This year, Athens International Film Festival turns 20! For 20 years (!), “Cinema” magazine, makes September a special month for us film lovers, by offering a wide selection of film screenings, including premieres, documentaries, short films, music films and many many more!
This year’s first film I saw was “The Drop”. Michaël R. Roskam’s English-Language directorial debut, the film is based on a short story by Dennis Lehane, the writer of “The Shutter Island” and “Mystic River”. Starring Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini (his last film) and Noomi Rapace, this crime drama, takes us to the world of illegal gambling, animal sheltering and a series of events that puts our not so innocent heroes on a pretty tough spot.
Not to spoil it too much for you, we follow the storyline from Bob Saginowski perspective (Tom Hardy’s character), who while being in the centre of a crime universe, insists on separating himself from the role of a gangster or a lackey, by calling himself “just the bartender” of the bar where all the bad deeds take place. While dealing with some trouble on the (illegal) job, he founds a beat up puppy, which he takes under his protection, developing a bond with it, along with the puppy’s “trainer” Nadia (Noomi Rapace). At the same time, cousin Marv, his cousin and employer (James Gandolfini) seems to have his own agenda and his motives in the series of events that occur, are seriously questioned.
Tom Hardy’s and James Gandolfini’s performances were to my opinion, the highlights of the film (and the cute puppy). Other than that, the director set a very convincing, mysterious atmosphere, but the way the story and the scenario were developing, I felt that it kinda stretched out. I mean, you could tell that it was a short story initially; it was missing something that would make the viewers more on edge. Not to be too critical, we did get a good “wow” moment at the end, but was that enough? I know that the critics and viewers were all enthusiastic about the film, but for me it was good in some parts but not everything came together as it should. Well, I guess the fact that this film's got everyone debating about it, means that at least it's a film worth noticing..
That's all folks! The exhibition halls are closed, the booths have been torn down and the panels have emptied. The 2014 San Diego Comic-Con came to an end... So, apart from what I've shared the past three days, here are some trailers and photos of this year's nerd paradise...
The trailer that was shown on the panel, might be still hard to find on line, so instead, here's the video from the actual panel, with the appearance of Quicksilver (the other one, not the one from XMen :-p) and Thanos! Enjoy!
Sin City new Trailer
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 trailer
Go Mad for the "Mad Max: Fury Road" trailer!
Gotham TV Series trailer
And the amazing Comic-Con fans...
This has been the last post for a while, as I will be going on summer holidays soon! I will do my best to update the FB page, so keep in touch there! Thank you very much for being loyal and increasing the pageviews :-) - I will try to keep up and return with more posts, news and archive material!
Have a lovely summer everybody!!
Day 3 in San Diego ComicCon, was definitelly a full day...
The Marvel panel
Of course the Marvel panel, with the cast from the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron film, was once again highly anticipated. Although it did not match last year's Tom Hiddleston's appearance, this year's panel was equally exciting. The definite highlight though, was the first glimpse of footage from Age Of Ultron. The footage is not available on line yet, so stay connected to our FB page for daily updates on this and other projects.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The cast of the (again) highly anticipated The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies film, appeared yesterday and here are some of their interviews to make you feel as if you were there:
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Zack Snyder, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot joined the Warner Bros. Comic-Con panel and shared with the worldfrom , as well the first photo of Wonder Woman!
Sin City 2: A Dame to kill for
10 years ago, the first Sin City film, premiered its first footage at Comic-Con and now 10 years later, directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, joined the panel along with Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and Josh Brolin who will take on the role of Dwight that Clive Owen played in the first movie.
Some facts that we picked up from the panel:
Trubies unite for one last season
HBO's True Blood fans, were more than excited to welcome their favorite characters who signed aurographs and shared some footage from the upcoming last five episodes of the final season... (SPOILER ALERT for those that have not caught up till episode 5!)
Family Guy vs. The Simpsons
Ever wondered what would happen if Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson hung out at a bar while Bart and Stewie made prank phone calls? Well, at yesterday's Family Guy Comic-Con panel, you got your wish! In the Sept. 28 season Family Guy premiere, “The Simpsons Guy,” the albino Griffins wind up by accident in Springfield, where they are greeted warmly by the hepatits-y Simpsons. But a fast friendship christened with delicious doughnuts may be forever destroyed by an argument over Pawtucket Patriot Ale and Duff Beer, which leads to an epic chicken fight.
Fans had the chance to see 5 minutes from this epic episode:
The Vampire Diaries & The Originals
The VD panel kicked off with a hilarious video on the death (?) of Bonnie & Damon; is this the end? Will they be getting their own spin off show? (Joseph Morgan thinks not).
Later on they discussed Alaric's return, Stefan's evolution and Elena's reactions to the loss of her boyfriend and her best friend.
So, what about The Originals?
While the first season focused on the fighting over power in New Orleans,the second season will be all about family. Both Esther and Mikael are back, due to the Other Side falling on The Vampire Diaries. "When we decided to get rid of the other side on The Vampire Diaries we knew this was our only shot," says creator Julie Plec. "This is the only chance we're gonna get to bring these characters back and then defined the course of the whole season's storytelling." Rebekah returns, baby Hope as well and the creators leave room for possible VD crossovers.
Once Upon A Time
The Once Upon A Time panel, shared a couple of clips from the new season.
The first clip showed Frozen's Elsa and Anna at their parents' grave and dropped a bombshell that Anna is preparing for her wedding!
The second clip showed recently-reformed villain Regina telling her old friend the Mirror that she needed help getting rid of an enemy. Some things never change...
Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) greeted fans with a via video call from set that included a cameo by Michael Socha. Does this mean his Once Upon a Time in Wonderland character, Knave, will be heading to the Enchanted Forest soon? Only time will tell...
Many thanks to TheOneRing.net, TotalFilm.com, abcgo.com, IMDb and all the fans who were kind enough to fill in with information, all of us not able to be in San Diego!
So, here's what happened on Day 2, San Diego ComicCon 2014:
Game of Thrones panel
Tons of our favorite cast members, along with the man himself, George R.R. Martin, joined the panel and here are some things that we've learned:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
The highly anticipated second teaser trailer of the Hunger Games franchise was shown to screaming fans who simply cannot wait until November to see their favorite characters fight the Capitol!
The Book of Life
The animated feature directed by Jorge Gutierrez, Book of Life, featuring the voices of Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate, Ron Perlman, and Zoe Saldana was presented. The animation is inspired by the Dia de Muertos (The Day of the Dead), a holiday celebrated in Mexico which is a day for friends and family to remember the ones they have lost. This day has always been important to Gutierrez: he was married on this day because he wanted his best friend, who had died, to be his best man and this was the one day he could come back to do so. Much like an animated Moulin Rouge, some of the dialogue from the film is from modern songs including Radiohead’s “Creep,” Ice Cube’s “Today was a Good Day,” and Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.” Biz Markie made a surprise appearance at the panel and sang his classic hip-hop song.
Kevin Smith presented the first-look of his upcoming horror-comedy, which marked his return to moviemaking.
Daniel Radcliffe showed his devilish side when presenting his latest film, Horns, where he plays a young man who begins to grow a pair of horns after his girlfriend, played by Juno Temple, is found murdered.
The most appropriate place to watch a film such as "The Two Faces of January" is the heart of its filming locations, at the best cinema in the world (according to CNN).
"Cine Thision", is one of the oldest open air theatres in Athens (it opened in 1935) and offers not only great films to its fans but also an amazing view to Acropolis and other sights. Its unique environment, along with the old school bar (kilikio), offers a full cinematic experience to its guests.
As regards the film itself, "The Two Faces of January" is an adoptation of the 1964 novel by Patricia Highsmith and narrates the tale of an American couple vacationing in Greece at 1962. Viggo Mortensen plays Chester MacFarland, the rich husband and plays his wife Colette. They meet an American tour guide Rydal (played by ) who tends to deceive tourists to get by (a character that resembles in a way to Ripley). Rydal approaches the couple with ulterior motive Colette, but the unexpected turn of events make him connect with the couple in darker ways...
The scenery and photography helped a lot bring the atmosphere of Athens in the '60s and the sense of agony that the characters feel. Mortensen and Isaac give amazing performances that help develop he story but unfortunately that seems not to be enough. The ingredients were all there but the recipy failed. The story seemed to weeken in the end, especially the second part. Overall though, it was a good film to watch, but an even better cinema to watch it in...
For more information on the locations of the film, read The Telegraph's article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/culture/two-faces-january/10785636/two-faces-of-january-set.html
This week marked the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. The great Bard gave us 16 comedies, 10 histories, 12 tragedies, 154 sonnets, and five longer poems. Many of his plays have been transferred to the big screen and many others have inspired films that might not share the exact same stories or titles, but were clearly inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.
Great adaptations have been filmed by great artists such as Kenneth Branagh, Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa and Laurence Olivier. But here are some of the films that might not seem at first sight Shakespearean and might surprise you:
10 Things I Hate About You (1999) inspired by Taming of the Shrew
In the late 90s flick, Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles, star in the high school version of the Taming of the Shrew.
I think that anyone who was a teen in 90s, has seen this movie… At least us girls...
O (2001) inspired by Othello
Again starring Julia Stiles (those were her glory days); Othello set in a high school and centered on basketball player Odin.
She's the Man (2006) inspired by Twelfth Night
A more embarrassing, unnecessary, yet short of fun to watch “version” of the Twelfth Night, starring Amanda Bynes (remember her?); you can totally live without having seen this one…
The Lion King (1994) inspired by Hamlet
Yes. Lion King. The Disney animated film. It might not strike you at first, but Lion King is sooo the Hamlet story. Minus the Hakuna Matata song.
Much Ado About Nothing (2013) inspired by Much Ado About Nothing
This latest version of the same titled Shakespearean play, is a really good adaptation of the original text, but in the modern era with a modern touch.
Warm Bodies (2013) inspired by Romeo and Juliet
Yes, I mean the Zombie film. Even if it was not Romeo & Juliet inspired, I would still like this film; what’s not to like? Zombies & Shakespeare… amazing combo!
My Own Private Idaho (1991) inspired by Henry IV Part 1
One of Gus Van Sant’s best films that features the late River Phoenix, is indeed inspired by Henry IV and Henry V.
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)
This film is not so much inspired by a play of the Bard, rather than two characters that actually play a very small part in Hamlet. In this hilarious 1990 film starring Gary Oldman and Tim Roth, the characters seem to be unaware of the greater story that they are part of and try to deviate from it.
And then there are those films that were not inspired by Shakespeare’s plays, but rather from his own life: Shakespeare In Love (1998) was inspired by his life as we know it (with a small romantic twist), giving Gwyneth Paltrow her first (and hopefully last) Academy award and Anonymous (2011) was inspired by Shakespeare's life according to the Oxfordian Theory; saying that Shakespeare did not actually write his plays.
But, for me, the best non-traditional adaptation of a Shakespeare play will always be Baz Lurman’s: Romeo + Juliet. The cast, the direction, the music, the editing; the Lurman way to transfer the legendary play to the modern era...
A long time ago, we used to be friends. But I haven't thought of you lately at all.
That’s what the song says but that was not the case for the many Marshmallows (a.k.a. the Veronica Mars hardcore fans) who never stop thinking of their favorite TV show. Neither did the cast and the creator of the show.
Veronica Mars was a TV show that aired during 2004-2007 at UPN & CW. It lasted three seasons when suddenly it was taken off air, leaving fans with many cliffhangers. Despite the efforts of creator Rob Thomas to revive the show by pitching the studio a 4th season trailer with Veronica and her summer internship in the FBI, the show was never brought back to air.
Rob Thomas & Kristen Bell never stop believing in the project and kept thinking on making a Veronica Mars movie, but there was never enough (or at all) funding to move forward with the project. Until March 13, 2013 when they uploaded a video at Kickstarter.com (a crowd funding website that helps raise funds for all sorts of projects) starting a funding campaign.
So, there it was: the chance for all heartbroken fans to revive the favorite show. And boy, did they deliver! The campaign broke all kinds of records:
· Fastest project to reach $1 million.
· Fastest project to reach $2 million.
· All-time highest-funded project in FILM category ($5.702.153)
· Third highest-funded project in Kickstarter history.
· Most project backers of any project in Kickstarter history (91.585)
All that, thanks to the devoted Marshmallows! Of course they got their treats: according to the amount that they donated they got T-Shirts, tickets to the premiere, privileges to download the movie earlier, even to star as an extra alongside the favorite cast! That’s a pretty good deal, if you ask me!
So, filming started and on March the 14th, 2014, exactly one year after the campaign started, Veronica Mars the film, was released in selected theatres and was available on line for downloading.
The film takes place 9 years after the show ended, with Veronica having finished law school and being in NY starting her first big-shot lawyer job. She has Piz on her side and she seems to be finally in peace and having it all. Until a certain someone (Logan) calls her asking for her help as he is falsely (?) accused of murdering his girlfriend. So, once again Veronica is drowned back to the rabbit hole (Neptune that is), where she faces her former classmates in what can be described as the reunion from hell, her dad and a conspiracy.
Will Veronica return to her old ways? Will the safety of Piz overcome the magnetic pool hat Logan has on her? Will she throw away everything she’s worked for to return to being a PI?
I’m not going to spoil it for you; you are just going to have to see it for yourselves. As for what did I think of the movie: well, I was really looking forward to it (being a Marshmallow myself and all) so I might have had really high expectations. Of course it was awesome to see the old gang back together, of course I got the chills in hearing Veronica’s narration and witty lines but I was expecting it to be more of a film and less of a two hour Veronica Mars episode. There was a downside to not getting 100% of the cast back (Carrie Bishop’s part was re-casted as Leighton Meester was unavailable at the last minute), but still, if you have Dick Casablancas on board, you’re good to go!
What’s ahead for Veronica Mars now? Following the film, Rob Thomas had yet another treat for the fans: a book entitled “The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line” that continues the story where the film left off. And of course, rumors are buzzing over a sequel!
There you have it: a project that the fans of Firefly would envy; a devoted fan base that would do anything for their fictional characters; a success story that might open the way for many other similar projects...
Happy St. Patrick's Day little leprechauns!! Today we celebrate everything Irish: Bono, Liam Neeson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Colin Farrell, even Jack Gleeson (a.k.a. Joffrey..)!
In celebration of this great day, we take a look at some of the most famous and beloved Irish/Irish themed films!
In the name of the Father (1993)
The true story of the Guildford Four, four people falsely convicted of the 1974 IRA's Guildford pub bombings which killed four off-duty British soldiers and a civilian. Seven Academy Awards nominations, including Best Actor for the superb Daniel Day-Lewis.
Gangs of New York (2002)
The Scorsese masterpiece, is set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of Lower Manhattan, where we witness the battle between the Irish immigrants and the "true" Americans, as well as the break out of the New York City draft riots. An eye opening view of the story "the hands that built America"...
The Departed (2006)
The film that gave Scorsese (finally) the Oscar, is the story of an undercover cop who has infiltrated an Irish gang and a mole in the police force working for the same mob, and how they both try to track down and identify each other before being exposed to the enemy, after both realizing that there is a rat. Amazing cast, amazing direction, amazing music!
Before 12 years a slave and Shame, Steve McQueen had directed Michael Fassbender in this film, that narrates the story of the 1981 Irish hunger strike. A powerful film with great performances!
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Set in Boston (where most of the Irish American films are set), the 1997 film written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (unknown at the time), came out of the blue and gained very positive critical acceptance.
The story of the film is more or less known: a janitor at the MIT, has a special gift with numbers and mathematics and struggles between taking the opportunity and chaising his future or staying at his confort zone and continue his normal life...
Bloody Sunday (2002)
This film shows one of the most important parts of Irish history: The events of the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" shootings in Derry, Nothern Ireland, through the eyes of of Ivan Cooper, a SDLP Member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland who was a central organiser of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march in Derry on 30 January 1972. The march ended when British Army paratroopers fired on the demonstrators, killing thirteen instantly and wounding another person who died 4½ months later.
Michael Collins (1996)
This film is the historic biopic of the life and action of Michael Collins, an Irish patriot that contributed great to the foundation of the modern Irish state. Liam Neeson and Alan Rickman give amazing performances!
The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)
The story of both the Irish War of Independence (1919–1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923), through the eyes of two brothers who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for the Irish independence. The film won the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
Albert Nobbs (2011)
The film that gave an Academy nomination to Glenn Close, is based on a novella by Irish novelist George Moore. It's the tale of a woman posing as a man so she can work as a butler in Dublin's most posh hotel and her struggle for survival at the 19th century Ireland. A feminist story that received mixed reviews from the audience. No one can deny though the incredible performance by Glenn Close.
In America (2002)
Finally, a beloved film by Jim Sheridan. In America is the modern immigrant tale, of an Irish family arriving in the United States. Emotional and full of powerful performances, especially by the two sisters, who are also sisters in real life! Fun fact: 11 year old at the time Sarah Bolger (playing Christie), is now a regular in ABC's Once Upon A Time!
And tons of other Irish films or Irish themed films, worth discovering.... Happy St. Patrick's Day!!
The Grand Budapest Hotel, is Wes Anderson's latest film and truly one of his best! The film features an all star cast with performances and cameos by: Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Mathieu Amalric, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton to name (truly) a few.
The story revolves in the late 30s and is the tale of the owner of the Grand Budapest Hotel and how he became from a simple lobby boy, to the millionaire hotel owner.
The tale involves various murder, conspiracy, a painting, lots of perfume and the various members of the society of the crossed keys...
Fiennes' performance is by doubt the best thing in the film: Gustave's H (Fiennes' character) witty lines, describing his sexual encounters with his 80 something lady friends (“I’ve had older”) or cutting short his own reverie on humanity (“Oh, fuck it”), and his overall cool preformance, are to die for! It is nice to see him in a such a (different) role!
Of course the classic direction and photography that Anderson films share, seems to really work in the whole nostalgia that the Grand Budapest Hotel brings out.
The ensemble cast and their corky characters complete the Wes Anderson world and deliver a film that definitelly stands out and can be a very good opportunity for a younger audience to get to know his films!
Definitely a must-see!
The Academy can (and does) make mistakes sometimes… Especially when they have failed to award the best film of all times: Citizen Kane.
And the list goes on and on…
Biggest Losers in Oscar History
As for directors, well, let's say that everytime that Hitchcock, Scorsese, Kubrick or Tarantino lost, well.. the Academy must have been blind!
Finally, there have been times that brilliant films, actors or directors were not even nominated.
Here's a video that sums up the Academy's snubby choices over the years.....
Ever since I first set foot on a cinema theatre, I knew that something magical was happening there....