Monday, 30 December 2013

Tom's Theatre Shows of the Year 2013

1. True West
Written by Sam Shepard
Directed by Phillip Breen
Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow, October/November

The only show I saw twice this year. I did a write up on Sam Shepard's Q & A on the last night.



2. Arrivals and Departures
Written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, August



3. Untold Stories: Hymn and Cocktail Sticks
Written by Alan Bennett
Directed by Nadia Fall and Nicholas Hytner
Duchess Theatre, London, April



4. Time of My Life
Written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, August



5. The Low Road
Written by Bruce Norris
Directed by Dominic Cooke
The Royal Court, London, April



6. A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity
Written by Douglas Maxwell
Directed by Orla O'Laughlin
Oran Mor, Glasgow, February



7. The Commission
Written by Steven Dick
Directed by Pete Collins
Oran Mor, Glasgow, March



8. How to Catch a Cat Burglar
Written by Clare Shepard and Kenny Boyle
The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow, March

9. Each of Us
Written by Ben Moor
Directed by Erica Whyman
Pleasance Upstairs, Edinburgh, August

10. O Campeao Mundo Ocidental (The Playboy of the Western World)
Written by J.M. Synge
Directed by Jorge Silva
Melo Teatro Nacional, Lisbon, May

As the production was entirely in Portuguese I can't confidently say it was top drawer, but I enjoyed the experience and it did get a standing ovation at the end of the 90 minutes.

Special Mention

The Audience 
Written by Peter Morgan
Directed by Stephen Daldry

When I was in London in April I was quoted £200 for a ticket. I thought better of paying that. Instead I saw it in Cineworld in June. I thoroughly enjoyed it and had I actually seen it in the theatre I'm sure it would have been one of the best shows of the year.

Toms Films of 2013

Here's my tenth films of the year list. If there's any big omissions on the list it's probably because I didn't see it rather than I thought it was rubbish. I didn't see as many films as I would have liked in 2013.

1. Zero Dark Thirty (UK release date 25th January)
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Written by Mark Boal
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Darren Clarke, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton



 2. Django Unchained (UK release date 18th January)
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington



3. The Way Way Back (UK release date 28th August)
Written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Starring: Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, and Maya Rudolph



4. Nebraska (UK release date 6th December)
Directed by Alexander Payne
Written by Bob Nelson
Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Stacy Keach, and Bob Odenkirk



5. Behind the Candelabra (UK release date 7th June)
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Richard LaGravenese
Starring: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Dan Aykroyd, Scott Bakula, Rob Lowe, Debbie Reynolds



6. Prince Avalanche (UK release date 18th October)
Directed by David Gordon Green
Written by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (based on the film "Either Way"), David Gordon Green
Starring: Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch

 

7. Saving Mr. Banks (UK release date 29th November)
Directed by John Lee Hancock
Written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith
Starring: Emma Thompson,Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Colin Farrell



8. Gravity (UK release date 8th November)
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Written by Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón
Starring: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney



9. Prisoners (UK release date 27th September)
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Aaron Guzikowski
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano



10. Robot and Frank (UK release date 8th March)
Directed by Jake Schreier
Written by Christopher D. Ford
Starring: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, James Marsden, Liv Tyler



11. Frances Ha (UK release date 26th July)
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Written by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Charlotte d'Amboise, Adam Driver



12. The World's End (UK release date 19th July)
Directed by Edgar Wright
Written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike



13. World War Z (UK release date 21st June)
Directed by Marc Forster
Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, Peter Capaldi



14. The Conjuring (UK release date 2nd August)
Directed by James Wan
Written by Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor



15. Touchy Feely (No 2013 UK release)
Written and directed by Lynn Shelton
Starring: Rosemarie DeWitt, Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Josh Pais, Scoot McNairy, Ron Livingston



16. The Spectacular Now (No general 2013 UK release)
Directed by James Ponsoldt
Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler



My previous films of the year can be found below.

Tom's Films of 2012

Tom's Films of 2011

Tom's Films of 2010

Tom's Films of 2009

Tom’s Films of 2008

Tom’s Films of 2007

Tom’s Films of 2006

Tom’s Films of 2005

Tom’s Films of 2004

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Oscar Predictions

Here are my predictions for this afternoon's Oscar nominations. I'll update it later with what I got wrong and right.


Best Director
1.Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
2.Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
3.Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
4. Ben Affleck (Argo)
5.David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)

2 out of 5. I thought Kathryn Bigelow was a shoo-in.

Best Picture
1. Lincoln
2.Zero Dark Thirty
3. Silver Linings Playbook
4. The Master
5. Argo

4 out of 5.

Best Foreign Language Film
1.Austria, Amour
2.France, The Intouchables
3.Denmark, A Royal Affair
4.Chile, No
5.Norway, Kon-Tiki

4 out of 5

Best Documentary Feature
1.This Is Not a Film
2.Chasing Ice
3.The Imposter
4.Searching For Sugar Man
5.5 Broken Camera

2 out of 5

Best Animated Feature
1. Brave
2. Frankenweenie
3. ParaNorman
4. Hotel Transylvania
5.Wreck-It-Ralph

4 out of 5

Best Actress in a Leading Role
1. Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
2. Marianne Cotillard (Rust and Bone)
3.Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
4. Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
5. Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

4 out of 5

Best Actor in a Leading Role
1. John Hawkes (The Sessions)
2.Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln)
3. Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
4.Denzel Washington (Flight)
5.Jaquin Phoenix (The Master)
4 out of 5

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1.Kerry Washington (Django Unchained)
2.Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
3. Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
4.Amy Adams (The Master)
5.Sally Field (Lincoln)

4 out of 5

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1.Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
2.Scoot McNairy (Killing Them Softly)
3.Alan Arkin (Argo)
4.Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
5.Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)

4 out of 5. I knew Scoot McNairy was a wildcard.

Best Original Screenplay
1. Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)
2.Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
3.Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
4.Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)
5.Michael Hanke (Amour)

4 out of 5

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Chris Terrio (Argo)
2. Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
3. David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
4.Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
5. Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

4 out of 5

Best Production Design
1. Dan Hennah & Ra Vincent (The Hobbit: A Unexpected Journey)
2. David Crank, Jack Fisk & Amy Wells, (The Master)
3. Rick Carter, Jim Erickson & Peter T. Frank, (Lincoln)
4. Eve Stewart (Les Miserables)
5. Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer (Anna Karenina)

4 out of 5

Best Cinematography
1. Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight Rises)
2. Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi)
3. Janusz Kaminski (Lincoln)
4. Roger Deakins (Skyfall)
5. Ben Richardson (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

3 out of 5

Best Film Editing
1. Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg (Zero Dark Thirty)
2. Peter McNulty and Leslie Jones (The Master)
3. Fred Raskin (Django Unchained)
4. Michael Kahn (Lincoln)
5. William Goldenberg (Argo)

3 out of 5

Best Visual Effects
1.Life of Pi
2.The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
3.The Dark Knight Rises
4.Prometheus
5.Skyfall

3 out of 5

Best Costume Design
1. Jacqueline Durran (Anna Karenina)
2. Paco Delgado (Les Miserables)
3. Eiko Ishioka (Mirror Mirror)
4. Joanna Johnston (Lincoln)
5. Sharen Davis (Django Unchained)

4 out of 5

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
1. Hitchcock
2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
3. Les Miserables
4. Lincoln
5. Men In Black 3

Only 3 nominees so 3 out of 3, although I had 5 guesses.

Best Original Score
1.John Williams (Lincoln)
2.Jonny Greenwood (The Master)
3.Alexandre Desplat (Argo)
4.Michael Danna (Life of Pi)
5.Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

3 out of 5

An overall score of 65 out of 90 nominations correct.


Monday, 31 December 2012

Tom’s Theatre Shows of the Year 2012

Here's my top ten favourites from all the theatre I've seen in 2012.

1. All New People 
Written by Zach Braff
Directed by Peter DuBois
King’s Theatre, Glasgow, February

This play had its flaws certainly. In particular I thought the filmed excerpts revealing the characters' back stories was big time cheating. Michael Billington in The Guardian gave it a scathing review and to be honest I wouldn't really disagree with anything he says.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end, it worked well playing as 90 minutes without an interval and was engaging throughout. It's by no means the best written play on this list but it was probably my most enjoyable night at the theatre this year.

Here's a more positive review of it from the Telegraph. Below is Zach Braff being interviewed by STV.



2. Chalet Lines
Written by Lee Mattison
Directed by Madani Younis
Bush Theatre, London, April

A great all-female cast and a very funny script. The show covers five decades in the life of one family who celebrate family events at the same holiday camp.

Below is playwright Lee Mattison talking about the play.



3. Surprises
Written and Directed by Alan Ayckbourn
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, July

Alan Ayckbourn's 76th play, this was set in the future and deals with the subject of people living longer. This and 'Absurd Person Singular' featured probably the best ensemble cast of any show I've seen in 2012. Seeing them do two different productions in two nights (with a matinee in between) only increased my admiration for them. Everything you could possibly want to know about 'Surprises' you can find on this page at the excellent Alan Ayckbourn website.




4. Absurd Person Singular
Written and Directed by Alan Ayckbourn
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, July

In repertory with 'Surprises' was a revival of Ayckbourn's 'Absurd Person Singular'. Set over three Christmases in the kitchens of three couples it mixes poignancy with hilarious farce. Again, masses of information on this play from the Alan Ayckbourn website.

Below is a video of the impressive set changes that take place during the two intervals.



5. Absent Friends
Written by Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Jeremy Herrin
Harold Pinter Theatre, London, April

The third Ayckbourn on the list, another revival, with a fantastic set. Elizabeth Berrington was the stand-out in the cast for me, although when Reece Shearsmith finally arrives he's terrific. Below is a video of the cast talking about the production.



6. Bullet Catch
Written by Rob Drummond
Directed by David Overend and Rob Drummond
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, August

A thoroughly compelling hour in the theatre as Rob Drummond's William Wonder chooses a volunteer from the audience to shoot him. The night I saw the show the volunteer pulled out at the last minute which made it all the more exciting. His broken glass trick that precedes the actual bullet catch was arguably more thrilling.


Trailer for Rob Drummond's Bullet Catch (2012) from The Arches on Vimeo.

7. Steel Magnolias
Written by Robert Harling
Directed by Jim Ewing
Bookends Theatre Group, East Kilbride Arts Centre, January

The first of two non-professional shows on the list and the second play with an all-female cast. I've always liked the film version of 'Steel Magnolias' and Bookends did a great job with the play. The two stand-outs in the cast being Louise KS Stewart and Fiona McLaren.



8. Rolls in Their Pockets
Written by Rob Drummond
Directed by David Overend
A Play A Pie and A Pint, Oran Mor, Glasgow, March

The second appearance for Rob Drummond on my list, this is a conventional play set in a Glasgow bar. A very funny three-hander with an excellent cast of Laurie Ventry as Norman, Lewis Howden as Laurie, and Jordan Young as George.

Below is Rob talking about the play.



9. Bottleneck
Written by Luke Barnes
Directed by Steven Atkinson
Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, August

A compelling one man show set around a young Liverpool fan's ducking and diving to get a ticket for a big game. When we realise the game he's at is the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough the atmosphere changes significantly. The most effecting part of the show is when James Cooney's character is fighting for his life while looking for his pal on the terracing.



10. All My Sons
Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Deborah Mair
Strathclyde Theatre Group, Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow, November

The second non-professional production on the list. The show had a fantastic cast throughout, but the stand-outs for me were Barry Ward, Natalie Clark and especially Peter Williamson who brought some real compassion to the character of Joe Keller.

Tom's Films of 2012

Here's my films of the year. Thirty in total this time, as has been the custom over the last few year I have nothing to say about them. Not having written blog posts about them at the time it's difficult to try to have something relevant to say about 30 films all in one go, but anyway here you are.

1. God Bless America (UK release date 4th July)
Written and Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
Starring: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Mackenzie Brooke Smith and Melinda Page Hamilton

 

2. Killing Them Softly (UK release date 21st September)
Directed by Andrew Dominik
Screenplay by Andrew Dominik
Based on the novel ‘Cogan's Trade’ by George V. Higgins
Starring: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn



3. Moonrise Kingdom (UK release date 25th May)
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Bob Balaban



4. Seven Psychopaths (UK release date 5th December)
Written and Directed by Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken and Tom Waits

 

5. Argo (UK release date 7th November)
Directed by Ben Affleck
Screenplay by Chris Terrio
Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman

 

6. The Dark Knight Rises (UK release date 20th July)
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
Story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Morgan Freeman



7. The Hunt (UK release date 30th November)
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Screenplay by Tobias Lindholm and Thomas Vinterberg
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Alexandra Rapaport, Thomas Bo Larsen and Lars Ranthe

 

8. Sleepwalk With Me (No UK release)
Directed by Mike Birbiglia
Screenplay by Mike Birbiglia, Ira Glass, Joe Birbiglia and Seth Barrish
Starring: Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, Carol Kane and James Rebhorn



9. Wild Bill (UK release date 23rd March)
Directed by Dexter Fletcher
Screenplay by Dexter Fletcher and Danny King
Starring: Charlie Creed-Miles, Will Poulter, Sammy Williams, Iwan Rheon, Liz White and Leo Gregory



10. Sightseers (UK release date 30th November)
Directed by Ben Wheatley
Screenplay by Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Amy Jump
Starring: Alice Lowe and Steve Oram


11. The Descendants (UK release date 27th January)
Directed by Alexander Payne
Screenplay by Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash based on the novel 'The Descendants' by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard and Robert Forster



12. The Giant Mechanical Man (No UK release)
Written and Directed by Lee Kirk
Starring: Jenna Fischer, Chris Messina, Malin Akerman and Topher Grace



13. Shame (UK release date 13th January)
Directed by Steve McQueen
Screenplay by Steve McQueen and Abi Morgan
Starring: Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan



14. 2 Days in New York (UK release date 18th May)
Directed by Julie Delpy
Screenplay by Julie Delpy and Alexia Landeau
Starring: Chris Rock, Julie Delpy, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau and Alex Nahon


15. Skyfall (UK release date 26th October)
Directed by Sam Mendes
Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan
Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney and Judi Dench



16. Undefeated  (UK Release date 3rd August)
Directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin
Starring: Montrail 'Money' Brown, O.C. Brown, Bill Courtney and Chavis Daniels



17. Silver Linings Playbook (UK release date 21st November)
Written and Directed by David O. Russell
Based on the novel by Matthew Quick
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver and Chris Tucker



18. The Master (UK release date 2nd November)
Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams



19. Looper (UK release date 28th September)
Written and directed by Rian Johnson
Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo and Jeff Daniels



20. Shadow Dancer (UK release date 24th August)
Directed by James Marsh
Screenplay by Tom Bradby based on his novel
Starring: Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough and Gillian Anderson




21. Young Adult (UK release 3rd February)
Directed by Jason Reitman
Written by Diablo Cody
Starring: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Patton Oswalt, Emily Meade and Collette Wolfe

22. Chronicle (UK release 1st February)
Directed by Josh Trank
Screenplay by Max Landis and Josh Trank
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Dane DeHaan, Ashley Hinshaw, Alex Russell and Anna Wood

23. The Oranges (UK release 7th December)
Directed by Julian Farino
Screenplay by Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss
Starring: Leighton Meester, Hugh Laurie, Alia Shawkat, Catherine Keener, Allison Janney, Adam Brody and Oliver Platt

24. Dark Horse (UK release 29th June)
Written and directed by Todd Solondz
Starring: Jordan Gelber, Selma Blair, Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow

25. Your Sister’s Sister (UK release 29th June)
Written and directed by Lynn Shelton
Starring: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark Duplass, Mike Birbiglia, Jeanette Maus and Mel Eslyn

26. Ted (UK release 1st August)
Directed by Seth MacFarlane
Screenplay by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild
Starring: Mila Kunis, Mark Wahlberg, Laura Vandervoort, Seth MacFarlane, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton

27. Shut Up and Play the Hits (UK release 7th September)
Directed by Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern
Starring:  James Murphy, Chuck Klosterman, Pat Mahoney, Tyler Pope, Al Doyle,Gavin Russom and Nancy Whang

28. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (UK release 16th March)
Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Screenplay by Ebru Ceylan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Ercan Kesal
Starring: Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel, Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan, Firat Tanis and Ercan Kesal

29. The Imposter (UK release 24th August)
Directed by Bart Layton
Starring: Adam O'Brian, Anna Ruben, Cathy Dresbach, Alan Teichman, Ivan Villanueva and Maria Jesus Hoyos

30. The Grey (UK release 27th January) Directed by Joe Carnahan
Screenplay by Joe Carnahan and Ian Mackenzie Jeffers
Starring Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, James Badge Dale, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson and Frank Grillo

If you want to see what made the list from 2004-2011 you can do so below.

Tom's Films of 2011

Tom's Films of 2010

Tom's Films of 2009

Tom’s Films of 2008

Tom’s Films of 2007

Tom’s Films of 2006

Tom’s Films of 2005

Tom’s Films of 2004

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Tom's Films of 2011

Here it is again, my annual round-up of films of the year. There's not much to separate the first four. Any one of them really could fill the top spot, but just to make things neat and tidy I've given them all their own number.

I'd love to be a bit more insightful about them all, but I held off putting the list together for so long to actually craft some genuinely profound things to say about them all would have delayed it even longer. In fact I'm not going to say much about them at all. They all have strong scripts, direction and acting, some were funny, some sad, one in particular quite difficult to watch. If you want to know more about any of them you've not seen there's the links to their websites and trailers to view.

1. Submarine (UK release date 18th March)

Directed by Richard Ayoade

Screenplay by Richard Ayoade
Based on the novel 'Submarine' by Joe Dunthorne

Starring: Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins



2. Animal Kingdom (UK release date 25th February)

Written and directed by David Michôd

Starring: Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Luke Ford, Jacki Weaver, Sullivan Stapleton, James Frecheville



Here's a link to play or download former Creative Screenwriting editor Jeff Goldsmith's podcast with director David Michôd and stars James Frecheville and Jacki Weaver.

3. The Guard (UK release date 19th August)

Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham, Michael Og Lane, David Wilmot, Mark Strong, Fionnula Flanagan



4. Drive (UK release date 23rd September)

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Screenplay by Hossein Amini
Based on the novel 'Drive' by James Sallis

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks



Here's Jeff Goldsmith's interview with director Nicolas Winding Refn.

5. Super 8 (UK release date 5th August)

Written and directed by J. J. Abrams

Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Riley Griffiths



Play or download Jeff Goldsmith's interview with J. J. Abrams here.

6. Snowtown (UK release date 18th November)

Directed by Justin Kurzel
Screenplay by Shaun Grant
Story by Shaun Grant and Justin Kurzel



If you've already seen the film, you might want to watch the 55 minute documentary below about the real case.



7. Crazy, Stupid, Love (UK release date 23rd September)

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Written by Dan Fogelman

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, John Carroll Lynch, Marisa Tomei, Analeigh Tipton, Kevin Bacon



8. The King's Speech (UK release date 7th January)

Directed by Tom Hooper
Screenplay by David Seidler

Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter



9. The Fighter (UK release date 2nd February)

Directed by David O. Russell
Screenplay by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams



10. Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy (UK release date 16th September)

Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Screenplay by Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan

Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds



Jeff Goldsmith's interview with co-writer Peter Straughan is here.

11. The Ides of March (UK release date 28th October)

Directed by George Clooney

Screenplay by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
Based on the play 'Farragut North' by Beau Willimon

Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood



12. Win Win (UK release date 20th May)

Written and directed by Thomas McCarthy

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Alex Shaffer, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Burt Young,
Melanie Lynskey



Jeff Goldsmith interviews writer-director Thomas McCarthy and actors Jeffrey Tambor and Melanie Lynskey here.

13. Terri (No UK cinema release)

Directed by Azazel Jacobs
Written by Patrick DeWitt

Starring: John C. Reilly, Jacob Wysocki, Bridger Zadina, Creed Bratton



An interview with director Azazel Jacobs on Film School Rejects.

14. Bobby Fischer Against the World (UK release date 15th July)

Directed by Liz Garbus



15. Moneyball (UK release date 25th November)

Directed by Bennett Miller
Screenplay by Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman



16. Barney's Version (UK release date 28th January)

Directed by Richard J. Lewis

Screenplay by Michael Konyves
Based on the novel 'Barney's Version' by Mordecai Richler

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Rachelle Lefevre, Scott Speedman, Dustin Hoffman



An mp3 of The Collider's interview with Paul Giamatti is here.

A short segment on the book's author Mordecai Richler is below.



17. Bridesmaids (UK release date 24th June)

Directed by Paul Feig
Screenplay by Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Chris O'Dowd, Jill Clayburgh, Jon Hamm (uncredited)



Jeff Goldsmith's interview with co-writer/star Kristen Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo is here.

18. Page One: Inside the New York Times (UK release date 23rd September)

Directed by Andrew Rossi



19. Attack The Block (UK release date 13th May)

Written and directed by Joe Cornish

Starring: Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Simon Howard, Luke Treadaway, Jumayn Hunter, Nick Frost



Jeff Goldsmith's interview with Joe Cornish is here.

20. Fire in Babylon (UK release date 20th May)

Directed by Stevan Riley



If you want to see what made the list in 2004-2010 you can do so below.

Tom's Films of 2010

Tom's Films of 2009

Tom’s Films of 2008

Tom’s Films of 2007

Tom’s Films of 2006

Tom’s Films of 2005

Tom’s Films of 2004

Friday, 31 December 2010

Top Ten Things of 2010

As I don’t get to the cinema that often, but don’t want to be left out and feel as if I should post something on the blog this year at least, I’ve knocked up a wee list of 10 things of note from the year from my completely irrelevant perspective. I’ll steer clear of mawkish stuff about my family who are always the highlight of the year for me and stick with more personal stuff. No particular order btw.

The Chilean Miners

Charlie Brooker pretty much summed this up on his excellent (if slightly overlong) 2010 wipe the other night, but I have to admit I shed a wee tear when the first guy came up and his wee girl came over to hug him.

This was a genuinely pleasant story, during which the vagaries of the “24 hour news cycle” seemed slightly less irksome. There was still plenty of narrative fabrication and absolutely loads of reporters standing around reporting on sod all from where sod all was happening (live!) but all in all it was nice to see the news media focus on a positive event for once rather than see them default to their seemingly natural position of spouting a generally inaccurate and ceaseless account of world wide fear, death and disaster.

Inception

This astonishing film (#2 in Tom’s annual Top Ten) was so good, it made me forget that I was watching what was in large part a fairly dry tale of industrial espionage involving the highly unethical mental manipulation of an unwitting individual. The fact that you are rooting for characters who are to say the least ethically suspect provides an aside about the power of cinema and indeed perspective. This result is achieved thanks to a series of excellent performances, (particularly from Tom Hardy) and visual effects that leave you little time to ruminate on any fleeting misgivings.

It’s also of course at its heart a love story and it is the compelling, passionate tragedy of this aspect of the story that provides the beam on which the rest of the film is balanced.

A sensational, brilliantly executed film from one of the most exciting talents in Hollywood. I cannot wait for The Dark Knight Rises.

Getting an Xbox 360

Self-explanatory really – one of the main reasons I have written nothing of any great substance this year.

Discovering Spotify

I tend to rely on Tom when it comes to finding out about new online thingamajigs and thankfully he managed to persuade me that Spotify was worth a try. And what a joy it is. As much as I’ve enjoyed the playlists of many friends and strangers alike, what I really love about it is you can find something to match your exact mood at any given time of the day. This has led me to discover that Saturday mornings are all about disco era Kiss for me, and how could I have possibly been expected to live without knowing that about myself?

Getting a Smartphone

What a revelation this was. As you may have guessed from the last entry, I am a bit rubbish when it comes to embracing new tech. This is partly because I’m not easy and need be wooed over a lengthy spell – it’s also probably because I’ve never really had the money for gadgets before so have consciously or otherwise characterised any new development as crap in order to assuage disappointment in not being able to join in.

Peer pressure eventually told. Genuinely bewildered by the various options, I got a Blackberry because all my mates had one. As soon as I joined them they almost all switched to the iPhone, as if my joining the Blackberry squad was in itself some kind of jump the shark moment. But to say I’m happy is an understatement. I can’t imagine how I functioned in what I now lovingly refer to as “the before times”.


The 75th Anniversary of DC Comics


The 75th Anniversary of DC Comics has been marked by some wonderful books and ephemera celebrating the home of Batman, Superman and many, many others.

My personal favourites have been the vertebrae crumblingly substantial “The Art of Modern Mythmaking” by Paul Levitz and "DC Comics: The 75th Anniversary Poster Book".

“The Art of Modern Mythmaking” is a 720 page, beautifully presented tome weighting in at 15.9 pounds and is genuinely difficult to read without superpowers of your own. It’s worth the extra effort though and is brim full of Levitz’s taut, scholarly prose and amazing artwork from down the years reproduced on high quality heavy stock paper. Some may find it a bit pricey at £76.23 (Price from Amazon 31/12/10).

"The 75th Anniversary Poster Book" is slightly less of a struggle coming as it does in softcover. Here, we are treated to page after page of full colour reproductions of classic DC covers down the decades, each page perforated in case you want to neatly pull one out for framing. It’s just a very nice, simple and effective encapsulation of what has made DC a veritable icon factory over the years and it’s a bit less of a strain on the pocket as well at a modest £12.49.

Getting Worryingly Enthusiastic About Toys

Bad enough really that I never chucked a lot of my old ones away, however this year has seen me buy among other things a Blammoid Batman (Series 2) and Mini Mate versions of Booster Gold and The Blue Beetle, the latter mainly so I could recreate this harrowing scene of senseless murder from classic DC crossover series "Infinite Crisis"…



Having More Money Than Usual

This year has pretty much been the first that I’ve been able to pay the bills and have some money left over. Not loads, but some. I mention this not to suggest I’ve achieved anything because of course I haven’t but really because it’s been the most unnerving and unsettling experience. Proper weird. Having never had any before, I genuinely don’t know what to do with any extra money. If I do spend some, I second guess the purchase to death and think of 10 other things I should have done with it instead. If I save it, I worry some disaster will hit the house or the family and it will be gobbled up in one. It’s been a long road leading me to the final conclusion that I’m a twat who should worry less. Now excuse me while I head over to Amazon…

News of the Avengers Movie

People who aren’t into comics, sci-fi or all that gubbins will have no idea what I’m talking about but the few of us who do will know what a huge waste of time comic/pop culture conventions are. If you actually go, you pay through the nose to fight with other allergy infested nerds for panel seats on the off-chance that someone might say something that hasn’t already been all over the internet. If you don’t, the Internet is fairly bulging with sites and bloggers dying to feed you every tiny mini-morsel of what can often be laughingly referred to as “news”.

But…once in a while, a convention produces a spine tingling moment, and so it was at the San Diego Comic Con when Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr. brought on the full cast for the Avengers film followed by director Joss Whedon. A whispered half-rumour for such a long time, the fact that this film will finally be made with this cast and director is possibly the most exciting movie news I’ve ever heard.



Discovering Twitter

By far and away the most impactful discovery of the year for me was Twitter. Again, I have to thank Tom for persevering with me on this – I resisted for a looooong time.

As dull as it can sometimes be and as full of bots and twots as it plainly is, Twitter is also home to a huge array of just genuinely brilliant people, communicating away right in the face of all the doomsayers who tell us the dialogue is over, that people just have nothing left to say to each other. What rot.

I started tweeting in March and so far I’ve reconnected with people I’d lost touch with, made some new and very amusing pals and have even managed to make a few quid in the process.

I should have realised really that this 140-character world would be the ideal place for a lazy but attention seeking plum such as myself.

2010’s been a mixed bag really as years tend to be. A lot of good, some bad and the hardest part to get through, the vast grey bulk that makes up the lion's share. But at least there have been a few things, people and events worth pulling back the covers for. See you hopefully a bit more often on Talking Pish in 2011.

Tom's Films of 2010

It’s that time of year you’ve all been waiting for where I unveil my top 10 films of the year. Like last year I’ve left it too late to write anything insightful about any of them, so I’ll just try to link to other people’s thoughts. So here we go...

1. Four Lions

Directed by Chris Morris
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak, Adeel Akhtar and Craig Parkinson

Funny and surprisingly moving the eagerly awaite feature film debut from Chris Morris takes my top spot. For everything Four Lions related head over to the Cook’d and Bomb Four Lions forum thread.

2. Inception

Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Tom Berenger and Michael Caine

A stunning piece of filmmaking from one of cinema’s most exciting filmmakers.

What the hell was it about? The best analysis of it can be found on the excellent blog ‘Go Into the Story’. Scott Myers offers his own and links to several other theries and opinions on it. If you’re interested start with this one.

3. The Social Network

Directed by David Fincher
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Brenda Song, Rooney Mara and Rashida Jones

A film written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher was always going to be a must-see for me. Not much happens in the film, yet it’s still absolutely compelling. Here’s Go Into the Story again on why The Social Network should not have worked, and why it does.

If you want some more reading here’s an in-depth article on the film from New York magazine. It also goes into some detail explaining how although Sorkin’s script was credited in the film as being an adaptation of Ben Mezrich’s book “The Accidental Billionaires”, he could be nominated for an Oscar in the Original Screenplay category.

4. Up In The Air

Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick

A Terrific script, superb cinematography, some great acting and a story that doesn’t really go where you expect it to.

Here’s Go Into the Story on the relationship between the two screenwriters Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner.

5. Precious

Directed by Lee Daniels
Starring: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz and Sherri Shepherd

Brutal yet, on occasion, funny. Amazing performances from Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique. Yes, Mo’Nique really is fantastic in this.

Here's an interview with screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher from the Writers Guild of America, West.

6. Big Fan

Directed by Robert D. Siegel
Starring: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport, Marcia Jean Kurtz and Matt Servitto

A career best performance fromone of my favourite comedians, Patton Oswalt. A dark comedy in the vein of The King of Comedy.

Here’s an interview with Siegel and Oslwat from Cinema Blend.

7. A Prophet

Directed by Jacques Audiard
Starring: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup and Adel Bencherif

The only foreign language film in my top ten. This brutal French prison drama was gripping, with a fine central performance from Tahar Rahim as a young man who grows in prison.

Here’s Blog on the Box talking with Rahim.

8. American: The Bill Hicks Story

Directed by Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas
Starring: Kevin Booth, John Farneti and Bill Hicks

An interesting well-made documentary that takes a device seen in ‘The Kid Stays in the Picture’ to tell the story of Bill Hicks. The DVD has a wealth of interesting extras that makes it well worth a purchase.

Here's a video interview with the directors from Screen Rush.

9. The Town

Directed by Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper

Affleck's début feature 'Gone Baby Gone' topped my list in 2008, so this film now confirms him as one of my favourite current directors. Great to see Mad Men's Jon Hamm starting to get meatier film roles now too.

Here's a screenwriting analysis of it from Go Into the Story.

10. A Single Man

Directed by Tom Ford
Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode and Nicholas Hoult

An incredibly stylish film I don't think anyone on screen this year looked better than Colin Firth.

Here's an interview with director Tom Ford from The Guardian.

This has been the seventh Talking Pish round up of the films of the year. You can find the others below.

Tom's Films of 2009

Tom’s Films of 2008

Tom’s Films of 2007

Tom’s Films of 2006

Tom’s Films of 2005

Tom’s Films of 2004

Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Man in the Middle

For the last ten weeks I've been attending the SFA's referees training course. Tomorrow night I should receive my ref's registration number and whatever other paraphernalia we're awarded at the end of the course. This I'll be receiving from Scotland's newest most hated man, Willie Collum.

This of course means that the job I'm now most qualified to do is arguably the most thankless task in all of the country. I don't think there could be a worse time to become a referee. The overturned penalty scandal and the subsequent fallout would suggest it's a profession best body swerved.

This statement by Hearts doesn't exactly make you want to rush into refereeing any time soon either.

The course itself was pretty interesting and has sharpened my knowledge of the rules. Over the weeks probably the favourite thing that I have learned is that the goal shown in the YouTube clip down below is now, as it was then, perfectly legal. I'm told though that 90% of referees would disallow it.

Monday, 13 September 2010

To Jump the Shark

Here's a good article from Fred Fox Jr., the man who by writing an episode of 'Happy Days' inadvertently coined the phrase 'Jump the Shark'.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Arcade Fire Live 2003

Here's a 15 minute film of Arcade Fire live in Toronto in 2003.

ARCADE FIRE Live 2003 from Bennett on Vimeo.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Frightened Rabbit Live

Here's a full hour of Frightened Rabbit live in San Francisco.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

I'm Still Here Trailer

Is Joaquin Phoenix off his nut? Possibly.

Booze, Broads and Bowling

Meet Rocky Salemmo. He’s a ramblin’ gamblin’ man. A short documentary by Sean Dunne.

The Bowler from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

Arena: The Confessions of Robert Crumb

The whole documentary.