Stuff To Look At

A veritable profusion of cinema-related goodness this week, with the new Tammy trailer, Under The Skin and Miss Piggy…

Tammy

Above is the first Tammy trailer. The comedy stars Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd and Kathy Bates. Apparently, Susan Sarandon plays Melissa McCarthy’s grandmother. I’m not sure how this is possible, given how young Sarandon looks. Perhaps she is aged up. Tammy is due for release in UK cinemas on 4th July 2014.

Under The Skin

Here is the full UK trailer for science-fiction thriller Under The Skin. Directed by Jonathan Glazer and starring Scarlett Johansson the film has been receiving critical acclaim at its festival screenings. Under The Skin is released in UK cinemas on 14th march 2014.

The Love Punch

Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson star as an ex-husband and wife whose retirement fund is wiped out when their company is defrauded in The Love Punch. This comedy caper also stars Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie. The Love Punch hits UK screens on 18th April 2014.

Muppets Most Wanted

MUPPETS MOST WANTED

Miss Piggy looks resplendent. Her dress is designed by none other than Vivienne Westwood, who has also designed Miss Piggy’s key wardrobe for Muppets Most Wanted. The image above begs the question of whether Miss Piggy marries Kermit in the film. I wholeheartedly approve, particularly if Rowlf provides piano accompaniment. Muppets Most Wanted is released in cinemas on 28th March 2014.

Postman Pat: The Movie

Postman Pat can carry a tune?! This is apparently the case in the upcoming Postman Pat: The Movie. I am more interested, however, in the robots. And Jess of course. And the glimpse of robot Jess. Postman Pat: The Movie hits UK screens on 23rd May 2014.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

This teaser trailer has everything; Optimus Prime getting pumped with bullets, Marky Mark running around looking scared, Dinobots, and, erm, dragons. I’m sure more will be revealed as the release approaches. Transformers: Age of Extinction is due for release on 10th July 2014 in the UK.

The Legend of Hercules

This trailers is giving me shades of Gladiator and 300. Kellan Lutz plays the titular character in The Legend of Hercules. Having previously appeared in Immortals, Lutz is no stranger to ancient myth films. The Legend of Hercules is released in UK cinemas on 28th March 2014.

Yves Saint Laurent

Biopic Yves Saint Laurent looks slick, polished, and endlessly stylish. Pierre Niney stars as the young fashion designer who is catapulted to fame in the late 1950s. Yves Saint Laurent is released in UK cinemas on 21st March 2014.

Non-Stop

Liam Neeson has really carved out a niche as an abrasive but meritorious action hero of late. Non-Stop continues this trend, as the above clip from the movie illustrates. Also starring Julianne Moore and Lupita Nyong’o, Non-Stop hits UK screens on 28th February 2014.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel seems to be ticking all the boxes. Writer-director Wes Anderson is most admirable, and the cast, including the excellent Bill Murray, is enviable. Also, there’s a cat. The Grand Budapest Hotel is released in the UK on 7th March 2014.

Divergent

Based on the best-selling novel, Divergent stars Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller and Kate Winslet. The sci-fi film is set in a future where people are divided into factions based on their personality. Divergent hits UK screens on 4th April 2014.

G.B.F.

G.B.F. looks like a fun, high school-set comedy. The film is directed by Darren Stein, who helmed late nineties black comedy Jawbreaker. I’m hoping for the same kind of satirical style from G.B.F., which is released in cinemas on 21st March, and is available on demand on 22nd March 2014.

Film Review: Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen’s latest effort is a magical piece of filmmaking. Midnight in Paris could also be an advertisement from the French Tourism Board, so beguiling is the city.

On a trip to Paris with his fiancé and her parents, writer Gil cannot get enough the city. Gil longs to walk through Paris in the rain, and laments that he did not live in the city when he was a young writer. However, Gil’s fiancé Inez prefers to spend time with her friends Paul and Carol. When Gil wanders off for a midnight stroll, he finds the ultimate source of inspiration for his writing…

Midnight in Paris is a lovingly-crafted ode to both Paris and nostalgia. The film has the hallmarks of a Woody Allen film on a broad level. Gil is less nervy than most of the director’s protagonists. Midnight in Paris does not feature the incessant wit of some of Allen’s earlier films. Notwithstanding, the film has the wonderful charm of some of Allen’s best features. Moreover, Midnight in Paris paints such a beautiful picture.

The film explores ideas of fantasy within a set context. The sense of whimsy in the film is gratifying. It helps that the suspension of disbelief is brief. Not much time is wasted on questioning the more marvellous elements of proceedings. Instead, Gil is bewitched by the world he enters, much like the audience. Midnight in Paris evokes a similar style of fantasy to The Purple Rose of Cairo. Viewers share the protagonist’s awe as he enters a different world, one that is constructed to be as fascinating to the audience as it is to Gil.

Characters are finely constructed in Midnight in Paris. There are many characters with smaller roles, but each of these is succinctly developed and come across as realistic. Although the main characters are quite wealthy, the archetypes should be both recognisable and relatable to most.

Owen Wilson offers a decent performance as Gil. Wilson makes it easy to share the characters enthusiasm. Rachel McAdams is well cast as Inez, while Marion Cottillard is alluring as Adriana. Elsewhere, Michael Sheen is terrific as Paul and Alison Pill, Corey Stoll and Kathy Bates are great in their respective roles.

With its sumptuous imagery and beautiful soundtrack, Midnight in Paris functions as a fairy tale.  The film pontificates on the importance of nostalgia, giving the sensation adequate care and consideration, but concluding perfectly.