Previews: The Addams Family Trailer, Official Secrets, More!

Plenty to see in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new The Addams Family trailer, The Day Shall Come, The Farewell, and more…

The Addams Family Trailer

Here is the brand new The Addams Family trailer. The animated film is the latest iteration of the creepy family, following the television shows and the 1990s films. This latest movie features the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, and Chloe Grace Moretz. The Addams Family hits UK screens on 25th October 2019.

The Day Shall Come Trailer

Above is the new trailer for The Day Shall Come. Directed by Chris Morris (Four Lions), the film is a satire on Homeland Security, based on 100 true stories. It stars Marchánt Davis, Anna Kendrick, and Danielle Brooks. The Day Shall Come will be released in UK cinemas on 11th October 2019.

Official Secrets Poster

Official Secrets is about the 2003 UK-US invasion of Iraq. The film focuses on Katherine Gun, a translator who leaks a classified email. Directed by Gavin Hood, the film stars Kiera Knightley, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, and Ralph Fiennes. Official Secrets will hit UK cinemas on 18th October 2019.

The Farewell Trailer

Lulu Wang’s Sundance smash The Farewell gets a UK release date. Written and directed by Wang, the semi-autobiographical drama is about a US-raised young woman who returns to China to see her ailing grandmother. The film stars Awkwafina and Tzi Ma. The Farewell will be released in UK cinemas on 20th September 2019.

The Third Man Trailer

To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Carol Reed’s classic The Third Man gets a 4k re-release. The film, which stars Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles, is about a writer who arrives in post-War Vienna to meet his childhood friend. The film will be screened at a special event at Picturehouse Central in London on 1st September 2019 – seventy years to the day of its world premiere. The Third Man returns to UK cinemas for one day only on 29th September 2019.

Film Review: Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles

MAGICIAN: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles

Documentary Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles is a comprehensive look at the career of the famed director and actor. Director Chuck Workman’s film seeks to explain why Welles is spoken of in such glowing terms.

Tracing his career from early stage actor in Ireland to critically acclaimed movie star and director, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles offers an encompassing view of the public life of the Hollywood star. Friends, co-stars and fellow directors give their thoughts on the astonishing Orson Welles…

Chuck Workman has created an informative and entertaining documentary with Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles. The film begins at the outset of Welles’ career, making it a biography that is easy to follow. Workman defines different eras in the filmmaker’s career. This is an astute move; the delineation from early success to later struggles is clear.

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles speaks to a range of individuals. The focus of the film is clearly on the public persona and career of Welles rather than his personal life. Although the later is referred to during the course of the film, Workman concentrates on the more interesting career tangent.

A variety of directors are interviewed throughout Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles. It is interesting to note perspective of other filmmakers in discussing the director responsible for Citizen Kane, the film many see as one of the greatest films of all time. Welles’ influence on subsequent directors is clear, from both the range of directors interviewed (including Julie Taymor and Martin Scorsese) and what these filmmakers have to say.

Chuck Workman’s film is obviously well researched, particularly with the early aspects of Welles’ career. Fans of Welles are likely to find the clips and background to his early films fascinating. Overall, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles is a must see for fans, and a great appraisal for casual viewers.

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles is being released at the BFI Southbank and selected venues nationwide from 3rd July 2015.

Film Review: F for Fake

Documentary F for Fake illustrates director Orson Welles’ flair for storytelling. It is well worth catching the film on its limited re-release.

Orson Welles’ documentary concentrates on fakery and forgery. Focusing on art forger Elmyr de Hory and his biographer Clifford Irving, F for Fake looks at the nature of fakery, Welles also looks closer to home in his exploration of this subject…

F for Fake considers an interesting subject, and rightly eschews a traditional documentary format. The less rigid style used by Welles suits it perfectly, especially given the subject matter. The beginning is particularly interesting for immersing viewers into the themes of film without getting to the crux of the story too swiftly. This aspect works well to engage the attention.

The only real negative is the brief ponderance of Welles that takes the focus away from the matter of fakery to a more philosophical consideration of life. This sequence of the film feels out of place given the overall tone. Otherwise, Welles narrates with wit and a talent with words. It is definitely a plus that he weaves his own fakery into the mix.

F for Fake combines archive footage with interviews and reenactments. Whilst this is the stuff of the traditional documentary, the to-camera pieces from the director and narrator turn it into something different. Welles really engages with his subject matter, giving the documentary a personal touch by bringing to the fore his own experiences with the themes.

The story at the heart of F for Fake is both interesting and illuminating. The de Hory tale may be of particular interest to viewers unaware of the actual events. Welles evenly relates the story in a way that isn’t typical of a documentary, yet feels suitably objective.

Comparing it to films and other mediums, Orson Welles elevates forgery to an art form. F for Fake is a must see for those looking for a different type of documentary.

F for Fake is being screened at the BFI Southbank from 24th August 2012, as well as selected venues across the UK.

Film Review: The Bad and the Beautiful

Vincente Minnelli’s classic film about filmmaking in Hollywood gets a cinematic re-release. The Bad and the Beautiful is more than worthy of its numerous accolades and critical success.

A famous Hollywood actress, an award-winning screenwriter and a respected film director are all asked to take part in famed producer Jonathan Shield’s comeback project. When asked to make a decision by studio executive Harry Pebbel, the three explain their reluctance…

With a perfectly-crafted narrative, The Bad and the Beautiful composes an artful depiction of a notorious character. The story is told mostly in flashback form, not unlike Citizen Kane. And like Orson Welles’ film, the protagonist is an ambiguous character. The story unfolds at a suitable pace, allowing viewers to effectively gage Jonathan Shields. The initial scenes create sufficient mystery to pique the interest.

Characters in The Bad and the Beautiful are well developed, and appear authentic. There is something very believable about proceedings, despite the film being set in an environment which will be alien to most. Certain archetypes appear, but even these characters have enough depth to play a plausible role. Some of the figures can be equated with real players in the movie business, such is the beauty of the film.

Much of the action takes place on film sets and in studio offices. There is a real sense that The Bad and the Beautiful is penetrating the real Hollywood, away from the glitz and prestige of the studio era. It seems as if screenwriter Charles Schnee and writer George Bradshaw aimed to give the audience an insight into how the film industry really worked. There are certainly shades of Sunset Boulevard and All About Eve apparent in Minnelli’s film.

Performances in The Bad and the Beautiful are superb. Lana Turner is entirely convincing as Georgia, as is Kirk Douglas as Shields. Excellent support is provided by Gloria Grahame and Elaine Stewart. Visually, the film features some great composition and shot transitions.

Most film fans would agree that films about Hollywood and the motion picture industry are among some of the best films ever made. The Bad and the Beautiful ranks among these great films about Hollywood; it is a superbly executed production.

The Bad and the Beautiful is released at the BFI Southbank from 20th April 2012, as well as selected cinemas acoss the UK.

Film Review: The Third Man

Carol Reed’s 1949 classic is impressive on the big screen, just as it must have been over sixty years ago. The Third Man is quintessential film noir; thoroughly recommended for fans of the genre as well as cinema itself.

Writer Holly Martins arrives in Vienna, having been invited by his old friend Harry Lime. Martins is shocked to find out Lime was recently killed in a car accident. When Martins begins to ask questions, he notices inconsistencies in the accounts of Lime’s friends…

The Third Man ticks all the boxes of a 1940s film noir. With its themes of crime, betrayal and mystery, it is exemplary of that period. Reed’s film goes beyond this however, offering a feature that is difficult to fault. The various aspects of the film blend together incredibly well. The Third Man has been so critically acclaimed undoubtedly due to the fact that it is such a compelling film.

Reed’s film is drenched in intrigue. There is mystery from the outset, concerning both the incident involving Harry Lime and the character himself. Writer Graeme Greene has carefully constructed the story so that the reveal is slow but effective. Seemingly, for each reveal another mystery is put in its place. Thus, the film operates to keep the audience on their toes, refusing to give away too much too soon.

The characters in The Third Man are compelling. The audience are strictly aligned with protagonist Holly Martins, entering the action alongside him. The ambiguity of proceedings is shared by Martins, who struggles to find the truth in the tangled web of lies and intrigue. Most indelible, however, is the mysterious Harry Lime. Pronounced dead at the beginning of the film, his presence casts a dark shadow over the duration in spite of his absence.

Robert Krasker’s photography is fantastic. Krasker captures  a sense of eeriness in the images, creating a look that is characteristically gothic. The lighting is striking, with the looming shadows evocative of earlier German Expressionism. This is particularly effective in one of the film’s memorable scenes, where a shadow dramatically engulfs the exterior of a building. The score is also great; Anton Karas’ theme has become one of the most recognisable in cinematic history.

Joseph Cotten is perfectly cast as Holly Martins. The frequent Welles collaborator is a beacon of morality in a corrupt world. Orson Welles is beguiling as ever in his critical role. Alida Valli captures the ambiguity of Anna succinctly. There are several noirs that can be classified as brilliant. The Third Man certainly ranks in this category.

The Third Man was shown at the British Film Institute as part of the Screen Epiphanies season. It was introduced by Michael Winner.

Film Review: Touch of Evil

Orson Welles’ film noir classic is still affecting over fifty years since its original release. Whilst the themes Touch of Evil focuses on are nothing new, it is the combination of said themes with the direction, cinematography and art design that generates a pervading atmosphere.

Charlton Heston plays Mexican cop Vargas, who along with his new American bride Susan (played by Janet Leigh), witnesses a murder at the American-Mexican border. What follows is a police investigation that proves more complex and iniquitous than the hero could have imagined.

Touch of Evil juxtaposes Vargas with Quinlan, an overweight, former alcoholic, veteran American detective, played by Welles. The film firmly sets up the two as distinct opposites. Vargas is the idealistic, clean officer, well-respected and rising in his career. Quinlan, on the other hand, who is tired, racist and corrupt, is clearly nearing the end of his career.

Through these two characters, themes of corruption, the abuse of power, and prejudice are played out. The lengths that Quinlan goes to protect himself – as far as endangering Susan, and then some, are pivotal in depicting such a malevolent character. The atmosphere is kept tainted and at times claustrophobic by the use of lighting, the stylised cinematography, and the art direction of Robert Clatworthy, who went on to do a magnificent job in Psycho two years later.

It is also the direction by Welles that creates a cantankerous mood. The close-up shots of the sweaty Quinlan, the cat and mouse finale, and the fortune teller’s abode work together to generate a film noir as beguiling as any of the earlier quintessential noir pictures. Furthermore, the opening shot following the car as it weaves throughout the streets is classic Welles – adding a touch of class to Touch of Evil.

Touch of Evil was shown at the British Film Institute, as part of the Psycho: A Classic in Context season.