by Indy Datta
We haven’t chosen the most exciting week for new releases for our launch week. Janus Metz Pedersen’s Afghan war documentary Armadillo probably takes pole position as the week’s most intriguing new film, courtesy of its prize-winning outing at Cannes last year. Reviews from its festival screenings seem thin on the ground, but here are positive notices from Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Steady Diet of Film and Obsessed With Film.
Although I had been inclined to write off Rio based purely on the – thus far infallible – rule of the Orange promotional trailer (bring back Brennan Brown!), I’ve been told by sensible people that it’s much better than you were expecting, and if you’re a Flight of the Conchords fan, maybe this musical snippet featuring Jemaine Clement will tempt you.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the big release of the week is the Russell Brand remake of Arthur. All we have to go on at the moment is the trailer, which I wasn’t nearly as horrified by as I expected to be (although I still fear for my sanity whenever Brand is called upon to emote, which he reliably always does in the style of Rik Mayall at the end of Drop Dead Fred, and am annoyed on behalf of all indie-schmindie hipster film buffs (and the inimitable Jeffrey Wells) that love interest Greta Gerwig, the siren of mumblecore, has been virtually edited out of the trailer and even the poster – although they changed that). As I write this the reviews are starting to come in, and they aren’t pretty, although at least nobody has yet suggested that it may be the worst film ever made (Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir on “Your Highness”, a film perfectly timed and designed to ride the wave of the James Franco backlash and the Natalie Portman Oscar backlash, and to cause film reviewers and bloggers everywhere to stroke their chins and pontificate on David Gordon Green’s fall from grace).
The big US arthouse release of the week is Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff, which I will be reviewing next week on this blog for its UK release. Here’s the UK trailer:
On the box, Sky Atlantic’s first run of Boardwalk Empire comes to a close this weekend. Ratings have been respectable, if not spectacular (BBC FOUR’s The Killing wasn’t far behind, and Mad Dogs and Hawaii Five-0 on Sky One were ahead), but are far ahead of anything else on the channel. The show was held back by the weak central characterisation of Nucky Thompson and some ridiculously on-the-nose-by-way-of-Wikipedia dialogue (‘That Ponzi! I wish I’d never invested in his scheme!’ – I paraphrase for comic effect, but only slightly), but the rich cast of supporting characters (vividly played by the likes of Michael Pitt, Stephen Graham and – my personal pick – Jack Huston) and the opulent production values carried the day. Here’s hoping for a fitting season finale tomorrow. Sky will be looking for HBO’s forthcoming George R.R. Martin adaptation Game of Thrones to fill the gap left by Boardwalk Empire, but it remains to be seen how the Mad-Men-DVD-box-set-bingeing ABC1 subscribers that Sky wants to attract with Atlantic will take to the promised mix of warriors and wights, blood and thunder, and incest and intrigue. We’ll be covering the show later this month, but in the meantime, HBO have made the first 15 minutes available on their website.
You want more? I’ll give you more.
Top film blogger Dennis Cozzalio reflects on Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair.
In 1987, Roger Ebert predicts the future of movies.
The Human Centipede, the Musical. (I’m holding out for “The Human Sexipede, the Musical”)
And that’s it for our first week. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. We’ll be back on Monday with a preview by Uncle Frank of a film that isn’t out for a year. Because that’s how far ahead we are of conventional thinking.