Friday the 13th, often not a day of good omen but come December it will be because it's day that the second part of Peter Jackson's three part telling of JRR Tolkein's The Hobbit opens in UK cinemas. In the new trailer we get to see a a little more of Luke Evan's Bard the Bowman as well as hear some more of Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug the Dragon. Still no sign of Aragorn though which is odd as rumour had it that his search for Gollum would form part of the Hobbit adaptation.
Considering its pivotal role in the history of the 20th century the Battle of Stalingrad has spawned surprisingly few films. The least said about the Jude Law vehicle Enemy at the Gates the better and while the 2001 German film Stalingrad shows the suffering of the troops on the front line it lacked the budget to give a decent impression of the scale of the battle which cost both sides well over 250,000 causalities.
Harry Potter as Allen Ginsberg? Indeed. Actually that shouldn't come as such a shock because post-JK Daniel Radcliffe is developing into a pretty fine actor and it helps that you looks not unlike the young beat poet. Directed by John Krokidas Kill Your Darlings is his directorial debut and got its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival where it received some very positive reactions.
1945 was a pivotal year in British history. The unity that carried Britain through the war allied to the bitter memories of the inter-war depression led to a vision of a better, fairer, more just society. The spirit of the age was to be our brother's and our sister's keeper. Director Ken Loach has used footage from Britain's regional and national film archives, alongside sound recordings and contemporary interviews to create a rich political and social narrative.
Some films would never work if the lead character was recast and such a movie is R.I.P.D. (that’s the Rest In Peace Department) which is dominated by Jeff Bridges’ gloriously over the top performance as long time dead Western lawman Roycephus “Roy” Pulsifer. This 96-minute comedic romp concerns recently deceased Boston cop Nick (Ryan Reynolds) who after being betrayed and shot by his partner Hayes (Kevin Bacon, sadly showing no more engagement or range than he does in the EE commercials) discovers that the Hereafter has its own police force.
Any film with a cast of two is unusual, but when those two are Hollywood heavy-hitters George Clooney and Sandra Bullock we are navigating close to the shores of the downright unique. The premise of Alfonso Cuarón's (Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men) new movie is the struggle for survival after an accident in orbit leaves novice medical engineer Dr Ryan Stone (Bullock) and seasoned astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) tumbling through space in head-spinning and stomach-heaving fashion.
Neill Blomkamp’s new film is another intense social allegory that follows a similar path to his highly regarded 2009 debut, District 9. Set 150 years in the future it's a science fiction action adventure but with a social subtext, this time the growing divide between rich and poor, haves and have-nots, rather than division along racial, or more accurately species, lines which was at the root of District 9. In the Elysium universe the super rich live on the eponymous orbiting space station enjoying the the good life while the bulk of humanity struggles for survival on a dust-blown, desiccated, dying Earth below.
Ocean's Eleven meets Inglourious Basterds sounds like a great idea for a movie and it's a pretty good way to describe the new George Clooney and Matt Damon vehicle about a group of American art historians and museum curators who join the US Army for D-Day in the hope of recovering renowned works of art stolen by the Nazis before Hitler's henchmen can destroy them.