Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Mini season of Ingmar Bergman films on Film 4

Fresh from their superb season of the films of Stanley Kubrick, the UK TV channel Film 4 will be showing a short season of films by the much missed director Ingmar Bergman.

The season kicks off on Tuesday 29th July with Bergman's epic The Seventh Seal (1957)and is followed by Wild Strawberries (1957), Summer Interlude (1951), Smiles Of A Summer Night (1955) and Persona (1966) over the following few days.

For those who have shied away from Bergman's work these movies are a superb introduction to the great man's work (Summer Interlude and Wild Strawberries are particular favourites of ours). The films are much more accessible than they are often painted.

There is also a superb interview with Woody Allen, who discusses his love of Bergman's work and his enduring influence on his film making.

Monday, 28 July 2008

New DVD releases round up 28th July.

Sifting through this weeks crop of contemporary DVD releases we've come up with some recommendations.

In the UK, our pick of the DVD releases on 28th July 2008 are:

Funny Games. Just for sheer cinematic perversity, Michael Haneke has remade his controversial 1997 movie pretty much frame-by-frame for Hollywood. He is one of the true enigmas of modern cinema, and this move will only enhance that reputation. The original version of this movie is superb, this remake is also superb and superbly pointless in many respects, and perhaps that is the point.

A Comedy of Power . AKA L'Ivresse du pouvoir. Our favourite actress bar none, Isabelle Huppert, teams up again (for the seventh time) with renowned director Claude Chabrol on this superior movie from 2006. For some reason this film failed to catch the publics imagination and slipped out pretty much un-noticed.

Son Of Rambow. One of the surprise low key hits of last year. Director Garth Jennings is back from his criminally ignored sojourn with studio money (in the guise of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy) with this genuinely charming, funny and hugely innovative tale of two schoolmates who attempt to make their own film. This movie is an absolute joy.

In the USA, the pick of the DVD releases on 29th July 2008 are:

Doomsday. Neil Marshall continues his upward trajectory with this contribution to the post apocalyptic / viral outbreak genre. Not hugely original perhaps, but very well made and consistently acted (not always a given in the genre). There is more than enough going on here to suggest that Marshall has a serious career in the making.

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism - Fox Attacks Special Edition. A film we recommended way back when it was first released on DVD a couple of years ago. This new edition includes new and updated content. With the 2008 election so near, it will be increasingly interesting watch how the networks, news corporations and politicians get their messages across to each of their mutual benefits.

Other recommended July 2008 new DVD releases can be found on our site at alt-flix.co.uk DVD releases.

Monday, 21 July 2008

New DVD releases round up 21st July.

Sifting through this weeks crop of contemporary DVD releases we've come up with some recommendations.

In the UK, our pick of the DVD releases on 21 July 2008 are:

With the school holidays just starting and everyone jetting off (except us it seems)to sunnier climbs, the DVD release schedules take their customary summer slow down. So not much to draw your attention to, but:

The Flesh And Blood Show. Archetypal 1970s British (s)exploitation horror, with a cast that includes Jenny Hanley (presenter of kids TV show Magpie), Ray Brooks (voice of Mr Ben) and Robin Askwith (obviously - star of the confessions series of films). The films climax(!)is shown in its original 3d format. Gasp.

One of the best TV comedies of the 1990s is also released - If You See God Tell Him.

In the USA, the pick of the DVD releases on 22 July 2008 are:

High And Low. Amongst the samurai classics it's very easy to forget Akira Kurosawa's command of contemporary drama. This film is an absolute masterpiece, and is perhaps the film that outlines his genius effortlessness of storytelling. It is certainly one of alt-flix's favourites of Kurosawa's works (alongside his more epic pieces that have gone onto become regarded as classics).

Duck. A charming film from 2005 about a man and his duck. Actually, although it doesn't sound so from the title, the film is actually pretty deep and meaningful.

Other recommended July 2008 new DVD releases can be found on our site at alt-flix.co.uk DVD releases.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Hard Labour - Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh's rarely shown TV film Hard Labour, is on BBC4 tonight as part of the Liz Smith night. Hard Labour was first shown in 1973, and formed part of the ground breaking Play For Today series.

Hard Labour is far from a cheerful watch, as it focuses is on the drudgery of life of Mrs Thornely, a housewife and cleaner, who has accepted her lot in life as servant and chief bottle washer both at work and at home.

Whilst certainly not the best of Leigh's early work, it is definitely worth a watch if you are familiar with his later works.

It is showing tonight at 11.30pm on BBC4. It is followed by an interview with Liz Smith, and a couple of programmes on Mike Leigh's wonderful TV play Abigail's Party.

New DVD releases round up 14th July.

Monday, a new week again. Happy DVD release day.

Sifting through this weeks crop of contemporary DVD releases we've come up with some recommendations.

In the UK, our pick of the DVD releases on 14 July 2008 are:

I'm Not There. Seaming a dreadful idea, but actually quite brilliant, make a film about the many and changing faces of 'Bob Dylan' and use different actors to portray him (Cate Blanchett, Ben Whishaw, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin and Heath Ledger). Not a straightforward bio-pic, and as such its one of the few bio-pics that you can actually watch more than once.

A Way Of Life. A re-release of this great film from 2004 that has previously gone out of print. This was a stunning writing / directorial debut from former Grange Hill actress Amma Assante. The story is on a the streets of South Wales the story skillfully wends its way around belonging, poverty, hatred, violence and hard times. There is a review of the film on our main site if you would like to check it out.

The Cottage. One of the best of the recent slew brit-horror-coms. Directed by Paul Andrew Williams (his 2nd film - coming after the controversial London To Brighton). The film survives intact a terrible piece of mis-casting (watch the film and see what I mean). Other than that the film is funny, dark and suitably bloody.

Oh and Bergerac Series 7 is finally out on DVD! - Oh good.

In the USA, the pick of the DVD releases on 15 July 2008 are:

Trafic. I guess you either love or loathe Jacques Tati as Msr Hulot - we love him. this hugely entertaining film from 1971 now gets a terrific release on the superb Criterion label, and as usual it is jam packed with loads of DVD extras to boot.

Monsieur Vincent.
Re-release of this classic 1947 bio pic of St. Vincent De Paul from director Maurice Cloche. That Academy award winner for best foreign language film.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. The classic Jack Nicholson film now released on Blu-ray - for all those who like that kind of thing.

In a terrific piece of one-upmanship, in response to the release of Bergerac Series 7on DVD in the UK, those dudes in the USA have released series 9 of Dallas on DVD (but when is the blu-ray being released!).

Other recommended July 2008 new DVD releases can be found on our site at alt-flix.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Films are like buses, you wait.....

You wait all summer for a decent movie then two come along at once.

First up is the Coen brothers first movie since the success of the Oscar-laden No Country For Old Men. The new movie is called Burn After Reading, and it has been announced that the film will released in the cinemas on 12th September (in the USA) and 17th October (in the UK). The Burn After Reading trailer has been released over the net and can be seen here on the ToxicShock website.
From the trailer it looks reminiscent of the Coen brothers Fargo, which is one of our favourite Coen brothers films. All the signs are that the film will carry on the good work of No Country For Old Men, which was released after a run of three movies which seemed below the Coen's usual very high standard.

For more info on the Coen brothers (ot to buy their DVDs), go to our alt-flix Coen brothers guide.

A UK cinematic release for Shane Meadows' first film since This Is England, which is called Somers Town has just been announced as the 26th August. The film has already been a hit with the critics, and only a couple of weeks ago Somers Town picked up the prestigious Michael Powell award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The film stars young actor Thomas Turgoose, the brilliant young actor who was such a revelation in Meadows' This Is England, and it looks set to further establish Meadows as one of cinemas brightest and freshest directing talents (he's already our favourite).

To find out more about Shane Meadows (or buy some of his DVDs) go to our Shane Meadows guide, or to Shane Meadows offical homepage, which is a very nice place indeed.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Eric Cantona in Ken Loach's kitchen sink (drama).

In one of the more astonishing revelations in cinema of recent years, it has come to light that former Manchester United legend Eric Cantona is to star in Ken Loach's, next movie Looking For Eric, and before you ask, it is not a martial arts movie.

Loach's trademark secrecy has meant that not too much has been let out of the bag about the project so far, but filming started last month in Manchester. What has also been revealed is that the film was based on conversations Loach and his screen writer Paul Laverty had with Cantona himself. There has also been rumours that Cantona may get involved in a some kind of production role in the movie.

Since giving up football in the late 1990s, Cantona has been carving out a career for himself as a movie actor and also a director.

All of us here at alt-flix are big fans of Loach's work, and are interested in how the film with two such genius' will finally turn out. It is just sad that Brian Glover is no longer around to star as Bobby Charlton in the film (as he did in Loach's 1968 classic Kes).

If you want to know more about Ken Loach's work go to our alt-flix Ken Loach director guide. You can also pick up his DVDs there too - if you want.

Stanley Kubrick season on More 4

UK Satellite/Freesat/Freeview channel More 4 will be showing a season of the films of Stanley Kubrick. The season will start on 15th July and will include rare screenings of a couple of Kubrick's early documentary shorts (Day Of The Fight and Flying Padre), along with a new documentary named Stanley Kubrick's Boxes, plus a selection of his films (including his less well known movies The Killing and Killers Kiss).

For more information on the season check out the Stanley Kubrick Season on More 4 website, and don't forget to set your recorders.

If you want more information on Stanley Kubrick go to our alt-flix Stanley Kubrick director guide. You can also pick up his DVDs there too.

The start of blogging alt-flix site update

The site at www.alt-flix.co.uk has had a bit of an overhaul and a small redesign - mainly to accommodate this blog embedded into its pages, but also to ease navigation.
There has also been a few updates like the addition of an alt-flix directors guide for the most wonderful Stanley Kubrick. There are also news updates for Ken Loach, Shane Meadows, Mike Leigh, The Coen brothers, Michael Haneke, Lindsay Anderson and Terry Gilliam. Check out the main directors guides page for more info.

If you would like to keep up to date with this blog and also changes to the main alt-flix site, then use the button on the left to subscribe to the alt-flix blog.


Thursday, 10 July 2008

Testing the alt-flix Blog

This is a first test post for the alt-flix.co.uk/ blog. Bear with us whilst we get our heads around how it all works.

Shortly this blog will be used as a latest news, updates and various nonsense annexe to the main www.alt-flix.co.uk/ site.

In the meantime feel free to visit the main site for news, reviews and features on contemporary films.