REVIEW: “Wuthering Heights” (***1/2)

Posted by · 5:41 am · September 7th, 2011

Venice Film Festival British filmmaker Andrea Arnold would have been 16 years old when Kate Bush topped the UK pop charts with “Wuthering Heights,” a swirling art-rock ballad that stripped the Emily Brontë novel for which it is named down to a few key lines and narrative details, but evoked its grand-scale tragic romance in […]

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VENICE: Follow the Lido — a festival preview

Posted by · 9:14 am · August 30th, 2011

“Why Venice and not Toronto?” a colleague asked when I mentioned I was heading to the Lido for the world’s oldest film festival for the third straight year. Given the North American bent of this site, it was a fair question, but also one I found easy to answer — and not just for the […]

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Venice competition includes Polanski, Cronenberg, Alfredson

Posted by · 5:07 am · July 28th, 2011

These days, so much media speculation precedes the announcement of any major festival lineup that the eventual unveiling comes almost as an anti-climax — or at least it would do if the long-expected films weren’t so appetizing in the first place. As was the case with the Toronto lineup on Tuesday, the just-revealed programme for […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Best Director

Posted by · 3:59 pm · January 4th, 2011

With precisely three weeks to go until Oscar nomination morning, we continue to flag up worthy work from 2010’s first half, much of it lost (or, indeed, never present) amid the crush of more recent awards contenders. You know the January-to-June drill by now: beyond that, we can get as far-fetched as we like. I […]

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INTERVIEW: Michael Fassbender

Posted by · 7:06 pm · January 19th, 2010

Michael Fassbender is unemployed. This, at least, is what he tells me at the outset of our conversation, and he sounds entirely relaxed about it. As well he sound be: after 18 months of back-to-back film projects, a catholic range spanning the gruelling physical demands of “Hunger,” the arch larking-about of “Inglourious Basterds,” the kitchen-sink […]

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‘Fish Tank’ poster

Posted by · 6:30 am · January 8th, 2010

A few days ago, we posted the new U.S. trailer for Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank,” which opens in New York next week before rolling out later. I didn’t mind it as much as some, though it didn’t capture the film’s unusual rhythmic and sensual qualities. But I do like prefer this simple, declarative poster that […]

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‘Fish Tank’ trailer

Posted by · 11:03 am · January 5th, 2010

I caught Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank” during last year’s AFI Fest and frankly, wasn’t overly impressed by it.  Katie Jarvis is a real find and, of course, Michael Fassbender is and has been going places.  I liked the world it evokes feels very authentic and on the whole, it’s nice to have diversity in the […]

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‘Moon,’ Carey Mulligan, Tom Hardy take BIFA Awards

Posted by · 3:28 pm · December 6th, 2009

The British Independent Film Awards really spread the wealth this year, with only two films — “Moon” and “Fish Tank” — taking more than one award. In a slightly surprising result, Duncan Jones’s sci-fi debut claimed the night’s top prize, Best British Independent Film, as well as Best Debut Director honors. Meanwhile, “Fish Tank,” which […]

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‘Fish Tank,’ ‘Moon,’ ‘Education’ lead BIFA noms, female directors rule

Posted by · 2:23 pm · October 26th, 2009

You’ve heard me natter on enough for months about how “Fish Tank” is one of the year’s best films — now you don’t have to just hear it from me anymore. Andrea Arnold’s lyrical character study of an unhappy Essex teenager (now being dubbed ‘the British “Precious”‘ by some lazy wags) leads the nominations for […]

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Banging the drum for women

Posted by · 6:06 pm · August 24th, 2009

I’ve already mooted the possibility of 2009 being a history-making year for female filmmakers at the Oscars. Whether or not awards season plays along in a few months’ time, however, there’s no denying it’s been a banner year for women behind the camera — both in terms of quantity (for starters, Cannes had more female-helmed […]

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IFC to bring ‘Fish Tank’ to U.S. screens

Posted by · 2:29 pm · August 13th, 2009

I mentioned last week how much Andrea Arnold’s Cannes-garlanded Brit beauty “Fish Tank” has grown in my esteem over the weeks — I’m really starting to think the 3½ stars I gave it in my review was too cautious. I wrote then that the film was still awaiting a Stateside distributor, and while I suspected […]

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‘Fish Tank’ trailer

Posted by · 3:37 pm · August 7th, 2009

It’s been six weeks since I saw (and loved) Andrea Arnold’s Cannes Jury Prize winner “Fish Tank” at the Edinburgh fest, and the film simply will not leave me alone. Scenes and images from Arnold’s simultaneously exhilarating and devastating portrait of an Essex adolescence keep popping vividly into my head at random intervals — and […]

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Women on top

Posted by · 9:17 am · July 21st, 2009

It’s been a couple of months since I discussed the notion of 2009 being a watershed year for female filmmakers at the Oscars, and it’s a possibility that seems to be gaining traction. Sasha Stone recently responded to a post of mine by toying with the slogan “year of the woman,” while a new post […]

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REVIEW: “Fish Tank” (***1/2)

Posted by · 9:57 am · June 19th, 2009

Edinburgh International Film Festival There’s a slightly condescending tendency among many critics to brand almost any British film set on a working-class council estate as “miserablist” simply by virtue of the aesthetics of its setting, despite the fact that many thousands of people live functional, three-dimensional lives in precisely such conditions. Of course, it’s a […]

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Haneke lands Palme d’Or, Gainsbourg takes Best Actress

Posted by · 10:41 am · May 24th, 2009

As it turned out, the most logical on-paper prediction turned out the be the right one. After emerging as the bridesmaid from several festivals past — winning the Grand Prix in 2001, Best Director in 2005 — the venerable Austrian auteur Michael Haneke has finally won the Palme d’Or for his stark moral drama “The […]

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Teenage star of ‘Fish Tank’ wows Cannes

Posted by · 7:39 am · May 14th, 2009

Only two films in so far, but it seems we have a formidable contender for the festival’s top honors in the shape of Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank.” The film has just screened for the press, and Arnold — who won the bronze-medal Jury Prize in 2006 with her debut feature “Red Road” — has evidently […]

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Cannes: sizing up the Competition, part one

Posted by · 7:45 am · May 11th, 2009

With the Cannes Film Festival only two days away, it’s time to take a long hard look (or just a look, if you prefer) at the 20 films in contention for the Palme d’Or, a typically eclectic bunch married by only one factor: all but one are from directors who have been in the race […]

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