3 items from 2011
David here, reporting from the final week of the London Film Festival. If there's one name guaranteed to grab my attention, it's...
The sight of Madonna's name heading up movie credits is a slightly surreal one, and it's difficult to imagine the icon standing behind a camera, and so W.E.'s worst foible is an understandable one from such a deified person. Re-edited after a poor reception at previous festivals, there is a fair deal to admire here, but all those flashbulbs must have gone to her head, because the photography is stuffed with dramatically posed shots, as if its being filmed with a still camera. Yet it's in the camera work that the film digs up shards of emotional truth amongst the narrative cliches, suggesting that Madonna might prove a worthwhile director. When the camera moves, it does so with a defiant tactility, a visual sense alive with feeling and clarity. »
Isaki Lacuesta's The Double Steps has won the Golden Shell for Best Film at this year's San Sebastián Film Festival. Ronald Bergan will be pleased. In his dispatch from the festival to the House Next Door, he calls it "the best film in the main competition. It was certainly the most original and a refreshing change from the well-worn linear narrative devices of the majority of films. After 2002's Cravan vs. Cravan, his profile of Arthur Cravan, the Swiss-born nephew of Oscar Wilde who achieved fame as both a Dadaist poet and boxer, Lacuesta has now turned to Francois Augièras, the eccentric French writer, painter and explorer, and sometime lover of André Gide. The film follows two parallel lines, one about a group of men trying to locate a mythical bunker buried in the North African desert containing paintings by Augièras, and the other about the artist himself, here played by a black African, »
Takashi Shimizu, an icon of modern Japanese horror cinema thanks to his hugely successful “Ju-on” series and its Hollywood “The Grudge” remakes, returns with “Shock Labyrinth”, the country’s first full length live action digital 3D feature. The film is actually based upon ‘The Haunted Hospital’, apparently world’s largest walk-through haunted house attraction, located in the famous Fuji-q Highland theme park. Although a film inspired by a fairground funhouse may sound a little dubious, the production is filled with Shimizu’s trademark surrealism, featuring an offbeat and ambitious narrative alongside plenty of scares and visual flourishes. The film has a cast of popular Japanese stars, including Ai Maeda (“Death Note: The Last Name”), Suzuki Matsuo (“Robo-Geisha”), Misako Renbutsu (“The Battery”), Shoichiro Masumoto (“Tokyo Gore Police”) and Yuya Yagira (“Nobody Knows”). Thankfully, the film retains its gimmick on the small screen, with the DVD release through Chelsea Films coming with both 2D and 3D versions, »
- James Mudge
3 items from 2011
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