Ever the seasons shift, and spring is almost upon us. But the movie seasons shift even further; already, summer blockbusters have advanced to the middle of April, Tom Cruise’s expensive looking Oblivion (which sounds like a metaphor for his career now I read it back) arriving two weeks before Robert Downey Jr. gets out the red and gold suit again and gets fanboys around the world just a little excited. But come next year, awards season may not have concluded by the end of February, with every weekend taken up with Superbowls and Winter Olympics that there’s talk of the Oscars shifting later into March, the normal lull that occurs around this time of year may by 2014 be swallowed up completely between frippery and giant explosions.
So what will happen to March next year? Sure, it’ll still be on the calendar, and short of some sudden recalculation by boffins it’ll still be made up of 31 days, but the films that find respite from the need to garner awards or giant box office will have nowhere else left to go. You might be wondering what kind of film that is, but given that less than two dozen films normally sweep the fields at awards time – even in a well spread year like 2013’s various shindigs – and once the blockbusters start you’ll barely be able to find more than two or three different films showing at your local sixteen screen multiplex, so these periods of breathing space are vital for something more nourishing but less bombastic to find screening time.
As to what kind of films find their screen time in this season, it seems to be the case this year that it’s the kind of film that normally finds a home at the opposite end of the year in the normal follow-on from blockbuster season: festival season. This first became apparent when I was performing my normal trawl through the listings at the likes of Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb and Launching Films to see what’s due out this month, and I realised I’d seen a decent number of films already that were due out in March. Long time readers will know that there is only one rule of The Half Dozen – that I never include trailers for films I’ve already seen – so it seemed a sensible time to read this rule the last rites.
Yes, here are six trailers for films, all of which I’ve already seen. (I’m such a rebel.)
Okay, you got me, to start proceedings off I was one short, so this the first film I’ve seen this month. Leaping straight into my top five of the year is the first English language film from Park Chan-wook, one of Korea’s foremost directors and best known internationally for his Oldboy and various films with the word Vengeance in the title. Not much vengeance on the go here, but there is some subtle horror, mood aplenty and more literary allusions than you can shake a stick at, and it all hangs together beautifully.
I will confess, despite this appearing on all of the aforementioned lists I can’t actually find a single cinema playing this, so I hope you have more luck as this is well worth seeking out; I caught it in the Late Night Frights at last year’s Cambridge Film Festival. Spanish actor Luis Tosar is one of those familar faces that you just can’t quite place, so he’s perfect casting for this creepy thriller from director Jaume Balaguero ([REC], [REC] 2, disappointingly not yet [STOP] or [FF]) where Tosar’s concierge tries to understand the secrets of his apartment building tenants, while keeping a fair few of his own.
Robot & Frank
Now this film will have a particular place in my heart for years to come, for it’s the first film I ever saw at the London Film Festival and consequently the first time I ever got to walk along an actual red carpet, along with the rest of the audience. I always get a buzz from being in Leicester Square, cinematic Mecca for mainstream obsessives like myself and nexus of the LFF, and at the Odeon West End I was utterly besotted with this unlikely relationship tale of a man and a giant walking, talking iPhone and their even more unlikely adventures. I decided to shift it to this year’s run-down, where if it doesn’t make my top 10 of the year by year end it will have been an extremely good year for film.
Saw this one at the end of a very long day at FrightFest 2012 at the Empire Leicester Square last August. What turned out to be a very mixed day – and probably the weakest of the festival in hindsight – started with me heading into London for 10 a.m. to catch a documentary on Eurocrime and finished six films and eleven hours later with this remake of a dirty Eighties movie, re-imagined as a first person slasher with Elijah Wood in the title role. Wood is creepily effective, the perspective is used ingeniously and it’s not afraid to go to some very dark places. As did I when I rolled out at 1:30 a.m. for the nightbus, getting back to my car at 3 a.m.
John Dies At The End
Another London Film Festival showing, this one at the almost brand spanking new Hackney Picturehouse. My previous memory of director Don Coscarelli’s work was watching Bubba Ho-Tep on a tiny monitor on the first class video screen (thanks to the upgrade Mrs Evangelist had blagged us) on the way back from my honeymoon, and I wasn’t overly impressed then; thankfully John Dies At The End is more of a rip-roaring, off the wall journey into insanity adapted from Jason Pargin’s novel, and while it’s not lived hugely long in my memory it was most entertaining in the moment. And does John die at the end? That would be telling.
Finding Nemo 3D
Finally one that we’ve probably all seen, and if you haven’t then stop right now, head to LoveFlix or NetFilm or one of those new-fangled jobbies and soak in one of the films I fear will come to be known as Pixar’s Golden Period, before the likes of Cars 2 and Brave descended and it wasn’t the case that every single film that Pixar produced is outstanding.
Hang on a minute – did I just tell y0u to go and rent a film that’s coming back to cinemas?! I must be losing my mind. What a clownfish.
This is a local blog, and for eleven days a year it becomes one for local people, too. Far away from the bright lights, the razzle-dazzle and the overpriced food of London, many other major cities have film festivals during the course of the year and tomorrow the 32nd Cambridge Film Festival gets underway. I’ve often thought about trying to get down to London for some of that festival action (happening in October, in case you’ve been living under a rock), but with this much varied, and quality, film entertainment right on my doorstep then surely it makes sense to take advantage?
And take advantage I have. I packed in 19 films in my first visit in 2010 and, despite a slightly reduced programme due to other factors, still caught 27 last year. So, in what is now becoming something of a tradition, I’ve assembled every trailer I can find for the films I’m seeing. It’s not been easy – the likes of more mainstream releases such as On The Road and Liberal Arts are easily accessible, but two films have eluded me completely (both from the MicroCinema thread); another, from the Catalan stream, has no online trailer (but I did find the whole film, without subtitles; the first of four parts is here for your viewing bemusement) and a number of other trailers are again appearing in a foreign language without subtitles, a situation which will thankfully be rectified once I get to the cinema.
Sadly, time travel hasn’t yet been invented so I can’t see everything. The likes of Woody Allen’s new one, Ashes (with Ray Winstone and Jim Sturgess) , Blind Spot and Big Boys Gone Bananas have all eluded me due to scheduling conflicts – and that’s just A to B! Still, with 39 films and 2 short programmes, I’m not going to complain too much. So if you’re not local, get a cup of tea and a biscuit, sit back and spend around an hour and a half getting a flavour for what’s possible at a film festival. And if you’re there in person, don’t forget to say hi. I”ll be the tall one with square eyes and an even squarer posterior.