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Cinema of the United Kingdom

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This Friday, November 9th, New Yorkers can see the East Coast premiere of Kevin Schreck’s new documentary Persistence of Vision, about Richard William’s never-completed-as-envisioned The Thief and the Cobbler. Williams worked on the film from the mid-1960s through the early-1990s before it was taken away from him and finished by producer Fred Calvert.

I’m looking forward to seeing Schreck’s film, which includes interviews with many people who worked on the film, though not Williams who declined to participate. And if the film is playing at a festival near you, see it! The documentary likely won’t be released on home video anytime soon because Schreck didn’t obtain permission from the copyright holders whose animation appears in the film. Sadly, Schreck’s approach is just about the only way nowadays to create animation history projects since the handful of conglomerates that own the film libraries don’t understand the value of cooperating with historians and researchers to present an accurate historical and critical portrait of the animation they own.

The film screens on Friday at 9:15pm at the SVA Theater (333 W. 23rd Street, NY, NY). The director will do a Q&A after the film. Tickets cannot be purchased at the theater. They must be purchased in advance, either at the IFC Center or online HERE. There’s also a Facebook page for the film where you can bug the filmmakers to bring a screening to your city.

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dutchwhizzman writes "The surviving members of Monty Python have announced they will make a new movie. It will be titled Absolutely Anything. Graham Chapman won't be there to join them anymore, but they think the movie will still be in the spirit of Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life and other movies they made in the past."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Don’t let the cheery title fool you: Oranges & Sunshine actually tells a harrowing tale that’s all the more distubring for being true. In the first feature by director Jim Loach (son of The Wind That Shakes the Barley helmer Ken Loach), a social worker named Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson) encounters a woman seeking answers about her past. As Humphreys digs deeper, she uncovers a massive conspiracy to deport thousands of abandoned kids from British children’s homes to brutal work camps in Australia. Hugo Weaving and David Wenham also star.

Though it sounds like something out of a Charles Dickens novel, the events are actually chillingly recent — the real-life Humphreys conducted her investigation in the ’80s and learned that these injustices had taken place during the ’50s and ’60s. Watch the trailer after the jump.

[via Thompson on Hollywood]

The U.S. trailer involves much of the same footage as the earlier trailer, but seems to downplay the tearjerker aspects somewhat in favor of showing off more of the film’s dramatic side. I think the new video looks much more exciting, because you get a better sense of what Humphreys was really up against.

Oranges & Sunshine was recently picked up by Cohen Media, and is expected to hit U.S. theaters sometime next month. The film has already opened in several countries, to mostly positive reviews.


On a dank night in Nottingham, Margaret Humphreys, a British social worker, is cornered by an angry Australian woman. It is 1986. The woman, Charlotte, tells Margaret, ‘I want to find out who I am.’ She says that she was in a Nottingham children’s home when she was put on a boat and, at just four years of age, sent to Australia. There were several hundred other kids like her. Margaret can barely believe her story. A week later, Margaret learns of a man who was taken to Australia as a boy on another ship full of children. She starts to look more closely at the archives. What begins as an attempt to help Charlotte find her mother, soon turns into the discovery of thousands of other lost sons and daughters… and one of the most significant social scandals of our time.

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Starring: Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan
Director: Paddy Considine

Summary: The story of Joseph (Mullan), a man plagued by violence and a rage that is driving him to self-destruction. As his life spirals into turmoil a chance of redemption appears in the form of Hannah (Coleman), a Christian charity shop worker…

Sorry kids, this isn't about dinosaurs. But it is as quick, nimble and sharp in its bite as a velociraptor. It shows the extreme weaknesses of human nature in stark contrast with the simple joys life can bring and has a nihilistic, visceral visual intensity that doesn't let up. Most importantly however, Tyrannosaur is held together by a couple of fantastic performances from Paddy Considine behind the camera and Olivia Colman.

Whereas Peter Mullan (Joseph) is an old hand at exploring the darker side of human existence, Colman can usually be found as Mitchell and Webb's comic foil in Peep Show or as a dour supporting actor in a number of Sunday evening dramas. But here she is a revelation. Showing sweet fragility and divine strength in equal measure, she is surely destined to be more than an actress with a semi-recognisable face. This is the type of performance that makes Bafta not only stand up and take notice, but has their collective eyeballs popping out like a Tex Avery doddle. The interplay between Hannah and Joseph alone – two lost souls beaten down by life and searching for escape – gives Tyrannosaur a strong focus during rare moments when it threatens to fall into cheap melodrama and holds everything nasty sweetly in place.

As a first time director, Paddy Considine is obviously heavily influenced by his working relationship with Shane Meadows. Tyrannosaur has that same non descript setting as Considine/Meadows mash-ups Dead Man's Shoes and Romeo Brass, is bittersweet in moments, has a downbeat atmosphere throughout and Considine lets the performances do the talking rather than feeling the need to be flashy on his debut. However, Considine does shun Meadows penchant for slow burn tension in favour of a carousel of violence; bobbing and weaving between smacks to the face and kicks to the stomach. This unflinching approach doesn't let up until a surprisingly peaceful and well played ending between Mullan and Colman that shows just how violent nature can eventually cleanse our souls and bring order to the chaos we see in a world full of moral ambiguity.

Tyrannosaur is brutal and human. It's tough viewing no doubt but is not only the best of British cinema but it brings two new talents – Colman and Considine – to the fore and is award winning, uncompromising cinema for an adult audience.

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Trailers this week include Beautiful Lies with Audrey Tautou, the winner of the Best Foriegn Language category at this year's Oscars In a Better World, low budget revenge with Simon Rumley's Red, White and Blue, and the teaser for Christopher Nolan's long awaited followup to The Dark Knight - The Dark Knight Rises… Enjoy!

Beautiful Lies - Released 12th August
Directed by Pierre Salvadori

Beautiful Lies Trailer UK from Trinity film on Vimeo.

In a Better World Released 19th August
Directed by Susanne Bier

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Red,White and Blue - Released September
Directed by Simon Rumley

Red White and Blue trailer from Trinity film on Vimeo.

The Dark Knight Rises - Released Summer 2012
Directed by Christopher Nolan

Previous Trailer Tuesdays.

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Hey guys,

This image was done for Entertainment Weekly, and is in the current issue that hit stands last Friday. This week marks the 40th anniversary of A Clockwork Orange.

No sketch for this one, I just went straight in with ink and brush. The original is drawn with olive green shellac-based ink on a sheet of vintage paper.

Thanks for reading,

FrankRSS feed

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Let’s get into character here: this fucking news is better than spending a night with a manky Dutch whore and a shitload of horse tranquilizer. In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh has written and will direct a film called Seven Psychopaths, and Colin Farrell is starring. Your indie heroine Megan Ellison is financing, and today at Cannes the project added Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Christopher Walken. Those last two sentences are my favorite things I’ve written in days. If you feel about In Bruges the way some do, with Martin McDonagh writing and directing little questions like the plot of the film probably don’t even matter. But if your curiosity gets the better of you, that info is after the break.

Variety announces that the film is about “a screenwriter (Farrell) struggling for inspiration for his script, “Seven Psychopaths,” who gets drawn into the dog kidnapping schemes of his oddball friends (Rockwell and Walken). Things take a turn for the worse when a gangster’s (Rourke) mutt goes missing.”

Frankly with Martin McDonagh again directing Colin Farrell, I don’t care what the movie is about. I don’t care that Mickey Rourke appears to have sent his career right back into a tailspin. I have faith that, even if Rourke wants to take a dump on the set, McDonagh will be able to spin some gold out of it. And I know that he’ll get good work out of Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken. (A Behanding in Spokane, Martin McDonagh’s most recent play, ran on Broadway with Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in the cast. McDonagh didn’t direct that, however.)

And as much as I appreciate the vulgar humor of his last film — In Bruges has some of the most absolutely quotable dirty dialogue in the last five years — it is the fact that the film was quite sad and even soulful in addition to being crazy and funny. There is a sheen of comedy and gangster violence, but it’s the stuff underneath that gives the movie life. Another director wouldn’t be able to break you with the scene between Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in the park in Bruges, but Martin McDonagh nailed it. I don’t know if that blend of tone and depth is what he’s aiming for with this second film, but my hopes are up.

This isn’t even a new project. If you read interviews around the time of In Bruges, you might remember that Martin McDonagh said things like this:

I’ve got a couple of film scripts that are ready to go. I’m not going to do anything with them for a couple of years, until I’ve traveled and had some fun. But there’s one called Seven Psychopaths; if I do another film, that’ll be it.

Here we are, three years later, and it is happening. A man of his word. I like that. And, obviously, I love this news.

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Starring: Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, Nick Frost
Director: Joe Cornish

Summary: A teenage gang in a South London estate find their night of weed smoking and mugging interrupted after they beat an alien invader to death and bring about a terrifying alien invasion on their turf…

Attack the Block begins with our "heroes" mugging a young nurse on her way home from a heavy shift. To say Joe Cornish (of Adam and Joe fame) has some brass balls on him is an understatement. Immediately the audience is on the back foot, sympathising with the victim and hoping these young thugs get their cumuppence any which way possible – be it via. alien or human hands.

With the gang played by largely unknowns, the film harks back to the days of low budget Carpenter or Casterrari. Anti-heroes – each with their own character trait – are thrown into a strange situation in which they have to prove themselves to be worthy of the hero mantle. By using this basic template with a British twist, Cornish gives himself the space to tap into that social fear of "feral" teens taking over our once safe streets – whilst also referencing the "hood" and sci-fi movies he loves so much. Importantly though, his mischievous and playful script doesn't become a fanboy love-in, rather it allows each character to develop their own language and style and doesn't allow them to fall into the trap of caricature.

Once the Basement Jaxx soundtrack is pumping and the glow-in-the-dark teeth possessing aliens are ascending the tower, the film hits the peak of the frenetic pace and it manages to keep it all the way to the finale. The gang are picked off in unflinchingly bloody ways as they fight off the outer space hordes in the claustrophobic corridors and elevators of the block. The ascension of lead member Moses (Treadaway) into defender of the community is warmly and delicately handled – with a performance to match – and Attack the Block relishes the 100-minute opportunity to change your opinion on these kids by placing them in this other wordly situation.

Comparisons to Shaun of the Dead are unfair. Whereas that was an out and out comedy with very little in the way of social comment – above the surface anyway – Attack the Block wears its heart on its sleeve from the off. It wants you to be uncomfortable as a viewer and wants you to make tough choices. Despite the stunt casting of Nick Frost (who struggles to get any laughs from his underdeveloped role), I can't see it's bloody imagery and social commentary being repeated on ITV2 every other night; but even though the laughs aren't thick and fast, that shouldn't take away from the fact that it's a surprisingly charming and brutal slice of British life told with its tongue firmly in its cheek.


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