FILM SPOTTING: October 2010 in Polish cinemas

I’m ditching my film spotting rating. It adds complexity rather than clarity. What I do want to stay with though is the practice of listing films that I’m in two minds about seeing (or in other words I’d probably see the film if a friend wanted to and/or if there was nothing else interesting on, but otherwise probably not).
There are also some small changes relating to me embracing the TMDb API. I’m going to keep linking to IMDb’s film pages (just click on the IMDb logo next to every film title), but all the other links are now to TMDb rather than IMDb. I’m also ditching the listing of Production Companies. I don’t think they added much information anyway and at present I find them rather bothersome - I’m never sure whether TMDb’s listings are complete and therefore end up manually checking them against IMDb and I’m too lazy to keep doing that in the long term.


Eat, Pray, Love (USA, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 1st October 2010
Release Date (worldwide): 13th August 2010
Director: Ryan Murphy
Cast: Julia Roberts, James Franco, Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup, Viola Davis
Plot: (from TMDb)

Liz Gilbert (Roberts) had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having - a husband, a house, a successful career - yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy; the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali. Based upon the bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert.


General Feelings
This is getting bad reviews and I’m not expecting that much from it… but I’m sort of inclined to go see it because of the male cast and Viola Davis. And having part of the action take place in India is also a good thing ;)

Dorian Gray (UK, 2009)

Release Date (Poland): 1st October 2010
Release Date (worldwide): 9th September 2009
Director: Oliver Parker
Cast: Colin Firth, Ben Barnes, Rebecca Hall, Emilia Fox, Ben Chaplin, Fiona Shaw
Plot: (from TMDb)

A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty eternally, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.


General Feelings
Well, er, already seen this one… But I wanted to see it because of Colin Firth (duh!), plus I like those kinds of stories. I was also keen on seeing Ben Barnes for the first time. I like to be up to date on all the teen movie idols (I’m waiting for Zac Effron to finally make a film I’d like to watch ;)).

The Social Network (USA, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 15th October 2010
Release Date (worldwide): 24th September 2010
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara
Plot: (from TMDb)

On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history… but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications.


General Feelings
Again, already seen this one… It was the combination of David Fincher and the subject matter that did it. Was slightly curious about Trent Reznor scoring it as well. And Andrew Garfield (who I’m really getting into - looking forward to see his Spiderman *grin*) was a great bonus.

Essential Killing (Poland/Norway/Hungary/Ireland, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 22nd October 2010
Release Date (worldwide): I think Poland is the first country to have a general release in fact…
Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Cast: Vincent Gallo, Emmanuelle Seigner
Plot: (from TMDb)

Captured by the US military in Afghanistan, Mohammed is transferred to a secret black site in Eastern Europe for interrogation, where he manages to escape.


General Feelings
I’m pretty sure I’m going to hate this. I didn’t like Skolimowski’s last film either. I’m already cringing at the little I do know about the film. There’s a Taliban fighter captured in Afghanistan named Mohammed (I assume Muslims do not use any other names) played by Vincent Gallo who AFAIK is an American of Italian decent (obviously, there are no South Asian actors who could have essayed such a part). And the film’s languages are English and Arabic (The two main languages of the region are Pashto and Dari. Arabic is not commonly spoken in Afghanistan, so unless this Mohammed person is a foreign fighter, he would be a little unlikely to speak Arabic - not saying this is impossible… but I sure hope the film explains his background if that is indeed the language he uses…).
So why do I want to see this? Like really, WHY??? Well, I can’t stomach not seeing a film produced in Poland with an international cast on this particular subject (i.e. CIA secret prisons in Eastern Europe). Just cannot, I have to see it ;) And hey, as much as I think not casting a South Asian actor for this sucks, I do kind of like Vincent Gallo and he’s been getting good reviews for this, so I hope he saves me from boredom and at least some of the annoyances.

Other Films for Consideration

An IMDb rant AKA how to get back to the old design

Tuesday, 26 October 2010, 22:48 | Category : Computer Stuff, Film, Slices, Uncategorized
Tags : ,

I absolutely hate IMDb’s redesign. It’s horrible. I hated when they decided to show English titles rather than the original ones as well, but the redesign is ten times more difficult to stomach. In fact, it’s so bad I seriously started wondering if I could move at least some of my film site needs somewhere else.
Fortunately, if you’re registered, you can switch back to how it was before. Just go into your site preferences, tick the Show previous title and name page design (reference view) option and adjust Title display country to Original. There’s some other things you can tweak there also - check out imdb’s help page. My site preferences look like this now:

Something I haven’t managed to fix, however, was how all their redesigns kept effecting my film spotting and film diary python scripts. You see, rather than doing lots of copying, pasting and typing to put all the film info down in every review or film spotting post, I’ve been running a small command-line script and copying and pasting what it spat out, then adjusting the text if need be. Unfortunately, imdb isn’t particularly supportive towards people who try to access their data in automated ways for free, even if it’s for non-commercial purposes.
What I used to do, like many other people in my position, was just have a script look through the HTML code of the page and get the relevant data out of the HTML. Of course the redesign totally broke my script, which I’m used to because it’s broken many times before when they’ve made even very minor changes.
IMDb does provide alternative and more practical methods of accessing their data, but their prices start at $15 000. And so I’ve decided I’m going to be getting my data from from now on. They don’t have anywhere near as much film data as imdb has, but it’s sort of like wikipedia - everyone can edit it and anyone can use the data there in any way they see fit. And the important thing - they provide a nice API to their data, so that my scripts will not break with every small design change! I figure this whole script breaking thing is a much bigger nuisance than filling in data that happens not to be on the TMDb site. And if I fill in the missing data on TMDb, I’ll have the satisfaction of helping other people in my situation. So I’d say this is win-win *grin*
And so, I’m officially announcing that most of the links in my film posts will be to TMDb and not IMDb from now on. I’ve already written the TMDb script and it works… well enough for my purpose anyway ;) Which doesn’t mean I’m completely turning on IMDb - they’re still the best film site out there. But I do think that $15 000 is asking a bit much from people using their data non-commercially on a very small scale and linking back to them at that!

Some James Franco clips

Friday, 24 September 2010, 0:42 | Category : Hollywood & the American film industry, Slices
Tags : , , ,

Since I got excited about Rise of the Apes, I’ve been investigating James Franco a bit (he’s the lead of the film). He’s one of the young guys who are coming up in Hollywood now, but who I’ve not seen much of and know very little about.
The investigation proved fruitful *grin* He’s quite a funny interviewee, particularly enjoyed him on Jimmy Kimmel (the Sean Penn story from Milk is hilarious). There’s also a pretty good interview with him on Letterman, in which he talks about naked basketball players *grin*
I also found some great skits involving him. One is called Jimmy and the Cop and it’s awesome lol Totally my kind of humour. The other is from when he hosted SNL - it’s called The Kissing Family, which tells you er… all you need to know really ;)

The fourth (or first - depending on how you count) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I trailer

If I’m not mistaken, this is the fourth time that I’m announcing the first trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I. Apparently, the first one was not a trailer but a preview, the second was a teaser, the third was a trailer for part I & II and so this is why the fourth one is in fact the first one, go figure! ;)

Anyway, because I love sharing my Harry Potter trailer observations which then no one reads ;-P

  • Rufus Scrimgeour (aka Bill Nighy) sounds like Shahrukh Khan playing autistic in My Name Is Khan. Would love to know the reasoning behind that. If he were playing Scrimgeour as an autistic man that might even catch my curiosity despite it sounding ridiculous, but I somehow don’t think that’s the case :]
  • Am hating Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort more with every trailer :] He has some good moments, but most of the time he’s so hammy that it makes him comical rather than frightening (for the record - the whole cinema laughed during one of his speeches in the previous trailer :]). Not that I don’t enjoy comical villains or anything, but that’s not how I like my Voldemort (unless I’m reading fan fiction in which he falls in love with Harry that is).
  • On the bright side, am loving Alan Rickman’s Snape on the trailer this time round. Found him too hammy in Half-Blood Prince (and on the trailers for Half-Blood Prince too). And as he probably has only two more lines in the film, this means I’m going to enjoy at least a third of his role in this ;)
  • For me the best of what they’ve shown us so far remains the fight between Harry and Ron. That one’s really looking amazing. Loving everything I’ve seen of angsty Ron.
  • Odd that we’ve seen hardly any footage of Helena Bonham-Carter. There should be more of her than in any of the other films. I suppose her biggest moments are in part II, but then everyone has been raving about the torture scene which should be in part I…
  • I like what I’m seeing of Radcliffe on this trailer. I enjoy listening to him critiquing his own acting because I usually agree with him lol And one of the things he said about his performance in the 6th film was that it was too “even” and that he was trying to improve this in Deathly Hallows. IMO it’s showing and it was a good call on his part :) Particularly like him in the shot in the cemetery with Hermione and the “Help Me” line is great.
  • The shot of the seven Potters scene looks kind of blah though. Not sure what to think about that one. I suppose I will just have to wait and see if they did or didn’t get the maximum comedy effect out of it.
  • Am starting to really look forward to Lupin (David Thewlis) in this. The little tidbits here and there are looking good.
  • Finally, I’ll register my surprise at how little Hermione we’ve had on the trailers. I don’t think we’ve even heard Emma Watson with more than a background line on the trailers so far.

Ukraine’s Got Talent - two child acrobats

Saturday, 18 September 2010, 19:40 | Category : Crumbs, Curiosities
Tags : ,

I’d find this sort of thing impressive even if they were adults, but it’s even more interesting (and cute) because they’re so young (just 6 & 7 years old).

It’s a shame the hosts are so patronizing. Must say I prefer the British hosts a lot more - they might be a little softer with some of the comments when they have kids on stage, but they do treat them just as seriously as the adults.

Why I love Take That

Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 23:41 | Category : Crumbs, Uncategorized
Tags :

Are there any other boybands (or pop groups of any sort for that matter) that would start a concert with a string quartet playing Richard Strauss? ;)
But what I really wanted to post was the song that comes right after the classical music bit - I just had a total giggling fit over it:

For the first seconds I was like WTF? Why all the overconfident and arrogant postures? And then when I got what they were doing I cracked up. If you ever wondered what a politician would look like if they sang their speeches instead of saying them then check the clip out ;) Their gestures are perfect. I’m actually wondering whether they did some work with one of those people that coach politicians on body language.
Love the idea - very simple (just the four of them on stage and they’re not even doing any demanding choreography) and yet so effective. Makes total sense too - it is called The Beautiful World Tour after all ;)

FILM SPOTTING: September 2010 in Polish cinemas

Even more format changes ;-P Am still using the rating system from last month, but have foregone 0 and -1. Feels like overkill. Am staying with the +0.5 rating though, at least for the moment.

- - - - - - - - - +1 - - - - - - - - -

Tetro (USA/Italy/Spain/Argentina, 2009)

Release Date (Poland): 3rd September 2010
Release Date (worldwide): 14th May 2009
Runtime: 127′
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich, Maribel Verdú
Production House: American Zoetrope, BIM Distribuzione, Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales (INCAA), Tornasol Films, Zoetropa
Plot: (from imdb)

Bennie travels to Buenos Aires to find his long-missing older brother, a once-promising writer who is now a remnant of his former self. Bennie’s discovery of his brother’s near-finished play might hold the answer to understanding their shared past and renewing their bond.


General Feelings
Mainly, I just like the trailer ;) Although, the fact that it’s a well known director helps I suppose. And I loved Maribel Verdú in Y Tu Mama Tambien, so another opportunity to see her is a good thing *grin*

Shortbus (USA, 2006)

Release Date (Poland): 17th September 2010
Release Date (worldwide): 20th May 2006
Runtime: 101′
Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Production House: THINKFilm, Fortissimo Films, Q Television, Process Productions
Plot: (from imdb)

A group of New Yorkers get caught up in their romantic-sexual milieu converge at an underground salon infamous for its blend of art, music, politics, and carnality.


General Feelings
Couldn’t make my mind up about this one… This contains unsimulated sex (which is perhaps why it took so long to make it to Poland), but apparently the sex scenes are very much part of the action and have lots of good dialogue. It sounds like an interesting experiment - a film about relationships without censoring anything. But I have rather mixed feelings about it.
What finally convinced me to spot this at +1 was the dialogue, which appeals to my stupid sense of humour:

- Was that the first time someone sang the National Anthem into your ass?
- No

And another quote:

- Are you a top or a bottom?
- I beg your pardon?
- I mean in real life.
- This is real life.
- Let me put it this way: do you think we should get out of Iraq?

Matka Teresa od kotów (Poland, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): 17th September 2010
Runtime: 95′
Director: Pawel Sala
Production House: Rozwój Film Production, Syrena Films
Plot: Based on a real event, in which two boys (12 and 22 years old) murdered their own mother.


General Feelings
This film has been much talked about in Poland. Apparently, the decision not to award it with anything at the festival in Gdynia (the most important national film festival) was very controversial. Many thought it should have received the main prize.
In fact, unlike most of the other Polish films shown in Gdynia, the film has been noticed internationally - Maciej Kościukiewicz and Filip Garbacz won the Best Actor award at the Karlovy Vary film festival for their performances as the two brothers.
So I’d quite like to check it out and see what all this controversy is about :)

Io sono l’amore (Italy, 2009)

Release Date (Poland): 24th September 2010
Release Date (worldwide): 5th September 2009
Runtime: 120′
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Tilda Swinton,
Production House: First Sun, Mikado Film
Plot: (from imdb)

A tragic love story set at the turn of the millennium in Milan. The film follows the fall of the haute bourgeoisie due to the forces of passion and unconditional love.


General Feelings
Normally, I’d have little interest in a film like this. But this one has aroused my curiosity because the idea of having Tilda Swinton performing a part in Italian is bizarre to me. Apparently, she learnt both Italian and Russian specifically for this film.
But also, this film has had the most amazing reviews.

- - - - - - - - +0.5 - - - - - - - -

The Last Airbender (USA, 2010)
Release Date: 3rd September
This one’s actually fast becoming more of a -1 :] There’s exactly one reason why I’d like to see it and his name is Dev Patel. I’m curious what he’ll be like post-Slumdog and this part is particularly interesting to me as it has a slightly villainous vibe to it.
However, chances that I’ll actually go see it are getting smaller by the minute. The film has some of the worst reviews ever, the trailer looks horrid and Shyamalan has been doing flop after flop recently. Even the special effects (which should be the main asset of a film like this) look horrible. So Dev Patel is literally my only reason to see it, everything else screams no. And considering it’s been dubbed for the Polish market and I won’t even get to hear his voice, it probably doesn’t make any sense to see it.

Moon (UK, 2010)
Release Date: 3rd September
Ordinarily this would be a strong +1, maybe even +2. It’s a small British film which has won loads of awards. It sounds sort of claustrophobic (which is an atmosphere I love portrayed on film). And I’ve just generally heard loads of good stuff about it. However, it stars Sam Rockwell :] Not only that, but apparently he’s on the screen practically non-stop - it’s almost a one person cast. And to make matters worse, the character’s sanity is questionable, which is what I hate Sam Rockwell doing the most (IMO he fails at portraying any kind of vulnerability).
So all in all, this sounds like a film that will be very frustrating for me (I already hate what I’ve seen of Rockwell on the trailer). Kin’s seen it and has confirmed this view of the matter and we have a very similar view of Rockwell, so ugh… I wish Dev Patel and Sam Rockwell had exchanged parts ;-P This would make spotting films much simpler ;)

Micmacs (France, 2009)
Release Date: 10th September
It looks beautifully shot, Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a very interesting director and on top of that I loved Yolande Moreau in Seraphine. And yet… there’s something about it that makes me think “same old, same old” and ultimately puts me off a bit.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (UK/Germany/USA, 2010)
Release Date: 10th September
The trailer looks spectacular - the cinematography and the special effects are really, really beautiful. Apparently, they used the same technology as Avatar did. Also, I rather like Milla Jovovich. However, that’s where the good stuff ends ;) In terms of plot and characters, it doesn’t seem like it has much and I’m not one to enjoy pure action.
It’s a shame though, cause on the visual side I’ve rarely seen something that would attract me quite this much. I get a huge kick out of watching the grey, empty landscapes on the trailer - they’re fantastic!

Na Putu (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Austria/Germany/Croatia, 2009)
Release Date: 10th September
I’ve seen the director’s previous (award-winning) film, Grbavica and I rather liked it. But not enough to particularly want to follow her career. This one interests me because it deals with Islam and how somebody can suddenly end up practising a much more extreme version of it. Plus, one doesn’t often talk about Islam in the context of Bosnia.
But I suppose I’m more curious about the issues in the film than the film itself, which is why this hasn’t made +1.

Ne te retourne pas (France/Italy/Luxembourg/Belgium, 2009)
Release Date: 17th September
This I’m curious about because it stars Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci. They play the same character, so it’s kind of intriguing. But what puts me off is that it sounds like precisely the kind of French film I won’t like :]

Karate Kid (USA/China, 2010)
Release Date: 24th September
This one looks amusing (I like Jackie Chan’s sense of humour ;)) if I was in the mood for something a bit more commercial. But as it’s been dubbed for the Polish market, I probably won’t want to see it.

Wild Target - another Rupert Grint comedy


Wild Target (UK/France, 2010)

Release Date (Poland): unknown
Release Date (worldwide): 18th June 2010
Runtime: 98′
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Cast: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett, Martin Freeman, Gregor Fisher
Production House: Magic Light Pictures, CinemaNX, Isle of Man Film, Entertainment Film Distributors, Matador Pictures, Cinema Four, Regent Capital
Plot: (from imdb)

A hitman tries to retire but a beautiful thief may change his plans.

Scene from the Film

Excitement Level: +2 (Excited)

General Feelings
The only reason I’m excited is Rupert Grint. Otherwise it looks kind of boring actually. The trailer put me off in fact (although Rupert Grint does look funny on it). I prefer the scene I embedded, but even there I only like it because of Rupert really :] On the bright side, he does look good on all the footage, so that’s a good enough reason for me to firmly resolve on seeing it ;)

Rise of the Apes - Tom Felton’s first big budget film post-Potter


Rise of the Apes (USA, 2011)

Release Date (Poland): unknown, but summer 2011 sounds like a likely bet
Release Date (worldwide): 24th June 2011
Runtime: unknown
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Cast: James Franco, Tom Felton, Brian Cox, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis
Production House: Chernin Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Plot: (from imdb)

An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

No video available yet. They’re not even in post-production.

Excitement levels: +3 (Very excited!)

General Feelings
I have a lot of scepticism about this film, but it doesn’t stop me from being very excited also ;) It has a somewhat unusual cast, which could mean a lot of things. Maybe they didn’t have the money to get bigger names and so they got smaller names with faithful fan bases. Or (and this is what I’m hoping for *grin*), it’s actually an interesting script and the cast was chosen for their acting abilities (all of these names have gotten some very good reviews for past roles).
Another film in the Planet of the Apes series seems like a rather lame idea, but as much as I was disappointed with Tim Burton’s remake, I love the original novel by Pierre Boulle (which IMO is much better than any of the films so far, although I have a soft spot for the original 60s Charlton Heston movie). A prequel means a lot less talking apes, which I find more digestible (the ape costumes always look a bit silly IMO). Plus, they’re not using ape costumes, but CGI this time, which I think is kind of interesting. All in all, depending on how they play it out, it certainly could be good.
One of the reasons the novel resonates with me so strongly is that there’s such a strong element of human pride and arrogance in it. It’s humiliating for the human race to come back to Earth in the future and find that humans are now slaves to apes. But at the same time there’s an odd sort of justice in it as well. So for me that premise has always pressed strong emotional buttons. The films usually shied away from that aspect of it with the exception of the first 1960s one (although IMO it didn’t go as far as the book). I don’t know if this one’s going to, but it might :) Perhaps it’s wishful thinking on my part, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Quite apart from this, I’m obviously very excited to see Tom Felton do something big budget post-Potter (he’s actually the only of the young Potter actors to be attached to a Hollywood project at this point in time). Sounds like this is going to be a small part and apparently, he’s playing somebody pretty nasty and convinced of his own superiority again. Not that I mind seeing him doing more villain roles *grin* It’s just that this one doesn’t sound too far from Draco in essentials, but we shall see. If it is a different kind of villain then it could be very interesting :) And I suppose it’ll be a bit different anyway cause I imagine he’s going to have an American accent.
Last, but not least, I’m really looking forward to seeing Freida Pinto. Haven’t seen her since Slumdog and she seems to be choosing some pretty interesting sounding projects, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can use her as quality assurance that this film’s plot is good *grin*

Edited To Add: Amazingly enough, I’ve found a Polish release date and it’s the same as the worldwide one. I guess this really is a proper blockbuster then!

Harry Potter cast interviews in gay magazines

Last year, Daniel Radcliffe did an interview in Attitude Magazine, which greatly amused me as I have a really stupid sense of humour (that said, it was a really good interview). This year, he’s continuing the trend, by giving an interview to Out Magazine. Again, it’s a very nice interview and the photos are hilarious *grin*

Attitude Magazine has been busy as well though, interviewing Tom Felton. I definitely like the gay magazine interviews, the questions are better ;) But I still don’t get why Felton gets the fan fiction questions and Radcliffe does not lol