Tuesday, October 04, 2011

October at the Movies

 

Tintin Title

 

  • This article was first published on 01/10/11 in VIDA magazine.
  • Release dates are subject to change. All films released locally by KRS Film Distributors Ltd.

film of the month:

The Adventures of Tintin

Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg are, to put it mildly, quite big names in the world of cinema - the former having gone from interesting but small projects to the hugely successful The Lord of the Rings trilogy and beyond, and the latter being the man behind over three decades of blockbusters and some of the most famous films ever made. So the prospect of them joining forces on a project is very promising, and is bound to draw attention.

That project is the big-screen adaptation of the long-running and very popular Tintin comics - a Belgian series that ran for most of the 20th Century and was eventually translated extensively to reach a worldwide audience. Even to someone who has never read the comics before (such as yours truly), the image of Tintin, with his gravity-defying hairstyle and canine sidekick, is an instantly recognisable one. Spielberg and Jackson seem to be eager fans of the boy’s adventures, and this film is the first of a projected three.

The slightly controversial motion-capture animation style was chosen as the best way to portray the comics - the same melding of acting and animation that made The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol look very spectacular but rather creepy. Thankfully, the images and footage we’ve seen so far indicate that this time around the accent is more on making the characters look like the original cartoons, rather than too realistic, whilst still making use of the expressions and performance of the actors in the motion-capture suits.

Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, King Kong) is the titular character, and motion-capture veteran Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), is Captain Haddock. Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost also star. Being a Spielberg-directed affair, the film also marks the much-welcomed return of John Williams to the film score scene, after a period of semi-retirement interrupted only for the Indiana Jones sequel three years ago. So we can expect great music, we can expect adventure, and since they had tonnes of individual comics to choose from, I’m pretty sure we can expect a great story.

 


also released this month:

Johnny English Reborn

British Agent Johnny English fumbled onto the big screen around eight years ago with the wonderful tagline “He knows no fear. He knows no danger. He knows nothing.” Combining the famous idiotic antics of Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean character with the modern world of spies and the secret service, the film was more or less a British version of the Get Smart TV series that Mel Brooks created in the 60s, and which also made in onto the big screen recently. Despite a mixed critical reception, Johnny English was a big hit this side of the Atlantic, so here is the inevitable sequel. With more gadgets, more espionage, and the same bumbling idiot at the centre, this should provide a predictable but enjoyable dose of slapstick entertainment.

 

The Three Musketeers

Here’s another classic story that filmmakers never tire of adapting, and apparently audiences never tire of watching. It seems only yesterday that we had the version with the Sting/Bryan Adams/Rod Stewart song, but that was a distant 1993, and since then we also had the loose adaptation The Musketeer in 2001. This new imagining has a line-up with makes the bad guys looks distinctly more interesting than the musketeers - with Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) and Orlando Bloom (Kingdom of Heaven) lurking in dark corners and sporting suitably-pointy facial hair; and Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) as the deceptive Milady. Fresh-faced newcomer Logan Lerman, who had the title role in the Percy Jackson film, earns his spurs as D’Artagnan, and the most recognisable of the three musketeers themselves is probably Matthew Macfadyen (Frost/Nixon, Pride and Prejudice). Jovovich’s husband Paul W.S. Anderson, who had a promising start to his career (Event Horizon) but who is now mostly known as the man behind the endless Resident Evil series, is in the director’s chair, which suggests that this may be a darker and more action-oriented take on Dumas’ classic tale.

 

Footloose

There were at least four big dance films in the 80s, which combined a handful of catchy anthems with a young cast and lots of dancing to make feel-good films that were very popular. Footloose, which came after Fame and Flashdance, but before the huge Dirty Dancing, was the first starring role for Kevin Bacon, and his iconic and rebellious role will now be handed over to Kenny Wormald, who so far is known for his dancing but not for his acting. Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow) and Andie MacDowell (Groundhog Day) star as the uptight parents of one of the town’s hottest girls, who are against street-dancing and lobby to have it banned. Of course, true love and the power of dance will win out in the end, and everyone will live happily ever after, etc.. I just hope they somehow manage to keep ‘Holding Out For a Hero’ in the soundtrack.

 

The Lion King 3D

Any excuse to watch The Lion King again is fine by me, and any chance to see it on the big screen should be jumped at. Nearly two decades after Hakuna Matata became a household expression, Simba and friends have been given a 3D makeover, and we are being given a chance to rediscover one of Disney’s best-loved classics. That stampede scene should look pretty impressive.

 

The Debt

This month’s brainiest film is a political thriller that jumps between the 60s and the 90s to tell the story of Mossad agents on the trail of a Nazi war-criminal. It’s a remake of a well-received Israeli film from a few years ago, and is directed by John Madden, of Shakespeare in Love fame. Helen Mirren (The Queen) stars, along with Sam Worthington (Avatar), Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life), Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton) and Ciarán Hinds, who previously starred in the great Mossad thriller Munich.

 


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