Archive for September 2010

Tony Curtis 1925-2010

Tony Curtis died today aged 85. One of the most beloved classic Hollywood stars, he was an actor of limited range but who nevertheless gave some landmark performances. He was both a matinee idol and later on a gay culture icon, father of Jamie Lee Curtis and husband to Janet Leigh. My favorite Curtis moments include his turn in THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS:

And of course in Kubrick's SPARTACUS:

He tried to stretch his range by taking on the role of the killer in THE BOSTON STRANGLER (1968) and his only Academy Award nomination came from that quintessential liberal 1950s Stanley Kramer movie THE DEFIANT ONES. But his most remembered, quoted and loved role came from Billy Wilder's SOME LIKE IT HOT, where he parodied one of his early heroes, Cary Grant:



Director's Cut: Sofia Style

One of my favorite directors and style inspirations is Sofia Coppola. Her films are smart, insightful, quirky and envelope you in the moment and they range from period to contemporary. And as the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, no doubt her talents are in the genes.

First,  a quick look at her film career. After surviving a disastrous (review wise) role as the ill-fated daughter of Michael Corleone in Godfather Three, she eventually turned to directing with the film The Virgin Suicides (1999) that placed her squarely on the map.  Lost in Translation won her the Oscar for screenplay and three Golden Globes including Best Picture. For those of us who have experienced jet lag and language barriers in a foreign country, this film literally nails it and Bill Murray has never been better.

Murray with Scarlett Johannsen

Marie Antoinette (2006) was a complete departure and her interpretation of the lady who let them eat cake (based on Antonia Fraser's biography) was shot with a highly stylistic bent, eye candy colors and a contemporary soundtrack.

Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette

Next up is her film Somewhere (Focus Features, December 22) which recently won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. West Hollywood's famed, elusive and eerie Chateau Marmont is the centerpiece of the film where bad boy Johnny Marco (played by Stephen Dorff) lives life to the fullest only to be influenced to change his ways when he meets an eleven year old girl (Elle Fanning). Look for the film to make some major statements on the Hollywood lifestyle.

Dorff and Fanning

Coppola's  fashion interests are as wide ranging as her films. In l998 she created a Japanese clothing brand with Kim Gordon  called Milkfed. Friend and designer Marc Jacobs tapped her as the signature face of his fragrance in 2002 and she directed a commercial for Christian Dior. Perhaps her dream job -- well it would certainly be mine -- was her collection for Louis Vuitton. Apparently it began with the search for the perfect bag (a conversation I have had with numerous friends -- and like the perfect anything, we decided it does not exist) and her SC bag comes very very close.

Ad for Louis V - this might be the best back I have seen to a Little Black Dress

The collection includes both handbags and shoes

Ad for Louis V

The Dior Shoot

Photo Credits: Louis Vuitton, Focus Features, Christian Dior

UK Box Office 24-26 Sep

Will Ferrell's comedy continues to run the box office two weeks in, while two new entries post decent but not breakout performances. THE TOWN could have legs though and if cinemas keep it on, I reckon it could build word of mouth. Joe Dante's THE HOLE will most likely acquire cult status.

1 - THE OTHER GUYS (£1,291,826) (2 weeks, Total £4,410,165)
2 - EAT PRAY LOVE (£1,158,976) (New)
3 - THE TOWN (£997,087) (New)
4 - THE HOLE (£900,460) (New)
5 - DEVIL (£528,396) (2 weeks, total £1,849,497)]
6 - TOY STORY 3 (£461,116)(10 weeks, total £70,681,495)
7 - GROWN UPS (£383,686) (5 weeks, total £6,911,411)
8 - RESIDENT EVIL 3 (£367,673) (3 weeks, £4,125,208)
9 - TAMARA DREWE (£253,471) (3 weeks, £2,111,787)
10 - MARAMADUKE (£244,285) (6 weeks, £4,800,307)

Haut bas fragile

The films of Jacques Rivette often revolve around mysteries and secrets, around conspiracies and secret societies, the past hovering with foreboding over the present, his characters involved in labyrinthine plots that lead to places beyond understanding. Haut bas fragile is no exception, centered as it is on three young women whose lives are seemingly haunted by the past, by the secrets that linger all around them. Louise (Marianne Denicourt) has just awoken from a 5-year coma, and is determined to start a new life while pushing aside everything (boyfriend, family) that occupied her before her prolonged and involuntary absence from the world. Ida (Laurence Côte) was adopted as a child and is obsessed with finding out the identities of her biological parents, hoping that this knowledge will tell her something about her own identity. And Ninon (Nathalie Richard) is fleeing a life of violence that's shown in the opening scenes of the film, when a jealous ex stabs a man who she's dancing with at a club. These women, whose paths cross in ways both major and incidental over the course of the film, are all struggling to determine the courses of their own lives against the inertia of the past, simultaneously seeking the truth about the past and trying to break free of its influence.

This is a common theme in the cinema of Rivette, this concern for the past, a theme that echoes through works like Secret Défense and The History of Marie and Julien, both films where history is a trap, a pattern that dooms the protagonists to cycles of repetition. In Haut bas fragile, however, this trap is continually sidestepped and defused, most notably through music and dance. The film is a musical — or at least, it increasingly becomes one, as the scenes of muscial interruption and performance become more and more frequent over the course of the narrative, transforming what had at times threatened to become a portentous drama into a playful subversion of this drama. Whenever the characters fight or argue, as they often do, their movements become formalized and graceful, striking poses in the midst of the fight, extending their limbs and becoming cat-like in their motion, until the music suddenly erupts and the argument has become a dance, often a dance of flirtation and seduction. It's through the dance, through music and movement, that the characters in the film fall in love and forge friendships, dancing around each other even as Rivette's camera, a playful third partner in these dances, dances around the actors.

This is a charming, exciting film, one in which Rivette lightly prods at some of his typical concerns. He introduces, as he often does, a secret society of sorts, a club that meets in an underground lair to play a sinister game of cards, presided over by the suave and mysterious Alfredo (Wilfred Benaïche). The game is a game of life and death, where one card dictates the killer and another card decides the victim in a real-life game of stalking and murder, a game that recalls Robert Altman's bizarre sci-fi film Quintet. But when Louise — who has infiltrated this mysterious circle through the help of the ubiquitous Roland (André Marcon) — draws the card of the killer, the game turns out to be a farce, a ruse designed to help her overcome her vertigo. The conspiracy dissipates like so much smoke, whereas in so many of Rivette's other films, the conspiracy — and the doubt over whether it exists or not — dominates the action and becomes an obsession for the protagonists. Louise's affliction is probably no coincidence, either, given Rivette's admiration for Hitchcock: whereas Scotty in Vertigo must undergo repeated traumas and psychological torture because of his vertigo, Louise overcomes hers in a few moments through a game. It's a conscious subversion of the thriller's psychosexual dimensions. Again and again, the playfulness of dancing and loving and verbal sparring — like the rhymes of Louise and Ninon's song as they celebrate their newly forming friendship — frees the characters from the constraints of generic drama.

Rather than becoming trapped in cycles of distrust and betrayal, these characters open up new possibilities through the seductiveness and goofiness of dance. The result is a series of happy reversals that send the film careening wildly away from the tragic course that it occasionally seems to be on. Ninon's thievery has short-term bad consequences for one ancillary character, but when she reappears later in the film, she's in a better situation than ever, happier than ever. It's as though Rivette is suggesting that tragedy need not be a permanent condition, and that the story of a life is exactly what we make of it. Thus, though much of the film's narrative is built around a sheaf of papers that provide incriminating evidence about Louise's father, these ultimately turn out to be something of a red herring. The papers threaten to shatter Louise's relationship with her earnest young suitor Lucien (Bruno Todeschini), but instead she doesn't allow the papers' revelations to disturb her; they're part of the past, part of a history that she's moving away from. The real purpose of the papers, in the end, is to provide an excuse for Ninon and Louise to meet, to go off in secret momentarily, and then to emerge, dancing and playful, Ninon twirling around her friend as Louise sways to the music and strikes silly poses as though caught in the flash of a camera. And Rivette's camera, for its part, spins slowly around the women as well, adding its own spiraling inertia to their graceful dance.

This film is a typically slippery and ambiguous delight from Rivette, a mystery whose solution lies, not in the revelation of secrets, but their submersion within an alternate narrative of love, flirtation, and affectionate friendship. It is, as with so many of Rivette's films, a celebration of femininity, where the attempts of the men to control and protect the women, to dictate the direction of the story, prove utterly inconsequential. Ninon and Louise, bonding over a shared distrust of Roland — whose intersections with all three women drive much of the narrative — joke about cooking and eating him, a reversal of the traditional conception of predator and prey. Roland and Lucien attempt to follow, to stalk, to track down these women, but in the process the women turn the tables, rejecting the conspiracies and lies of the men in favor of openness and seduction and the vitality of the dance. These are the positive, exuberant forces at the center of Haut bas fragile, which is packed with Rivette's sly wit and playfully experimental spirit.

The Next 100 Years

Today the Duke of York's Picturehouse turns 100. When I started the job in 2004, this anniversary seemed a million miles away, and it lingered in the back of my mind for about four years. Then in 2008 we started slowly planning our celebrations, and two years later, here we are.

The Duke of York's has been more than my workplace for the past six years - it's been the place that has allowed me to do everything else: pursue my MA, travel to festivals, write this blog, record our podcast, work with extraordinary people, with artists, performers, musicians, comedians and above all the core staff that has been with me since the beginning: Flick, Tora and Jimmy. And of course talking to our wonderful customers. For all of that I owe the Duke a lot.

So although today is all about looking backwards to our history, I want it also to be an opportunity to look to the future of our little cinema. For some time we have been pursuing the expansion of the Duke of York's into the Fire Station next door, and recently there have been some developments which give us hope. Our plans include building a few more screens, a bigger cafe/bar, even a restaurant, and perhaps a partnership with another cultural organisation in town which would significantly expand the amount of arts on offer in Brighton & Hove. As soon as we can, we'll announce more.

Until then, do pop by this week to wish us a happy birthday and leave your own memories of coming to the Dukes. If you're farther away, check out our history website and send us a message.


Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up is an unsettling, mysterious film that seems to be hiding multiple secrets beneath its glossy, impenetrable surface: the grainy, Rorschach blot photographs blown up by fashion photographer Thomas (David Hemmings) in his search for clues to a murder provide a blueprint for the film as a whole. Strange encounters, clues and red herrings, inexplicable happenings: the film is disconnected and radiates a zombie-like vibe right from its opening sequence, in which a troupe of mimes, faces caked with pasty white makeup, are contrasted against the deadened faces of factory workers clocking out for the day. Blow-Up is often summarized as being about a photographer who comes to believe that some photographs he took hold the evidence of a murder, but in fact more than half the film passes by before the pivotal moment when Thomas becomes obsessed with uncovering the clues in these photos. Before that point, he takes fashion photos, berating and verbally abusing the confused models, and has a nearly silent scene with Patricia (Sarah Miles), the wife of his painter friend, in which body language and exchanges of looks suggest some kind of longing between the two, and goes shopping for antiques, impulsively buying a giant wooden propeller. Antonioni prepares for Thomas' obsession with the details of a seemingly innocent photograph by patiently building a portrait of a man dissatisfied and adrift in his own life. Several times there are intimations of hidden homosexuality, as when Thomas seems disturbed by the "queers and poodles" infiltrating his neighborhood, or when his complaints about women are answered with the retort, "it would be the same with men."

Thomas, it seems, doesn't know what he wants. He's a vile and abrasive man, and midway through the film his encounter with two giggly would-be models (Jane Birkin and Gillian Hills) keeps teetering on the brink between playful flirtation and stormy violence. It's a disturbing sequence, since at times it seems like Thomas is on the verge of raping the girls, while at other moments they're playing along, flirting and joining his game. A similar dynamic is at work in the crucial scene between Thomas and Jane (Vanessa Redgrave), the woman in the pictures that drive the narrative in the film's second half. Thomas stumbled across Jane with an older man in a small park, and was moved to take photos, hiding in the bushes as the man and the woman walk along, talking, kissing, embracing. But when Jane sees the photographer, she confronts him, and later somehow tracks him down to his studio, where she alternates between cajoling and seducing him to give her the photos he took. It's such an interesting scene because, while Thomas initially seems fully in control, holding back against the tearful and increasingly desperate pleas of this woman, as they interact further she subtly gets the upper-hand, climaxing with the moment when she offers herself to him by removing her top, shaming him into at least pretending to give in.

There are a lot of subtle threads running through this film in scenes like this, notably the dynamic of male/female relationships and the balance of control and domination. Thomas is used to ordering women around, posing them how he wants, getting just the image of them that he wants, manipulating them into presenting a surface that's compelling to his camera — and beneath that surface, he doesn't care what lurks. But Jane is different, a woman who obviously has a story, and secrets, that never escape from beneath the surface she presents to Thomas. She disappears from the film after this scene, and her secrets disappear with her. The second half of the film has a fascinating arc. First, Thomas decodes the photographs he's taken, printing them out and using magnification and selective viewing to locate key points within the photos, following Jane's gaze in one photo and extrapolating in another to the point where she might be looking. His wall is eventually covered in photographic enlargements, blow-ups that reveal previously hidden details. At the end of this process, Antonioni inserts a montage of the photographs in an order that tells a story: the two lovers walking, eventually reaching a spot where another man, previously unseen, lurks in the bushes with a gun, waiting to kill Jane's companion, and then a shot of what may be the corpse lying in the bushes once the deed is done.

This montage is a kind of model for the cinematic art, the construction of a story through the arrangement of still images in sequence. The order in which the images appear, and the details highlighted in each image, determine what story is told. And the process also establishes the complicity of the artist in what he documents, in that Thomas' mirror image is surely the man with the gun: two men lurking, hidden, in the bushes, pointing something at the couple walking out in the open air of the park. Snapping a picture, or firing a bullet. The remainder of the film represents the reversal of this cinematic process of narrative construction, calling into question everything that had been created through this montage. The pictures disappear, stolen from Thomas' studio. The body in the park disappears as well, although not before Thomas sees, or imagines he sees, it with his own eyes one night. Jane disappears, the phone number she left behind a fake, her identity still a total mystery by the end of the film. Thomas' narrative of murder is ultimately ephemeral, removed as it is from concrete reality. When Thomas shows Patricia the only remaining photo he has, a grainy blow-up of what might be a corpse lying on the ground, she compares it to her husband's abstract paintings, inscrutable and open to interpretation. Earlier, the painter had explained what he liked about one of his own paintings by pointing to a single rectangular segment and praising it as a good leg, implying that this abstracted geometric tangle is actually a figure drawing.

There's a similar interplay between abstraction and representation in Thomas' photographs, a concept that overturns the simplistic understanding of photography as a documentary art, as the simple art of capturing the reality in front of the lens. Blow-Up suggests that even photographic art can lie and distort and hide the reality, that even a photograph can be abstract and dissembling. In the end, Thomas, like the film itself, winds up questioning what's real at all. In the final scene, the mimes from the beginning of the film return, playing a pretend game of tennis, and at one point silently instruct Thomas to "retrieve" a "ball" that has supposedly gone flying into the grass off the court. Thomas complies, pretending to throw a ball back to the players, but as they resume their pantomime, the shot remains trained on Thomas as he watches. The sound of a tennis ball bouncing back and forth on the soundtrack suggests that we create our own reality, that sometimes the mind is more powerful than the vision, that sometimes what we see or think we see is not to be trusted.

This is a compelling, mysterious film that uses such symbolic images — heavy-handed, perhaps, but nonetheless effective — to probe the ideas of photographic deceit, narrative, voyeurism and masculine exploitation that lie at the film's center. The sequence of Thomas desperately trying to piece together a narrative in still images is the film's core, and contains by far its most powerful material. But if the rest of the film is more scattershot, more unfocused, that's because it's documenting and critiquing a lifestyle that's similarly unfocused and empty. This becomes most clear in the weird scene where Thomas, looking for his manager, goes to a concert by British blues-rock band the Yardbirds. As the band plays their poppy, rollicking song, the audience looks disinterested and joyless, standing utterly still, their faces bored and bland, until one of the band members smashing his instrument provokes a frenzied riot. It's as though the music isn't enough, the crowd needs the visceral thrill of the violence, and they go wild trying to get the shattered guitar neck that's thrown into the mob — a souvenir that Thomas escapes with seemingly without realizing it, and discards as soon as he's out of the crush of the crowd. The guitar fragment serves the same purpose as the photographs, for a moment at least: a material object in which to invest great meaning, a thing to provide structure and forward momentum to an otherwise aimless existence.

Uk Box Office 17-19 Sep

Will Ferrell comedy THE OTHER GUYS takes the top spot this weekend while across the pond Ben Affleck's THE TOWN takes number one. DEVIL opens in the second slot in what is a slow week for exhibitors. The only other release to even crack a significant screen average was arthouse film WINTER'S BONE which opened on 50 prints, an ambitious release for specialist distributor Artifical Eye.

1- THE OTHER GUYS (£1,971,275) (New)
2- DEVIL (£806,779) (New)
3- RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE (£686,243) (2 weeks, total £3,150,061)
4- TOY STORY 3 (£570,649) (9 weeks, £71,806,688)
5- GROWN UPS (£511,616) (4 weeks, total £6,303,744)
6- TAMARA DREWE (£431,900) (2 weeks, total £1,547,744)
7- THE LAST EXORCISM (£320,315) (3 weeks, total £3,167,101)
8- MARMADUKE (£273,101) (5 weeks, total £4,523,266)
9- DIARY OF A WIMPY KID (£238,087) (4 weeks, total £2,053,198)
10- SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD (£232,355) (4 weeks, total £4,813,232)

The Gekko Lair

One of the most iconic film figures of the eighties, Gordon Gekko (brilliantly played by Michael Douglas) was the quintessential master of the universe in the original Wall Street, living in a world filled with power lunches, limos, money is no object and illegal insider trading. With his "greed is good" mantra, Gekko became the personification of an era run amok. And audiences loved it.

Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin, Michael Douglas
He's back this week in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Twentieth Century Fox) fresh from a twenty year stint in prison and facing an all too real collapse of the financial system. Gekko sets out to repair his relationship with his daughter (Carey Mulligan) while tutoring his protege who just happens to be her fiance (Shia LaBeouf).  I am seeing an advance director screening this week (opens in theaters on Friday)  and hope it lives up to the original.

As a design enthusiast, I enjoyed the original Wall Street as it was filled with all sorts of wonderful "deconstructionist chic" (a term coined by director Oliver Stone) that we saw in character Bud Fox's (Charlie Sheen) hi-rise apartment. Production designer Stephen Hendrickson (who is currently designing the hit show The Good Wife) employed coffee tables with jagged glass, faux brick with touches of gilt and contemporary artwork all selected by interior decorator Darien (Darryl Hannah) and ready for a House and Garden spread.

Eighties Deconstructionist Chic 

Hendrickson's designs for Gekko's Wall Street office
This time around we see Gordon Gekko's new Manhattan lair and it's quite wonderful, understated, modern, clean and non-pretentious.  Kristi Zea and Diane Lederman (production designer and set decorator respectively) used a neutral color palette of taupe and creme, accented with a few choice pieces of artwork and sculpture and still makes a power statement for Gekko. You have seen Kristi's work on such diverse films as Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Departed and Silence of the Lambs while Diane's sets grace the films Remember Me and When in Rome.

Mulligan and LaBeouf's apartment
Photo credits: Twentieth Century Fox, Stephen Hendrickson
Barry Wetcher photographer on Money Never Sleeps

For those of you who enjoyed my piece on Edith Head last week, be sure to catch Silver Screen Modiste this week as Edie will be celebrated in  the theater! Also check out my friend and design editor of Veranda Linda Sherbert's piece on Edith here.

Uk Box Office 10-12 Sep

This week 3D gorefest RESIDENT EVIL captures the top spot without much difficulty. Also, a success for British cinema: TAMARA DREWE opens strong (albeit very widely for a homegrown film) with around £2K screen average.

2- GROWN UPS (£734,960)
3- TOY STORY 3 (£733,695)
4- THE LAST EXORCISM (£721,960)
5- TAMARA DREWE (£601,678)
7- GOING THE DISTANCE (£431,792)
8- CYRUS (£424,911)
10- THE EXPENDABLES (£362,539)

Edith Head, Fashion Icon

Long before Fashion Week, Project Runway and designers ordained as rock stars, there was Edith Head.

Head enjoyed a lustrous career  as a costume designer in Hollywood, designing wardrobes for over fifty years. She began her career as a sketch girl at Paramount in l924 (where she stayed for 44 years) and on to Universal Pictures where she remained until her death. At a time of male domination in Hollywood, she became the first design head. Nominated 35 times for the Academy Award and winning a record eight times, it's often said "Gowns by Edith Head" is one of the most noted screen credits in movie history (a record of 1100 films). She also is noted for one of my favorite Hollywood quotes, "I have yet to see one completely unspoiled star, except for Lassie."

A favorite of A list stars Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, Head designed for films such as Sunset Boulevard, Vertigo, Marnie, All About Eve, A Place in the Sun, Roman Holiday, To Catch a Thief, Funny Face, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sabrina...and the list goes on. A favorite of Alfred Hitchcock, the director played an integral role on costume development. Head notes, "He has a complete phobia about what he calls 'eye-catchers,' like a scene with a woman in bright purple or a man in an orange suit. Unless there is a story reason for a color, we keep the colors muted because Hitchcock believes they an detract from an important action scene."

Sketch for Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief and finished product below

Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief

Sketches  for Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina

Natalie Wood in Inside Daisy Clover

Sketch for Dorothy Lamour in Road to Bali

Her large blue lens glasses, Dutch boy haircut and tailored suits became her trademark (critics often wrote it disguised her age) and a look adapted for modern times by certain fashion editors. Head's later years found her writing books (The Dress Doctor and How to Dress for Success) and as a fashion commentator on The Art Linkletter Show. Her last film was the Steve Martin 1981 comedy Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and Bette Davis gave the eulogy at her funeral.  All very fitting.

Sketch for Bette Davis in All About Eve

For more on her extraordinary career, I recommend the following books. Also check out the website Silver Screen Modiste for more on Hollywood costume designers.

Coming soon--Edith Head: The Fifty Year Career of
Hollywood's Greatest Costume Designer by Jay Jorgensen
Available for pre-order here

Edith Head's Hollywood by Edith Head and Paddy Calisto
Available on Amazon

Photo credits: Universal Pictures, Silver Screen Modiste, Edith Head's Hollywood 2,

Venice: Postscript

I returned from Venice yesterday after a fortnight on the island of San Servolo. I didn't get to enjoy the Mostra di Cinema as much as I would have liked to, but I did see three films: Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN, which me and Rob Beames agreed is a masterpiece, Catherine Breillat's SLEEPING BEAUTY, a monumental failure, and John Turturro's PASSIONE, a sweaty, funny, energetic and beautiful document of the Naples music scene.

At the CICAE training, it was my job to keep notes of all the English language sessions, and we had some interesting ones. Kelly Bagely, from Morris Hargreaves McIntyre in Manchester, had some radical ways of looking at venues from the audience perspectives. Based on extensive audience research, her company help organisations like TATE understand what audiences want from them. I found it fascinating!

Another interesting session was held by Patrice Vivancos, an expert for the European Commission, who talked about the need for more cinemas and why, making a convincing argument for higher screen density and its relationship to cinema admissions.

The most important element of all, of course, was meeting all the new trainees, 51 of them from 27 different countries, including Daryl Els from Johanesburg and Roy Dib from Beirut. Some of the interesting people (I couldn't possibly list them all) I spoke to included Meryl Moser from Switzerland, Martyna Lach from Warsaw, Dirk Van Der Straaten from Amsterdam and Ivea Bužinskaitė from Lithuania. They all had backgrounds and experiences that aroused my interest, and now I can count them as friends too. One year ago this led to many projects and ideas - who knows what will come out of this year's training.

Uk Box Office 3-5 Sep

Another week of box office figures from the school holidays end you see the rise in non-family films, which dominated the charts for so many weeks. It's also a shrunken market, with films that opened in July (INCEPTION, TOY STORY 3) still in the chart.

1- THE LAST EXORCISM (£1,066,324)
2- TOY STORY 3 (£920,998)
3- GROWN UPS (£860,533)
6- THE EXPENDABLES (£620,271)
7- SALT (£503,692)
8- THE SWITCH (£468,313)
9- PIRANHA 3D (£443,795)
10 - INCEPTION (£411,743)

Keep Hope Alive Part 2...

A List Of Negroes Who Say They Want An Oscar:

Bow Wow.



Tyler Perry.

That is all.

On the Radar for Fall

I love this time of year as it signals the debut of a string of interesting movies. On my radar this fall will certainly be the following..

The Black Swan (Fox Searchlight, December lst)

Starring Natalie Portman, the film is a dark thriller about the the obsessive life of a New York Ballet ballerina, her stage door mother and the rivalry between two young dancers. The film debuted at the Venice Film Festival recently and already generating Oscar buzz for Portman.

Natalie Portman

The Romantics (Paramount, December 10th)

The film follows seven friends as they unit for a wedding and drama ensues as the bride and maid of honor play out their rivalry over the groom.  Based on the novel by Galt Niederhoffer, the romantic comedy  stars Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel and Candice Bergen. Check out J. Crew's fashion spread on the film as well.

The cast in J Crew attire

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Twentieth Century Fox, September 24th)

Michael Douglas reprises his memorable role as Gordon Gekko who partners after his release from prison with a young trader (Shia LaBouf) as they face a faltering Wall Street and global economy. I doubt "Greed is Good" will be the mantra of this highly anticipated sequel. Directed by Oliver Stone, the film has garnered alot of behind the scenes publicity with Douglas's sad cancer announcement and his battles with  ex-wife Diandra over Wall Street "sequel" money. Hang in there Michael.

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko twenty years later

Shia LaBouef, Josh Brolin and Michael Douglas

Morning Glory (Paramount, November 12th)

Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford star as two feuding anchors on a Saturday morning news show and Rachel McAdams plays the television producer hired to revive their show. Great ensemble cast and something tells me they took this from real-life.

Rachel McAdams with Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford

Photo Credits: Paramount, Fox Searchlight, Twentieth Century Fox

Venice: All the Days

Training work has kept me too busy to blog, but there is a lot going on: I saw two movies in the Mostra, BLACK SWAN and SLEEPING BEAUTY, recorded a podcast with Rob Beames, and have been meeting the new trainees from the CICAE workshops. BLACK SWAN is, in my view, Darren Arronofsky's first masterpiece. He blends the techniques from REQUIEM FOR A DREAM with the narrative drive of THE WRESTLER to create a mind-blowing experience, a total cinematic event that will not leave my head. Superb from beginning to start, I really can't think of a flaw. A perfectly constructed and realised piece of work, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was a hit in the UK< and gathered some Oscar nominations (specially for Natalie Portman, who is at her career best).
Last night we saw Catherine Breillat's SLEEPING BEAUTY, which was an embarrassing mess of a movie (made worse by the director's presence in the Sala Darsena) which starts off as a funny, quirky take on the fairy tale and about 15 minutes in jumps the boat with so many ludicrous and poorly acted turns that we all were checking our clocks to see when the 82 minute disaster would finally and mercifully come to an end.

You can read all of Rob's coverage at the Picturehouse Blog, his own blog and at Obsessed With Film. You can also listen to our special Venice podcast on itunes her, and on the Picturehouse website here.