Academy Award

7th Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival and BFI Reveal 2016 Programme

Europe’s Largest South Asian Film Event, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, now into year seven, returns to London, from 14 – 24 July, today announces the first raft of its programming with key festival partners BFI.

The full line up of the festival, which will be announced in June promises a schedule of some of the most prestigious and audacious new independent films from South Asia, and if the BFI Southbank schedule is anything to go by, this year, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival will certainly live up to its reputation of showcasing the most cutting edge films from across the Indian subcontinent.

The meticulously curated sessions with BFI Southbank include some spectacular talks by top talent including South Indian and Bollywood superstar Kamal Haasan, who gives a rare Screen Talk, and Director Shekhar Kapur, most famous for his multiple top tier award winning “Elizabeth” films, starring Cate Blanchett, as well as films that cover the linguistic nuances and cultural diversity of the Indian subcontinent.

A special “Women with a Movie Camera” debate supported by Sun Mark Ltd, will bring together some of South Asia’s greatest female filmmakers, including double Oscar®-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and Leena Yadav, whose critically acclaimed film “Parched” stole the show at TIFF. Audiences will have the opportunity to listen to trailblazers in their field, and also see their work first hand, with special screenings of their films at the BFI Southbank.

Never a festival to shy away from controversy, Indian sexual diversity is highlighted in the empowering transgender movie “I Am Not He… She”, about a teenage boy who comes to Bangalore with dreams of becoming a woman. Continuing to build on its reputation as the ‘punk-rock’ of Indian film festivals, the UK cinematic premiere of the irreverent Sundance hit, the Netflix original ‘In-Betweeners’ style, coming of age comedy “Brahman Naman” screens.

Commenting on the BFI Southbank sessions, director of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, Cary Rajinder Sawhney states:

“We’re delighted that the festival gets such a great platform at the BFI Southbank, giving the broadest of audiences an opportunity to see world class Indian independent cinema and hear rare talks by top Indian stars and filmmakers in the UK’s cathedral of cinema. This is just a taster of what we have lined up in our seventh year, and we guarantee to not only show you entertaining films, but make you think and maybe even shock you”.


BFI Southbank Events & Screenings

FRI 15 JUL 20:30Brahman Naman (Directed by Qaushiq Mukherjee, 2016) / Onstage: Talent from the film

SAT 16 JUL, 18:20 – SPECIAL EVENT: Shekhar Kapur: A Life With Elizabeth / Onstage: Director Shekhar Kapur

SAT 16 JUL, 20:30 – SCREENING + Q&A: I Am Not He… She (BS Lingadevaru, 2015) / Onstage: Director BS Lingadevaru

SUN 17 JUL, 14:00 – SPECIAL EVENT: Kamal Haasan Screen Talk / Onstage: Actor Kamal Haasan

SUN 17 JUL, 15:00Women With A Movie Camera: A Life Less Ordinary: South Asian Filmmakers’ Debate / Onstage: a selection of female filmmakers

SUN 17 JUL, 17:30Arshinagar (Mirrorville) (Directed by Aparna Sen, 2015)

TUE 19 JUL 20:30Ramsingh Charlie (Directed by Nitin Kakkar, 2015)

 

– For more information on the festival please visit:

www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk

Review: Airlift’s screenplay never takes off!

In one of the only emotional scenes of this movie, a very old Punjabi grandfather character (played wonderfully by the veteran Indian TV actor Arun Bali) speaks of the horrors of getting uprooted from what you once considered home, and being forced to leave everything behind. This scene is crucial in establishing why a certain Mr. Kohli (Kumud Mishra), a paper-pusher in the External Affairs Ministry Office, turns into one of the key figures in enabling the success of an impossible rescue mission. It is sad then, that Airlift, a movie based on true events of world’s largest civil evacuation could not evoke any further emotional hooks for me as a movie audience to remain invested or engaged. And yes, it even has a mini segment where we see the tricolour being hoisted and K.K. singing Vande Mataram. And even then, I did not participate in that moment of triumph. THAT is the biggest failure of the movie.

I am not for a single bit, attempting to undermine the real heroism of the true heroes who were involved in this rescue mission of 170,000+ Indians from war-torn Kuwait. I am in fact saying that a story as incredible as this deserves a much better movie than what it got in Airlift. It is a classic case of an ambitious director meeting an “out-of-their-league” story and getting overwhelmed by it. Writer-Director Raja Krishna Menon along with his team of writers have put up a screenplay which can be the equivalent of a college play on opening rehearsal day, with a very rough first draft of a scribble on a tissue paper acting as a script.

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The narrative tries to introduce several characters into the plot – from the ever so grouchy George Kutty (Prakash Belawadi – Madras Cafe, Talvar), the unnecessary Mr. Poonawala, and the somewhat simmering and confusing love story of Ibrahim (Purab Kohli – Rock On). But none of them ever have a sub plot as such. There is no distinct payback that we as audience get from these plot threads. The trunk of the story tree is the man who is front and centre in the poster – Akshay Kumar as Ranjit Katiyal. He is the Ship Captain who is reluctantly put in charge of the fate of 170,000+ Indians. And Akshay handles it as best as he can. But the screenplay again fails him.

In one of the scenes, Akshay’s wife played by Nimrat Kaur convinces him to go to the docks – because he is a negotiator. And there is hardly anything following that scene which highlights this very characteristic of Mr. Katiyal. On the other hand, there is a scene where Akshay goes gung-ho and attacks a bunch of check-point gunned security guards, and even manages to threaten them. It seemed like Katiyal was playing Akshay for that moment, and not the other way around. We are told of Rajiv Katiyal being a businessman through and through. But in the face of such hardships, there is hardly any conversation in the movie that is scripted as one that demanded special skills. The Iraqi General played by Inaamulhaq (Filmistan), is layered in poor and generic Middle Eastern accent, and is a character written as a caricature. And hence, there is no sense of threat or perhaps, we have all seen this done way better in many other movies and TV shows.

The female lead in the movie, Nimrat Kaur seemed like one of the stereotypical naggy Indian housewife for most of the movie. She’s pretty glammed up for a woman stuck in war-torn Kuwait. But I assume, the writers felt compelled to give her something more than just that. And by virtue of that, she gets one scene which showcases glimpses of the actor we liked so much in The Lunch Box.

But my biggest complaint from this movie, is that being titled Airlift, the movie spends a total of only 2 minutes speedily narrating about the mega-operation taken up by Air India who managed to “airlift” the 170,000+ Indians from Jordan. Perhaps, that wasn’t as exciting on paper as Akshay punching dudes in sandy desert. And let’s not even get started on that cringe-worthy remix of Khaled’s Didi .

This one is not even for a lazy matinee.

 

Airlift is directed by Raja Krishna Menon and stars Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur (Homeland, The Lunchbox).

The film releases internationally on on the 22nd of January in the UK.

You can find more of Sujoy’s work on BollyPop or OneKnightStands or Follow him on twitter on @9e3K.

 

 

 

AR Rahman Greatest Hits at the O2 Review

NickyKelvin-0112For India’s Independence Day AR Rahman, held a concert at the O2 Arena to a sold out crowd, accompanied by an orchestra of musicians, singers, table players and qawwalli’s.

The concert was dubbed as « The Greatest Hits of AR Rahman » and whilst driving to the venue, it made me ponder: how can one compound Rahman’s oeuvre into a single sitting?

His musical portfolio is ginormous! In the 23 years of his career, he’s composed over 100 soundtracks for the various regions of Indian cinema, as well as performed stage shows, private albums and dabbled in Hollywood, (If winning an Bafta, a golden Globe,2 Grammies and 2 Academy Award can be called dabbling) whilst never compromising on the quality of his music. (Take that Dr Dre!)

And all this whilst jumping from one genre to the other and mastering pretty much all of them. (I’m a hip hop head and his mastery of rap has been weak since Patti Rap)

When Rahman debuted on the Bollywood scene in the 90’s, Hindi audiences had heard murmurings of some of his offerings down South with Roja and Kadalan (Hum Se Hai Muqabla) dominating video charts.

The music scene was much more fractured and isolated in the 90’s and there wasn’t ever a need to importing talent from another region. If movie producer or music director liked a tune, they just copy pasted wholesale and had the son resung by another local singer and no question was asked. This even happened to some of AR Rahman’s early songs, there were at least 4 Hindi versions of Muqabla floating on the airwaves at the same time.

But Rahman’s talent was such that his unique voice could not be denied. His music has always felt very personal, making the audience feel a sense of misplaced ownership. But sitting in a jam packed arena, I understood, I wasn’t the only one that felt this ownership over « my» AR Rahman. AR, like any musician, understands that his music is not his anymore once it is released to the airwaves but belongs to a collective that needs to be fed.

He tried to deliver on the expectations his audience has with him, he managed to partly on the promise despite some production mistakes.

Javed Ali started things off with a very soulful rendition of Delhi 6’s Arziyan, which seemed to be a prayer to kick off the concert as well as salutation to the audience.

Arziyan was followed up with a selection of classic hits like Chinna Chinna Aasai /Choti si Aasha (Roja), which was in 2 different languages sung by the wonderful and ever present Jonita Ghandi, the seemingly demure Shashaa Kiran Tirupati and the vastly under-used vocal powerhouse that is Neeti Mohan.

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Tu Hi Re was the sole pick from the Bombay soundtrack (I was hoping for so many more like Satrangi Re of Jiya Jale but alas) by Haricharan who managed to command the song in 2 different languages versions – whilst doing a pretty good Hariharan impression. Then came Dil Se’s title track sung by AR himself as he duelled Natalie Klouda, his wonderful violinist on the piano, which was an amazing spectacle.

The next half hour block was mostly from AR Rahman’s South Indian and private albums, which unfortunately for most of the Hindi audience in attendance felt like watching other people have lots of fun whilst they had a glazed expression over their eyes. Some audience members even started grumbling quite vocally and this might have been the only dip in the otherwise amazing set.

Some of the production choices were very odd, the first half ended abruptly and there was confusion if there was going to be an interval or not, the audience was left to their own devices, which is never a great choice with a South Asian audience. This happened again at the end of the show, there was a definite lack of cues and the band just disappeared without an encore.

The confusing interval ended up lasting only a couple of minutes, the curtain suddenly went up and AR and Jaaved Ali had donned their qawalli hats and tablas for the double whammy of the hypnotizing Kun Faya Kun (Rockstar) and soulful Khwaja Mere Khwaja (Jodha Akbar). Unfortunately some the magic of the Sufi segment was broken by the part of the audience hurriedly running back to their seats with still very wet hands from their bathroom visits.

  Kun Faya Kun Kun (Rockstar): The Qawalli interlude at #ARRahmanAtTheO2   A video posted by asimburney (@asimburney) on

Khwaja Mere Khwaja (Jodha Akbar): Qawalli interlude #ARRahmanAtTheO2 @TheO2 #TheO2

A video posted by asimburney (@asimburney) on

Always being a trailblazer, AR wanted to showcase a movement based instrument but technology failed the crew twice, forcing AR to climb back behind his piano and nervously entertain the audience with impromptu tunes. When they managed to get the tech to work, you realized it was supposed to be background vocalist IsshrathQuadhre time into the limelight but unfortunately for her and the audience the moment had passed.

From then on there was a clear course correction and the hits and performances were non stop, Neeti Mohan brought energy with her RE RE segment (Rangeela Re and Jiya Re) but overall she felt a bit underused compared to Jonita who pretty much dominated the pre-interval as well as jiggy-ing in group songs and some Hindi too. Jonita is a wonderful stage presence and very versatile, definitely one to look out for. Same for Karthik who was an absolute crowd favourite amongst the South Indian and clearly a born showman but only made a fleeting appearance and didn’t sing any Hindi songs. NickyKelvin-8667

During the different sets, AR Rahman would change get ups, some with hilarious combinations like a sparkly hat paired with a biker jacket or in the case of the bluesy Jaane Tu Ya Jaane na, he wore sunglasses like he was Ray Charles from Chennai, luckily the music always delivered and the powerful voice and jazz scatting of background vocalist Annette Philip’s really stepped up to the plate.

The show provided every member of AR Rahman’s band to shine too. The ones that really stuck out were Naveen Kumar’s flute during the Roja interlude, Mohini Dey’s bass (a 19 year old prodigy part of AR Rahman’s band NAFS who is also rumoured to be collaborating with Quincy Jones), Ranjit Barot’s drum and Keba Jeremiah Arul’s guitar solo’s during a very rocky rendition of Nadaan Parindey.

Ultimately the show couldn’t possibly have delivered on every song that a demanding fan might want of AR Rahman’s as we are a spoiled bunch now and even if combining sets from all languages didn’t always works as well as one would hope. What the show does give you is an evening with an artist of the likes only comes around once in a century, and as an audience member, that seems like the highest privilege.

Photo Credit: Nicky Kelvin

For more badly shot videos you can head over to my Instagram here

 

 

 

 

AR Rahman announces UK concert dates at the O2

The double Grammy and double Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe winner, AR Rahman returns to The O2 after five years, with a one off greatest hits show on Saturday 15 August 2015. AR Rahman will be joined by very special guests including; Srinivas, Karthik, Shweta Mohan, Neeti Mohan, Javed Ali, and many more.

Tickets and limited VIP Packages go on general sale at 9am on Friday 12 June and are available at AXS.com or by calling 08448 24 48 24. Tickets are also available via www.chillitickets.comwww.seetickets.com and www.biggreencoach.co.uk

Discussing his forthcoming UK show of the year AR Rahman said; “The UK always brings back fond memories of working on landmark projects in my career and it’s good to be back again after five years.”

The announcement follows a hugely successful intimate American tour and saw AR Rahman, performs in multiple concert halls. Throughout the US, the tour received standing ovations and critical acclaim.

Working in India’s various film industries, international cinema and theatre with the hit show Bombay Dreams, produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rahman, has sold more than 100 million records of his film scores and soundtracks worldwide, and sold over 200 million albums. He is one of the world’s all-time top selling recording artists, with consistent chart-toppers across multiple continents.

In 2009 TIME magazine listed him as one of the world’s most influential people and cited his first album, Roja among the ”10 Best Soundtracks” of all time. Best known for his score and songs in Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman has worked on more than 100 films, among them the Oscar nominated Lagaan, Bombay, Dil Se, Rang De Basanti, Rockstar, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Raanjhanaa, O Kadhal Kanmani, Enthiran (Robot), Fox film’s 127 Hours by Danny Boyle, Disney’s Million Dollar Arm and The Hundred-Foot Journey.

He is working on a composition for the film Pelé, a biopic on the Brazilian football legend, as well as the score for Disney’s Mohenjo Daro. His album Vande Mataram, released for India’s 50th anniversary of its independence in 1997 remains a firm favourite with patriotic Indians both at home and abroad.

Tickets On-sale: Fri, 12 Jun 201509:00 BST: http://www.axs.com/uk/events/279464/a-r-rahman-the-greatest-hits-live-tickets?skin=arrahman

Tomorrowland Upodcast Review

The latest smash from Disney studios hits screens in the UK this Friday 22nd May.  But what can we expect from such a potentially stunning combination of actors, writers and directors?  George Clooney is the main lead on stage, with directing contributions from Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille and MI:3 – aka the best one of the series so far, with Philip Seymour Hoffman) and writing credits from Damon BahBlahLof, courtesy of Lost and numerous others.

This might well be a one-off in terms of UPOD, but we do delve deeply into the land of make-believe and Disney’s latest sci-fi / futuristic imaginarium.  The spoilers kick-in at around the 19 minute mark, but other than that, no need to worry!

You can listen/download/stream the episode below.

Or subscribe to iTunes and never miss an episode!

American Sniper Review and Oscar Predictions

’tis the season to be Oscar.  Asim and Martin take aim and set their sights on Clint Eastwood’s latest target, American Sniper.  The most successful war movie of all time has taken America by storm, smashing box office records left, right and centre.  And of course yet more potential Oscar glory for its esteemed director.  Released this week in the UK, it remains to be seen if it can repeat its performance overseas.

Starring Bradley Cooper – looking super-manly with beard and huge muscles – and a barely recognisable Sienna Miller, American Sniper is based on the autobiography of Chris Kyle a US Navy SEAL who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq.  Taking to life in the armed forces like a duck to water, it’s the hum drum of everyday family life that asks the most difficult questions of our leading man.

This movie probably works best if you’re completely out of the picture as to our sniper’s life, both in and out of the SEALs, but we shall let you know if it hits the bulls eye or if it’s wide of the mark.  OK, That’s enough shooting related jokes for now.  Check out the trailer below!

Listen/download/ Stream the episode below or subscribe to our feed in iTunes and never miss all the goodies.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Review

“How did we end up here? This place smells of balls.” says the disembodied voice of Birdman; the alter-ego of Michael Keaton’s Riggan Thomson in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s ‘Birdman or (The Virtue of Ignorance)’. What’s Riggan doing whilst his inner demon and career-shading superhero delivers this opening line? Why, he’s meditating in the middle of his shabby, run down dressing room – hovering some four feet off the floor.
And so begins Riggan’s unhinged story; a man made super famous by his superhero role 25 years ago, now trying to resurrect his career by directing, producing and starring in a broadway play. The role was not written for Keaton, but the similarities are obvious.
Inarritu takes a single camera, cleverly making the whole thing look like its shot in one take – although obviously not, and practically shoves it in the faces of Riggan, and his nerve-wracking entourage including manager (Zach Galifianakis – a man on the edge of financial ruin), daughter (Emma Stone – just out of rehab) and cast (Ed Norton playing what I imagine is a cartoon version of Ed Norton and a twitchy Naomi Watts) as they all sink under the weight of their own self doubts and self importance at what feels like break-neck speed. No sooner have we dealt with one conflicting philosophical theory about art, acting, truth, or relationships then we are thrown into another – all set to a backdrop of clever set-ups like a play within a play which is actually a film although it feels like a play – see what I’m getting at?
The characters make fun of themselves, of each other, of roles they have actually played and eventually of things you as an audience member have watched and all of this should be too much and too clever for its own good were it not for just how wonderfully silly, bonkers and downright funny it is. You get the feeling that at any moment – and very much aided by the scatty drum score that accompanies every scene, that the whole thing will just end abruptly and derail, but it doesn’t, it very much goes the distance. This is because it’s brilliantly directed and every performance is outstanding; most notable of all being Keaton’s.
I’ve missed Michael Keaton. As a child of the 80s, I had two movie uncles; Bill. Murray and Michael Keaton. And whilst Bill Murray is your prickish, laid back movie uncle, gatecrashing your house party to serve tequila, Michael Keaton is the relative most likely to arrive at said party by driving a car through the wall with a goofy smile on his face – just me?
And although he hasn’t been completely missing from our screens for the past twenty years, he’s definitely been less prolific and apart from his TLC-loving captain spot in ‘The Other Guys’, has steered clear of the kind of insane-character stuff that gave him his fame in the 80s. But Keaton is best with the straight jacket off. Even as ‘Batman’ up against Nicholson’s scene-chewing Joker, with little to do in the way of impact except for wearing the costume, he nearly steals the show with his “Come on, let’s get nuts!” line. That’s because he means it!
Here, Keaton gets to pull out every trick he has and some we haven’t seen before as he lurches from one pre-show disaster to another. Comedy like this has missed his talents, and so have I.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is in UK theaters from today.
Paul Mcghie is an Award-Winning Screenwriter, Director, London Lift-Off Film Festival Judge and git. You can check out his feature project here. His work is on Vimeo or you can follow him on twitter @DirPaulMcGhie

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Lingaa Upodcast Review

Superstar Rajinikanth returns to the big screen in a live action role after 4 years with KS Ravikumar’s Lingaa. As every release of the megastar there is quite a bit of excitement and looking at the initial box office numbers, it seems to be another killer at the box office.

Although we South Indian cinema has a special place in our hearts, we are not the experts we would like to be so we called our friend Josh Hurtado, who covers a lot of Indian cinema for TwitchFilm.com.

We speak about the Rajini Effect, the expectations attached to Lingaa, Sonakshi Sinha’s South Indian debut and how Lingaa compares to Rajnikanth’s massive hits with Shankar (Sivaji- The Boss, Enthiran).

If you haven’t seen the trailer for Lingaa yet, here is it.


You can check out more of Josh. work on TwitchFilm.

Or follow him on twitter on @HatefulJosh

Listen/Stream/Download the episode below. You can also subscribe to the Upodcast on iTunes so you never miss an episode!

Black Sea: review

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Black everything

Warning, review contains mild spoilers

Black Sea, is the latest from director Kevin MacDonald (Last King of Scotland). It features Jude Law (Sleuth, Dom Hemmingway) as    submarine captain Robinson, on the hunt for a submarine, lost somewhere in the Black sea and rumoured to be laden with gold.  There is a wide cast and it also features Michael Smiley (Luther, A Field in England). Firstly, if it’s got Michael Smiley, I’m always  interested and secondly, if it’s got Jude Law, I’m sometimes interested. This film therefore has good odds on it being excellent, given the director’s previous films.

We see Robinson being made redundant by a marine salvage company whom he’ served loyally for years. With a meagre payout, we can see his guilt about not raising his son, who lives with his mum and a wealthy step-father. Presented with the chance to lift gold from a lost Nazi submarine, from a decidedly shady operation, the crew gets assembled: half British, half Russian.

Once the mission is underway, tension mounts very quickly and before long the Aussie (previously described as a liability) has gone rogue, killing a Russian. One by one, the crew is whittled down – murdered, or killed by the sheer danger of what they’re doing.

This is one helluva tense movie! Most other submarine-based films don’t come close to this. I’ll put this down to a story that doesn’t quite go the way the trailer might lead you to believe and perhaps more importantly, a genuinely realistic re-creation of a knackered, Soviet-era submarine, complete with rusty machinery and filthy living conditions.

As the lure of the gold gradually overtakes the minds of the crew onboard, human rationale disappears, along with a few bodies and inevitably the ability to actually sail the submarine. By the time we reach the end, Robinson reminded me very much of Harry Caul, in The Converation: forlorn and hoist by his own petard.

A super-tense thriller that doesn’t disappoint; if you like your films to be realistic, dirty and grimy then this is for you. I’m not sure the girlfriend would enjoy this one, so you have been warned 😉

 

A New York Winter’s Tale: 2 new trailers

Right in time for V-day we have a dreamy, magical love story to defy our yearly cynism. Come on people, it’s once a year, get over it!

A New York Winter’s Tale (quite the horrible title) hits cinemas February 21st. starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly.

I must admit being a sucker for these kind of movies and the trailer does look interesting even with Russel Crowe’s outrageous accent, which makes it seem like he didn’t let go of Les Miserables.

Have a look and let us know what you think!

Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, “A New York Winter’s Tale” is a story of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil. The film stars Colin Farrell (“Total Recall”), Jessica Brown Findlay (TV’s “Downton Abbey”), and Oscar® winners Jennifer Connelly (“A Beautiful Mind”), William Hurt (“Kiss of the Spider Woman”), Eva Marie Saint (“On the Waterfront”) and Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”).  “Winter’s Tale” also introduces young newcomers Ripley Sobo and Mckayla Twiggs (both from Broadway’s “Once”).

The film marks the directorial debut of Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind”), who also wrote the screenplay, based on the acclaimed novel by Mark Helprin. Goldsman is also producing the film with Marc Platt (“Drive”), Michael Tadross (“Sherlock Holmes”) and Tony Allard (Showtime’s “The Baby Dance”).  The executive producers are Kerry Foster and Bruce Berman.

The behind-the-scenes creative team includes five-time Oscar®-nominated director of photography Caleb Deschanel (“The Passion of the Christ,” “The Patriot”), production designer Naomi Shohan (“Constantine,” “I Am Legend”), costume designer Michael Kaplan (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” “Star Trek”) and editors Wayne Wahrman (“I Am Legend”) and Oscar® nominee Tim Squyres (“Life of Pi,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”).  The music is composed by Oscar® winner Hans Zimmer (“The Lion King,” “Inception,” “Man of Steel”).

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Sherlock Season 3 and American Hustle Review Upodcast

The game is on..!  Upodcast returns for 2014 with a TV and movie doubleheader.  First up we celebrate the return of Sherlock to our screens.  The long overdue (in our opinion) resolution of the “how did he die but live?” question was so tantalising, more than 9 million Brits tuned-in to the first episode of the 3rd series.  To be fair, both the leads have been off being hobits and Julian Assange so we can excuse the wait, but what of the rest?  We’ll talk you through the last 3 episodes, highs and lows alike and give a little glimpse into the future for those who couldn’t watch the final episode.

Moviewise and making its way to an awards ceremony near you, right now, we have American Hustle.  On the face of it, this has winner written all over it.  Late 70s aesthetic – check, brilliant extended cast – check, based on real-life events – check, story of corruption, betrayal & redemption – check.  So does it deliver?  It does indeed, although not without its flaws.  Let us guide you through one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2014.  Upod sort of doesn’t do the Oscars if we’re honest, but we can see American Hustle in a 1-on-1 fight with 12 Years a Slave for the Best Film award this year.  And if you’ve ever wondered what Batman with a beer-belly and a very creative comb-over looks like, then the opening scene won’t disappoint.

Listen/download the episode below or subscribe to iTunes and never miss a show

 

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Kochadaiiyaan Teaser looks choppy!

When we met the Kochadaiiyaan team for a press conference back in April 2012 producer Murali mentioned: “Kochadaiiyaan is going to be a very different animation film with Indian and international technicians. Even better than Tin- Tin. And first of the kind to use photorealistic technology., making it more realistic”

Since then we haven’t heard too much about Kochadaiiyaan and today the first teaser has dropped and is frankly quite dissapointing.

Animation has never been of too high a standard, because most of the times it is still seen by Indian audiences as something meant for children and not adults. And even though there have been collaborations with even with Disney, it has never been an attractive proposition on the box office.

But what no one can’t, Rajni- can (t)! or that’s what we hoped for.

 

 

According to Producer Mural the movie is “a fantasy film with an indian subject, which has been carefully done to attract international audience”. Director Soundaryha (Rajnikanth’s daughter) added that Photorealistic Animation was used because: “It immortalises my father and everything is really created. He plays a warriorin the movie. And we wanted him to do something that we as a fans would want to see. Everyone wants the sound and vision to be spectacular”

We know this is just the first shots we are seeing but they are quite dissapointing shots, the realism spoken about still needs quite a bit of work and what we see doesn’t look much better than a video game (an old and cheap video game for that matter).

Deepika Padukone, who we don’t see in the teaser, is paired opposite Rajnikanth, which i hope looks less creepy than it sounds and one place where having the movie animated migh pay off.

Here is the press release which next to the actual teaser looks like someone talking about an entirely different movie:

Film aficionados across the world are gearing up for the futuristic fantasy event of the year with the release of the eagerly awaited film Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend worldwide in cinemas this December 2013.

Poised as the grand finale film of the year, Kochadaiiyaan will rival and transcend the CG capabilities utilised in such Hollywood masterpieces as Avatar, Tin Tin and Beowulf. The avant-garde film features the unique visual mastery of Photorealistic Performance Capture technology, a first within the realm of Indian film-making.

Kochadaiiyaan is an epic dramatisation of good versus evil starring South Indian megastar Rajinikanth who is cast as the archetypal superhero in a dual role. Also starring in the grand production are Indian A-listers Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff and South India’s leading stars R. Sarathkumar, Nazzer, Aadhi, Shobana and Rukmini.

Providing the musical score is maestro and Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman, whose list of credits includes a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and two Academy Awards for his outstanding musical compilation for the multi-Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire. The story, screenplay and dialogues have been penned by K S Ravikumar and the lyrics by National Award Winning lyricist Vairamuthu.

Kochadaiiyaan stemmed from the grand vision of the director Soundarya Rajnikanth Ashwin, a talented and forward thinking filmmaker who is well versed with various trend setting film techniques. She says: “My ambition has always been to immortalise my father and bring the legendary Rajinikanth that audiences around the world adore in an ‘avatar’ he hasn’t ever been seen in nor experienced.

During the making of Kochadaiiyaan, I began to realise that through the medium of this film, we had to embrace a much broader aim which had the potential to be a game-changer for Indian cinema on a global level.

I have been passionately involved in film animation techniques and production for the last six years and for Kochadaiiyaan we wanted to do something unique and to create a new cinematic experience for India. To achieve this we decided to use Photorealistic Performance Capture technology which allowed us to have unlimited creativity on all grounds from building lavish sets, directing expansive fight sequences and creating elaborate costumes. Through the film, we will be able to transport audiences back to historic India and provide them with a much broader sensory experience.

Kochadaiiyaan has created not only firsts in Asia but also on a world level through the use of the technology. What we achieved with the support of our technical partners in the UK, USA, India and China, has made this project a truly international venture and we are sure that Kochadaiiyaan will set the path for Indian cinema’s next 100 year journey.”

The British funded project by reputed producers Mediaone Global Entertainment Limited and the AIM listed company Eros International has been shot exclusively at Pinewood Studios in the UK with a team of world-class technical experts including the London based Centroid Studios, a state of the art facility for Full Body Motion Capture, which have worked on various famous Hollywood productions including the recent Brad Pitt starrer World War Z, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ironman 2 and Harry Potter, and Counter Punch Studios from Los Angeles, who have been behind successes such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua. They worked in collaboration with Faceware Technologies, who have worked with The Mummy 3 and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for the Facial Capturing technology. A team of technical experts from South India and China have worked on the animation and the overall completion of the project.

India’s first Photorealistic Performance Capture film Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend is not only set to transcend boundaries creating a market first in the realm of world cinema but will cement Indian Cinema’s place indefinitely within the global film fraternity.

Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend releases worldwide this December 2013.

 

 

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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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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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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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‘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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Man Of Steel Banner Posters

We received these beautiful Banner posters for Man Of Steel and I just had to share them.

Not much to say much else as I’m going officially not going to watch any promo material anymore until the movie comes out to remain spoiler free.

But these were just too awesome not to share.

 

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures comes “Man of Steel,” starring Henry Cavill (“Immortals,” TV’s “The Tudors”) in the role of Clark Kent/Superman, under the direction of Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”).

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.

The film also stars four-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams (“The Master”) as Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane, and Oscar® nominee Laurence Fishburne (“What’s Love Got to Do with It”) as her editor-in-chief, Perry White.  Starring as Clark Kent’s adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent, are Oscar® nominee Diane Lane (“Unfaithful”) and Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves”).

Squaring off against the superhero are two other surviving Kryptonians, the villainous General Zod, played by Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”), and Faora, Zod’s evil partner, played by Antje Traue (upcoming “The Seventh Son”).  Also from Superman’s native Krypton are Lara Lor-Van, Superman’s mother, played by Ayelet Zurer (“Angels and Demons”), and Superman’s father, Jor-El, portrayed by Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”).

MAN OF STEEL will fly into cinemas on June 14, 2013

@asimburney

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Man Of Steel Trailer is ZOMG!

Already my most anticipated movie of the year, this trailer has just left me speechless. Showing us much more of the action, visuals and leading man Cavill (literally).

Since the release is just around the corner, it’s fun to see that the movie is more than just a depressing look at ole Supes. We get to see more of Michael Shannon’s Zod, Amy Adam’s Lois Lane and Russel Crow’s Jor-EL.

Zach Snyder has always had a great eye for visuals but this trailer has really blown me away!

You probably dont need a synopsis but hey ho!

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.

The film also stars four-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams (“The Master”) as Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane, and Oscar® nominee Laurence Fishburne (“What’s Love Got to Do with It”) as her editor-in-chief, Perry White.  Starring as Clark Kent’s adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent, are Oscar® nominee Diane Lane (“Unfaithful”) and Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves”).

Squaring off against the superhero are two other surviving Kryptonians, the villainous General Zod, played by Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”), and Faora, Zod’s evil partner, played by Antje Traue (upcoming “The Seventh Son”).  Also from Superman’s native Krypton are Lara Lor-Van, Superman’s mother, played by Ayelet Zurer (“Angels and Demons”), and Superman’s father, Jor-El, portrayed by Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”).

MAN OF STEEL will fly into cinemas on June 14, 2013.

@asimburney

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Life Of Pi: Exclusive Video Diary Suraj Sharma

Every shot we have seen from Life of Pi has just been excruciatingly beautiful, and although we haven’t read Yann Martel’s book the movie is based on yet, it has been recommended to us at least a gajillion time (no joke). Shot in eye popping 3D, Ang Lee is certainly an interesting cinematic voice even more so as he loves genre hopping.

And even though it’s only a cameo, I would love to see Tabu on screen again after such a big gap.

Here is video diary of Suraj Sharma who plays the titular role of Pi in the movie, nice kid!

and here is an excerpt from the press release:

Follow young Suraj Sharma, the debut star of the breath-taking film Life of Pi, in an up-close, behind the scenes exclusive on his experiences and challenges behind the spotlight.

New to the scene of acting, Suraj bagged himself the lead role in the highly anticipated film. He says: “I never knew I would be here on this scale.” See how he handles his first premier and red carpet stating “It’s like a walk in the Park” in this special video diary.

Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) directs LIFE OF PI, based upon Yann Martel’s beloved book, which went on to become one of the biggest publishing events of the past decade. An epic adventure of magical realism, LIFE OF PI follows the story of a young man’s incredible survival at sea against almost impossible odds. A remarkable breakthrough in the use of 3D technology, PI will take audiences on an emotionally captivating journey that will inspire, touch and transport them to a place of discovery they will be unable to forget. LIFE OF PI releases on 20th December 2012 from Twentieth Century Fox in 3D and 2D.

@asimburney

 

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Oscars 2012 Wrap Up and The Descandants

Upod goes Oscar crazeee!  Only joking, we’d never stoop that low.

The Upod Oscar special isn’t really about how much we like the awards or the ceremony, but it’s a great chance for us to dissect the top movies of the final year and 9 times out of 10, tell the Academy where they went wrong.  With The Artist garnering the 3 major wins and given the competition it faced, we didn’t have much of a leg to stand on this year.  Hugo did of course match The Artist in sheer volume of wins (5 each) but these were predominantly technical.

Naturally, two of our favourite movies of 2011 were nowhere near the red carpet: Drive and Source Code.  Perhaps there’s just too much existentialism in both of these – that or the “eeeuuuwwwww” factor (for seeing Jake Gynenhall all wired up on a drip and for Christina Hendricks’ brain being blown into 11 354 little pieces in the motel).

The main event for this week’s episode and tying in nicely with Oscar, is The Descendants.  Alexander Payne’s acclaimed film that tells the story of a man who tracks down his soon-to-die wife’s lover to tell him she’s dying was the darling of the nominations.  Artfully shot and never straying onto the sugary side of the street, “Gorgeous” George’s latest performance is certainly praiseworthy and the film itself merited the acclaim that came its way.  We give a typical Upod take on this…and also tell you where the director got it wrong!

Episode 22: True Grit, Green Hornet and our Oscars predictions

New Episode 22 Upodcast: The Team reviews True Grit, Green Hornet in the 3D Dimension! More crack than an egg factory the team gazes into their Crystal ball and predicts the future winners of the Academy Awards. Check out the new epsiode after the jump!

 

First off, we talk about our review of Green Hornet, the film version of the comic book, of the radio show of the TV show. Whilst none of us could have imagined Michel Gondry directing such a feature, we’re damned pleased he has.  Released in the cinema graveyard slot of January, this has set the benchmark for superhero / comic book related films to come in 2011.  Green Lantern and Thor will need to be excellent to better Seth n Jay.

We then proceed from arguably the ridiculous to the sublime with genuine Oscar contender, True Grit (22min 36sec). Beautifully re-made by the Brothers Coen, what does the new version give us? Is it a Coen’s Western and if so, what kind of Western? Sadly we’ve been too lazy to watch the original John Wayne film (and in my case, any John Wayne film) and give you that comparison so you’ll have to make do with our thoughts on this one alone.

Finally we bring you our highs, lows and unknowns of the Oscars 2011 (42min 30sec). Gaze into our crystal ball as we steer you fundamentally in the wrong direction for who will win and who will lose. Make no mistake; if you use our guesses for gambling you’ll also be a loser on Oscar night.

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Teaser trailer Raavan starring Abhishek Bachan and Aishwarya Rai

Fresh off the presses Abhishek bachan has just tweeted the new teaser trailer for his upcoming movie Raavan.

It’s directed by acclaimed south Indian director Mani Ratnam after their awesome collaboration in Guru. It also stars the wonderfully effervescent Aishwarya Rai of which we only see a passing shot. Watch it here now before it get’s pulled by the man!

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The Secret to success for women in the workplace with Marrion Cottilard

Oscar winner and all round amazing actress Marion Cottillard introduces a new tool for women to be successful and be taken seriously in an office environment with the guys from FunnyorDie.

Maybe not suitable for everyone but still pretty hilarious. And I follow the general rule of thumb in life… The more Cotillard, the better.

Check out the clip here!

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Oscars 2010…and the wieners are…

Altough the Upodcast team usually talks about under the radar news, being movie buffs we do get caught up with the yearly hysteria of the Academy Awards.

After the jump you can find the full list of winners and wieners from aunty Beeb

And don’t forget to catch our next Podcast( Episode 9) where we will be giving our acerbic take on this year’s show…with some very special guests.

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