DVD Releases: August 22, 2011

Scream 4 (Review)

Director: Wes Craven

Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette Continue reading “DVD Releases: August 22, 2011”

US Box Office: July 22 – 24, 2011

1. Captain America: The First Avenger – $65M

2. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – $47.4M

3. Friends With Benefits – $18.6M

4. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon – $12M

5. Horrible Bosses – $11.8M

6. Zookeeper – $8.7M

7. Cars 2 – $5.6M

8. Winnie The Pooh – $5.1M

9. Bad Teacher – $2.6M

10. Midnight In Paris – $1.8M

US Box Office: July 15 – 17, 2011

1. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – $168.6M

2. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon – $21.2M

3. Horrible Bosses – $17.6M

4. Zookeeper – $12.3M

5. Cars 2 – $8.3M

6. Winnie The Pooh – $8M

7. Bad Teacher – $5.2M

8. Larry Crowne – $2.5M

9. Super 8 – $1.9M

10. Midnight In Paris – $1.8M

Feature: Top Ten Films Of 2011: January – June

So far, 2011 has been a fantastic year for film. Below, I’ve compiled a list of my ten favourites from the last six months, with a few honourable mentions that just missed out on a place. Finally, I’ve listed some somewhat less honourable mentions that you should probably avoid at all costs.

10. Never Let Me Go (February 2011)

Mark Romanek’s shamefully overlooked adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s momentous novel Never Let Me Go wasn’t exactly the hit Fox Searchlight were banking on, but that didn’t stop it being a beautifully explorative, acted and directed piece of cinema.

9. Animal Kingdom (February 2011)

This Australian crime-thriller rose from the underbelly, picking up momentum thick and fact for its astoundingly honest portrayal of a fully functional crime family. Striking direction, raw performances and compelling source material have made well worth seeking out.

8. Archipelago (March 2011)

Joanna Hogg’s stark look at family turmoil is beautifully captured and carefully paced to provide a deeply resonant and affecting glimpse into the highs and lows of family life and what makes people tick.

7. Heartbeats (May 2011)

Multi-faceted Xavier Dolan follows in the footsteps of acclaimed filmmakers Gus Van Sant, Pedro Almodóvar and Wong Kar Wai to write and direct Heartbeats, a film of true beauty, wisdom and depth beyond its years.

6. Arrietty (June 2011 – EIFF)

Studio Ghibli’s sprightly interpretation of Mary Norton’s acclaimed children’s book The Borrowers is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, under the watchful eye of filmmaker extraordinaire Hayao Miyazaki. Arrietty boasts some truly illustrious animation and a score by French musician Cecile Corbel that made me go weak at the knees.

5. Bridesmaids (June 2011)

Kristen Wiig, well known for her long-standing stint on Saturday Night Live, was launched to stardom with hit comedy Bridesmaids. Directed by Paul Feig, the film features an array of flawless comedic performances, unforgettable gags and the goddess-like figure Rose Bryne.

4. Albatross (June 2011 – EIFF)

Niall McCormick’s British coming-of-age film premiered at the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival to rave reviews. Written by burgeoning writer Tamzin Refn, Albatross is a fully realised and thought-provoking piece of cinema, chock full of heart, depth and humour to boot. If Jessica Findlay-Brown doesn’t become a star, then there’s something seriously wrong with the world.

3. Black Swan (January 2011)

Granted, this film opened last year in America, but due to different release schedules it was early January before I had a chance to see Natalie Portman give an Academy Award winning performance in Darren Aronofsky’s daringly dark psychological ballet thriller. Hauntingly brilliant.

2. Submarine (March 2011)

Former IT Crowd actor Richard Ayoade made his directorial debut with the mesmerising, outlandish and warm-hearted indie comedy Submarine. The entire cast, not least relative newcomer Craig Roberts, delivered remarkable performances.

1. Blue Valentine (January 2011)

This emotionally crippling insight into one couple’s turbulent relationship shot Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams back into the limelight, and earned them a few dozen award nominations in the process. After years of suffering various unfortunate setbacks, Derek Cianfrance’s passion project came to fruition with such intensity that it was hard to ignore. From the offset I was hooked, so it’d be impossible for Blue Valentine not to be my top film of the year so far.

Films of notable interest: Hobo With A Shotgun, Trust, Project Nim, Attack The Block, Rango, The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec, Rubber, Pina 3D, Scream 4, Winnie The Pooh, Meek’s Cutoff, X-Men: First Class, The Silent House, 13 Assassins, Perfect Sense, Thor and Cave Of Forgotten Dreams.

Films to think no more of: Mars Needs Moms, Larry Crowne, Ghosted, I Am Number Four, The Rite, Faster, Chalet Girl, Red Riding Hood and Battle: Los Angeles.

UK Box Office: April 15 – 17, 2011

1. Scream 4 – £2,061,885

2. Rio – £1,695,927

3. Your Highness – £926,338

4. Red Riding Hood – £842,398

5. Hop – £788,809

6. Source Code – £674,202

7. Limitless – £603,963

8. Winnie The Pooh – £159,369

9. Sucker Punch – £144,612

10. Little White Lies – £125,273

Review: Winnie The Pooh (2011)

After 35 years, Walt Disney Animation Studios bring Winnie The Pooh back to the screen in a new adventure for the amiable gang.

During an ordinary day in Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie The Pooh sets out to find some honey. Misinterpreting a note from Christopher Robin, Owl convinces Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga, Roo and Eeyore that their young friend has been captured by a creature named “Backson” and they set out to save him, with the lovably pessimistic donkey keeping an eye out for his ever-disappearing tail along the way.

The plot, while simple, meanders with lively diversions making it both endearing and entertaining for the very young, and whimsical enough to appeal to the nostalgic older demographic.

Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall do nothing in particular to disturb the status quo, but still manage to make Pooh look fresh and original, even while treading carefully to ensure they don’t ruin the beloved cultural memory of such a classic cartoon.

The animators superbly retain the look of E.H. Shephard’s classic illustrations while adding a number of sublime, modern touches through sharp attention-to-detail, luscious hand-painted backdrops and some well-integrated digital sequences.

Winnie and friends are all voiced with great care and energy. These classic characters look fantastic, but it’s through the skilful vocal work that they are truly brought to life. Whether it’s Tigger’s energetic lisp, Eeyore’s defeated sighs or Winnie’s emphatic “Bother”, these are very much the same animals you’ve come to know and love.

Zooey Deschanel’s quirky-cutesy voice works wonders in bringing Pooh into the 21st century, and helps the original songs to work harmoniously with the classically-tinged score, both of which beautifully enhance the overall experience.

Winnie The Pooh is enchanting, whimsical, and as luscious as the classic shorts. Its brevity makes it all the more winsome.

Cinema Releases: April 15, 2011

Scream 4

Director: Wes Craven

Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox

Red Riding Hood

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Lukas Haas and Gary Oldman

Winnie The Pooh

Director: Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall

Starring: Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson and John Cleese

Little White Lies

Director: Guillaume Canet

Starring: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard and Benoît Magimel

Meek’s Cutoff

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Starring: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood and Paul Dano

The Last Picture Show

Director: Peter Bogdanovich

Starring: Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd