Monthly Archives April 2014

The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises - poster, MiyazakiDirector: Hayao Miyazaki

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki

Cast: Hideaki Anno (Japanese language), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Martin Short, Werner Herzog, Stanley Tucci (English language dub)

Cert: PG

Running time: 126mins

Year: 2013

 

The lowdown: Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki has declared The Wind Rises, his 11th feature film, to be his last. Miyazaki has made this claim six times before, but this latest work seems like the grace note of a remarkable career. His themes of nature, love, war, pacifism and, above all, flying form the core of this fictionalised (romanticised) account of aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi and his dream to build Japan’s finest plane...

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Adam Pearson talks Under The Skin

Adam Pearson interview - Under the Skin, Scarlett JohanssonFor an incredibly busy man, Adam Pearson is generous with his time. On Good Friday this year, his one day off that week, Adam met up with us to discuss his experiences on the astonishing Under the Skin.

Pearson, who has the condition neurofibromatosis, plays a young man ensnared by Scarlett Johansson’s predatory alien. One of the many questions the film throws up is how would a being with no concept of beauty react to facial disfigurement?

Over a lively hour in a Croydon Caffe Nero, Pearson gave us the lowdown on the (literal) pain he went through in getting the role, lazy stereotypes movies and TV apply to disfigurement, and working with one of Hollywood’s brightest A-list stars.

Electric Shadows: A question you’re probably sick of answering, but your condition is neurofibromatosis?

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Tracks (2013)

Tracks posterDirector: John Curran

Writer: Marion Nelson

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver

Cert: 12

Running time: 112mins

Year: 2013

 

The lowdown: Robyn Davidson’s epic 1,700 mile 9 month trek across Australia arrives after decades languishing in the outback of Development Hell. Mia Wasikowksa is impressively prickly and enigmatic as Davidson, ably assisted by spirited camels and a faithful dog. John Curran plots the film along a traditional wilderness adventure path, but this is a journey worth taking.

Tracks - Wasikowska, camelTracks: Mia Wasikowska as Robyn Davidson and Adam Driver as Rick Smolan

The full verdict: Walking the Australian Outback with only a dog and a quartet of camels would seemingly give any right minded person the hump.

But, Robyn Davidson did just this, became a global sensation and penned a bestseller based on her exploits.

The Painted Veil director John Curran, succee...

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 poster - Andrew GarfieldDirector: Marc Webb

Writers: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Ocri, Jeff Pinker

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Sally Field, Denis Leary, Paul Giamatti, BJ Novak, Embeth Davidtz, Campbell Scott

Cert: 12

Running time: 142mins

Year: 2014

The lowdown: Aptly named director Marc Webb spins a sequel superior to his déjà-vu afflicted 2012 reboot. A fresh story, new villain courtesy of Jamie Foxx’s Electro, enhanced action set-pieces and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s chemistry make this reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s original trilogy. Shame that a lurch into ill-advised darker territory scuppers much of the good work, leaving you feeling you’ve been duped into caring about all the brightly coloured motion and emotion.

XXX AMAZING-SPIDER-MAN-2-JY-2206.JPG A ENTThe Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Emma Stone

The full verdict: Note to filmmakers...

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Merantau

Merantau - Iko Uwais, Gareth Evans, posterDirector: Gareth Evans (as G.H Evans)

Writer: Gareth Evans (as G.H Evans)

Cast: Iko Uwais, Sisca Jessica, Alex Abbad, Mads Koudal, Yusuf Aulia, Yayan Ruhian, Laurent Buson, Donny Alamsyah, Christine Hakim

Cert: 15

Running time: 107mins (International version)

Year: 2009

The lowdown: The breakthrough film for Raid director Gareth Evans, Merantau is a martial arts gem. A showcase for telecom-company-dispatch-driver-turned-action-superstar Iko Uwais and the Pencak Silat fighting style, this riotous adrenalin rush pays affection tribute to old school kung fu cinema. Uwais is perfect as the country boy pitted against gangsters and slave traders, while Evans directs like he’s got the hottest superhero property on the planet. Glorious fun.

Merantau - Iko UwaisMerantau - Alex Abbad, Iko Uwai, Sisca Jessica

The full verdict: Gareth Evans’ low budget debut ...

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Footsteps

Footsteps poster - Gareth EvansDirector: Gareth Evans (as G.H. Evans)

Writer: Gareth Evans (as G.H Evans)

Cast: Nicholas Bool, Mads Koudal, Jared Morgan, Solitaire Mouneimne, Emma Powell

Cert: 18

Running time: 77mins

Year: 2006

The lowdown: Gareth (The Raid 2) Evans’ micro-budgeted, Cardiff based debut is a sombre, sordid tale riffing on the urban myth of snuff movies and the God’s lonely man vengeance of Taxi Driver. Sandpaper rough but brimming with potential, its chief fascination comes from seeing Evans’ themes and style in embryonic form.

Footsteps - Nicholas BoolFootsteps - Jared Morgan

The full verdict: Footsteps  (also known as the blunter Vengeance Day on UK DVD) is raw. Raw in its story and themes, raw in its production and execution, raw in its talent.

And a raw blueprint for what would come once Evans had relocated to Indonesia.

A basic story h...

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The Raid 2 – Movie Connections

The Raid 2 Connections - Iko UwaisRama, an undercover cop, infiltrates Jakarta’s criminal underworld through Uco, the impulsive son of crime boss Bangun. Bangun runs the city beside the Japanese Goto clan, but the peace is shattered when wild card gangster Bejo arrives. And while Rama launches a one-man war on crime, Uco hungrily eyes the top spot.

No mere plot synopsis can do justice to The Raid 2. Gareth Evans directs like he is the offspring of John Woo and Stanley Kubrick, spraying crime carnage on the big screen, but with a directorial rigour that is a joy to watch.

And like Scorsese, another director who presence can be felt in The Raid 2, Evans is a cineaste. But, not for him the “we know you’re out there in the dark” wink of Tarantino’s post-modern pick n’ mix cinema...

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Gareth Evans – The Raid 2 FrightFest Q&A

The Raid 2 - Gareth Evans on setAt well over 6ft, Gareth Evans is as big as his movies and a showman-director in the Tarantino mould. So any The Raid 2 Q&A with him won’t be a dry dissection of the work, its subtexts and the process of battling for an artistic vision.

Don’t get us wrong, all these things are in here, but much like with his films Evans wants foremost to entertain and is a natural raconteur with a knack for spinning a great anecdote. And like all great storytellers, he won’t censor his spicy language if the tale demands it.

Following a bring-the-house-down FrightFest screening of The Raid 2 at London’s Cineworld, Haymarket on April 2nd, Evans, plus stars Iko Uwais and Yuyan Ruhian gave the audience a 5-star Q&A recalling making this instant action classic.

And gave us juicy stories about The Raid 3...

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The Raid 2: Berandal

The Raid 2 - posterDirector: Gareth Evans

Writer: Gareth Evans

Cast: Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusodewo, Alex Abbad, Ken’ichi Endô, Julie Estelle, Very Tri Yulisman, Cecep Arif Rahman, Yayan Ruhian

Cert: 18

Running time: 150mins

Year: 2014

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The lowdown: The Godfather Pt II of heroic bloodshed movies and surpassing the ballistic brilliance of the first instalment, The Raid 2: Berandal is a five star encore. Iko Uwais returns as beleaguered cop Rama, sent undercover to bust the criminal empire and corrupt police force hinted at in the final moments of the first movie. Yakuza crime movie cool slams headlong into Jacobean revenge tragedy, punctuated by some of the most exhilarating, red raw action ever slammed onto the silver screen. Watch it. Don’t make us tell you twice.

The Raid 2 - Iko Uwais, prison riotThe Raid 2 - Iko Uwais, Cecep Arif Rahman

The full verdict: The R...

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