5 items from 2013
So close and yet so far, the colony of Elysium hovers just outside Earth’s atmosphere, a mere 19-minute shuttle ride away but figurative light years for the downtrodden proletarian masses of the 22nd century. So begins the much-anticipated second feature from South African writer-director Neill Blomkamp, whose 2009 “District 9” was one of the few recent sci-fi/fantasy pics (along with “Inception” and “Children of Men”) that deserved to be called visionary. Here, Blomkamp delivers a less dazzling but nonetheless highly absorbing and intelligent, socially conscious bit of futurism, made on a much larger scale than its $30 million predecessor, but with lots of the same scrappy ingenuity. Result confirms the helmer as much more than a one-hit wunderkind and should easily surpass “District 9’s” $210 million worldwide haul, if not its massive profit margin.
Expectations can weigh heavily on a young director (Blomkamp is all of 33) who comes out of »
- Scott Foundas
It’s more than a disappointment -- it’s a puzzlement. How did Michael Winterbottom, who’s made so many intriguing movies that veer well away from the cautious (Everyday, Code 46), make a film so tediously conservative as The Look of Love? Winterbottom’s ability to reject accepted social narratives is so much a part of why I love his work that I never could have imagined that he would make a movie about porn (and real-estate) mogul Paul Raymond -- at one point the richest man in Britain -- that so readily embraced status-quo assumptions about sexuality and conformity, or lack thereof. Raymond “himself” -- in the highly amusing form of Steve Coogan (Ruby Sparks, The Other Guys), who is all sorts of wonderful here, as he always is -- invites us into his “world of erotica”... and Winterbottom doesn’t appear to see anything at all ironic »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Cinema's newfound interest in London's modern architectural landmarks demonstrates the UK capital's status as a global city
For most of its history, Hollywood has been all over the skyscraper like a colossal gorilla with a fistful of starlet: helicopter shots gliding over teetering architecture are part of the long-established blueprint for high-octane cinema. In the UK, we've been slower to build tall, and as befits our world-famous self-deprecation we're slower to cinematically brag about skyscrapers once they're up: the likes of One Canada Square and 30 St Mary Axe normally appear hazily in the background of the drab streets and precincts where our films feel more comfortable unfolding.
That's about to change. Three new films focus on the elevated London skyline of the past 15 years; the capital is about to have its pop-culture coronation as a blinged-up 21st-century global metropolis. The Shard has its first feature-film closeup in Eran Creevy's »
- Phil Hoad
One never knows what to expect from director Michael Winterbottom, which is why it’s always so exciting to hear he has a new film. Will it be science fiction, like the marvelous Code 46? Will it be historical drama, like the magnificent The Claim? Will it be a documentary, like the brutal Road to Guantanamo? Will it transcend genres, like the hilarious The Trip or the mind-rattling A Cock and Bull Story? Will it be the rare crushing disappointment, like The Killer Inside Me? Anticipation goes to a whole new delicious level when it comes to Winterbottom’s work, and I didn’t need to know anything about Everyday to know that I could not miss it at the London Film Festival last autumn. (It didn’t hurt, though, to learn that John Simm and Shirley Henderson were starring in it.) So I had no idea what I was »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Title: The Look of Love Director: Michael Winterbottom Starring: Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, Tamsin Egerton Michael Winterbottom is a filmmaker known for making movies that look and feel authentic. On his resume are The Killer Inside Me, A Mighty Heart, and Code 46, as well as many others. Funnyman Steve Coogan is one of his most frequent collaborators, and the two have once again teamed for a biographical film about Paul Raymond, who can best be described as the British Hugh Hefner, eternally committed to pushing the envelope with his Men Only magazine and other sexual and experimental exploits. It may well be Coogan’s most dramatic role yet, [ Read More ]
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5 items from 2013
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