a former action legend.

I did quite enjoy the Last Stand but apparently Sabotage hasn’t done too well at the US box office and received quite terrible reviews.

Here are the new TV spots so you can be the judge:

Filmmaker David Ayer, acclaimed for his gritty and realistic portrayal of life behind the blue line in End Of Watch, reinvents screen legend Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he directs SABOTAGE, an action thriller that follows one of the best assault teams on the planet, an elite special operations team of ten DEA agents.

The elite team executes what appears to be a tactical raid on a cartel safe house, which in fact, turns out to be an elaborate theft operation, pre-planned by the members of the DEA squad itself. After hiding $10 million in stolen cash, the rogue agents believe their secret is safe – that is until someone begins methodically assassinating members of the team, one-by-one. As the body count rises, everyone is suspect, including members of the team itself.

Sabotage explodes into UK cinemas 7th May 2014.

 

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Jersey Boys Trailer

Clint Eastwood would not be the first name you would think of adapting the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys” to the big screen. But as soon as you watch the trailer, you get an immediate sense of his no nonsense style of movie making as well as the color scheme.

The breaking the fourth wall segments might be a bit reminscent of Goodfellas but that might just be the era and some of the styling.

Here is the trailer and the plot synopsis:

The film tells the story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons.  The story of their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the songs that influenced a generation, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Dawn,” “Rag Doll,” “Bye Bye Baby,” “Who Loves You,” and many more.

These classic hits are now being embraced by a new generation of fans through the stage musical, which has been running on Broadway for more than eight years and has also enjoyed successful tours around the globe.

Starring in the film, John Lloyd Young reprises his Tony Award-winning portrayal of the legendary lead singer of The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli.  Erich Bergen stars as Bob Gaudio, who wrote or co-wrote all of the group’s biggest hits.  Michael Lomenda and Vincent Piazza star respectively as Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito, two original members of The Four Seasons.  Oscar® winner Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) stars as mobster Gyp DeCarlo.

 

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The Other Woman: An Unlikely Trio featurette

Bringing together a very promising cast of Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (aka the King Slayer) and actor- writer- director Nic Cassavetes, The Other Woman might just be one of those movies that rises above the formulaic studio comedy by just having awesomely likeable people on screen.

 

The Other Woman is in UK Theaters, the 23rd of April.

 

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Pritam Comes to Wembley (London) and brings a bunch of friends

Pritam has become an unstoppable force on the Bollywood music scene in the past few years. His steady flow of chart toppers and the frequency and ease he drops them on people is something that is pretty much incomparable to any other music director.

So this sunday he’s coming to London for the very first time for an all out concert and joining him are:

Benny Dayal – Badtameez Dil from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani and Lat Lag Gayi from Race
Harshdeep Kaur – Kabeera from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani
Aditi Singh Sharma – Raabta Night In A Motel from Agent Vinod
Nikhil George – Aashiyan from Barfi!
Shreeram Chandra – Subhan Allah from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani
Anupam Amod – Rab Ka Shukrana from Jannat 2
Soham Chakrabarty – In Dino from Life in a… Metro

Here is a short Q&A he did about his Wembley concert this sunday:

– How do you feel about performing in London for the first time  

I have always wanted to play in London. I genuinely love the city. Given the large Bollywood music lovers there, I am eager to play in front of them and am looking forward to the show. To top that, it’s a dream venue like Wembley Arena. It’s a great feeling. Excited.

– Have you been following any artist who had performed at Wembley Arena in the past (Any International Artists)

Yes, Wembley Arena is a historical venue for music. I remember the epic Queen show at the Wembley arena and Wembley stadium. Also, I have followed bands like U2, Meatloaf, Corrs, Pink etc, performing at Wembley Arena .

– What is it like for you to be performing at the same stage?

I feel honoured obviously. It is one those arenas and venues you dream of playing in, as an aspiring young musician. The legacy and history makes it really exciting for me to perform there.

– Your music has gained a lot of prominence in the last 5-6 years; what sort of Bollywood gigs would you be performing at the Wembley arena stage

I have completed a decade in Bollywood scored for 100 films with films like Dhoom 1, 2 3, Gangster, Metro, Jab we met, love Aaj Kal, Bhoolbhulaiya, Race, billu barber Once Upon, Barfi, cocktail, Yeh jawaani etc . By God’s grace I have more than enough number of songs to keep everybody entertained (smiles). I am planning to perform songs which has been appreciated by my audience over the  last few years. So ya, from the romantic ones to the peppy ones. From Sufi to Dance. From guitars to Dhol. Trying  to incorporate a little bit of everything. I will be doing a combination of the chartbusters and popular songs mixed with some of my favourites. For the final list however, you will have to wait till 13th evening (smiles).

– Which other singers you are bringing with you and what key songs will they be performing, if you want to reveal the surprise

A few popular Bollywood playback singers are accompanying me . They will be featuring with me on 13th April. Benny Dayal for example, is the most sought after singer nowadays . He has rocked last year with his rendition of my song Badtameez dil and lath lag Gayi. He will sing lot more. Harshdeep Kaur needs no introduction to UK audiences, as she has performed there before. The magic of her deep voice will keep the stadium ringing. She is my favourite Sufi voice – no wonder everybody calls her Sufi ka Sultana. She will sing songs like Kabeera, Jugni etc. Aditi Singh Sharma is a rockstar. She’s a performer to look forward to . She will definitely create “Dhoom” with her performance. Then there’s my friend Nikhil Paul George joining us who sang Aashiyan main kya karoon in Barfi. He has a addictive voice. Shreeram Chandra actor singer winner of idol has a magical voice. He sang songs in Yeh jawaani for me. Soham Chakraborty has been a part of my band Metro since the Life in a metro days. And about the full performance, let that be a surprise!

– Finally, how you feel getting associated with World’ s biggest south Asian TV channel, Zee TV

I have been associated with Zee from a long time. From Sa Re Ga Ma to Zee Cine Awards. And experiences have always been overwhelming. I am happy to be associated with Zee again. Looking forward to something equally exciting.

Here’s a link to tickets: click here

Let us know your favorite Pritam songs in the comment section below!

@asimburney

 

 

 

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