Film Index PROFILE
MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM Born 29 March 1961
Background Born in Blackburn the director has become known for his ability to churn out films and work across genres. He made his first feature film Butterfly Kiss in 1995. What’s he up to now? Winterbottom has adapted Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me for the big screen starring Casey Affleck as the controversial deputy sheriff. As is his style, the director is already working on several more projects, with his next film likely to be The Promised Land set in Palestine in 1948, when it was under British mandate.
On the reaction at Sundance Film Festival ‘I was a little bit surprised by the fact that people were so shocked by the violence.’
On adapting Jim Thompson? ‘I read Jim Thompson’s book and loved it. I wanted to make the film as close to the book as possible, the whole idea was to make it as much to the spirit of the book as possible. Thompson’s writing is so concise, the plot starts straight away, Lou beats Joyce, she slaps him, he beats her and then they kiss and the whole thing goes off at a head of steam from thereon in and the idea was to really just to get the film to feel as close to the book as possible.’ On filming in America? ‘This was really the first time that I shot in America as The Claim was actually shot in Canada. We shot it almost entirely in Oklahoma, but it was just like making a film anywhere, it wasn’t like we were making a Hollywood film so it was like making an independent film anywhere and we thought we would be able to shoot in January and the money fell through and we actually spent four months waiting around for the money, so it wasn’t that much different from shooting in Iran, Pakistan, China or India.’
Interesting fact A big fan of the German New Wave, there are often references to the work of Werner Herzog in Winterbottom’s films. (Kaleem Aftab) ■ The Killer Inside Me, general release from Fri 4 Jun. See review, page 54.
60 THE LIST 27 May–10 June 2010
Date Night (15) ●●●●● (Shawn Levy, US, 2010) Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg. 88min. Comedy royalty Carell and Fey play a couple from the ‘burbs who decide to escape the kids for an evening and head for a trendy Manhattan eatery. Problems start when they get mistaken for a pair of thieves being hunted down by two corrupt cops – a hit-and-miss adventure follows and a rather formulaic outlook ensures it’s all rather forgettable in the end. Selected release. Dear John (12A) ●●●●● (Lasse Hallström, US, 2010) Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins. 108min. Seyfried plays Savannah, a student who strikes up a relationship with on leave soldier John Tyree (Tatum), but their romance is stymied when Tyree decides to put his military career first, and the inevitable Dear John letter results in mutual heartbreak. Showcase Cinema, Coatbridge, Glasgow. Death at a Funeral (15) ●●●●● (Neil LaBute, US, 2010) Peter Dinklage, Chris Rock, Zoe Saldana. 91min. See review, page 55. Selected release. The Disappearance of Alice Creed (18) ●●●●● (J Blakeson, UK, 2009) Gemma Arterton, Martin Compston, Eddie Marsan. 100min. Two ex-cons kidnap the daughter of a wealthy businessman (Arterton), and keep her tied up at their bolt-hole whilst they demand a ransom. Alice, however, refuses to meekly accept her fate. A pared-down three-hander, restricted almost entirely to one stylized setting. Showcase Cinema, Paisley; Cameo, Edinburgh. Distant Voices, Still Lives (15) ●●●●● (Terence Davies, UK, 1988) Freda Dowie, Pete Postlethwaite, Angela Walsh, Dean Williams. 85min. In the Liverpool of the late 40s and early 50s, a working class household perseveres through domestic violence, death and marriage. A brilliantly made tribute to the filmmaker Davies’ family experience, and a requiem for a way of life now past. CCA, Glasgow. Dogtooth (18) ●●●●● (Giorgos Lanthimos, Greece, 2009) Christos Stergioglou, Michelle Valley, Aggeliki Papoulia. 97min. A dark fairytale for contemporary times, Dogtooth tells the story of three grown up children who have been brought up without venturing beyond the tall fence that surrounds their house. Lanthimos explores the logic and boundaries of what we deem to be right or wrong, in a situation where social norms have been removed or subverted – a deeply memorable, stylish, anarchic but assured piece of filmmaking. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Edinburgh’s Telford College (15) (Various, UK, 2010) 120min. Shorts from this year’s cream of the crop of TV students in the Telford College Degree Show. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. An Education (12A) ●●●●● (Lone Scherfig, UK, 2009) Peter Sarsgaard, Emma Thompson, Alfred Molina. 99min. Sarsgaard is on top form as seductive cad David, the older man responsible for educating bright but confused schoolgirl Jenny (Mulligan) in matters of love and life in swinging sixties London. Scherfig here combines romantic drama and the coming-of-age tale to wholly enjoyable effect. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Eurovision Party & Broadcast (PG) (Norway, 2010) 90min. Live broadcast of the annual multinational festival of camp hilarity, direct from Oslo. Cameo, Edinburgh. Eyes Wide Open (12A) ●●●●● (Haim Tabakman, Israel/Germany/France, 2009) Zohar Strauss, Ran Danker, Tinkerbell. 96min. Tabakman’s feature debut is a gay melodrama set in the ultra orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem, chronicling a passionate affair between introverted Aaron (Strauss) and his rootless employee Ezri (Danker). Ultimately too clichéd a tale of doomed love and unbending doctrine to be either compelling or memorable. Selected release. The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (PG) ●●●●● (Karel Zeman, Czech Republic, 1961) 83min. Using a mix of stop motion animation, live action and special effects, Zeman blends an enchanting tale based on the story of the legendary liar, Baron Munchausen. Part of Zeman season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Fantastic Mr Fox (PG) ●●●●● (Wes Anderson, USA, 2009) Voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Adrien Brody. 88min. Anderson’s inspired choice of stop-motion animation pays off in this beautiful and idiosyncratic adaptation of the well-loved children’s tale. While kids may enjoy it, Anderson’s typically arch humour is aimed more at their parents, who will also be impressed by the star-studded voice cast – Bill Murray as a badger lawyer anyone?. Cineworld Fountainpark, Edinburgh. Fight Club (18) ●●●●● (David Fincher, US, 1999) Brad Pitt, Ed Norton, Helena Bonham Carter. 135min. Masculinity is in a mess and consumerism is to blame. Men have become docile spectators of life according to Fight Club, Fincher’s controversial adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel. In reckless response to this late 20th century malaise, Norton’s compliant spectator teams up with Pitt’s mischievous Tyler Durden to form an arena for men to beat each other to a pulp and thus reconnect with the world. It’s hit and miss, but enough of the punches connect to startle even the most meek of viewers. Scotsman Screening Room, Edinburgh. Film Discussion Group Meet up with film buffs to swap opinions and perceptions
of both art house and big blockbuster recent releases. Held on the second Wednesday of every month. Glasgow Film Theatre. Firebrand Women and the F Word (16) (Various) 90min. GWL screens samples of testimonies from women involved in the birth of the feminist movement and followed by a screening of The F Word, a film made by Pilton Video in partnership with GWL on the impact of feminism on young women’s lives. CCA, Glasgow. Fish Child (15) ●●●●● (Lucía Puenzo, Argentina/France/Spain, 2009) Inés Efron, Mariela Vitale, Pep Munné. 96min. Lesbian crime thriller from director of XXY about the daughter of a prominent judge who is having an illicit affair with their maid. Glasgow Film Theatre.
✽✽ Four Lions (15) ●●●●● (Christopher Morris, UK, 2010)
Benedict Cumberbatch, Alex MacQueen, Julia Davis. 101min. Post-9/11 worthiness put aside, Morris hits the right note as he pokes fun at prejudices with some hapless British Muslims who want to blow themselves up as part of a misconstrued notion of Jihad. Selected release. 184.108.40.206 (15) ●●●●● (Noel Clarke, UK, 2010) Emma Roberts, Tamsin Egerton, Ophelia Lovibond. 116min. See review, page 57 and profile. Selected release. Furry Vengeance (PG) ●●●●● (Roger Kumble, US/United Arab Emirates, 2010) Brendan Fraser, Brooke Shields, Ken Jeong. 91min. A band of angry animals teaches an ambitious real estate developer (Fraser) a lesson when his housing development encroaches on their wilderness habitat in this likeably silly, family comedy with a welcome ecological message. General release. The Ghost (15) ●●●●● (Roman Polanski, UK, 2010) Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall. 127min. This adaptation by Polanski and Harris of the latter’s ‘what if?’ novel is a wintry Hitchcockian thriller in which McGregor’s everyman figure – an unnamed ghostwriter offered $250 million for four weeks work – becomes embroiled in a conspiracy where nothing is quite what it seems. If this doesn’t register as a major Polanski work, it still demonstrates his ability to create through mise-en-scène a mood of disquieting claustrophobia. Selected release.
✽✽ The Girl on The Train (E) ●●●●● (André Téchiné, France,
2009) Emilie Dequenne, Catherine Deneuve, Michel Blanc. 102min. See review, page 55. Glasgow Film Theatre. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (18) ●●●●● (Niels Arden Oplev, Sweden, 2009) Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Peter Haber. 152min. When investigative journalist Mikhael Blomkvist (Nyqvist) is called upon by an ageing Swedish industrialist to investigate the 40-year-old disappearance of his beloved great niece, his careful investigations get nowhere until a mysterious gothic Pippi Longstocking (Rapace) intervenes. The first of Stieg Laarson’s deservedly successful millennium thrillers receives a faithful but laborious film treatment. Cameo, Edinburgh.
Woody Allen: An Introspective To coincide with the release of Allen’s new film
Whatever Works this 16 film-strong retrospective of Allen’s very best comedies and melodramas is a welcome reminder of Allen’s talent and profligacy. Highlights include ‘earlier, funnier’ comedies Sleeper, Love and Death, Annie Hall and Manhattan (pictued) and later gems Zelig, Hannah and Her Sisters and Sweet and Lowdown. Book now. Ticket offers available. ■ Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Mon 31 May-Wed 16 Jun.