1-20 of 28 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
The director's new film is an elegy for pit workers, while up in the north-east the theme of this year's Av is 'extraction'. Together they explore the legacy of a hammer blow to workers' power
Film-maker Bill Morrison is feeling a little rueful. "Striking was once an effective means of leveraging power. Today's striking worker may feel fortunate to wake up and still have a job." He's reflecting on his film The Miners' Hymns, a collaboration with Icelandic musician Jóhann Jóhannsson, which trawls through hundreds of hours of archival footage of mines in the north-east of England to fashion an elegy for the workers, brass bands, local communities and unions that sustained the region throughout much of the 20th century. This month there will be many articles, radio programmes and TV documentaries marking the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the miners' strike: few will be as beautiful or as »
- Sukhdev Sandhu
There's an opportunity for British film to flourish, writes ex Hammer Films chief Terry Ilott, but all will be lost if we don't sharpen our business skills
The successes of 12 Years a Slave and Gravity at this year's Oscars have given rise to self-satisfied crowing in sections of the British media. One could be forgiven for thinking that British film was in good health. But while the UK remains awash with astonishing talent both in front of and behind the camera, and while we continue to enjoy a patrimony that comprises a treasure chest of stories we can plunder, the fact remains that over the past thirty years it has become almost impossible to make even a decent living – never mind build a business or a career – in the British film industry.
The industry sucks the creative life out of our best creative talents, then throws them over the side, »
The idea that only a British director such as Steve McQueen with British stars could have made Hollywood confront America's slavery legacy is a popular one with fans of UK cinema. But is there any foundation for it?
The bookies, at least, are of one mind: Sunday's Oscars victor will be either Gravity or 12 Years a Slave. The space spectacular must surely rank as the greatest-ever achievement of British film craftsmanship; the Louisiana-set drama doesn't even qualify as a UK film. Nonetheless, Britain's cinema chauvinists aren't all rooting for Gravity. There is something about its rival that inspires yet fiercer patriotism.
Of course, unlike Gravity, Slave features British stars. But that doesn't fully explain its hold on British hearts. Something else is involved: after decades of guilty silence from Hollywood, many believe, a British director has laid bare America's historic shame. Steve McQueen's feat is thus a rare transatlantic putdown of the swaggering yanks. »
- David Cox
Director: Kristian Levring
Producer: Sisse Graum Jørgensen
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
The underrated Danish writer/director Kristian Levring, who has considerable talent for tightly wrought thrillers is back in the director’s seat for the first time since his 2008 Ulrich Thomsen/Paprika Steen film, Fear Me Not. A western with a high profile cast that includes Eva Green and Mads Mikkelsen (and a mix of other international names like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Mikael Persbrandt, and Jonathan Pryce), Levring co-wrote the film with Anders Thomas Jensen, who has written quite a number of notable titles for Susanne Bier.
Gist: In 1870s America, a peaceful American settler kills his family’s murderer which unleashes the fury of a notorious gang leader. His cowardly fellow townspeople then betray him, forcing him to hunt down the outlaws alone. »
- Nicholas Bell
Director: Ken Loach
Writer: Paul Laverty
Producer: Rebecca O’Brien
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
The good news is that Ken Loach will continue with his docu films, but despite keeping up an almost year per year pace, it looks like the filmmaker who works in the most virtuous narrative feature cinema (dating back to Kes) will bow out from his career with Jimmy’s Hall which sticks to the format we like best: period-drama.
Gist: Political activist Jimmy Gralton is deported from Ireland during the country’s ‘Red Scare’ of the 1930s
Release Date: Scheduled for a May release in the U.K., betch your bottom dollar that Cannes snags this for their line-up.
More Top 200 Most Anticipated Films of 2014 Top 200 Most Anticipated Films for 2014: #112. J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent YearTop »
- Eric Lavallee
Director: J.C. Chandor
Writer: J.C. Chandor
U.S. Distributor: A24
He tapped into mindset of Wall Street before the chic of Scorsese, and he reminded us how film is, in its essence, a visual medium by garnishing a sinking boat/solo journey with more food for thought and while Margin Call and not too shabby sophomore feature All is Lost are bold statements and offer a broad idea of his range, J.C. Chandor’s star might shine bright with A Most Violent Year – a big leagues thriller featuring 80′s trimmings and a Chastain/Isaac combo.
Gist: Set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most violent years in the city’s history. »
- Eric Lavallee
3D space disaster movie wins six awards at Royal Opera House, including best director and best British film
It was a contest between two wildly different films – a 3D space disaster movie and an unflinching portrayal of 19th-century American slavery – and on paper it was the former, Gravity, which emerged as the biggest winner at the 2014 Bafta ceremony.
It won six awards, including best director and best British film. But 12 Years a Slave unquestionably picked up the biggest prize, best film, with Chiwetel Ejiofor named as best actor.
In a year when no one film swept the board, American Hustle also came away with three prizes.
Alfonso Cuarón was named best director and said you would not know it from his accent but he considered himself a part of the British film industry. He has lived in London for 13 years and joked: "I make a very good case for curbing immigration. »
- Mark Brown
Accepting the award, Diao Yinan said: “It’s really hard to believe this dream has come true.”
The China-Hong Kong film also scooped the Silver Bear for best actor for Liao Fan, while cinematographer Zeng Jian earned a Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution for the China-France entry Blind Massage.
The Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize went to Alain Resnais’ Life Of Riley (Aimer, Boire Et Chanter) and Richard Linklater scooped the Silver Bear for best director for Boyhood, winner of the Screen International jury.
Interview Ryan Lambie 14 Feb 2014 - 06:01
Filming at sea or on water always comes with its own unique set of technical difficulties - just look at the production stories behind Jaws, Waterworld or The Abyss. So when it came to Captain Phillips, the true story of the Maersk Alabama hijacking of 2009, director Paul Greengrass had a difficult shoot ahead of him, requiring the careful planning of ships, makeshift skiffs, lifeboats and Us navy battle cruisers.
Fortunately, Greengrass had cinematographer Barry Ackroyd on hand, whose long list of screen credits includes Nick Broomfield documentaries, Ken Loach dramas and mainstream American hits like The Hurt Locker. Although Captain Phillips' technical challenges were daunting, Ackroyd's experience as a documentary filmmaker - not to mention his previous collaborations with Greengrass, United 93 »
Academics and artists sign open letter saying university's actions against student protesters are 'at odds with freedom of speech'
In an open letter, signed by 40 people and published by the Guardian, they criticised the University of Birmingham's actions as being "at odds with freedom of speech". They demanded the immediate reinstatement of the students, who were among 13 arrested during the demonstration at the university last month.
"We believe that the suspensions seen at the University of Birmingham are further evidence of the contempt for freedom of expression, both political and academic, in the contemporary university," they wrote.
The signatories, also include former secretary of state for international development and Birmingham MP Clare Short, who said: "These suspensions are at »
- Kevin Rawlinson
Shia Labeouf made quite an impression while promoting his new film at the Berlin International Film Festival this weekend. The actor stormed out of a press conference for Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac: Volume I after giving a bizarre answer to a single question on Sunday, and later donned a paper bag on his head for the red-carpet premiere of the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Take a Look Through Shia Labeouf's Diy Graphic Novels
About ten minutes into the press conference, Labeouf was asked what it »
'If I'm wrong, I'm insane. If I'm right, it's worse': in conspiracy films – from Rosemary's Baby to State of Play – solving the crime does not bring peace. Michael Newton investigates a rich cinematic genre
Some believe that JFK was shot by his driver, some that Bobby Kennedy was killed by one of his guards; some believe the world is ruled by a Yale fraternity, some by lizard-aliens in disguise; some believe that Obama is a Communist mole; some that, back in 1966, Paul McCartney died. These notions are, at best, deluded; but as potential pitches for an as yet unmade Hollywood movie, they might just secure the contract. For, in movies, you can believe that the moon shots were faked, or that men are replacing their wives with compliant robots, or that space shuttles are firing earthquake-inducing weapons, or that the world itself is a delusion – and in each case you could be proved right. »
- Michael Newton
The burden of having a child for a mother weighs heavily on “Jack,” an affecting but unsurprising slice of German social realism that takes significantly fewer chances than its scrappy eponymous protagonist. This third feature from Nyu-schooled, Berlin-based helmer Edward Berger nods credibly to the Dardenne brothers and Ken Loach in its unhappy (if not unhopeful) portrait of a loving single-parent family split by fecklessness and bad fortune, but is short on character development and socio-economic texture. Handsomely lensed and intelligently performed, “Jack” should encounter sympathetic auds in its Berlinale competish slot, but may prove too muted and tonally indistinct for international arthouse exposure.
Thirteen years have passed since Berger’s last theatrical feature, “Female2 Seeks Happy End,” during which time he has worked chiefly in television. The bright, unaffected shooting style of “Jack” betrays that background, which is no bad thing, though the non-urgent nature of the storytelling perhaps »
- Guy Lodge
Pat has always had something of the serial killer about him. But in his new 3D movie, he's really lost the plot
There are many films that could have been made about Postman Pat. A gritty Ken Loach drama about the evils of privatisation. A Speed-style thriller about a man who has to deliver a sackful of letters in an hour before his van explodes. A horror story about how Postman Pat is a serial killer (which he obviously is, by the way. He has a constant, unblinking fixed grin, diminished capacity for emotional intimacy, a cat for a best friend, and can often be found whistling his own theme tune like a monstrous narcissist. All the signs are there).
- Stuart Heritage
The International Film Festival Rotterdam (Iffr) has used film to reflect on European culture, politics and identity.
The State Of Europe programme at this year’s Iffr was the brainchild of artistic director Rutger Wolfson.
In advance of the European elections, he wanted the festival to reflect on European culture, politics and identity.
As he wrote: ‘The historical project of the European unification has lost much of its lustre. Peace and prosperity, the two main forces that have driven Europe, are still relevant today but feel worn out.
“Politicians seem unable to convey a convincing alternative future perspective and many citizens are angry, disillusioned or have lost interest completely.”
Rising debt, the spectre of nationalism, the colonial legacy and the tension between EU Member states are all factors in the modern Europe.
For his programmers, this huge subject initially seemed daunting – a project for historians and politicians from the EU’s 28 member states, perhaps, but not »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Geoffrey Macnab)
Creative Europe Desk UK to be delivered through new partnership between the BFI and the British Council.
Creative Europe, the European Commission’s (EC) seven-year funding programme for the cultural and creative sectors, has launched in the UK today with 9% more funding available to creative businesses across Europe.
Creative Europe, which came into force on January 1, has a €1.46 billion budget over seven years. It combines the EC’s existing Culture and Media Programmes and claims it will benefit more than 300,000 cultural professionals.
It will also support the distribution of more than 1,000 European films in 2,500 cinemas and will translate 5,500 books.
Guarantee Fund worth €121m
The new Creative Europe programme features a new bank guarantee, the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Fund, which is set to be introduced in 2016.
The fund is worth €121million and will see Creative Europe underwrite bank loans to creative businesses, helping to unlock private finance in a bid to support the growth of the »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
★★★★☆After making a distinguished filmmaking debut with the widely acclaimed The Arbor (2010) - a documentary hybrid portraying the late, Bradford-born playwright Andrea Dunbar, British director Clio Barnard returns with her sophomore feature The Selfish Giant (2013), a fictional work inspired by the Oscar Wilde tale of the same name. Encapsulating the themes and morality lessons of Wilde's original text, Barnard repackages the children-oriented parable and gives it a gritty social realist edge in the mould of Ken Loach, focusing on two unruly boys on the precipices of a dangerously premature adulthood.
- CineVue UK
Having made a name for himself with his double-Oscar winning debut Crazy Heart, young filmmaker Scott Cooper returns with his sophomore production Out of the Furnace – and we had the great pleasure in speaking to talented director on the phone.
Cooper discusses the pressure that comes with making your second feature in Hollywood, following on from a rousing triumph, and why he feels the title has been somewhat polarising in the States. He also tells us about the time that William Friedkin reached out to him, and about his next, untitled project, which he’s working on with Leonardo DiCaprio…
Crazy Heart was a huge success, winning two Academy Awards. Did you feel more of a pressure on you because of that?
Yes, for sure. Your second film after your first is always pressure filled, and you live with that burden of expectations, both from an industry standpoint, and also from a personal stand-point. »
- Stefan Pape
It wouldn't be film awards season without a critical chorus of complaint following every major announcement – none louder than the one that greeted the best British film Bafta nod for Gravity, that quintessentially English ode to keeping calm and carrying on.
Two of its rivals in the category, as it happens, hit DVD shelves tomorrow; one deserves a lot more than puny secondary prizes. That'd be The Selfish Giant (Artificial Eye, 15), Clio Barnard's astonishing northern morality tale of unguarded children in the industrial wilds of Bradford. A somewhat oblique evocation of the Oscar Wilde fable, it stars ferocious 13-year-old newcomer Conner Chapman as a young terror whose aptitude for scrap metal collection takes him into dangerous adult realms of corruption, compromising his friendship with sweet-natured pal Swifty »
- Guy Lodge
An interesting, probably inflammatory question has been posed by two filmmakers and a Kickstarter page. The British Film Industry: Elitist, Deluded or Dormant? is actually the name of the documentary, an unwieldy if certainly attention-grabbing choice. Directors Robin Dutta and Vinod Mahindru have assembled quite the star-studded list of filmmakers and film professionals, and are raising money to turn it into a finished feature. Ben Kingsley is the name they’ve put at the top of their page, but there is also testimony from Stephen Frears, Ken Loach, and Alan Parker. Presumably these important figures and the rest of the long list of interview subjects have a lot of very challenging opinions. Dutta and Mahindru, after all, claim this is a film that “Great Britain does not want you to see!” So what is it that they are actually saying? What’s killing British cinema and who are these elitists running it? It »
- Daniel Walber
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