LFF 2012 Line-Up

The London Film Festival is almost here - and the line-up is exciting stuff.

ParaNorman review

Slimy, spooky and very, very silly. Freak your children out it with as soon as possible.

Berberian Sound Studio review

Foley shit, it's awesome.

Samsara review

Cinema in its purest form - even David Attenborough wouldn’t talk over it.

Genius of Hitchcock

As the BFI's retrospective of the master of suspense continues, learn about all things Alfred.

To Rome with Love review

For all its flaws, there are bits that are bang-on, showing an unabashed love of silliness just for the heck of it.

Samsara Q&A

Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson decipher their stunning non-linear documentary, Samsara.

The Amazing Spider-Man Cupcakes

Our very own amazing Spider-Noms. IN 3D.

https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/688980frankenweenie2_2318039b.jpeg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/232266paranormanstill.jpeg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/447572berberiansoundstudio_toby_jones.jpeg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/357814samsara.jpeg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/379050hitchcocktop.jpg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/291085toromewithlovewoodyallen.jpeg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/274494samsarainterview.jpeg https://i-flicks.net/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/989399spideycaketop.jpg


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The Ultimate Bond-a-thon-o-rama Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 31 October 2008 01:00

As the latest Bond film creeps over the horizon, who would be crazy, sad and downright bored enough to watch all the Bond films in order? Clearly, the answer to that is: me. So stand by for a rundown of Bonds old and new, as I risk life (honestly, I do have one) and sanity for the sake of a slice of blogdom...

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Brad Pitt: Inglourious Basterd Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 17 October 2008 00:00
"My name is Lt. Aldo Raine, and I’m putting together a special team. And I need me eight soldiers. Eight – Jewish – American – Soldiers... Every man under my command, owes me, one hundred Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps. And all y’all will git me, one hundred Nazi scalps."
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Paul Newman Dies, Aged 83 Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Saturday, 27 September 2008 00:00
Legendary actor Paul Newman has sadly passed away, having lost the battle with cancer. He died yesterday, aged 83, in his home town of Connecticut.
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Another Way to Die - First Listen Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Thursday, 18 September 2008 00:00
"I know the player with the slick trigger finger for Her Majesty..."

Well, after eons of speculation over Bond's latest theme, it's finally out there. Another Way to Die, which many would regard as a better title than Quantum of Solace (although it's far more cliched), first appeared in instrumental form on the back of a Coke Zero advert. A duet from Jack White (of the White Stripes) and Alicia Keys, can two such contrasting acts bring something new into the franchise's mix of good (Goldfinger), bad (You Know My Name) and shite (Die Another Day)?
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Give Them What They Want... Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Wednesday, 10 September 2008 00:00
Test screenings are wielding more and more power. How do they work? And how can you get into one? Ivan Radford reports

Licence to Kill was Timothy Dalton's second outing as 007. In the film, Bond resigns from the British Secret Service and sets off on a brutal personal vendetta against a master criminal. The 1989 film was initially called Licence Revoked, but this was changed after test screenings revealed that US crowds associated the term with driving. Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice got a completely different ending in America, including a final kissing scene that was deemed too sentimental for British audiences.
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Written by Ivan Radford   
Sunday, 20 July 2008 00:00
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Sunday, 22 July 2007 00:00
Yes, I queued at midnight. No, I wasn’t in costume. And yes, people die.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
, the final book in J. K. Rowling’s series about the boy wizard, sees Harry leave Hogwarts to continue what Dumbledore started. Helped along by those most loyal to him, he faces a series of difficult decisions: confidence or humility; courage or fear; life or death; Hallows or Horcruxes.

The magical objects eventually begin to tally up, and a series of exciting set-pieces help our hero acquire the tools he needs to defeat the Dark Lord. From Ocean’s 11 to Star Wars, the realm of film permeates and influences Rowling’s universe, the elements fusing together to create this brilliant conclusion. It is interesting to note the possibly unique relationship between Rowling’s novels and cinema. The simultaneous translation of her words into pictures rebounds on to the writing itself: gone are the copious, clumsy and childish references to past events. In their place is a visually detailed prose more comparable to fantasy scribe Phillip Pullman, whose Dark Materials trilogy has long eclipsed the quality of Rowling’s writing. As the past trades blows with the present, it soon becomes clear that the characters are not the only people to have matured over the years.

The cinematic climax to this archetypal bildungsroman sees the whole of Hogwarts unite against the Dark Lord’s siege. Though the outcome is quite predictable, events are breathtakingly tense; jinxes fly thick and fast, and Rowling is unafraid of dispatching either friend or foe. Inevitably, the pace slows intermittently, bringing us the necessary exposition to comprehend the events that unfold: characters’ mysterious pasts are unfogged, and the Hallows are eventually revealed.

An arduous task at times, the series has steadily improved. Here, at the finale, it is a joy to read. A thankfully brief, albeit pointless, epilogue avoids the heavy-handed emotion of earlier books, resulting in a well crafted novel. It may be no surprise what happens during The Boy Who Lived’s departure, but as the smoke from King’s Cross dissipates, you’ll be glad it’s over. A satisfying finish, and a potentially great film.
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A Novel Idea Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Saturday, 30 June 2007 00:00
Translating a book to the screen is a tough task. From casting to cutting, what makes a successful adaptation?

Imagine my fear when I opened a Christmas present to find a box set of the Hitchhiker’s Guide novels staring back at me; the old multi-coloured cover was gone, in its place a picture based on the recent movie. Was this a newly printed ‘novelisation’ of the film, which had changed some elements of the original and introduced many others? I hoped not...

Ever since Sidney Lanfield in 1939 directed the Sherlock Holmes classic The Hound of the Baskervilles, the conversion of an iconic story or character from word to image is a staple of the cinema industry. The decision to adapt a novel depends on many factors, from its suitability for being told visually to its reputation; a popular published work has an existing audience upon which the film’s box office can capitalise.

But this benefit has a flipside, for with an established author’s work comes expectations; the film has to appeal to two audiences, those familiar with the source material and those who are not. To straddle the gap between is a challenging feat that only a select few manage to pull off. The inevitable question that arises is what marks the elite out from the rest?

Last year The Guardian conducted a survey to determine the nation’s favourite film adapted from literature. Taking this to be a fair representation of which films constitute the ‘classic’ adaptations, perhaps the list can provide us with the answer.

On the surface it appears that being faithful to the source material is vital, as To Kill a Mockingbird and Blade Runner both rank highly on The Guardian’s list. Robert Mulligan’s 1962 transformation of Harper Lee’s classic civil rights novel stuck closely to the page, and Blade Runner was judged by Phillip K Dick (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) as looking ‘exactly as he hoped’.

Look closer, though, and there’s trouble in paradise: Ridley Scott had never read Dick’s novel, and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – one place above Blade Runner on The Guardian’s chart – was disowned by its author Ken Kesey after Milos Forman’s treatment shirked the novel’s drug-addled stupor, focussing less on individualism and more on institutionalisation. Some personal favourites of mine, such as The Maltese Falcon, faithfully do justice to their sources. Others, meanwhile, depart from their textual origins; A Clockwork Orange’s positive ending was shunned for Kubrick’s cynical conclusion and Apocalypse Now re-located Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness from Africa to Vietnam. Both films were received well by audiences and critics alike.

In recent years, Brokeback Mountain’s success reminds us that a short story is not always a bad choice for conversion – legendary films such as Stand by Me and The Shawshank Redemption show that a carefully selected novella provides an opportunity to expand upon those elements which hide potential hidden depths. Other modern adaptations that have also reaped rewards include The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Though not on The Guardian’s list, I believe the trilogy to be a perfect example of literary adaptation – a category in which I also include Curtis Hanson’s transposition of James Ellroy’s hard-boiled L.A Confidential.

The Harry Potter franchise, meanwhile, is something of a mixed bag; a collection of films that are developing into a gargantuan commercial beast. The initial entries, Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, were bland and uninteresting, applauded only by die-hard fans of Miss Rowling. It was with the third film that this began to change; the replacement of Christopher Columbus (Home Alone) with Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men) saw the introduction of stylistic depth and darker themes. As the books began to grow in size, the films also became more selective in the editing of the source material, perhaps a benefit given Rowling’s occasionally sloppy pen. Is the solution simply to be unafraid of editing content for the screenplay? The pathetic treatment of The Da Vinci Code, with its laboriously faithful exposition, certainly supports this theory.

In the case of Hitchiker’s Guide, the novel’s content was replaced by completely original material, direct evidence of the fact that film and literature are two completely different mediums, each requiring different structures and devices. Filmed versions should stand independently of the written work, allowing people to choose whether or not to see the end product. Complimenting the textual partner without depending upon it prevents the exclusion of anyone whilst allowing the film-maker to express themselves.

The end result often leaves the film burned into your memory, plaguing the reader’s imagination with the cast’s faces. The emblazoning of a novel with the movie’s poster intrudes in a similar manner, disturbing the peace of a library at THX-style volume.  Peter Jackson judged The Lord of the Rings perfectly, thanks to careful casting (unlike the flawed choices of the Harry Potter series - John Hannah would be a better Lupin than David Thewlis) and well-chosen locations. Direct transposition of material was avoided, with a further emphasis placed upon the romantic subplot. The content differed, the films were lengthy, but they achieved the key goal of any adaptation: the overall tone of the novels remained unchanged.
The first hurdle is the script; a talented screenwriter can be selective without destroying the source material. To this end, take Charlie Kaufman’s adaptation of The Orchid Thief. He disregarded half of the novel, which was un-filmable, and wrote a screenplay about himself wrestling with the difficult task of translating words into pictures; a bizarre insight into the task of adaptation. The result, Adaptation, is one of the most original films ever written. Now that really was a novel idea.
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