Art House darling François Ozon follows up his broad 2010 comedy Potiche with this darkly comic meditation on the art of writing. Snobbish High School literature teacher Fabrice Luchini is an educator who has long since given up on the idea that he can make a difference. The school administration has just implemented a new uniform policy that designed to ‘change the culture’ but Luchini has been a teacher long enough to know that this won’t be the case. Given the assignment of writing about their weekends, most of his pupils submit two-line essays, mostly along the lines of ‘ate pizza, watched TV’. The only exception is Claude, the boy in the last row.
Claude has written an elegant confession, detailing his budding friendship with classmate Rapha; a relationship entirely predicated on a fascination with his family. Luchini probably knows that he shouldn’t encourage Claude’s borderline sociopathic behaviour, but he’s intrigued by the boy’s talent. Claude continues chronicling his experiences with Rapha’s family -–his obsession with the mother (Emmanuelle Seigner), his disdain for the father– while his teacher continues commenting on it as though it were prose exercises. And as Luchini points out to him, we as the audience/reader have started to question his writing: Do his essays actually reveal the truth of Rapha’s family? Are stories a reflection of the author, or do they in fact reveal something about their intended readers?
We’re really not doing the film justice with this explanation, but it tackles this lofty concept well, balancing philosophical elements with streaks of black humour and biting middle class satire.
Also starring is Kristin Scott Thomas as Luchini’s wife, the curator of a gallery that seemingly caters to the worst excesses of modern art schools. It’s no coincidence that she appears almost exclusively in French films these days – English language films don’t provide many great roles for les femmes d’un certain age. British films wouldn’t know what to do with an actress over 40, apart from cast her as a mother or a crazy aunt.
The great joy of this film is how Ozon keeps us guessing exactly what kind of movie he’s making: it gives the impression that it’s a comedy but it always seems to be on the brink of becoming a domestic thriller. It’s a film about the art of writing but fashioned in such a way that it’s incredibly tense at times!
Detractors would suggest that In the House is a film that works better on an cerebral level than on an emotional one: they would suggest that it’s too clever, in that awful way of suggesting that all films need to pander to everyone. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Luchini’s character looks like Woody Allen. The film has the lofty intellectual and structural ambitions of Allen’s best films and at times, it’s incredibly funny as well.
Some viewers may leave this movie feeling cold, but we suspect that many will discover a thoughtful, nuanced and satisfyingly provocative piece of work.
In the House (Dans la maison) will be showing in selected cinemas Friday 29th March
Mad, bad and buff to the MAX: this explicit trailer to Michael Bay‘s upcoming Pain and Gain is just like the old trailer but on steroids — which is apparently a good thing in idiomatic English.
Starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, it’s based off a real-life story of two body-builders turned kidnappers in 1990s Miami. The colours are bright, The Rock and Marky Mark have never looked bigger and the movie looks like it could actually be funny.
In fact, it made us remember that Michael Bay used to make movies that weren’t completely loathed by the thinking world: The Rock and Armageddon were both excellent action films that had funny performances by stars of American independent cinema. Only through making Pearl Harbour and the Transformers films did he turn into a complete hack. If Pain and Gain doesn’t disappoint on its trailer, could this be Bay’s comeback movie? Are we witnessing the start of a Baynaissance? Is this the dawning of the age of Bayquarius? (okay, that last one makes no sense…)
Is there a glitch in the Matrix? ‘Cause we’re started to get déjà vu all over again.
In a case of either high-level inter-studio plagiarism or a genuine coincidence (like with A Bugs Life and Antz in 1998), we’re ending up with two films this year that are essentially ‘Die Hard in the White House’. We lucky people.
First there is Olympus Has Fallen, an action film in which Gerard Butler has to save the day when terrorists take over the White House. It opened in the US last weekend to a critical mauling but decent box office success, providing Butler with his first hit since 300.
And now… we have the new trailer for White House Down, an action film in which Channing Tatum has to save the day when terrorists take over the White House. Sound familiar? Check out the trailer:
Directed by Roland Emmerich, the maestro of mayhem who has destroyed Washington DC twice in his career already (Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow), White House Down also stars Jamie Foxx as President definitely-not-Obama-nudge-nudge-wink-wink. Like all the best presidents in movie history, he will likely get in on the action when the terrorists come a-calling — although he is conspicuously absent from this trailer.
If you want to compare it with Olympus Has Fallen, just check out its trailer here. They’re pretty much like-for-like. The only difference is that the trailer for White House Down takes itself incredibly seriously.
So, which one will you be rushing out to see first?
Like the cinematic equivalent of a parent who won’t buy their son a new iPod unless each of his brother gets one as well, the last remaining child of Mrs Hemsworth who hasn’t starred in a Hollywood blockbusters is finally getting a crack at the movie star whip. Luke Hemsworth, brother of Thor star Chris and The Hunger Games‘ Liam, has scored his first film role as a co-lead in an Australian police thriller.
Co-starring with Jonathan (the appropriately less-famous brother of Anthony) LaPaglia, the eldest Hemsworth is set to star in The Reckoning, playing a cop in search of two missing teenagers. It’s not exactly The Avengers or The Expendables 2, but everyone has to start somewhere. For the sake of future Hemsworth family Christmases, we hope it turns out to be a big fat hit — if only to make sure Luke doesn’t have to explain to relatives why he still works at an off-license while his baby brothers are living large under the Californian sun.
This article is written for those who haven’t seen Seasons 1 and 2 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. It contains no plot details beyond Episode 1 of Season 1.
If you haven’t watched the HBO series Game of Thrones yet, you probably fall into one of two categories: people who don’t own a television and people who avoid anything with the faintest whiff of Fantasy to it. If you fall into the second category, we’re talking to you! Season 3 is coming to blinkbox on the 15th July, so here’s why you have to catch up with the first 20 episodes IMMEDIATELY!
Based on the books by writer George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones is an epic saga that dispenses with tired Fantasy tropes like elves, mystical hammers and magic potions, instead presenting an expansive power struggle between the warring houses of an island not dissimilar to medieval Britain. Featuring a tangled web of political intrigue and backstabbing that could easily rival the history of the Roman Empire, this is one show whose ambition is matched only by its tremendous execution. Only those titans of quality programming at HBO would dare make a show as expensive and intelligent as Game of Thrones.
Sharpe star Sean Bean plays Ned Stark, a feudal lord of the North who, years previously, helped his friend Robert to usurp the Iron Throne (throne picture above). When the Hand of the King (his Chief of Staff, essentially) dies in mysterious circumstances, Ned is summoned to the capital as his replacement. Once he’s down in King’s Landing, Ned finds himself mired in a quagmire court intrigue. There are other characters with their own plot lines including one that follows a monastic order of soldiers tasked with guarding the northern walls of the kingdom and another that concerns a deposed prince in exile across the ocean. The world of Game of Thrones is so rich in detail that it surpasses even The Lord of the Rings in terms of scale. The story spreads itself over so many locations, that you’ll definitely want to refer to this MAP OF WESTEROS between episodes.
So, why should you watch it?
The CastGame of Thrones boasts the best ensemble of actors on television. In the first season alone, Bean is joined by a murderer’s row of thespians: Mark Addy, The Station Agent’s Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Charles Dance, Jerome Flynn (yes, from Robson and Jerome) and The Wire’s Aiden Gillan. This doesn’t even take into account great young actors like Maisie Williams who plays Ned Stark’s tomboy daughter. As the cast expands in the years to come, expect every British actor of note to eventually appear in an awesome recurring part.
The ProductionOn top of that, you’re unlikely to find a more luxurious production anywhere else on television. Shot on location in Northern Ireland, Morocco, Malta, Iceland, Scotland and Croatia, Game of Thrones looks as impressive as any feature film. On top of that, it features some of the most epic battles ever created for a television programme.
The Story The show is mostly written by creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, with episodes contributed by George R.R. Martin. Deftly handling concurrent plot lines while maintaining break-neck momentum, they’re able to craft episodes that are thrilling from start to end. On top of that, they’ve constructed some of the most intriguing and fully fleshed characters on television. Whether it’s the wickedly sharp imp Tyrion, the cruel Queen Cersei or the greasy eunuch Varys, Game of Thrones has the most deliciously-drawn villains on TV.
The Sex FactorThis show isn’t for kids. This is HBO, which means you’re assured a healthy dose of nudity. We’re not saying you should watch Game of Thrones just for the nudie ladies, but be assured that there are plenty of scenes that take place in bordellos.
Assuming you are over 18, there’s something for everyone in this show: if you like the withering put-downs of Downton Abbey, the complex characters of Mad Men, the labyrinthine mysteries of The Killing or the gratuitous nudity of True Blood, then like millions of fans already you’re going to bloody LOVE Game of Thrones.
As we mentioned, the third season starts airing on British TV next week but you still have time to catch up with the first twenty episodes. You will have to dedicate a good portion of this Easter weekend to a box-set marathon but trust us, it will be a weekend well spent!
One of the concerns many newbies have towards a show of this scale is the sheer wealth of characters involved. We completely understand: with so many different houses and political alliances, it can sometimes be hard to keep track of everybody. To help you get started, we’ve put together a helpful guide to the major families in Game of Thrones. We don’t give away any plot details that aren’t revealed in the first episode, so feel free to print out this guide and have it by your side as you navigate through the first few episodes of this amazing series.
“Winter is Coming”
Seat: Winterfell Sigil: Direwolf
Eddard “Ned” Stark (Sean Bean), Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. A childhood friend of Robert Baratheon, Ned was a key player in Robert’s rebellion, helping to win the throne from the Targaryens.
His wife, Lady Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), the eldest child of Lord Hoster Tully. She was betrothed to marry Ned’s older brother Brandon until he was murdered by The Mad King.
Their eldest son, Robb Stark (Richard Madden), heir to Winterfell. Trained from a young age to wield a sword and wear armour, he is a proficient warrior for his young age.
Their eldest daughter, Sansa (Sophie Turner). She is good at sewing and embroidering and dreams of being a queen.
Their youngest daughter, Arya (Maisie Williams). She rejects the notion that she must become a lady and marry for influence and power, feeling she can forge her own destiny.
Their second son, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright). He dreams of being a knight of the Kingsguard and one day becoming a bannnerman for his brother, Robb. His favourite hobby is climbing the walls of Winterfell and using its old rooftops and passages to get around.
Ned’s bastard son, Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Conceived out of wedlock whilst Ned was fighting a rebellion on behalf of the king, his presence at Winterfell is a constant source of friction between Ned and Lady Stark.
His ward and hostage, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). Son of Lord Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands, Theon was forced to remain at Winterfell after his father’s failed rebellion against the crown. Despite his status as a glorified hostage, he has effectively been raised as one of the Starks.
“Ours is the Fury”
Seat: Storm’s End Sigil: Stag
The House of Baratheon was founded centuries ago by a general of Aegon Targaryen after his conquest of Westeros. During his rebellion, Robert Baratheon seized the Iron Throne from the Mad King Aerys Targaryen and has ruled the Seven Kingdoms since.
Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy): King of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and longtime friend of Ned Stark. Robert was engaged to Ned’s sister, Lyanna, whose abduction by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen incited Robert’s uprising against the throne. When Lyanna died during the war, Robert married Cersei Lannister.
His wife, Queen Cersei (Lena Headey). The daughter of Tywin Lannister, she was married to King Robert in order to unite the houses of Baratheon and Lannister. As cunning as Lady Macbeth and as beautiful as Helen of Troy. But hands off, gentlemen: this one’s taken (but not by who you think)!
Their son, Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), Crown Prince of the Seven Kingdoms and a deeply unlikable young boy. He may look small and feeble, but he’s actually a grade-A twerp who possesses Westeros’ most eminently punchable face
“Hear Me Roar”
Seat: Casterly Rock Sigil: Lion
The wealthiest house in all of Westeros, the Lannisters ruled as kings in their realm until the Targaryens conquered the continent, placing the lords of Westeros under control of the Iron Throne. Their most common family saying: “A Lannister always pays his debts.”
Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance),hard-case patriarch of the Lannister clan. He is the wealthiest man in all the Seven Kingdoms and, arguably, the most powerful.
His firstborn son, Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the youngest member of the Kingsguard. It was he who slew the Mad King in violation of his oath to protect the royal family. He is one of Westeros’ most formidable swordsmen.
Jamie’s twin sister, Cersei Baratheon (Lena Headey), Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Tywin’s youngest son, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage),called ‘The Imp’: a dwarf. What Tyrion lacks in size and strength, he makes up for with his unrivalled intelligence and mastery of catty put-downs.
The Targaryens came from the ancient civilization of Valyria, supposedly bringing dragons from the eastern continent to conquer Westeros. Ruling for almost 300 years, their dynasty thrived until the actions of the Mad King Aerys II drove Robert Baratheon to usurp the Iron Throne. The surviving children of Aerys Targaryen now live penniless in exile across the Narrow Sea.
Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd), Prince of House Targaryen, whose father, the “Mad” King Aerys was usurped by King Robert. Viserys has an unreasonable estimation of his own worth and is obsessed with regaining his family’s throne… by any means necessary.
His younger sister, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). She is married to the Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) with the promise that his armies will deliver the Iron Throne to her brother.
The future of super-short teaser trailers is here. In just the past week, we’ve seen a number of stills for the upcoming X-Men spin-off drop on the web. But now, director James Mangold has tweeted a teaser for his Hugh Jackman-starring film,The Wolverine.
The twist? It was uploaded using Vine, the latest on-line app from Twitter that allows users to create looping videos that last only six seconds.
This marks the first time that a major studio release has used Vine to premiere footage of a tent pole release. Splicing together shots that seemingly last only a few nanoseconds, the teaser reveals few plot details, but it does hint at an appearance by Famke Janssen‘s Jean Grey who, SPOILER ALERT, went postal in the third X-Men film. Other than that, there are lots of shots showing Jackman looking buff, vicious and very angry.
So what do you make of the 6-second trailer? Did it pique your interest or did it simply give you motion sickness and a migraine?
In an effort to capture the Grey Pound, the producers of the upcoming Spring Breakers have a cut a trailer featuring a sterling recommendation from the grandmother of star James Franco. She promises that the movie shows “lots of partying and lots of drinking” before admitting the crushing caveat that it also features toxic levels of James Franco.
Whether or not this statement was made non compos mentis is beside the fact. Spring break doesn’t exist in the UK, so they really need to do whatever they can to get through to the UK markets. And knowing that we’re literally obsessed with our grans, the distributors of Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers have cannily used an old woman to try sell us a movie about young nubile girls in bikinis who go on a crime spree. The hormonal teenage boys in all of us are so confused right now.
Rise of the Guardians
When an ancient evil awakens, Father Christmas, The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Jack Frost must band together to stop the world from being plunged into eternal darkness. It’s a film that’s actually a lot less goofy than it sounds: produced by fantasy maestro Guillermo del Toro, it’s not afraid to dip into darker territory every now and again. Like the classic family films of the 80s, it manages to blend action and humour with hints of peril. The all-star voice cast includes Alec Baldwin’s rumbling baritone as St Nick, Jude Law as the Boogeyman and Hugh Jackman as a certain egg-bearing rodent.
A couple of oddballs go on a caravan holiday: Tina (Alice Lowe) is in her mid-thirties and still lives with her controlling mother. Chris (Steve Oram) is a bearded weirdo with a dark past. As they plot their way across the map, staying at camp sites and visiting the dullest tourist attractions in the British Isles, they leave a wake of blood behind them. Sightseers is pitched as a black comedy but the emphasis is really on the black part of that equation. Working from a script written by Lowe and Oram, director Ben Wheatley displays a real talent for making interesting genre films with a distinctly British flavour. This is our film of the week.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that no-one does creepy quite like the Scandinavians. As with Troll Hunter, it’s about a pair of Norweigians. They run a business that cleans up crimes scenes after messy deaths. They discover that the dark truth behind an old folklore. In this case, it’s the huldra – a beautiful nymph with a tail who, according to legend, will lure men in to the woods to have sex with them (before killing them, also).
Frankie Go Boom
Handsome acting man Charlie Hunnam plays against type as a loser whose life has spiralled out of control after an embarrassing video of him goes viral on YouTube. Returning from a self-imposed exile, he faces the possibility of another incriminating tape of him being posted online thanks to his self-obsessed, addict brother (Chris O’Dowd). It’s a shaggy comedy with its fair share of charm and a strange cameo from Hunnam’s Sons of Anarchy buddy Ron Perlman as the world’s most unconvincing transsexual.
For more of the latest films, check out our New Releases page!
In a piece a news that will render all children of the 80s unable to process how they feel about it, the upcoming Michael Bay-produced Ninja Turtles movie has found it’s first cast member. According to Deadline, the role of Raphael (cool, but rude) will be going to Alan Ritchson.
Well, a little poke around the internet will reveal that Ritchson is an actor who’s set to appear in this year’s Hunger Games sequel as a rival tribute. His previous on-screen credits have included a stint on Smallville as Aquaman, where he was called upon to be buff. And buff he is: Ritchson’s career started off in the fashion world, where he worked as an underwear model for Abercrombie and Fitch (those high street connoisseurs of buff dudes).
Keen-eyed film fans may also recognise his square jaw and chiseled abs from Robert Zemeckis‘ Beowulf. In that film, he served as the character model for the title character, which was then animated from a performance capture by one-pack actor Ray Winstone. In a strange turn of events, Ritchson will be not be physically in the Turtles film, but instead be providing a motion-capture performance. One can only imagine a lost Charlie Kaufman film in which Ray Winstone performance captures Ritchson performance capturing Raphael, who is in turn operating a marionette of Ray Winstone.
Look, we’re being somewhat unfair: we’ve never seen Ritchson act. He could turn out to be the new Olivier for all we know. So let’s remain cautiously optimistic that Michael Bay knows what he’s doing. After all, he’s never disappointed us, right?