Well hello. It's been a cold one - and therefore a great week to have gotten in a bunch of cinema visits. What did everyone cozy up to see? Well regardless, there were some interesting releases and bits of news that popped up, which you can catch up on below, but generally speaking not that much in the way of big noteworthy releases. Chances are next week is going to be pretty damn chilly so if you didn't make the most of the bad weather last week, let us inspire you to make good on that this time around...

Don't feel like you need to read it all at once! Bookmark us or get that fancy Read It Later app, dip in and out, do with us what you will.

Danny - Film Ed.



Shorts Bar

- Danny Wadeson

An oldie but a goodie this week, it's definitely done the rounds a fair few times but a colleague of mine reminded me about it the other day and it just reminded me how beautifully shot, composed and choreographed these videos are. Danny MacAskill is ridiculously good at what he does and if you haven't seen this video before, you're in for a treat and some genuine 'wow' moments. If you have already seen it, well, fingers crossed we get some new ones soon eh?


Birds Eye View

- The 405

Birds Eye View is an interesting proposition indeed, and one which has only recently come to my attention. An international Woman's Day Gala on the 8th March is now set to have Romola Garai as the opening speaker and (click the link above) some excellent looking events planned. In their words:

"With spring in our step, wonderful plans in bud for our next full film festival in 2013 and our sights as always on bringing you the best of new work by women filmmakers and artists, Birds Eye View celebrates International Women’s Week 2012 with a trio of visionary and glittering events. Taking to the stage to open our International Women's Day Gala will be gorgeous, two times Golden Globe Award nominee Romola Garai (The Hour, The Crimson Petal and the White, Atonement); the evening will go on to follow the same format as our Opening Nights of the last seven years, with a celebration of the best new filmmaking talent from around the world, panel discussion with special guests and a live DJ. This is closely followed by our two-part four-film retrospective Sound & Silents: Mary Pickford Revived , which celebrates the wonderful work of Hollywood's most successful woman, with premieres of new live scores from cutting edge female musicians.

The Monkey Should Have Died

- Alice Sutherland-Hawes

Right yes, Hollywood. It’s all very shiny isn’t it, full of shiny people in shiny films about shiny lives, with the occasional two hour stint of things being blown up courtesy of Michael Bay. Usually there’s a happy ending, or at the very least an implied happy ending. But really, people don’t live like that, they don’t really look like that and happy endings (Hollywood’s specialty) don’t always happen. I know there’s an argument for film being one of the greatest escapes from reality, I’m a huge supporter of that, because why would anyone want to waste two hours watching something that doesn’t take them away from the life they’re living.

Anyway I’m getting myself mixed up. The point is the Brits should have made Contagion. We love a bit of misery and despair, we’ve accepted it. We live with David Cameron trying to run the place and, for a few million of us, TFL ruining our days. So when a film about a disease that kills almost instantly, isn’t curable and runs riot across the whole world comes along, we rub our hands with glee. Ooh this will be brilliant. Or not. Why? Hollywood. Despite all the woe and despair, Gwynnie dying within ten minutes, Kate Winslet being killed and Matt Damon being kept alive, they still managed to force out a happy ending complete with a really shit living room prom scene. OH PLEASE. There was just one moment when I thought it would save itself, just the one. And this is what it comes down to.

The monkey should have died. Remember the woman who finds the cure and tests it on a monkey then herself? Well there was that scene where she was putting the cure in a freezer and before doing that she was walking down a corridor to a really big door. At that point I was nearly on the floor. If she’d walked into the monkey’s room and found it dead that would have been brilliant. Utterly brilliant. Cue credits. Amazing. But she didn’t so I stayed in my seat. Can you imagine it though? The monkey is dead, she will also die, and there is no cure. Humanity doesn’t have a way to save itself and then the credits roll. I stand by my argument. The monkey should have died.

This Is The News!

- The 405

In Box Office news this week, previously featured found-footage comedy Project X debuted in second place with a strong $20.8 million; Oscar winner The Artist cracked the top 10 chart with $3.9 million for a cume of $37.1 million.

However most interesting was the business the new Dr. Seuss animation The Lorax cranked out; a debut of a frankly shocking $70.7 million, apparently marking the best opening ever for a non-sequel animated title. It smashed a few records too; including nabbing the top opening of 2012 (beating out the $41.2 million debut of The Vow). It was also the best showing for any animated film since summer 2010 when Toy Story 3 debuted to $110.3 million. Impressive stuff; I can't wait to see it and add a few more 'bucks' to its tally.



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Now a brief piece in The Hollywood Reporter caught my eye as an interesting point being made off the back of a pretty unassuming film. Michael Bacall, who also wrote the upcoming 21 Jump Street has hit back at critics, by commenting that it's "hypocritical for critics to condemn the film's sexual content but ignore graphic violence in other movies."

And he's quite right. Sexually explicit scenes/films (in video games perhaps even more so than in film) get a lot of stick whereas casual violence is a stable Hollywood diet, for young and old. Should provocative (no matter how commercially viable...) scenes that address a natural act be subject to the same rules and criticism as something that is arguably much more frequently trivialised in the media? That being said, there are sex scenes and there are sex scenes; one need only look at the harrowing and thought-provoking example of Shame to see probably the first, great, really introspective look at the the darker side of modern male sexuality in years (does American Psycho count - because the 80s aren't really modern anymore and the same set of problems don't apply) to know that there is a progressive and a cashing-in way of dealing with the matter.

The story continues; as reviews of the teen party piece started bashing the door down, "a common theme that quickly emerged was incredulity that a film would celebrate such wanton irresponsibility. Screenwriter Michael Bacall, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter as the new teen comedy opened on more than 3,000 screen nationwide, indicated that he and the filmmakers expected – if not courted – the controversy currently swirling around its content." - the question is, to what end? We're going to make a concerted effort to see the film with our own eyes in the very near future and develop this particular debate...until then, if you want a film that takes a bizarre/thoughtful approach to sex and sexuality, check out Ai No Corrida but be warned, it's definitely not a date movie....