Issue 2 – 22 January 2010

There’s no denying the big movie news this week – the BAFTA longlist was whittled down to produce the final shortlist for this year’s awards on 21 February. While the Golden Globes last weekend may suggest that Hollywood may be taking the Avatar path, the BAFTA nominations indicate more hope for homegrown movies after what has been a successful year for the British Film industry. Avatar is right up there in the categories, as it should be, but equalling its eight nominations is An Education. No nomination for the sublime Peter Sarsgaard but good to see Carey Mulligan and Alfred Molina up there. It’s also good to see that just behind with seven nominations is District 9, which surely deserves more recognition that it has been getting so far?

But it is particularly satisfying to see some credit going to Moon. This outstanding film demands repeated viewings because it managed to combine sheer intelligence with something warmer and human. It is competing for most outstanding British film and for most outstanding debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. I can completely understand why director Duncan Jones is nominated – what a debut! – but I am puzzled why the star Sam Rockwell is nowhere to be seen. For some films it’s difficult to attempt an opinion without visiting the US – Lovely Bones and Crazy Heart aren’t even out here yet. I can’t help but wonder why they’re eligible at all.

On Thursday, Robert Redford opened the Sundance Film Festival in snowy Utah. A film that Redford was particularly glad to welcome to his festival was Howl, a movie in which genres freely merge and James Franco plays Allen Ginsberg. It appears to be intriguing and perplexing critics with equal measure. I’m at a sorry disadvantage to judge because I studied Ginsberg at University. He’s not a poet who suffers being studied lightly.

Legion opened in the US this week. Its apocalyptic battle in a diner doesn’t appear to be impressing. ‘Heaven help us’ begins one review.

Tonight, it’s hard to think of a Hollywood name that isn’t involved in the Telethon organised by George Clooney for Haiti. Actors and musicians will perform, man phones, take pledges and make their contribution to Help for Haiti. While this is on every channel going in the US, in the UK it can be seen on MTV and livestreamed on YouTube through the night.

Weekend Must-See: Brothers (despite Lionsgate’s appalling lack of effort to market this movie for its UK opening today)
Weekend Must-Not-See: St Trinian’s 2 (wasn’t 1 enough?) or Legion in the US (but it may give you that much-needed laugh)

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