Saturday, February 27, 2010

David Mackenzie's "Spread" to see UK DVD Release

David Mackenzie's "Spread" will finally be released on DVD for those in the UK. Following a very limited theatrical run in the UK last month, pre-orders for the UK edition of the standard DVD and Blu-ray are now available, with retailers Play and HMV showing a May 17th, 2010 release (note Amazon UK has it listed for April 26; will try and pin down the exact date as soon as I can)

Readers will recall of course the film starring Ashton Kutcher and Anne Heche was out on DVD in the US last November.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Marketing Fail as Valhalla Rising Sinks Tragically in the Mud

The following represents my personal opinion ONLY.

Today I saw a new piece of marketing for Nicholas Winding Refn's Valhalla Rising, a film made in Scotland, based out of Film City Glasgow, starring Mads Mikkelsen as a mute warrior. Screened at several major film festivals, and due on DVD in the UK shortly (US release of some sort is pending) this film has been both decried and acclaimed for the lack of dialogue, striking visuals imagry, pacing and music but most consistently for the violence contained in the movie. Those familiar with Mr. Refn know full well that his films are often quite violent and so this is nothing new. However today I saw something that was such a huge and utter letdown, I was appalled.

When I imagine a trailer or a piece of marketing being put together I think perhaps there is a team of well educated intelligent artistic creative folks who might sit around and create a way to best tease, entice, appeal, fascinate capture my fancy, make it well worth the time and expense for me to put down my hard earned money and go to the theatre and see a particular piece of film. Today what I saw was just the opposite. For what I saw was NOT the best of Scottish film, NOT the best of range talent creative work, NOT a fair and full representation of the hours days weeks months and years gone into creating this film. Not a piece that makes me want to go see a film.

Instead I saw a tragically repulsive piece of crap that I felt was insulting to me, as a fan as a reader as a longtime supporter of this film. I felt it was insulting to the filmmakers and crew and cast to the point I had to wonder WHAT was the point of this? Instead of trying to counter negative press, capture and build an audience other than just angry young adult males, I was subjected to a whole host of gore excessive violence murder movie 'plot' spoilers all set most dreadfully to ballet music in a lame tacky manner usually reserved for car commercials or cleaning products in an attempt Provoke? Repulse? Get all the violence out of the way? Was there some subtle message of oho you are SUPPOSED to be revolted by the violence, that is why we showed multiple closes ups of blood splattering, beheading strangling, rape, head splatting open gore (and lets not forget to show close ups of Mads gleefully disemboweling a victim) Yes, that will do the trick!

No, no it doesn't. Do I appreciate that there are many trailers and films out there that contain graphic violence? Why yes, yes I do, I've seen Mr. Refn's work before too thanks. Do I not appreciate all the talent time and effort by the crew going into make the violence look 'real?' Yes yes I do. Will I hear retorts of oh boo hoo poor babies sensitivities were offended. Yes probably.Will they chortle and think but oho we succeeded by getting your attention. Oh yes you did, in the most negative way possible.

That piece of rubbish didn't offend my natural revulsion to so much graphic violence all at once, I think it should offend the film makers and cast and crew for is this IT? Is this what Mads, Mr. Refn, Jamie Sives, Gary Lewis, Ms. Smyth, entire cast and crew want me to think going in and walking out of the film-that it's nothing more than an advertisement for a Scottish Saw film? Do filmmakers seriously want me to disregard all the previous interviews I've faithfully posted because clearly I have been a fool and finally get the point and now think what they really want fans to know is- oh fuck the plot let's just make a film and highlight nothing but the gore, because that's all that sells these days right? Screw art and ground breaking thought provoking film making and clever cinematography -who needs that!!!-just feature the prosthetic decapitated head! woohooo! Forget trying to capture any sense of frustration isolation horror the 'vikings' or whoever felt going into a new land, lets just show that we can splatter blood on a screen stylishly and often! woohoo go team go.
No. go away
. If you are trying to reach an audience you failed today, you sank as low as Jamie's character floundering there in the mud which was sad and tragic. IMO It's well beneath Mads, beneath all of them and you let them down. You let me down. Today I learned that Valhalla Rising just sank and I find that quite sad. You just lost me too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

April Showers Bring Jamie Sives Galore: Valhalla Rising DVD, Clash of Titans, Wonderful Afterlife

Sweet Sives Forecast for April 2010: JAMIE SIVES MONTH!

Yes, with my keen prognosticator skills at hand, I pronounce it will be raining Jamie Sives (Hallelujah!) for the month of April-best kind of showers I can think of ;))) What blather am I on about now? Why the release dates of new upcoming Jamie Sives projects coming soon to a screen near you! Witness:

APRIL 2: Clash of the Titans released! In ffng 3D...yes 3D JAMIE TO BOOT. god I cant wait! :)))) Website at this link. While I can NOT find one single still background shot or anything of Jamie in the barrage of trailers stills etc of late, he does appear as "Commander" in the remake of the classic film, which also stars the always wonderful Mads Mikkelsen. As Jamie exclusively told me here first, he will be appearing in this film, doing most of his scenes with Mads. The fan sites are now permitted to release their set visits and Coming Soon (same interview I think as on collider) has this great piece with Mads. No mention of Jamie of course, but we remain hopeful that we will see a wee Jamie action figure, or you can see his character in the video game too lol. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SOMEONE HAVE MERCY and let us see a still of Jamie in his costume for this film /grovels.

APRIL 19 Valhalla Rising DVD released in UK (US distribution somepoint this spring, date unknown) AMAZON HAS THE DVD FOR PRE-ORDER .
HMV also has the same date, however please note that has it for pre-order with a April 26 release

As I reported previously this film is still screening at festivals, with tickets remaining for the Jameson Dublin festival.

APRIL 23 It's a Wonderful Afterlife released in theatres. Website here. Jamie plays a police detective in this film which has gotten mixed reviews (ie its just ok kind of thing alas) Still I will be there for sure opening day! :)))

Kate Continues: More Press on Donkeys, Outcast and More

As a follow to the post below, the Scotsman also has an interview with great Kate, who gives a bit more insight on her reprise as Jackie in Sigma Films upcoming Rounding Up Donkeys. The second of the original Advance Party Films trilogy, Kate gives us bit more insight on her revamped character of Jackie: "It was really nice to revisit the characters, but our lives are in a different dimension, we're in different jobs, some of our history is different, some is the same. We all have different relationships." She says she is still Jackie, but now works in a supermarket, and that the drama of the film focuses on another character."

Like the previous others, we also hear a bit on her turn in Outcast and the anticipated mini-series of Pillars of the Earth. Quotage:

With gentle encouragement, she does admit that Sergio Mimica-Gazzan, the Croatian director of big budget mini-series The Pillars of the Earth, adapted from the Ken Follett novel about cathedral builders and likely to be screened on television later this year, spotted both Dickie and co-star Tony Curran in Red Road and found suitable parts for both in the series.

Dickie spent about a month in Budapest where the series was made, on set with the likes of Ian McShane, Donald Sutherland and Rufus Sewell. "It was great fun, I loved that job. My character was very strong, not coarse but very real, very down to earth. She dies early on, but my death triggers a lot of what happens for the rest of the film. I loved Budapest so much. I felt at home there, they looked after us so well."

Last year she also made Outcast, a supernatural thriller directed by Colm McCarthy (Murphy's Law, Spooks) which will premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, in March. It marries old witchcraft with contemporary urban horror – the outdoor sequences were filmed in Edinburgh's Sighthill. She plays the mother of a teenage son, pursued by an unnamed fiend (James Nesbitt).

Dickie admits, laughing, that she tends to leave the room when a horror film comes on TV, and says her character is "very dark". "I realised after I finished doing it that I'd been in a really strange place. Sometimes you forget how involved you are in something. My character's quite violent, she looks like she's doing awful things sometimes but her intention is to protect her son and make everything okay.

"It was a really great time. Colm is a wonderful director, so clear about what he's looking for. We had a lot of laughs. My boyfriend thinks it's hilarious. I just need to hear the opening bars of scary music and I'm like 'Turn it off!' He says 'But you've been in a horror film!' It's pathetic, but it's different when you're in it."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kate Dickie Talks Scottish Film, "Rounding Up Donkeys," More

Good tidings this fat Tuesday :D as we get to hear again from the ever fabulous actress Kate Dickie who is the subject of a second interview of late, today in the Herald. While the one from last week was theatrecentric, the subject of this article contains new thoughts from the ever fearless actress who thankfully is given the chance to weigh in on Scottish film, and notably the second installment in the Advance Party trilogy from Sigma Films, "Rounding Up Donkeys." Directed by Morag Mckinnon, actors play the same character as in the superb Red Road, only with a twist as has long been establish. Kate gives her thoughts on her return to the character of Jackie:

“That was fun,” Dickie says. “It’s the same characters, but with different relationships and a different set of circumstances. That really interested me, because it meant your character is making different choices. The film’s a very black comedy, and it meant that you’d be p****** yourself laughing at the same time something awful was happening. But I like having the rug pulled from under me like that, thinking things are going one way, then they end up going somewhere completely different.”

Also of note, the remainder of the piece contains her thoughts on the unfortunate labels often slapped on Scottish film ("I think it’s good to shake it up in front of people. I don’t understand why people always go on about all this grim stuff in Scotland. If you look at the stuff coming out of eastern Europe, it makes us look like Cinderella.”) There are also mentions of Colm McCarthy's Outcast starring Kate and James Cosmo and James Nesbitt, which was filmed (and covered here) last summer in Edinburgh as follows:

Dickie identifies a problem that film-makers including Arnold, McKinnon and Glenaan, plus others such as Lynne Ramsay, have all had to face. Schooled in a European arthouse tradition, at home they’re too easily dismissed as kitchen-sink sensationalists romanticising the local underclass. Even Outcast, the horror film that Dickie has just made alongside James Nesbitt, looks set to face such charges. Ostensibly a supernatural thriller, Dickie plays one of the Syph people, a type of Irish fairy isolated from their homeland. “We look human,” she says, “but we’re not.”

If this sounds like a metaphysical leap away from Dickie’s other work, think again. Outcast, as she describes it, is a modern urban horror, filmed on location in Edinburgh’s Sighthill district, and which is “Quite dark. Quite violent. Quite brutal, really.”

Not that Dickie is ever likely to see it when it’s released. As with most things, she’s scared of horror films, and can’t even watch them on TV. She’s more likely to be able to cope with The Pillars of the Earth, a major mini-series based on a Ken Follett novel and co-executive produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, which Dickie appears in two episodes of. Set in the 12th century, its epic tale of war, politics and religious strife sounds a long way from Red Road. Dickie is the first to admit, however, that it was the global exposure she received via Arnold’s film that opened the door to this other realm of city-size sets in Budapest and casts of thousands led by Ian McShane.

“I was terrified,” she says. “I’m used to doing small things, and suddenly I’m doing this. I die about 15 minutes in, but that sets off a lot of different things. But it was terrifying. Just being away from home. I’m a real home body and I hate change.”

Where, though, does all this fear come from? “I don’t know,” she admits. “I’ve thought about it a lot, but I’m quite shy, and I probably hide behind my characters a lot. I can do anything when I’m playing a character. I’ve always found it easier doing things when I’m not being myself. I can put on a good show of being brave, but inside is something else.”

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pre-Orders for Murdoch Mysteries with Alastair Mackenzie

I received several mails of late regarding Sigma's co-founder and notable actor Alastair Mackenzie. First, I want to extend my appreciation to the lovely note sent regarding coverage Al and in his recent UK stage appearance in The Priory. Thrilled the play did as well as it has with all the many nominations and all; most of all very glad people were able to see him -jealous I am too!

Others have asked about what he is doing next. Unfortunately, I don't have much to report on for the moment save heads up gorgous photo has been released on his IMDB page and pre-orders are available (US Amazon here, UK Amazon here) for Murdoch Mysteries Season Two DVD. According to this recent report this will be out May 4 in the US, but the UK one says next week (lucky if true!)Quotage: "Acorn also filled us in on some further details about this 4-disc set. It will contain 13 episodes running 598 minutes, which are presented in anamorphic widescreen video. Sound will be in English stereo, and it will be accompanied by English subtitles as well. Bonus material consists of a Behind-the-Scenes Featurette on the first disc, and on the fourth disc you'll find Character Bios, Cast Filmographies, and a Photo Gallery. We already passed along that the list price will be $59.99 SRP in the USA, but Acorn also informs us that the cost in Canada will be CA$74.99 SRP (for fans north of the border)" As a reminder too, the Mentalist will be released on DVD in the UK next month (already available here in the US); a clip of Al starring in the episode 'Russet Potatoes' can be seen here.

No word yet on what is happening with Monster Mutt, and we all remain hopeful that the Last Word will be sold and eventually shown in theatres for us in the UK/US.

Sunday, February 7, 2010



I could scarcely believe my eyes this morning when I read the news: I LOVE LUCI, the short film written and directed by the fabulous Colin Kennedy WON WON WON at the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival. Omg Im so lame I actually cried just now. IM SO HAPPY THRILLED. GO LUCI GO CONGRATULATIONS COLIN, BRIAN, SIGMA FILMS of Glasgow, James (Hobo film) and ALL INVOLVED.
This is the sweetest, most super news today! YAY!
Note: Colin has now added the script for Luci online here at this link.
GAH TO READ OR NOT! 0_0 torn I am....

A Sigma Films production, I Love Luci was written and directed by Colin Kennedy, produced by Brian Coffey and stars the wonderful Camilla Rutherford and Colin Harris and so many more. You can learn more about this AWARD WINNING SHORT FILM AT THIS LINK!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snapshot Clermont

Snapshot....France, where I LOVE LUCI screened recently at the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival. As noted by writer/director Colin Kennedy, there are a load of new pics up on the Facebook fanpage at this link, check em out!

To Space and Beyond Boundaries with David Mackenzie

Over the past few weeks I've gotten some emails from fellow fans asking what is next for Sigma and most notably David. Short answer, Im not 100% certain to be quite candid sorrryyy!, but I do my best to try and keep up with the events and post accurately as possible given there is so much speculation and rumors rife in the film world. So much of the projects we already know about bubbling away on the backburner depend on funding, which can take years of course. Otherwise, the wonderful folks at Sigma also tend to keep a low key on things and usually remain that way, however there have been a few recent rumblings of interest.

A few weeks ago there was this interview on Goodbooksguide.blogspot with author Toby Litt (his myspace is here) who stated his novel "Journey into Space" is to be adapted for film by Sigma Films and David Mackenzie. Please note, I am uncertain about the year this interview took place, and am quite uncertain if this is actually going to happen eh yea, regardless there was the following: "Journey into Space has been optioned by Glasgow-based Sigma Films, to be written and directed by David Mackenzie, the Scottish film director. He’s made some great stuff in the past, including Young Adam and Hallam Foe, so I’m optimistic. He’s very into science fiction. As for George Bush, I was told by some early readers that this was their interpretation of Orphan. This was their way of reading a character whose political platform, if you can call it that, is happiness, is being happy. I’m not sure if I’d see this as Bush’s defining characteristic. He was more blithe than happy, though the two are easily mistaken."

Recently too after a very short lived run of Spread in UK theatres , there had been some rumors again that maybe Stain in the Snow was actually going to be filmed this year in Germany, but for now still keeping that firmly in the rumor/development stage category for now. LAST WORD of course is very much still on the horizon, and there were several mentions of the film being one of the years anticipated (see here from ioncinema, and here from Dark Horizons, here for The Playlist. Fingers crossed that things will go well in Berlin and we can see a premiere either in Edinburgh or Cannes or somewhere with the film likely to open later this year! Go David Go!

Of course the latest buzz heh appeared this week in various UK newspapers over a short list for Creative Scotland's "Visual Sparks" Award. One of the reasons I adore his work so much is due to his willingness to take on the forbidden the unexpected push boundaries of sorts with his non typical stories, and it seems with this recent proposal he would be continuing the trend. I think I have this correct (please tell me if this is wrong!) but this would see David reuniting with one of the composers for Young Adam and an acclaimed visual artist to create a side project that sounds really promising, but details are vague alas. All Media Scotland:

Collaborators: Raymond MacDonald (composer and musician)

Martin Boyce (visual artist)

David MacKenzie (film director)

Towards the cost of three artists (art, music and film) joining together to experiment in new forms and produce a work that will adapt to gallery, concert hall and cinema spaces. Amount requested: £100,000.

Winners will be announced March 1, and will update then.

"OutCast" with James Nesbitt, Kate Dickie World Premiere at SXSW in March

As a follow to the post below, Colm McCarthy's "OutCast" starring the great Kate Dickie and James Nesbitt will have its world premiere at the SXSW festival next month in Texas. While tickets for this screening are not yet available (or word on who might be attending) the film portion of the festival runs March 12-20th in Austin. Great news!Update: The Herald now has a piece online with quotes from the producer Eddie Dick who says they turned down a chance to screen at Tribeca in favor of the vaunted Texas festival. quotage: "

When asked to choose Tribeca or SXSW, Outcast producer Eddie Dick said: “Our sales agent said you must take SXSW because it is developing a reputation as the coolest film festival in the US.

“Tribeca is a great festival but for this kind of film and the attention we are wanting to get for it, the prize here has to be an attempt to get a release in North America. Getting the opening slot in the fantasy section is as good a shot as we’re going to get at that.”

I have been told we won't be seeing an official promo for another week or so yet, but be sure to check out my flickr for the earlier poster and some filming photos from last year. Stay tuned!

Bonus! While we dont know who will be attending and when exactly the film premiere will take place, Scottish great actress Katie Dickie is due to open with her new place "What We Know" at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. Previewing Feb 17, and running thru Feb 24th, you can learn more about the play and book tickets here at this link. GO KATE! :)

UPDATE! A great interview with the GREAT KATE DICKIE in the Times, where she discusses the above mentioned play. There are brief mentions of her forthcoming appearances in Rounding Up Donkeys, Pillars of the Earth and Outcast. Quotage:

"The television and film work that has kept her off the stage for the past two years is done in more family-friendly short bursts. She has finished Rounding Up Donkeys, which is a sequel, of sorts, to Red Road. It has the same characters and actors but shakes them all around into a completely different film. Alfred, who was Dickie’s father-in-law in Red Road, is now her father. He is also played by a different actor. No mention, at this point, of nudity and sex.

Back in the mainstream, Dickie pops up in a couple of episodes of The Pillars of the Earth, a mini-series starring Ian McShane and Matthew Macfadyen, a one-off drama, Dive, with Ewen Bremner, and a horror film, Outcast, starring James Nesbitt. Despite all this, Dickie can’t break the habit of worrying where the next job is coming from.

“I never feel safe with it — I’m always thinking all right, there’s going to be a long, quiet period ahead. I can’t help it."Unless the National Theatre of Scotland is taken over by Simon Cowell, that is never going to happen."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Film Festival Update: Dispatches from France, Glasgow, Dublin, and Berlin

Happy February! Well we may have six more weeks (at least) of dread snowy weather ahead booooo!, but at least there are some good things heating up on the film festival scene to distract. Going global, there is the following of interest:

France: Colin Kennedy and Brian Coffey from Sigma are in France as I Love Luci, the newest film from Sigma is making waves at the acclaimed Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. Colin reports that despite the cold, there is some interest in the film which he wrote and directed, and all fingers are crossed for sales. Go Luci Go! If you are not already, be sure to follow Colin on his Twitter here and check out the new Facebook Fanpage for the film, which has a debut of the new poster for the film. :)

Glasgow: The Scottish Premiere of I LOVE LUCI will take place during the Glasgow Film Festival, notably the Short Film Festival section. The crew from Sigma will hopefully make an appearance as the film screens Saturday, February 20th in the "Competition 1" showing. Tickets can be purchased at this link. It is also worth noting that the "Great Scots" strand of the festival will feature an appearance by the great Peter Mullan on February 26th where hopefully he will make remarks about his most recent feature Neds which was based out of Film City Glasgow. You can see new photos from the film here, including one of the excellent Gary Lewis. Director Kevin MacDonald will be the subject of the directors cut series, this event taking place on Sat. Feb 27 where no doubt the subject of the recent Eagle of the Ninth Scottish production will be discussed :) Finally, be sure to head on over to the Apple Store on Buchanan Street February 25 as Scots director Richard Jobson (New Town Killers) will be making an appearance; more info here.

Berlin: more specifically the EFM the busy market for the films will see a few quiet yet hugely important events taking place. If this report is accurate, lucky buyers will be able to see a private promo reel for David Mackenzie's The Last Word. This is nothing new, standard practice to help sell a film, just am hoping things will go really really well for this. Also a film that was made in Edinburgh and several locations as documented here on this blog last year, OUTCAST starring James Nesbitt and the superb Kate Dickie, will be screening several times at the EFM, starting next week on February 11th . A test website is now in place but does not contain much of anything frankly; fingers crossed however that this means we are going to be actually getting a promo and pics finally at some point!

Dublin: Nicolas Winding Refn's Valhalla Rising, starring Mads Mikkelsen and Jamie Sives will be screening at the Jameson Dublin Film Festival on February 24th. As the film has opened in several countries already, there are now several websites online for the film. The French website for the movie features a few new high res downloads, and the Danish site is not completely working properly however you can listen to a bit of the music.