This week's film releases - 16th February, 2012

Friday, 17 Feb 2012, 17:20


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Film Review by: Vincent Camilleri


“The Skin I Live In”

Antonio Banderas                  Dr Robert Ledgard
Marisa Parades                      Marilia
Elena Ayana                            Vera Cruz
Blanca Suarez                        Norma Ledgard
Jan Cornet                              Vicente

Written and directed by Pedro Almodovar
Running time: 117 minutes


In 1982 Pedro Almodovar launched the screen career of 19 year old Antonio Banderas with a part in his second film Labyrinth of Passion. They worked together in five other films, parting ways in  Tie Me Up!, Tie Me Down! Released in 1990.  Banderas played a mentally disturbed man obsessed with a woman whom he kidnaps and imprisons.  In this week’s film which brings director and actor together again after 21 years, Almodovar revisits the same subject of abduction leaving home the comedy. Antonio Banderas is Dr Robert Ledgard, a world famous plastic surgeon, who is experimenting on the creation of a fire resistant skin.

The reason for his research comes in one of the many film’s flashbacks where we learn that Dr Ledgard’s wife was severely disfigured by burns in a traffic accident and later committed suicide.  Dr Ledgard was also the father of a teenage daughter, Norma (Blanca Suarez) who suffered a traumatic experience during a party at the hands of Vicente (Jan Cornet), a young man high on drugs. Robert Ledgarde, disturbed by these events, lives and works in a secluded luxurious villa on the outskirts of Toledo that has a state of the art operating theatre and a fully equipped laboratory. His mother Marilia (Marisa Parades) runs the house and looks after a beautiful young woman; Vera Cruz (Elena Ayana) locked in one of the villa’s rooms and Kept under constant CCT surveillance and watched from behind a glass wall, Vera Cruz is Dr Legard’s guinea pig for his skin perfection experiments passing her time reading and practicing yoga.

More said about the story would spoil a gripping thriller masterly crafted by master flimaker Pedro Almodovar who also wrote the script based on Thierry Jonquet’s 2003 novel Tarantula. Stripped of the director’s traditional black humour – except in one sequence involving a weird character dressed in a tiger skin tight outfit –but brought to the screen in his trademark vividly coloured palette on which his favourite strawberry red dominates, Almodovar’s  thriller is rich in suspense. He unfolds Robert Ledgard’s story – with an intense interpretation in an expression of gratitude by Antonio Banderas to his mentor – in a series of surprising sequences giving answers to the questions raised in the story. Who is the imprisoned young woman?  How did she end up in Ledgard’s gilded cage? What is the surgeon’s real and true motive behind his experiment?

The answers come in what Pedro Almodovar himself described as a “horror film without screams, shocks and blood.” Winner of last Monday’s BAFTA Award as Best Foreign Language Film, The Skin I live In  is an unusual film that transcends the stereotyped horror/ thriller genre and offers a very original version of how, in the Spanish tradition and according to Pedro Almodovar, revenge is a dish best served cold.

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Sean William Scott                                     Doug Glatt
Jay Baruchel                                                Pat
Alison Pil                                                      Eva

Directed by Michael Dowse
Running time 92 minutes


Meet Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott). He may not be the sharpest blade on the rink, but he’s got a killer right hook.  When his permanently wasted best friend Pat (Jay Baruchel) runs into trouble, Doug’s ability to beat the crap out of everyone and everything impresses a sports coach who signs him up to annihilate the opposition and a feisty female fan (Alison Pill) who digs dangerous sports.

Sometimes it takes an unlikely hero to unite a team and soon Doug finds himself recruited by the flailing Halifax Highlanders, who desperately need a goon to protect screwed up ex-star player, La Flamme. In between packing punches and breaking bones, the team bond and find their place in the big league.

But when Doug comes fist to face with notoriously violent pro player Rhea (Liev Schreiber) who is hell bent on putting on a show for his retirement fight, the gloves are well and truly off ….

From the creators of Superbad and Pineapple Express comes an ice cool comedy that proves that it’s not the winning, it’s the taking apart of the other team that counts. Together with producer Jesse Shapira, David Gross found screenwriter Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express, Superbad, The Simpsons) and asked him if he'd like to write a Canadian hockey movie. Turns out that being an ex-pat Canadian, Goldberg had been chomping at the bit to do something about the old country. He liked the idea. He was excited about the idea. He wanted to write the screenplay. There was just one problem - he knew nothing about hockey.

(Production Notes- Entertainment One)

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The Muppets

Directed by James Bobin
Running time 103 minutes


“We’re here to sing, dance, make people laugh and somehow, just maybe, make the world a little bit better place. That may sound silly, especially coming from a frog. But the Muppets have always tried to inspire the world with silliness and to show folks that no matter who you are or how weird you seem to others, there’s a place for you and people who care about you. And when you find that place and meet those people, wonderful things happen.”

Kermit the Frog

He’s green. He has crazy friends, flippers, a penchant for pigs…and one of the most recognizable singing voices since the King. And he’s coming to neighborhoods everywhere for the holidays.

Kermit the Frog is back on the big screen, and this time, he’s teaming up with Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and newcomer Walter, plus the whole Muppet gang, for a brand-new, big-screen adventure in Disney’s “The Muppets.”

“It’s funny, upbeat and full of laughs for everyone…frogs, pigs, bears…even people,” says Kermit. “For new fans, it’s a chance to see the Muppets in action on the big screen. And for old fans it’s a chance to get together with old friends…and get a little crazy together.”

On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze Muppet Studios and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage a telethon and raise the $10 million needed to save the studio, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate.

Disney’s “The Muppets” is directed by James Bobin (“Flight of the Conchords,” “The Ali G Show”) and produced by the Academy Award®-nominated team David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman (“The Fighter,” “The Proposal”) with a screenplay written by Segel & Nicholas Stoller (“Get Him to the Greek”), who also serve as executive producers along with John G. Scotti and “The Muppet Show” veteran Martin G. Baker. Bret McKenzie, who created, co-wrote, executive-produced and starred in the hit HBO television series “Flight of the Conchords,” is the music supervisor as well as the writer/producer of three original songs. Original score is by Christophe Beck, Michael Rooney is the choreographer, Rahel Afiley is the costume designer, and James Thomas is the editor. Steve Saklad is the production designer, and Don Burgess, ASC, is the director of photography.
(Production Notes - Disney Pictures)

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Dane DeHaan                             Andrew
Alex Russell                                 Matt
Michael B. Jordan                       Steve

Directed by Josh Trank
Running time: 84 minutes


Andrew, Matt, and Steve are recognizable teens, each with a distinctive personality and each facing relatable challenges that come with being in high school, forming new friendships, and exploring new facets of their ever-changing lives.  They’re imperfect, awkward, and a little reckless.

Like so many of us, they’re obsessed with chronicling their lives, however mundane – or in their case, however extraordinary.   For Andrew, Matt and Steve have stumbled upon something beyond their – or anyone’s – understanding.  Their discovery leads them to acquire powerful telekinetic abilities; in graphic novel parlance, they have superpowers.

They’re now capable of, well, almost anything.  They can move objects just by thinking about them, crush cars through force of will.  They learn to fly…the ultimate wish fulfillment.   Then things get dark. What would you do if it happened to you?  What would you be capable of?

Those are the intriguing questions posed by CHRONICLE, a new film unlike any you’ve seen before.  It’s a superhero movie that’s not really a superhero movie.  On the surface it belongs in the relatively new sub-genre of “found footage” or “P-O-V” films, but it turns their conventions on its head.  It’s thrilling, yet relatable; rich with creatively conceived and executed camera work and visual effects, but grounded in reality.

So, what would you do if you suddenly obtained abilities beyond comprehension?  Would you don a special suit, fly off, and battle evildoers?  If you were a teenager, the likely response would be: hell, no.  You’d have a blast with them, pull elaborate pranks, and maybe exact revenge on those who’ve wronged you.  Maybe those powers would amplify your less noble qualities.  Or worse.

“In most stories, superpowers are generally applied to good and evil, but in reality they’d be applied to necessity,” says Josh Trank, who makes his feature directorial debut and also co-wrote the story with Max Landis.  “And when you’re a teenager, necessity is really about making yourself happy.  You’d want to laugh and have a good time with those powers.”
(Production Notes – 20th Century Fox)

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Top Ten Films in Malta
8 - 12 February 2012


With acknowledgements to KRS Film Distributors Ltd.

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