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Review: Las Acacias
Written by Ivan Radford   
Tuesday, 29 November 2011 06:07
Director: Pablo Giorgelli
Cast: Hebe Duarte, German De Silva
Certificate: 12A

You know those long awkward car journeys you use to have as a kid in a foreigner’s car, crossing the border from Paraguay to Argentina? Las Acacias is one of those. At 90 minutes, it’s a slow-paced road trip, but one that soon finds it own charming gear.

Jacinta (Hebe Duarte) is heading to Buenos Aires to see her family. Reluctantly, Ruben (German De Silva) agrees to give her a lift as a favour to his boss – and then finds out that she has a baby too.

Review: Happy Feet 2
Written by Ivan Radford   
Monday, 28 November 2011 13:35
Director: George Miller
Cast: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Pink, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Hank Azaria, Ava Acres
Certificate: PG

It's hard to believe that a movie about singing penguins could be so unloveable. After weeks of cooing over BBC's Frozen Planet, there's no better time to release this sequel to 2006's Happy Feet (it won an Oscar, remember). But after 20 minutes of singing, tapping and nonsensical storytelling, you soon give up on the adorable little animals and pine for David Attenborough, praying for a leopard seal to come along and kill them all.

The Monster of Nix Joins 2012 Oscars Best Animated Short Longlist
Written by Ivan Radford   
Monday, 28 November 2011 06:13

The longlist of films eligible for the 2012 Best Animated Short Oscar was announced earlier this month by The Academy - and in among the 45 shorts that will eventually be whittled down to a handful of nominees (via a shortlist), I'm delighted to see that The Monster of Nix has made it. Along with, bizarrely, two different films about hamsters.

The Monster of Nix turned up at the 2011 London Film Festival in one of the International Animation Panoramas. It's got Terry Gilliam and Tom Waits both on vocals. And it really is quite staggeringly unique, both in terms of visuals and story. It stuck with me for weeks afterwards. Here's the first trailer:



And here's the main song from the Monster of Nix soundtrack, Lost in the Woods:



Can you name another film that includes the sentence "What good is a rolling nudist giant"? I'll be seriously rooting for this one next year (even over Pixar's effort) - presuming it makes it through to the next stage.

Read on for a full list of all 45 nominees (warning: contains The Smurfs) - or check out our Monster of Nix review instead. 

Thoroughly Modern Marilyns
Written by Ivan Radford   
Sunday, 27 November 2011 15:01

After a couple of reviews, an interview and some videos of old men playing the ukelele, My Week with My Week with Marilyn concludes with a look at Marilyn Monroe's legacy in modern society. Statues, tattoos, dogs - is there anything that woman's face hasn't appeared on?


Marilyn MonRIGHT


Marilyn MonWRONG

(Stolen from: Tattoo Stars)


Marilyn HUMONGoe

(Stolen from: John Picken)


Marilyn MUTTroe

(Stolen from: Forever Amber


Now go see the flipping film - or I'll set that strangely arousing dog on you. (If you're still not convinced, read our My Week with Marilyn review.)


Meet Skyfall's Q
Written by Ivan Radford   
Saturday, 26 November 2011 18:59

Ben Whishaw is now officially the new Desmond Llewelyn. And let's face it: he'll be heaps better at playing Skyfall's gadget-obsessed super-geek than John Cleese ever was.




I continue to be very excited. Head this way for the official Skyfall synopsis - or read on to see the latest night-time shoot from the set of Skyfall.

My Week with My Week with Marilyn: Simon Curtis Interview
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 25 November 2011 06:51

Whether you're Sir Laurence Olivier or a small boy blagging a job as third assistant director on a film set, the chances are that you have, at some point, been hopelessly in love with Marilyn Monroe. Even if you've never met her.

But not so for Simon Curtis. The BAFTA and Emmy-nominated director of Cranford, Pride and David Copperfield was never a die-hard Monroe fan. So why did he direct My Week with Marilyn, a film about the iconic sex symbol's attempts to act seriously in Olivier's conflict-filled production of The Prince and the Showgirl?

He rang me up yesterday morning to explain himself, and contribute to My Week with My Week with Marilyn by discussing Michelle Williams, Colin Clark's memoirs and the Oscar buzz surrounding his charming film.

Review: The Deep Blue Sea
Written by Selina Pearson   
Friday, 25 November 2011 06:19
Director: Terence Davies
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, Simon Russell Beale
Certificate: 15

Writer-director Terence Davies takes on Terence Rattigan's play of love, obsession and infidelity. It opens in post-war London with Hester Collyer (Weisz) failing to kill himself (we're all familiar with the hassles of using a coin-operated gas meter). But just in case we're not feeling suicidal enough, Davies decides this is the perfect opportunity to inflict upon us a dire montage of Hester's relationship with childish ex-RAF pilot Freddie Page (Hiddleston). All scored with Samuel Barber's Concerto for Violin.

New Ghost Protocol Clip Reveals Renner's Comic Timing
Written by Ivan Radford   
Thursday, 24 November 2011 20:36

This new Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol clip made my Thursday evening a lot more fun:



No, Renner's comic timing isn't as polished as Simon Pegg's, but that makes it far more believable. Compare that to Anthony Hopkins in M:I-II. And then be glad that Brad Bird is at the helm.

M:I-GP (as no-one is calling it) is out in cinemas on Boxing Day. Head this way to watch the full Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol trailer.


My Week with My Week with Marilyn: Nobody Else But You
Written by Ivan Radford   
Thursday, 24 November 2011 11:40

After The Prince and the Showgirl, Marilyn Monroe delivered her most iconic on-screen performance in Some Like It Hot. Steaming up the glasses of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, she swished her hips through Billy Wilder's comedy like a knife through butter. A really sexy knife. Made of jello. On springs.

There are lots of talented actresses around today - see Jessica Chastain's continued campaign for world domination in Take Shelter, also out this week - but there's something about Marilyn Monroe, that combination of knockout class and goofy naivety, that other performers don't have. And while we can talk for ages about those charming curves (something missing on a lot of leading lady's figures these days), that indescribable spark is perhaps best demonstrated through her most famous song: I Wanna Be Loved By You, performed (inevitably) in Some Like It Hot.




Can any of these other versions match Marilyn's for sheer effortless sass? 

Review: Take Shelter
Written by Ivan Radford   
Thursday, 24 November 2011 07:35
Director: Jess Nichols
Cast: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart
Certificate: 15

After the neighbourhood nutter in Revolutionary Road and Kim Fowley in The Runaways, Michael Shannon is getting good at playing mad people. Take Shelter adds to his portfolio of unbalanced men with Curtis, a miner devoted to his supportive wife, Samantha (Jessica Chastain, continuing her campaign of world film domination), and deaf daughter, Hannah (Stewart). But headaches, bad dreams and hallucinations arrive, coupled with a niggling suspicion that the world is about to end.

Review: The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)
Written by Ivan Radford   
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 12:48

In 1957, Laurence Olivier conspired to bring together two Hollywood legends onto one screen: himself and Marilyn Monroe. His aim? To make a movie that people would talk about for years to come. Fast forward to 2011, and people are still talking about it. But mainly because it's in My Week with Marilyn, Simon Curtis' drama set during the troubled production of Olivier's romantic comedy. 

The Prince and the Showgirl is now considered a minor work in both Monroe and Olivier's careers - stand it next to Henry V and Some Like It Hot and it pales in comparison. But is it an overlooked gem? My Week with My Week with Marilyn continues with a look back at a cute near-classic:

"Gee! This is alright, isn't it?"

That's the reaction of showgirl Elsie Marina (Marilyn Monroe) when she winds up in the Carpathian Embassy in London for a quite supper with the Prince Regent (Laurence Olivier). He's in London for coronation of a new king in 1911, and has one night free to relax. So he dashes off to Coconut Avenue to sample the local delights - and as he meets the grubby cast backstage, out pops Elsie. And so does one of her breasts. Impressed by Elsie's clumsy sensuality (and her breast), he promptly invites her round for tea. And sex. Of course, nothing goes to plan.

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