Britain in a Day

Remember Life in a Day, the crowd-sourced documentary about what the world was up to on 24th July 2010? Well they’re doing it all over again but with a much less global outlook. This time the BBC are teaming up with Ridley Scott and director Morgan Matthews to create a documentary snapshot of the UK in a day. To get this together they need you to film your day this Saturday, 12th November 2011, and upload it to YouTube.

The resulting film, once edited down to something coherent and watchable, will be shown in cinemas and on BBC Two next year as part of the London 2012 Festival. This Saturday make sure you film something, no matter how mundane. Fingers crossed we’ll all be watching footage of me editing a small film blog on the big screen next year. For everyone’s sake drown out my potential footage with your own.

Here’s Ridley Scott and Morgan Matthews to explain more. Hi Ridley!

More info on the BBC Website.

Out Now – 17th June 2011

Plenty to be apathetic about this week. Beavers, lanterns and teachers galore! Fair warning, I’m feeling particularly cynical today.

The Messenger
Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson are a pair of soldiers tasked with informing the families of soldiers who have died in Iraq. Plot comes in the form of Foster getting all involved with a widow. Angst to the max.

Green Lantern
With a lame sounding oath, Ryan Reynolds brings us a mostly CGI performance as some superhero we don’t really get this side of the Atlantic. There’s a point when it’s not enough to have a superhero in your film. Bored now.

Bad Teacher
Cameron Diaz is a bad teacher. Could easily call this Bad Actress and be done with it. TAKE THAT DIAZ!

The Beaver
Jodie Foster makes a huge mistake in casting the world’s most hated actor as the lead in an already tricky to sell film. We’re supposed to find heart in this film about a man talking in a cockney accent through a hand puppet, but from the reviews this seems unlikely.

Life in a Day
On 24th July 2010 people all over the world filmed their day so that Kevin Macdonald could edit it into a film. Bound to be pretty incoherent but probably pretty moving too. Why not?

Potiche (limited release)
Frenchy comedy starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu that has been ruined by an Orange advert. Why not broaden your cinematic pallet? Green Lantern can wait.

Stake Land (limited release)
A horror with some positive buzz for a change, as America falls to a vampire epidemic our young hero must make it to safety in Canada.

Putty Hill (limited release)
“A young man’s untimely death unites a fractured family and their community through shared memory and loss.” A release limited mostly to the ICA should tell you all you need to know. Expect lingering wide shots and a gratingly slow pace.

Swinging with the Finkels (limited release)
British comedy with an eclectic global cast explores the world of swinging. Martin Freeman may be on a career high but this film is not the reason why.

The Round Up (limited release)
Set in 1942 this international film calls itself a faithful retelling of the 1942 “Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup”. Perhaps a good pairing for The Beaver in an anti-Semite double bill?

Born to Be Wild (limited release)
Only at the IMAX this 40 minute documentary is… about animals?

Sundance Sales

Martha Marcy May Marlene

We didn’t spend the whole ten days of Sundance jealously scrounging for news while stuck in an airless office in grey London. Not at all. But now that the only thing Park City has to look forward to is sub-zero temperatures and a whole lot of snow (ha! Take that, Utah!), Mild Concern sorts through the film sales and picks out the ones to watch out for when some studio exec decides they can see the light of day. (We’re still waiting for Hesher from last year’s Sundance.)

Sundance was a strong festival for Mild Concern favourites. First up (and previously teased): Like Crazy – the long distance relationship drama starring Anton Yelchin and, more importantly, Felicity Jones. We do like to see all this buzz around our fellow East London resident. Don’t forget us when you’re a Hollywood starlet, Felicity.

Having already peeked at the next tip due to this blog’s stalking casual interest in the roles of Ms. Deschanel, My Idiot Brother stars Paul Rudd as a pot-dealing idealist who disrupts the lives of his three sisters in what is hopefully a non-bromance film. At last!

Tired of seeing Paul Bettany wasted in bad films? Or period dramas? Or as English villains? Or as a disembodied voice at the beck and call of Robert Downey Jr? Well how about seeing how he does as a banker? Or at least, Margin Call is set in an investment bank during 24 hours in the financial crisis so we might be extrapolating a bit. It’s a thriller, really! Also looking to enthrall you with numbers and graphs is writer-director newcomer, J.C. Chandor and the combined acting force of Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci and President of the Earth, Mary McDonnell.

From an established cast of big names to Homework. Billed as a ‘coming-of-age romantic comedy’, it can only be filled with actors that make me show my age when I ask, “Wait – aren’t they 10 years old?” Case in point: little Charlie of Chocolate Factory fame (Freddie Highmore) and blonde starlet, Emma Roberts, who I haven’t seen in anything since she was 10. It’s got a lot of buzz and has an indie poster. It even has music from The Shins.

Does having celebrity older siblings who have demonstrated how to have a car crash of a youth acting career make you more likely to go about having a similar career in a more sensible manner? That’s probably a question that requires more research (and better editing) but if we take a sample size of one and make that one person Elizabeth Olsen, then the answer is yes. I am weirdly excited about Martha Marcy May Marlene, which stars Olsen as an escapee from a cult and tracks between her time there and her failing attempts to re-assimilate back into her life. Sounds like the girl has made some good choices; just make sure you finish that Psychology degree, Elizabeth – hey, it worked for Portman.

Every time we hear about good stuff that the UK Film Council has done, we get a little sinking feeling because we worry for its future. The Guard, starring Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson, inspires that sinking feeling. Drug smuggling, FBI agents and reluctant Irish village police. It’s either a crime thriller or a farcical comedy! (It’s a thriller.)

I’m rounding this section off with The Details – Elizabeth Banks, Tobey Maguire and Laura Linney. Apparently it’s about the ridiculousness of the every day, involves a raccoon-ruined lawn and is a comedy that isn’t going to provide obvious jokes for a trailer. Got to be worth a look, just for that.

Films about real stuff!

We like a good documentary, we do.

Being Elmo

  • Project Nim opened Sundance and looked at the chimp who was brought up as a human in the 70s. A BBC production, hopefully it’ll go on wider distribution somehow over here. Insert some sort of rambling about the license fee.
  • The advertising world pays the collective rent of Mild Concern, so we’ve got a bit of a vested interest in how marketing works. Morgan Spurlock, creator of Super Size Me, made a film entirely financed by product placement and advertising: Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.
  • Seeing as penguins have already been covered, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey will probably be the second cutest thing you can get in a feature-length documentary. As far as I can tell (my sketchy research could easily be wrong), it’s not been sold yet but it’s all about the fuzzy red one and pretty much guarantees a cinema full of “awwww”s. How could it not be picked up soon?
  • The New York Times has a movie – Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times, which presumably does what it says on the tin. I am geekily intrigued.
  • Life in a Day was put together after YouTube users were encouraged to record their day on 24th July 2010, which the film-makers mixed together. Sounds like a marvel of editing.