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11:00 AM on 02.13.2014

Review: A Field in England

Did you know that there was an English Civil War in the middle of the 17th century? I had no idea, but apparently from 1642 to 1651, there were three sets of battles between those who followed the king and those who beli...

Alec Kubas-Meyer

7:00 PM on 11.14.2013

First trailer for Cuban Fury starring Nick Frost

Cuban Fury may not have a domestic release date yet (only releasing in the UK for now), but that doesn't make me want to see it any less. Nick Frost stars as a young salsa dance project who's trying to get back in the groove...

Nick Valdez

Review: 12 Years a Slave photo
Review: 12 Years a Slave
by Hubert Vigilla

When 12 Years a Slave played at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, there were reports of walkouts during screenings, even among the press. It wasn't because the movie was bad. Far from it. People walked out because 12 Years a Slave was so extreme in a few scenes that it overwhelmed certain audience members.

Watching 12 Years a Slave myself, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of repulsion and shame that pervades the film. The melancholic spell was  broken every now and then by small yet dashed hopes and relentless moments of violence and degradation. One scene in question -- the one that probably caused the walkouts -- was one of the most powerful and brutal things I've seen in a long while. This wasn't the absurd masochism of The Passion of the Christ. Director Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) and his actors transcend mere violence and find in it a miserable, fragile truth.

Had I been watching 12 Years a Slave at home, I would have paused the film after that scene so I could sob uncontrollably for five or six minutes. That would have helped me regain my composure. Instead, I just clamped a hand to my mouth and silently wept there in my seat.

[This review originally ran as part of our 2013 New York Film Festival coverage. It has been reposted to coincide with the theatrical release of the film.]

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NYFF Review: Alan Partridge photo
NYFF Review: Alan Partridge
by Hubert Vigilla

British comedy has a fine tradition of endlessly watchable twits. Off the top of my head, some of my favorites are Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers, Arnold Rimmer of Red Dwarf, David Brent of The Office, and Alan Partridge of way too many shows to list. Admittedly, I don't think I've even seen half of the Alan Partidge appearances on British TV, but from what I've seen, I've liked.

It's such a strange thing, too. Whereas many people go to film and television to watch people they'd like to have a beer with, the characters I listed above are the sort of people who you wouldn't want to meet in person. They're shallow, they're obnoxious, they're obsessed with outward signs of class. They're also hilarious because of it, like a mirror of the worst aspirations in the upper middle-class.

With Alan Partridge (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa in the UK), actor and co-creator Steve Coogan revisits the character that made his career. Alan's still an insufferable wanker, but he's still endlessly watchable.

[For the next few weeks, we'll be covering the 2013 New York Film Festival, now in its 51st year. Flixist will provide you with reviews, video, news, and features on some of the best films on the festival circuit. To check out all of our coverage of NYFF51, click here.]

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NYFF Review: Le Week-End photo
NYFF Review: Le Week-End
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

It’s impossible to not compare Le Week-End to the films in Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy. With the setting of Before Sunset and the struggles of Before Midnight, but with a more aged cast, it almost feels like what we may be seeing in 9 years from Linklater and co., assuming another film in that series does end up happening.

But there’s one thing that Le Week-End has that no Before film ever will, and it is Le Week-End ace in the hole: Jeff “I Bought Flixist” Goldblum.

[For the next few weeks, we'll be covering the 2013 New York Film Festival, now in its 51st year. Flixist will provide you with reviews, video, news, and features on some of the best films on the festival circuit. To check out all of our coverage of NYFF51, click here.]

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Book: Very Naughty Boys (HandMade Films) photo
Book: Very Naughty Boys (HandMade Films)
by Hubert Vigilla

My knowledge of the British film industry is spotty at best. Beyond the requisite Hammer fandom, an admiration for classic Ealing comedies (e.g., Kind Hearts and Coronets), and adoration of the Free Cinema movement, I'm pretty ignorant about the history of the country's film output. To be fair, my knowledge of the American film history isn't all that great either; if asked to write an essay about it, it would be comprised of bullet points.

That's one reason I was so interested in reading Very Naughty Boys: The Amazing True Story of HandMade Films by Robert Sellers, now available from Titan Books. The other reason is because HandMade is responsible for some great films: Monty Python's The Life of Brian, Time Bandits, Withnail and I.

Originally published in 2003 as Always Look On the Bright Side of Life, Very Naughty Boys has been revised and expanded for its reisssue. It's a fascinating collection of anecdotes that moves chronologically from film to film, but the overarching narrative in Very Naughty Boys is the classic struggle of filmmaking: the creatives vs. the money.

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Review: Electric Man photo
Review: Electric Man
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

In the animated title sequence for Electric Man, the audience is treated to a motion-comic showing the genesis of the titular character. A depression-era construction worker zapped by lightning, he becomes a super-powered crimefighter. It's a pretty cool scene.

Unfortunately, it seems that all of the film's creativity was spent on making it pretty cool, at the expense of basically everything else.

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NYAFF Review: Comrade Kim Goes Flying photo
NYAFF Review: Comrade Kim Goes Flying
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

The strangest thing about Comrade Kim Goes Flying is the nationality of its directors. When I first heard that there was a collaboration between the UK, Belgium, and North Korea, and a romantic comedy no less, I knew that I had to see it and find out what the hell it was. But because it was a co-production, I expected... I dunno, something a little more subversive? Comrade Kim Goes Flying is a lot of things, but subversive it is not. It is as clear a piece of cinematic propaganda as I have ever seen.

And I watch Michael Moore films.

[For the next few weeks, we will be covering the 2013 New York Asian Film Festival and the 2013 Japan Cuts Film Festival, which together form one of the largest showcases of Asian cinema in the world. For our NYAFF 2013 coverage, click here. For Japan Cuts 2013 coverage, click here.]

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3:00 PM on 07.04.2013

Only God Forgives UK Trailer

Blimey. While you lot are out and about mingling and meeting 'Murica-ing, Ryan Gosling's hot face has been splattered all over a fancy new UK trailer for the Winding-Refn outing Only God Forgives. The new trailer shows off, ...

Nathan Hardisty

Review: Byzantium photo
Review: Byzantium
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Imagine you are in a large store and off in the distance you see a quilt. It’s an intriguing design, and you walk towards it, fascinated. It’s really a gorgeous thing, brilliantly composed with designs depicting bizarre visions of well-known mythologies. You go up to it and it’s still beautiful, and you are captivated by that beauty, so captivated that you don’t realize it’s fraying at the edges. You reach out and touch it, but as you are running your hand along it, feeling the underlying materials, the beautiful thing completely falls apart.

That’s what watching Byzantium is like.

[This review originally ran as part of our coverage of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. It has been reposted to coincide with the theatrical release of the film.]

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Review: Berberian Sound Studio photo
Review: Berberian Sound Studio
by Hubert Vigilla

Before I ever saw Dario Argento's Suspiria, I knew the film for its sound. It was back in 1996 in high school and I had yet to find a video store in my area that carried a copy of the film. I'd read up a lot on Argento and Goblin on the internet, and eventually found a site that had audio samples from Suspiria. It took forever to download the WAV file, but finally at night, lit only by the monitor, I listened to the scene in which the blind man is stalked by some unseen force.

To just hear the noise in the dark was absolutely terrifying at that age, and I think that experience was scarier than seeing the actual scene in the film. (I love Suspiria, don't get me wrong.)

I mentioned all that because Berberian Sound Studio pays homage to the creepy sounds in Italian horror films. So much of it is lush and well put together, and there's great atmosphere about it. For a while it seemed like the movie was going in an intriguing direction: something part giallo, part supernatural, part Barton Fink. But then...

[This review was originally posted as part of our coverage of the 50th New York Film Festival. It has been reposted to coincide with the theatrical release of the film.]

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Trailer: The World's End photo
Trailer: The World's End
by Hubert Vigilla

Here it is, everyone! The first trailer for The World's End, the third and final part of the Cornetto trilogy. It looks like Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost are going into Invasion of the Body Snatchers territory with this one, and I can't wait to see the whole thing.

If you missed it earlier in the week, a new poster for The World's End dropped the other day. I've included it in the gallery because we like you.

The World's End opens in the UK on August 14th and in the US on August 23rd.

[Via MSN UK]

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Review: Midnight's Children photo
Review: Midnight's Children
by Hubert Vigilla

Salman Rushidie's 1981 novel Midnight's Children is his most beloved book. It was hailed as the best recipient of the Booker Prize in that literary award's first 25 years, and Penguin has included Midnight's Children in its Great Books of the 20th Century series, which also includes The Grapes of Wrath, On the Road, Gravity's Rainbow, and Heart of Darkness.

Condensing a book like Midnight's Children into a feature film is a difficult task. Not only is it long, but it's also discursive, digressive, and poetic, which are qualities that don't translate to the screen. Rushdie himself wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, which meant there was some hope for creating a work that does the novel justice.

Unfortunately, not even Rushdie can give his book its due on the big screen, but that's no slight against him. It's just the difficult nature of some literary adaptations, and maybe some books are better left as books.

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UK stage adaptation of Princess Mononoke met with praise photo
UK stage adaptation of Princess Mononoke met with praise
by Hubert Vigilla

You may remember that there was a planned UK stage adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke. Whole Hog, the theater company responsible for this live-action adaptation, turned to Kickstarter to help make the play the best that it could be.

The first run of shows finished in London last weekend at the New Diorama Theatre, and the production has been met with praise, including 4/5 stars at The Public Reviews and positive marks from Anime UK News. Whole Hog will now head to Japan to mount the show and then return to the UK in June for a second run at the New Diorama. (Tickets are already sold out.)

The creature puppetry for the stage adaptation had me really intrigued when I first posted on the production last year. You can see what it looked like in the official production photos for the show taken by Polly Clare Boon.

Check out Boon's production photos from Princess Mononoke in the gallery. For more photos and additional information about the show, visit wholehogtheatre.com, check out Whole Hog Theatre on Facebook, or follow @WholeHogTheatre on Twitter. For more information about the New Diorama Theatre, visit newdiorama.com.

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SXSW Review: Everyone's Going to Die photo
SXSW Review: Everyone's Going to Die
by Hubert Vigilla

[From March 9th - 17th, Flixist will be providing coverage from South by Southwest 2013 in Austin, TX. Prepare yourselves for reviews, interviews, features, photos, videos, and all types of shenanigans!]

A few things enticed me about the movie Everyone's Going to Die. There's the title, first of all, which is striking, especially for a kooky romantic comedy/misfit love story. It comes from the title of a character's play about coping with loss. There's also the trailer (included after the cut), which features the infectiously catchy song "Two Cousins" by Slow Club.

Just these two things alone made me hope for a fun watch some time during South by Southwest, though I really didn't know what to expect walking in. It even takes a short bit of time to get acquainted with the film and its tone. Leaving the theater, I had a goofy smile on my face and a little dance in my shoes: that feeling of pleasant surprises, happy accidents, and sudden bouts of love at first sight.

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8:30 AM on 02.19.2013

International Trailer: The Last Exorcism Part II

Here's a new UK/international trailer for The Last Exorcism Part II (The Exorcism-ening). There's a bit more to this than the previous trailer for the film. More bone-cracking, for one, and more creepy dark things on the wal...

Hubert Vigilla

1:00 PM on 02.14.2013

Trailer: Maniac (UK)

Valentine's Day can be a lonely time for many people. Maybe no one knows that better than Elijah Wood's character in Franck Khalfoun's remake of Maniac. In this UK trailer for the film, we get a glimpse into his life as a si...

Hubert Vigilla

7:00 PM on 02.12.2013

These BAFTA Best Film posters are beautiful

Here we have a bunch of posters created by illustrator Jonathan Burton for this year's British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards, and they are pretty wonderful. Each poster features one of the Best Film nominees, Arg...

Liz Rugg

Full list of 2013 BAFTA Film Award winners photo
Full list of 2013 BAFTA Film Award winners
by Hubert Vigilla

The 2013 BAFTA Film Awards were last night, Britain's highest film honor. The big winner of the night was Argo, which won Best Picture, Best director for Ben Affleck, and Best Editing. Skyfall took home Best British Film, as well as Best Score.

In the acting categories, Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for Lincoln, Emmanuelle Riva won Best Actress for Amour (the surprise of the night given her high-profile competition), Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor for Django Unchained, and Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress for Les Misérables.

Full list of 2013 BAFTA Film Awards is after the cut, with winners designated by asterisks.

[Via Gold Derby]

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3:00 PM on 12.21.2012

First look at Edgar Wright's The World's End

With the stupid Mayan apocalypse upon us, it seems fitting that we should share the first official still from Edgar Wright's The World's End, the third and final part of the Cornetto trilogy. (You may recall the teaser poster...

Hubert Vigilla

12:00 PM on 12.07.2012

Trailer: American Mary

Though the movie already premiered at Frightfest, American Mary will be getting a limited theatrical release in the UK right before it's released to home video on January 21st. Empire has an exclusive trailer to share i...

Thor Latham

2:00 PM on 12.05.2012

Flix for Short: Breezeblocks

It's that time of year when I catch up with music that slipped passed me in the last 11 months. I recently ran into the song "Breezeblocks" by Alt-J (∆). It's not bad, and it's been growing on me. I actually find mysel...

Hubert Vigilla