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The Tempest Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 11/10/2010 @ 15:50
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 372
Films seen this week: Miral, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Heartbeats, Everything Must Go, Cuckoo, The Arbor, Archipelago, Chico & Rita, Tabloid, Howl, Easy A, Meek's Cutoff

To 3D or not 3D: Hogwarts Edition
I was all set for this bit of the blog to be yet another edition of Superhero News, what with the sudden flurry of superhero-related stories this week (Emma Stone cast as Gwen Stacey in the Spider-Man reboot – I don't care if she *is* apparently a natural blonde – WHY do they keep casting famous redheads as blondes and vice versa?; Zack Snyder chosen to direct Christopher Nolan's Superman reboot - initial reaction? Pleased, since Snyder is, if anything, a comic-book-style director; Nolan's third Batman movie getting an official start date of April 2011 – place bets on villains now, etc.) but then I heard about Warner's decision to abandon their plans to release the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 3D and wanted to talk about that instead.

To be clear, Harry Potter 7.1 wasn't filmed in 3D, like, say, Avatar or Resident Evil: Disappointment, but it was undergoing 2D-to-3D conversion in post-production, like Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender and we all know how badly that worked out. (Seriously, it looked AWFUL). So just in case Warners are monitoring the internets for reactions to this news, I want to say, for the record that I think it's an excellent decision and one that does them credit. The official reason, according to the studio is “despite everyone's best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality. We do not want to disappoint fans who have long-anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey.” It's an unquestionably brave decision, although apparently they still plan to show the second part in 3D when it opens next July. Personally I hope that everyone involved in similar post-production 2D-to-3D conversion jobs decides to follow suit (Hello Thor – I'm looking at you). We can but hope. In the meantime, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (now in glorious 2D) opens here on November 19th and Part 2 is due July 15th.

Films I Am Dying To See: The Tempest
Is there a website that emails you the new trailers whenever they're released? Because I could really use one of those. I'd heard about director Julie Taymor's upcoming version of Shakespeare's The Tempest (the trailer gives her the “visionary director Julie Taymor” tag - I bet Zack Snyder is pissed off right now) because it was the closing night film at Venice, but the trailer only popped up on my radar this week. I have a lot of affection for The Tempest – I might even go as far as to say it's my favourite Shakespeare play. For one thing I studied it for A level and for another, my sixth form college teacher made us (yes, made us) put on a dialogue-free version of it to show to the local junior schools and I was Prospero. I'm a huge fan of Taymor's previous films (Frida and Across the Universe, anyway – I MUST get around to seeing Titus) - I love her visual style and the production design looks amazing. (I'm pretty sure we didn't have flaming hell hounds in our junior school version.)

Taymor has given the text a slight tweak in that Prospero is now Prospera (Helen Mirren) but otherwise it looks very faithful to the text (always previously considered difficult to film, which is why Branagh never had a go). The cast are wonderful too – Mirren is a terrific choice but I'm also excited about Felicity Jones (one of my favourite up-and-coming British actresses) playing Miranda and Djimon Hounsou playing Caliban. Also intrigued to see Russell Brand cast as Trinculo alongside Alfred Molina as Stephano - that's actually pretty great casting for what is essentially the comedy role, but only if his performance doesn't jar heavily against the rest of the cast (my worry from the trailer is that it's too much of an “I am doing SHAKESPEARE!” performance, but time will tell). The cast also includes Chris Cooper as Antonio (Prospera's EVIL brother) and Ben Whishaw as Ariel (a sort of sprite).

What's that? The plot? Oh yes. Basically Prospera is a wizard (sort of) and the deposed rightful ruler of Milan, who's been usurped and banished to a remote island with her daughter Miranda. With the help of Ariel, she conjures a storm to lure her EVIL brother and his co-conspirators (David Strathairn as Alonso) to the island, where she intends to wreak her revenge. Meanwhile, Miranda falls in love with Antonio's son Ferdinand (Reeve Carney) and angry island creature Caliban plots to overthrow Prospera and falls in with two buffoons (Brand, Molina) in the belief that they can help him. Can't wait. Sadly there's no sign of an official release date yet but I suppose there's a slim chance it might show up as the Surprise Film at the LFF.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's a pretty underwhelming week for new releases this week, so there's only one new entry: Belgian stop-motion animation A Town Called Panic, which I'm sort of regretting giving three stars instead of four, especially as Cassam (my fill-in reviewer of choice) gave Jackboots on Whitehall four. Ah well. I actually quite liked both Life As We Know It and Wall Street 2: Electric Boogaloo too, though neither of them are as good as anything on the list below. I'm also hearing great things about Restrepo, but I didn't manage to see that as I've been at LFF screenings all week.

Interview-wise you can read our semi-exclusive interview with director Oliver Stone here (although it doesn't mention the two funniest bits, namely 1) that he kept getting up to rearrange the blinds and 2) that he was sporting a moustache that made him look exactly like Saddam Hussein). Elsewhere you can still read our exclusive interviews with Winter's Bone star Jennifer Lawrence and director Debra Granik, our exclusive interview with genre maestro Joe Dante and our interview with Enter the Void director Gaspar Noe. Oh, and in case you're wondering whether The Social Network is any good, I can safely say (now that the embargo has been lifted) that it's one of the top five best films of the year. It's AMAZING.

1. Winter's Bone
2. Enter the Void
3. Toy Story 3
4. World's Greatest Dad
5. The Town
6. Buried
7. Scott Pilgrim vs the World
8. Tamara Drewe
9. Made In Dagenham
10. A Town Called Panic

DVD Of The Week: The Brothers Bloom (out now, RRP £17.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is The Brothers Bloom, which played at the London Film Festival in 2008 but is only just getting a DVD release after finally getting a theatrical release earlier this year. Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick), the film stars Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody as Stephen and Bloom, two brothers who've been successfully pulling con tricks since they were foster children. Together with their enigmatic, silent third member, (Babel's Rinko Kikuchi as explosives expert Bang Bang), Stephen eventually persuades Bloom to take part in One Last Con and introduces him to their latest victim: beautiful, eccentric and lonely heiress Penelope (Rachel Weisz). This is a hugely enjoyable, impressively directed drama with terrific performances (Kikuchi, in particular, is fabulous, despite only having two lines) and a witty, offbeat script that crackles with delightful dialogue.

The film also closely resembles the work of Wes Anderson, from its cleverly animated inserts to its perfect soundtrack and its quirky characters with their distinctive wardrobes and penchants for steamships. To get a flavour of the film you can watch the wonderful opening sequence (which would work brilliantly as a stand-alone short) here. Hopefully, now the DVD is out, the film will pick up the cult following it so richly deserves. Extras include: a 15 minute featurette (“4 countries in 60 days”), which is mostly behind-the-scenes B-roll footage; an 18 minute interview with director Rian Johnson; over 30 minutes of deleted scenes with director's commentary (that you don't appear to be able to turn off); and the trailer. No blooper reel, director's commentary or interviews with the cast but a pretty decent (and very nicely put together) package overall. Highly recommended.


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