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From acclaimed director Feng Xiaogang (Aftershock, Assembly) comes this breathtaking war epic which revisits one of the most catastrophic periods of 20th-century Chinese history – the famine in Back to 1942 will be released by the BFI on 23 February 2014 on both DVD and Blu-ray with additional special features.
Zhang Guoli stars as Master Fan, a wealthy landlord who loses everything when he and his family flee their famine-stricken hometown. Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist) co-stars as a courageous American journalist who encounters the horrors of the famine first-hand and endeavours to enlist relief-aid from the Chinese government and expose the plight of the Henan refugees.
Awe-inspiring action and intelligent characterisation combine to masterful effect in this explosive blockbuster.
Back to 1942 was screened at BFI Southbank last February, attended by director Feng Xiaogang, ahead of the major BFI season A Century of Chinese Cinema.
Back To 1942 will arrive in UK on DVD&Blu-ray on 23rd February and we hope to review this closer to release. The film Guoli Zhang, Hanyu Zhang, Wei Fan and of course Hollywood Stars Adrien Brody, Tim Robbins.
Pre-Order/Buy Back To 1942 (Blu-ray Edition which comes a host of extras which include original trailers, promoreel, a couple of short features. The blu-ray also exclusively have 2 extra features which give a running time of 80 minutes between them.
4 December 2014
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10th February 2014 (UK)
Buy Frost: DVD[Amazon]
‘The Thing’ meets ‘The Blair Witch Project’ in this terrifying tale of arctic survival! Reynir Lyngdal's Frost is a highly suspenseful and visually captivating addition to found footage horror sci-fi and Next month will freeze it's way onto home release in UK.
Filmmaker Gunnar (Björn Thors) arrives at a remote glacier camp on the outskirts of the Arctic Circle to meet up with physiologist Agla (Anna Gunndís Guðmundsdóttir) to make a documentary about the research being conducted there. The next day they discover the camp mysteriously abandoned and their co-workers gone without a trace.
As darkness descends and the camp is shaken with ear-splitting shrieks and violent flashing lights, the couple bravely venture out into the vast nothingness frantically following a trail of blood in the snow in the hope that it’ll lead them to their missing colleagues, unaware of what they’ll find at the other end…
‘Frost’ keeps the found footage genre alive with its edge-of-your-seat tension and visually ominous atmosphere. In fact, the breathtaking landscape of the desolate icy glaciers superbly adds to the suspense especially when the dark of the night descends, making ‘Frost’ one of the most tense expeditions into the snowy unknown we’ve ever encountered!
Entertainment One UK releasing this blood drenched snow covered chiller on DVD on 10th February starring Anna Gunndís Guðmundsdóttir and Björn Thors.
4 October 2013
Curated with dedication to the art and power of filmmaking, Oval Space Cinema Club covers everything from groundbreaking political documentaries to art house explorations from across the globe. Always geared to adding something extra to the cinematic experience, Oval Space aims to engage and inspire film fans with a carefully selected program of Q + As with directors, heated panel discussions, open debates and more.
Set in 1976, the film follows mild-mannered and introverted sound engineer Gilderoy (Toby Jones) as he leaves the comfort of the home he shares with his mother in Dorking for a film studio in Italy. Having previously specialised in providing the sounds of babbling brooks and birdcalls for British natural history films, Gilderoy finds himself at the centre of a production for ‘The Equestrian Vortex’, a gory horror film by exploitation maestro Giancarlo Santini, requiring him to design sounds for mutilation, torture and terror.
Soon, life begins to imitate art and Gilderoy finds himself lost in a downward spiral of on-screen witchcraft, off-screen sexual intrigue and psychological mayhem as realities shift.
An homage to the art of analogue sound and a brilliantly executed deconstruction of the Italian horror genre, Strickland’s masterpiece features an excellent soundtrack from Broadcast, a signature band of Warp Records and has won multiple awards, including Best Film at the Toronto Film Critics Association, Film of the Year at the Evening Standard London Film Awards and Best Actor nods for Toby Jones at the Evening Standard London Film Awards and the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA).
23 August 2013
BD/DVD Release Date:
26th August 2013 (UK)
Brady Corbet, Mati Diop, Lila Salet
Buy Simon Killer On:
(Blu-ray) / (DVD)
Simon Killer is interesting film directed by Antonio Campos. Antonio previously directed Afterschool and produced the critically acclaimed indie film Martha Marcy May Marlene; which admitting I haven’t seen either yet. It’s a surprise addition to Eureka’s ever growing Masters of Cinema range for a couple reasons one is it’s a relatively recent film and the other it’s a weird little thriller. It does though have some interesting artistic flourishes which might be why it appealed to Eureka so much who also theatrically distributed it in the UK; IFC are doing the US release.
Simon Killer naturally is a about a guy called Simon. He is on holiday in Paris after finishing his degree in some to do with the connection between the human eye and brain. Simon has also broken up with his long-term girlfriend and is wandering aimlessly in the streets of Paris. One night he meets 2 French girls after seeing a film. They think he is a bit of a weirdo and they go their separate ways on the metro but will bump into them later on.
Simon as a problem he wants to get laid really badly so he starts walking around. He eventually meets a pimp who tells him to do a bar where girls will do anything to him for a price (which turns out to be €150). He gets very connected to this one hooker and they start a relationship, which eventually blossoms into him moving in with her. He suggests she should use a camera phone to film her having with her clients cause then she can blackmail them. Naturally this all ends pretty badly for all concerned.
The film has a very fine moody performance from its lead Brady Corbet who was in the fantastic Mysterious Skin about a decade ago. He has also been in Melancholia and the aforementioned Martha Marcy May Marlene. The rest of the cast give perfectly decent performances but it’s very much a film that rests on Brady’s shoulders since he is almost in every man.
Campos is a very good visual stylist and the film has a interesting colour palette and some interesting shots which obviously are to evoke what’s going on in Simon’s damaged mind. The film also has some of the most realistic sex scenes (not in a explicit way) I’ve ever seen on screen. The story however is not the most original. It seems all too unrealistic and has a twist that you could see coming after the unfortunate incident.
Despite the film’s many flaws it’s a perfectly decent little indie thriller with some really interesting soundtrack choices including LCD Soundsystem and that synth pop reggae hit “It Makes a Muscle to fall in love”. It also have a lot of synth-pop which seems to be the thing after than wonderful soundtrack for Drive but this trend needs to end now.
4 August 2013
DVD/BD Release Date:
5th August 2013 (UK)
Maribel Verdú, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ángela Molina
Blancanieves - Collector's Edition [DVD]
Somewhat unfairly lumbered alongside The Artist as a Spanish retort to Michel Hazanavicius’ neo-silent award-guzzler, Blancanieves is proof that merely appearing in black and white does not a mimic make. This year alone sees a host of new features, from Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, through Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England to the upcoming Alexander Payne feature Nebraska that revel in the majesty of monochrome to tell a host of tales, ranging wildly in both style and story. Director Pablo Berger’s feature utilises the format to bring us an inventive and incredibly stylish take on the Brothers Grimm classic Snow White – the title being the literal Spanish translation and the name given to our heroine by her accompanying dwarves.
Turning the familiar fairytale on its head Berger relocates the tale of fair-skinned beauty to the home of a more sun-kissed disposition, setting the film in Spain at the heart of its cultural tapestry– the bullfighting ring. Born the daughter of the renowned matador Antonio Villalta, Carmencita is forced to live with her grandmother after her mother dies during childbirth and the subsequent heartache forces her paralyzed father (gorged in the ring at the hands of a ferocious bull) to reject the newborn. Before long her famed father remarries the conniving money-grabbing nurse who manipulatively aided his recovery. Their lavish lifestyle is light-years away from the humble yet happy existence she carves out in the rural countryside until her doting grandmother suffers a sudden and fatal heart attack, forcing the young Carmencita to become the unwanted house guest at her father’s vast new marital home.
Ably pulling off a tonal shift, Berger transports our young lead from warm, jovial, sun-drenched villas and plunges her into a Dickensian, chore-laden life under long shadows and dark surroundings. It’s one of the many impressive visual touches pulled off by Berger and his cinematographer who manage to seamlessly sit handheld close-ups comfortably alongside long range, held shots of sweeping vista’s, rolling Iberian countryside and quaint villas. Taking their lead from the greats of cinematic history the pair create a nuanced and knowing visual display, even recollecting the matchstick men communities of Lowry in the communal procession to the dominating bullfighting coliseums.
Eventually Carmencita inadvertedly finds herself on the strictly out-of-bounds second floor of the palatial pad where she chances upon her father for the very first time – his wheelchair bound slumped figure contrasting greatly to the powerful image in the grand foyer painting. The two bond instantly and secretly, away from the prying eyes of Encarna and before long Carmencita learns the ways of the matador under the expert tutelage of her esteemed father.
Years pass and Encarna’s disdain for her adoptive child grows, hatching a plan to rid her of this burden for good, a plan that, once thwarted, leads Carmencita to her six (not seven) minutely proportioned saviours, travelling Toledo’s who entertain the crowds at ramshackle bullfighting outposts battling against the less fearsome, but equally sized, calves.
Berger directs with a trained eye on the classic tale and another firmly on the stylistic touches of film-makers down the years. The dreaded apple is presented with knowing significance, brandished like a gun while elsewhere shadows and score create suspense akin to Hitchcock. Not that everything on show trawls through the past. The returning theme of fame trickles through the film with each of the leads having their own, ultimately doomed, brush with the limelight suggesting Berger has as much to say on this modern obsession as he does it’s genesis. One particular public mourning resembles a disturbing scene at Madame Tussards and there’s a nod too to the prized cover-shoot of Hello-like magazines thrown in for good measure while the freak show ending signals a bleak parallel with what we view as entertainment and those who peddle it.
So no, not merely a reactionary piece jumping aboard the Artist bandwagon (although there are similarities - for Uggie the dog, see Pepe the chicken) but Blancanieves has more up its sleeve to be written off so easily. A silent triumph in its own right.