Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Empire Blogs

Under The RadarVenice 2012: To The Wonder

Posted on Monday September 3, 2012, 13:54 by Damon Wise in Under The Radar
Venice 2012: To The Wonder

Terrence Malick's To The Wonder was, after The Master, perhaps the hottest ticket on the Lido this year, but the scenes outside the cinema at yesterday morning's press screening were nothing like the carnage that occurred before the equivalent screening of Tree Of Life last year in Cannes. Perhaps it's because attendances are down this year, maybe it's because Ben Affleck is no Brad Pitt, or it could just be that Tree Of Life was so long in the making that it became almost mythical. Any which way, it just didn't seem that there was the same level of interest in Malick's relatively rapid follow-up.

Which was perhaps just as well, since To The Wonder is a very disappointing film that borders on self-parody with its tics and flourishes. I wasn't wild about Tree Of Life, but I did feel that – outside of the dreadful Sean Penn scenes – it had a visual lyricism and a strong narrative angle,...

Continue reading...

Comment Now (2 comments)




Back To Top

Under The RadarVenice 2012: The Master

Posted on Saturday September 1, 2012, 12:02 by Damon Wise in Under The Radar
Venice 2012: The Master

The Master is one of those films that takes on a life before anyone has seen it, fuelled by rumour and information of the dis- and mis- kind. Before going any further, I feel duty-bound to say that this film is not in any way “about” Scientology or a takedown of L Ron Hubbard and his pseudo-scientific “religion”. If anything, it is a very old-fashioned love story, forged in the style of Nicholas Ray or, at a push, Douglas Sirk, and should perhaps be regarded as a man's picture of the kind lately being made by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Biutiful) or Jacques Audiard (Rust And Bone).

Where to start? After There Will Be Blood, this is another outstanding technical achievement from Paul Thomas Anderson, and, visually, the film is near faultless. Some felt it a little long, and it does wobble slightly in the second half, but this felt more controlled than its predecessor, at least to me. If TWBB was about the founding of contemporary America in a ...

Continue reading...

Comment Now (2 comments)




Back To Top

Under The RadarVenice 2012: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Iceman and Bait

Posted on Thursday August 30, 2012, 14:21 by Damon Wise in Under The Radar
Venice 2012: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Iceman and Bait

After Black Swan and The Ides Of March, Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist seemed like an odd choice to start the 69th Venice Film Festival. There's still some Hollywood star wattage there, with supporting turns from Liev Schreiber, Kate Hudson and Keifer Sutherland, but here they are pressed into the service of a provocative political drama that questions the validity of the American dream to outsiders. In short, it is a pro-America film that dares voice un-American thoughts, and though it is perhaps overlong and certainly uneven at times, there's a lot to think about here.

For this we can thank Riz Ahmed, who is fast becoming one of the best leading men of his generation. If it wasn't for him, this film simply world not work, since it asks us to identify with him as Changez Khan, a smart and sensitive Pakistani man who appears to drift from privilege and social conformism to radical terrorism (which isn't unprecedente...

Continue reading...

Comment Now




Back To Top

Under The RadarFrightFest 2012: After, Chained, The Possession, Tower Block

Posted on Tuesday August 28, 2012, 00:10 by Owen Williams in Under The Radar
FrightFest 2012: After, Chained, The Possession, Tower Block

FrightFest ends as it began, with another world premiere of another British film with Paul Hyett’s name in the credits (though further down than in his own The Seasoning House from Friday). Before Tower Block though, the rest of the day in Screen 1 at the Empire Leicester Square is a mixed bag.
Ryan Smith’s After is a modest supernatural mystery, about Anna and Freddy, who meet on an otherwise empty bus and strike up an awkward conversation, just before an apparent crash that blacks them out. When they wake up, both in their respective homes, some weeks appear to have passed, the world has emptied of any other people, parts of their small town seem to be reverting to the past, and there’s a dense black cloud covering all the town’s exits and gradually encroaching towards the centre. Steven Strait and Karolina Wydra are likeable as the two leads, and the film as a whole has a pleasantly unassuming ind...

Continue reading...

Comment Now




Back To Top

Under The RadarFrightFest 2012: Seasoning House, Nightbreed, Hidden in the Woods, V/H/S, [REC]3

Posted on Saturday August 25, 2012, 00:10 by Owen Williams in Under The Radar
FrightFest 2012: Seasoning House, Nightbreed, Hidden in the Woods, V/H/S, [REC]3

The biggest Film4 FrightFest yet kicks off on Thursday night with The Seasoning House, although not before Ross Noble (whose film Stitches is playing here this weekend) has taken the stage and suggested killing an orphan for the bloodthirsty throng. There are, he discerns, apparently no limits to what we’ll tolerate. Which is reasonably good news for this year’s festival-opening world premiere. The Seasoning House is the directorial debut of FX guru Paul Hyett, but it’s a stranger and more low-key work than you might expect if you know the barnstorming stuff he’s previously done for the likes of Neil Marshall (who gets a little cameo in this). Set in a vaguely undefined part of the Balkans during a vaguely undefined 1990s conflict, it’s about a deaf-mute slave girl, nicknamed Angel, working in a “brothel” (in the loosest sense of the term) that trades in kidnapped and trafficked war orphans for the pl...

Continue reading...

Comment Now (1 comment)




Back To Top

Under The RadarKarlovy Vary Film Festival 2012: The Almost Man, In The Fog and two from Jean-Pierre Melville

Posted on Monday July 9, 2012, 00:29 by Damon Wise in Under The Radar
Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2012: The Almost Man, In The Fog and two from Jean-Pierre Melville

The 47th Karlovy Film festival came to an end on Saturday after the jury presented Norway's Martin Lund with the Grand Prix – and $25,000 – for his film The Almost Man. I have to say, though, that for this to be the case there couldn't have been much strong competition. Although it has some very funny moments, and an engagingly offbeat leading man in the Chris O'Dowd-like Henrik Rafaelson (who also won Best Actor), this might have been better titled The Almost Film. Inevitably for a Scandinavian film, it raises the spectre of Denmark's Dogme movement, not so much for its jittery, handheld style but for the simplicity of the story, its realism and its darkness.

Rafaelson plays Henrik (itself a Dogme-esque flourish), a 30-something husband whose work life is going nowhere. Henrik is bored at the office and unwilling to commit fully to starting a family with his wife at home, and so he lives in a childlike, childless limbo, unwilling to jettison t...

Continue reading...

Comment Now




Back To Top

Under The RadarKarlovy Vary Film Festival 2012: Kenneth Lonergan interview

Posted on Friday July 6, 2012, 17:32 by Damon Wise in Under The Radar
Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2012: Kenneth Lonergan interview

Kenneth Lonergan's extraordinary film Margaret premiered in London on December 2 last year in a single screen at arguably one of London's most unremarkable cinemas. This was three months after it bowed in the US, where it fared little better. But, miraculously, there was a lot of goodwill surrounding the second film from the director of 2000's Oscar-nominated Sundance hit You Can Count On Me. Telling the story of Margaret (Anna Paquin), a somewhat dramatic, privileged New York teenager whose life is changed when she accidentally causes the death of a pedestrian by distracting a bus driver, the film was a long 11 years in gestation and nearly three hours in running time when it reached screens here and in the US.

I caught up with Lonergan this week in the Czech Republic at the 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where the release cut of the film was playing to packed houses. Because of a potentially ruinous lawsuit, which could, say sources, ba...

Continue reading...

Comment Now




Back To Top

Under The RadarKarlovy Vary International Film Festival 2012: Good Vibrations

Posted on Sunday July 1, 2012, 09:27 by Damon Wise in Under The Radar
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2012: Good Vibrations

What is a film about a man who once ran a record shop in Northern Ireland doing opening a film festival in Eastern Europe? That was the question that was bothering me on my way to the 47th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Are they such fans here of arcane punk trivia that a film dramatising the signing of The Undertones would be seen as positively mainstream? But when I finally saw it, I realised that this film by Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D'Sa is actually a pretty good fit for a country that has had to navigate an exit from communism while resisting co-option by the west. Though it appears to be a biopic, Good Vibrations is actually a very buoyant and really quite infectious film about the power of hope as a force for change. It is also – quite crucially at a time when the coalition government is sidelining the young in far worse ways than Margaret Thatcher ever did – a very t...

Continue reading...

Comment Now




Back To Top

Under The RadarEdinburgh Film Festival 2012: Ten Picks

Posted on Wednesday June 20, 2012, 12:01 by Damon Wise in Under The Radar
Edinburgh Film Festival 2012: Ten Picks

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is upon us once again. Let's not dwell on last year's debacle, a complete farrago management-wise that still managed to provide some excellent movies thanks to its ever-vigilant and tasteful creative team. We can accept that the EIFF has never been the richest festival on the block, but last year's ridiculously drastic austerity measures simply went too far. Happily, the programming under the fantastic new festival director Chris Fujiwara shows the pendulum swinging back the other way, not towards lavish parties and A-list guests but towards a firm commitment to emerging talent, cult movies and other leftfield discoveries.

As a result, this year's roster is incredibly audacious; there are next to no budget-gobbling megastars, and a surprising amount isn't even in the English language, making Fujiwara's festival an exciting, new and very European-feeling addition to a crowded calendar. The festival starts tonight, and there'll ...

Continue reading...

Comment Now (3 comments)




Back To Top

Under The RadarCannes 2012: The Awards

Posted on Monday May 28, 2012, 13:28 by Damon Wise in Under The Radar
Cannes 2012: The Awards

And so the dust settles on another grueling Cannes. I now longer know where I am, who you are or what day it is, but I dimly recall something about a Palme D'Or last night. On reflection, the decision to award it to Michael Haneke's Amour was, like The Artist at the Oscars, something of a dead cert, with critics trying to roll back the tide by positioning several other movies as the one that could and would beat it. I wasn't completely sold on it, because I never am fully sold on Haneke's films (with the exception of The White Ribbon), but there was never any doubt that this was Palme D'Or material. Though I would dearly have loved to have seen Holy Motors take the prize (even though it is weirdly similar in its themes), it would have seemed a bit silly and even a bit mean in the face of Amour's seriousness and power, notably from its excellent two leads.

I always stay for the awards since it is a stark reminder of the gulf between the press and the ju...

Continue reading...

Comment Now (1 comment)




Back To Top

Earlier Posts Later Posts

CATEGORIES

Empire States (440)

Under The Radar (317)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (35)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Night Visions 2013: The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, We Are What We Are, Big Bad Wolves
By Owen Williams

Night Visions 2013: Jodorowsky's Dune, Nightsatan & The Loops Of Doom
By Owen Williams

Night Visions 2013: Adjust Your Tracking (or Does Anyone Actually Miss VHS?)
By Owen Williams

Night Visions 2013: Fresh Meat, The Colony, Sawney
By Owen Williams

Film4 FrightFest 2013: Sunday and Monday
By Owen Williams

Film4 FrightFest 2013: Thursday and Friday
By Owen Williams

Bloody Cuts In Conversation
By Owen Williams

European Film Awards 2012
By Owen Williams

Night Visions 2012: Silje Reinamo and Thale
By Owen Williams

Night Visions 2012: Juan Martinez Moreno and Attack of the Werewolves
By Owen Williams


RECENT COMMENTS

Night Visions 2013: Adjust Your Tracking (or Does Anyone Actually Miss VHS?)
"Or don't..."  Owen Williams
Read comment

Aruba 2013: Juan Francisco Pardo Q&A
"Sadece on altı dakika içinde iyi bir görsel hikaye anlatmak önemli beceri ve bel"  skndrdmr
Read comment

Aruba 2013: Opening Gala
"That really amazing."  ommrudraksha
Read comment

2013 IIFF - The Winners
"Hi Simon, Trying to get in touch with you. Hope this works. I enjoyed your piece on Enter t"  matthewpolly
Read comment

Christoph Waltz will win an Oscar
"although its old now :(, of course he was gonna win it :), one of the many idols of why i wanna be a"  SONYA ALALIBO
Read comment

Brisbane International Film Festival: First Report
"I think it is pretty clear the story revolves around The Blacksmith, in The Man With The Iron Fists,"  owenyunfat
Read comment

TIFF 2012: Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond The Pines
"Thanks for the feedback! I hope I didn't give the impression that Cloud Atlas is a write-off; I just"  Damon_Wise
Read comment

TIFF 2012: Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond The Pines
"Hi Damon With regards to Cloud Atlas, I fear that it will face the same problem a"  ChesterCopperpot
Read comment

TIFF 2012: Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond The Pines
"No worries! I just try to describe things as I see them, and I often forget that, as Empire has grow"  Damon_Wise
Read comment

TIFF 2012: Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond The Pines
"Don't get me wrong, I appreciate your early reviews from the festivals, and of course, I'm not alway"  pythonlove
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Sundance Part Six: In The Loop
13 comments

Basterds Blog
9 comments

Damo's Top Ten Of 2009
9 comments

The Times BFI London Film Festival Preview
9 comments

Sundance 2010: Four Lions blows everyone away!
8 comments

Sundance 2010: The Killer Inside Me causes outrage!
7 comments

Chris Hewitt Of The Year Award!!!!
7 comments

TIFF 2012: Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Cloud Atlas, The Place Beyond The Pines
7 comments

The Wrestler
6 comments

Where to see Moon...
6 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (297)
Helen O'Hara (168)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (19)
Owen Williams (15)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
Ian Nathan (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
David Parkinson (1)

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)