AT THE CINEMA [Feb 4th]
The Fighter [main picture]
Sam Says: I’ve been anticipating this film for some time, thanks to its excellent cast. Mark Wahlberg is an inconsistent actor, but he’s previously been great under David O Russell’s direction (in Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees) and reports suggest that this is among the best performances of his career. He’s backed by some brilliant character actors; an Oscar nominated Christian Bale, Melissa Leo (also nominated) and Amy Adams, who seems to be playing against type here. However, the main reason I want to see this is the reception it’s had from my friends, it featured heavily in the Top 5 lists we ran down on Superpodcast, and everything Marcey and Bede said about it only increased my anticipation.
ON DVD / BLU RAY [Feb 7th]
Mike Says: The fantastic Vincent Cassel learnt Portuguese for this sensitive Brazilian drama about a girls sexual awakening and the infidelities of her father. The film had a limited cinema release in November, which I missed, but the trailer suggests an underplayed coming-of-age drama, albeit one steeped in cliché. Still, Cassel is always a captivating presence and the young Laura Neiva looks like she’s turned in an excellent performance. If nothing else the films seems to have captured the free-spirited sense of summer with Ricardo Della Rosa’s beautiful photography; a visual treat, the film also looks stunningly lit.
Paranoia Agent Collection
Sam Says: I’ve been wanting to see this TV series by the late, much missed, anime director Satoshi Kon for years. After having been available only as a high priced boxset, or four even higher priced individual volumes it is finally coming out in a reasonably priced box. Kon’s feature film work is distinctive; wildly imaginative, beautifully animated, and packed with great characters and performances, and many other fans have told me that this series is his finest hour, which will really be saying something if it is true.
Mike Says: Alex Cox follows up his cult sensation Repo Man (1984) with this schlocky B-grade comedy/thriller. Admittedly it looks pretty awful, and the trailer does nothing to hide the fact that it’s all been shot on green screen with a RED Digital Cinema Camera. But Cox is an interesting director, and the surprisingly positive reviews indicate that there could be some tongue-in-cheek genre riffing to be enjoyed, along with some campish violence and buxom beauties. The casting of Miguel Sandoval and Rosanna Arquette also piques interest. Still not interested? Then check out the awesome Bitch Slap (Rick Jacobson, 2009) instead – one of the best exploitation homages of the last decade.
Sam Says: The Runaways wasn’t all that I had hoped music video director Floria Sigismondi’s feature debut would be, but it’s not an uninteresting film. The story of one of the first all girl rock bands is generically but rather engagingly told. It really comes to life in the musical scenes (which Sigismondi shoots with a visceral energy). The performances are strong; Michael Shannon is showy and entertaining as Kim Fowley and Kristen Stewart visibly raises her game as Joan Jett, but Dakota Fanning is the revelation; grown up all of a sudden as Cherie Currie. Flawed then, but well worth a look.