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The Berlin International Film Festival has just announced the first five films lined up for the Competition and five more for the Berlinale Special. The 62nd edition runs from February 9 through 19.
Update: The Berlinale's also announced that the members of the International Jury, presided over by Mike Leigh, will be Anton Corbijn, Asghar Farhadi, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jake Gyllenhaal, François Ozon, Boualem Sansal and Barbara Sukowa.
With Isabelle Huppert, Katherine Mulville, Marc Zanetta
From Ioncinema: "Based on a real-life event that occurred in 2001. It centers on Thérèse Bourgoin (Huppert), a French woman who works for a humanitarian organization on Palawan Island in the Philippines. While she is transporting equipment to Puerto Princesa, she is kidnapped by mistake with a colleague by Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf, who are fighting for Mindanao independence."
Now that the fall “awards festival” circuit is finally at a close — but with Sundance looming in the distance — it’s easy to forget about Biff — the Berlin International Film Festival, that is. (See, I even have to give the name.) This might have something to do with their less-than-huge lineup; in terms of films playing in competition, last year’s biggest art house title was The Turin Horse, while the most mainstream was probably Margin Call. Nothing too slim, but not much compared to Cannes, Venice, or Tiff.
The first round of titles to play this coming February (via Twitch) do carry a few major titles, though. Among them are The Flowers of War (which we were quite ecstatic about), Guy Maddin‘s Keyhole, Extremely Loud…, Kevin Macdonald‘s Bob Marley documentary, and an expansion of Werner Herzog‘s Into the Abyss. A few other foreign titles carry potential, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (thefilmstage.com)
Senna was released in cinemas earlier this year to near universal acclaim and picked up a handful of Awards at a number of film festivals. Telling the life story of Ayrton Senna, the brilliant Brazilian Formula 1 driver, director Asif Kapadia compiled mountains of archive footage of to paint a compelling portrait of one of the sporting world’s most exciting characters.
It has been said before by a great number of reviewers in their glowing write-ups of the film, but it bears repeating: an interest in Formula 1 is by no means required to enjoy the film. You may even enjoy it more the less you know about its subject matter. Previously, I found Formula 1 tedious and dull and would be loath to even recognise it as a proper sport (sure, it takes a fair amount of physical prowess »
- Jack Kirby
One of the most ambitious and successful documentaries of the year, Life In A Day is a beautiful collage of people, places, emotions and lives taking place over the course of a single day. Devised and compiled by Academy-Award Winning director Kevin MacDonald (One Day In September, Touching The Void), Life In A Day asked people from all walks of life to film themselves over the course of 24 July 2010 (an arbitrary date, but as a Saturday, a day that the filmmakers believed would show people participating in a wider variety of activities) and then submit their videos to the project's YouTube page. After wading through 4,500 hours of footage from every corner of the globe, the results are far more impressive, entertaining and poignant »
This is weird. The documentary film-maker Errol Morris says he likes the Guardian – "It's my favourite paper" – but, sitting in the lobby of a sleekly manicured hotel in New York's SoHo district to talk about his work, it's not clear if he likes documentaries very much. "This is going to get me depressed," he groans. "I feel as if I became a documentary film-maker only because I had writer's block for four decades. There's no other good reason. I don't know what I should be doing. I'm tired of everything – mostly of myself."
It's weird not because Morris is being downbeat – after all, he once had a magazine column entitled The Grump; a typical post on his Twitter account »
- Sukhdev Sandhu
Where has the mountain climbing thriller gone? Was it ever here? Sure there was the epic string of them in the 1930s in Germany and a 2008 adventure movie called The North Face, a couple great documentaries (Everest, Touching the Void) and an occasional action film (Cliffhanger, Vertical Limit, K2). I am even tempted to lump in Danny Boyle's 127 Hours which has the spirit of the genre, without actually having mountains. It is the nature of the beast that any filmmaking team doing this sort of movie (particularly in modern times unless you are Guy Maddin) has to be fully committed to such a thing to make it work, green screens and CGI would likely undermine things, but when done right, few genres have such built in »
Read our top-rated entries to the Guardian's annual competition to find the best young talent in arts writing
Visual art, under 14
Freddie Holker, 12 – Homage to Lucian Freud, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Disgusting. That's what I'm thinking; that's my gut instinct. It's reminiscent of the swimming-pool changing rooms back at school, where I'm scared to look at anything in case it offends someone. This is the Homage to Lucian Freud, one of Britain's best modern artists, who died on 20 July 2011. Seventeen paintings by Freud are displayed. I'm standing in an eerily plain room in the Metropolitan Museum of Art 3,000 miles away from where I'm comfortable.
The only painting I can easily look at is, funnily enough, Naked Man, Back View. The only one that doesn't contain full-frontal nudity offers full dorsal nudity. It shows a fat man plonked on a footstool. His sitting position pushing out roll »
We’ve got Cliffhanger, Vertical Limit and Touching the Void, but there hasn’t been a great mountain climbing movie in awhile. We recently showed off the trailer for the indie A Lonely Place to Die, which mixes the genre with horror, but now Sony Pictures is eying a big-budget adventure surrounding a real-life story on the highest mountain the world.
Deadline reports that Sony Pictures have set The Bourne Identity and Go director Doug Liman to direct Everest, a film the follows the story of George Mallory and his repeat attempts to tackle Mount Everest. Set in the early 1920′s, he would become the first man to do so. Up in the Air‘s Sheldon Turner has written a script based on Jeffrey Archer’s novel, which you can read a synopsis below.
A real-life mountaineering mystery serves as the springboard for bestseller Archer’s abysmal latest. The plot »
- email@example.com (thefilmstage.com)
A Lonely Place To Die is an exciting example of how a more direct approach to filmmaking can still be effective, despite the increasing number of stylistic and experimental films (not necessarily a bad thing) flooding the market. Melissa George (30 Days Of Night, and TV’s Grey’s Anatomy) plays Alison, on a trek into the Scottish Highlands with four fellow mountain climbers. The story begins as a peaceful nature outing far from civilization and technology, but shifts into a deadly thriller once they discover a little girl named Anna locked away inside a 3×6 buried box at the top of the mountain.
- Travis Keune
With cameras on surfboards and jetskis, helicopters, boats, and even from behind the talent’s head – the new Storm Surfers 3D has every angle covered.
The Storm Surfers franchise, produced by 6ixty Foot Productions in association with Firelight Productions, was initially developed as an adventure series for the Discovery Network, following Australian surfing legends, Tom Carroll and Ross Clark Jones as they did battle with the biggest swells in the Southern Ocean.
First they surfed a ‘mythical’ never ridden before wave in the treacherous seas of Bass Strait simply called Dangerous Banks. In their second outing, they explored New Zealand’s rugged coast off the remote Fiordland. This time they cast a wider net. With help again from meteorologist and Swellnet.com.au’s webmaster, Ben Matson, they chase storms that rise from Antarctica to bombard our cold southern coast, and they do it all in 3D.
- Colin Delaney
Think an average day in your life is interesting enough for a movie? We don't know about you, but our average days certainly aren't.
However, director Kevin Macdonald would beg to differ. For his latest film, "Life in a Day," he challenged people from around the world to submit videos taken of them on July 24, 2010. That footage was then turned into a feature-length film.
"Life in a Day" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival – what was the public response like?
It was a great response. I was really thrilled the fact that we made what is kind of experimental movie that actually really works for the public. People really enjoyed it. It’s really moving. It’s really touching… It was kind of an amazing social experience. »
- Breanne L. Heldman
Director Kevin Macdonald has always tried to traverse the line between reality and fiction with his work going back to Touching the Void and its dramatization of a daring story of survival in the Andes. His dramatic work, which includes the Oscar-winning The Last King of Scotland , the thriller State of Play and The Eagle released earlier this year, all strove for realism, whether they were based on real events or straight fiction. With Life in a Day , Macdonald goes for the ultimate statement in capturing reality. Taking literally 80,000 video submissions via YouTube and other sources, Macdonald pieces together a single day in the life of the world, covering everything from the mundane to the spectacular via the work of amateur filmmakers and everyday people. The results »
Every week on The Hollywood News, we are going to post a brand new column, written by yours truly featuring all of the DVD and Blu-Ray releases hitting shelves that week. This week is week one, so let’s kick things off with all of the titles hitting stores in the UK on Monday 25th July, 2011.
One of the better animated movies of the year featuring superb direction from Gore Verbinski, wonderful vocal acting from Johnny Depp, and superb animation from Industrial Light and Magic. I saw this movie at a press screening earlier on this year just before the film was released theatrically and the kids and adults in the audience loved it. As did I. The Blu-Ray Triple Play (which is region free) is going to be available for around the £16.99 mark, with Amazon kicking them out for a superb £16.93. The DVD can be picked up for »
- Paul Heath
Where has the mountain climbing thriller gone? Was it ever here? Sure there was the epic string of them in the 1930s in Germany and a 2008 adventure movie called The North Face, a couple great documentaries (Everest, Touching the Void) and an occasional action film (Cliffhanger, Vertical Limit, K2). I am even tempted to lump in Danny Boyle's 127 Hours which has the spirit of the genre, without actually having mountains. It is the nature of the beast that any filmmaking team doing this sort of movie (particularly in modern times unless you are Guy Maddin) has to be fully committed to such a thing to make it work, green screens and CGI would likely undermine things, but when done right, few genres have such built in potential for white »
This is a DVD review of The Eagle, starring Jamie Bell and Channing Tatum, directed by Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void) and also starring Donald Sutherland, Tahar Rahim and Mark Strong. The Eagle is the new film from acclaimed director Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void). Being of Scottish origin himself, he was interested in the opportunity to film on location in Scotland - a key setting in Rosemary Sutcliff´s much-loved historical novel, The Eagle of the Ninth. It tells the story of Roman legions in ancient Britain, who fail to conquer the Caledonian lands of the north and lose their emblem, a golden eagle, in the process. A young Roman soldier, Marcus (Channing Tatum) takes a post in Britain with the goal of recovering the precious symbol that was lost by his father decades before. He takes an enslaved Briton, »
- Suki Ferguson
Asif Kapadia sips his latte and glances at the Tour de France on the TV in Bar Italia in Soho. We've been discussing Senna, his biopic about the tragic Brazilian Formula One motor racing star. It's quietly broken box office records to become the surprise hit of the summer. Now the picture is poised for a Us release that might well put it in the frame for an Oscar.
The 39-year-old Hackney-born director's film powered away from an unpromising position on the starting grid. It grossed £375,000 on its first weekend, three times more than Kevin Macdonald's 2005 documentary about two British mountaineers' near-death experience in the Andes, Touching the Void. After that impressive start, Kapadia's film looks set to become one of the most »
- Stuart Jeffries
Back in February, we reported on a documentary about Bob Marley that Kevin Macdonald — of State of Play, Touching the Void, and Last King of Scotland fame — would be directing, simply titled Marley. Speaking to Us Weekly (via IndieWIRE), son Ziggy Marley confirmed that things are still moving forward with it, and that it will be out in the fall, as was previously announced. His quote on it can be read below:
“We are working on his documentary, which should be out in the fall. I am producing the documentary and Kevin Macdonald will direct it. People are going to have not only the connection that you have now with the Bob Marley legend, but it will also show the emotional side of our father. The emotion of Bob throughout his life experiences is a pretty pertinent thing. It is not just about his music.”
This project has had a rather lengthy development process, »
- Nick Newman
Chicago – It’s safe to say Kevin Macdonald is a filmmaker more skilled in documentaries (“One Day in September,” “Touching The Void”) than he is in scripted narratives (“The Last King of Scotland,” the forgotten “State of Play” remake). His experience in nonfiction work is certainly reflected in the realism of his production design, but it doesn’t translate to his stories, which often take a shallow approach to real-life subjects.
As compelling as Macdonald’s latest effort, “The Eagle” may be, in terms of its premise and setting, it sinks under the weight of its moral hypocrisy. The concept of “honor” preached by the film’s characters seems as archaic and meaningless as its metallic MacGuffin. At a time when wars are waged and lives are lost for reasons that are arguably as senseless as they are corrupt, this idealistic portrait of noble bloodshed fails to stir the soul, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Predicting an opening number for Bridesmaids at UK cinemas was always going to be tricky. On the plus side, the film enjoyed good buzz, thanks to critical praise, awareness of Us success and positive word circulating from an aggressive programme of advance free screenings. On the minus, lead actresses Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are both significantly less famous here than Stateside, where they served long stints on Saturday Night Live.
Considering fast-improving weather over the weekend, with grosses dropping heavily for all films on scorching-hot Sunday, Universal will be pretty delighted with Bridesmaids' debut figure of £3.44m, including paid previews of £1.03m. That's not quite Wiig's personal best, since Paul opened in February with £5.52m, including £2.31m in previews, but she was hardly a significant selling point on that occasion. »
- Charles Gant
DreamWorks' furry friend leads the pack in its UK opening weekend, but dance movie sequel is out of step with the public
Twelve months ago box office was down in the dumps, with major studios giving June a wide berth thanks to World Cup football. This weekend last year, the "big" new releases were Letters to Juliet, Brooklyn's Finest and Greenberg. Sex and the City 2 topped the chart in its third week of release with a weak £1.49m.
Fast forward to 2011, and it's a different story. Four films all managed grosses above £1.5m at the weekend, and overall the market is an impressive 149% up on the same frame from 2010. Leading the way is Kung Fu Panda 2, with £6.19m, including previews of £3.12m. DreamWorks Animation will be reasonably content with the result, as this compares with a debut of £6.07m, including £2.96m in previews, for the original Kung Fu Panda three summers ago. »
- Charles Gant
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