CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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New “Happy-Go-Lucky” British Trailer

by Christopher Beaubien • May 01, 2008 • Start the Discussion!


UK Director Mike Leigh’s most anticipated feature film Happy-Go-Lucky is set to play in theaters September 26th. Leigh (High Hopes, Secrets & Lies, Career Girls), who is responsible for uncommonly powerful films about blue-collar people living in London, has had a fruitful career. His method of direction is to accumulate working actors with a theme in mind and then develop the script using improvisation and a deep understanding of the characters. The result is films that feel as unpredictable and as fascinating as life really is.

Happy-Go-Lucky Trailer

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Vera Drake (2004), Leigh’s previous feature, showcased Imelda Staunton in an Academy Award Nominated Performance as a nurturing mother and wife who, out of the goodness of her heart, performed abortions deemed illegal back in the 1950s. Leigh’s love for the plays of Gilbert and Sullivan inspired Topsy Turvy (1999), staring Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner as the creative duo in a dramatized realization of their comic-opera “The Mikado”. After that, Leigh made the gritty and heartfelt All or Nothing (2002) portraying a working-class family (Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville) whose sudden crisis shakes them out of their destructive malaise.

One of the characters in All or Nothing, an angst-ridden young woman who berates her alcoholic mother is played by Sally Hawkins. Hawkins is in the title role of the comedy Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) as Poppy, a thirty-year-old preschool teacher who exudes great wit and optimism wherever she goes. Her bright outlook in life is tested by a troubled child being abused at home and by a cynical driving instructor who holds onto deep prejudice. In Leigh’s hands, such a cheerful character will be extraordinarily complex as to harbor deep feelings of bitter-sweetness.

Honored for her performance as Best Actress by the Berlin Film Festival this year, Hawkins portrays Poppy as the kind of sweet, outgoing and insightful free-spirit that you just want to embrace. She has an enduring sunny quality reminiscent of Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, 2000 and All the Real Girls, 2003) that’s quite infectious. Let’s hope Leigh’s film is too.

An Interview with Sally Hawkins

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GREMLINS: First They Take Manhattan,
Then They Take Britain!

by Christopher Beaubien • May 01, 2008 • 2 Comments

Gremlins are back!


Overseas in the UK those nasty critters, including Stripe, are having a blast destroying an office department to their exhilarating tune by composer Jerry Goldsmith. The TV spot uses ingenious computer animation to digitally transfer the original puppet-controlled monsters seamlessly from the Joe Dante 1984 original into a new modern setting. It is a marvel to behold. For instance, the gremlin going head first in the waste basket is the exact same one going into the bowl of frosting attached to the blender in the first movie’s notorious kitchen sequence. There are even some new actions performed by the gremlins that look convincing on part of the effects animators here. That tap dance sequence doesn’t exist, not even in the deleted scenes on the DVD.

Watching the TV spot only confirms the marketing department for BT, a Britain-based internet connection support company, are wicked masterminds. They even got Timothy Spall (Tim Burton’s Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) to do the voice-over.

I hope Hollywood and Joe Dante are paying attention. Here’s the pitch: Move Gizmo and the gang to Japan and call it: Gremlins: Lost in Transmogrification. And do it while Dick Miller is still around to play Mr. Futterman.

UPDATE (May 2nd, 2008) :

I was just informed by an insider involved with the Gremlins BT TV Spot that no gremlins from the original 1984 film were lifted (or harmed) for the advertisement. All of the effects work was created using new Gremlin puppets. The attention to detail and the superb homages to the original are simply astonishing.

Ring! Ring! It’s Gordon.

by Christopher Beaubien • April 30, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

gordonMore viral marketing for The Dark Knight has been found at to further elevate your anticipation. Having entered the site, you’re just a few clicks away from filling out your name and phone number. Once you submit this information, be on guard for a phone call. If you dare answer it, say the given password “needle”.

On the other end, you will hear Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon interrogate you as a found member of the Joker’s gang.

“Let’s get a smile on that face!”

The Dark Knight comes to theatres July 18th.

Giacchino’s “Roar” is Released

by Christopher Beaubien • April 30, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

giacchinoYesterday, Ratatouille (2007) composer Michael Giacchino’s Roar, an eight-minute musical ode to 50s era Godzilla movies, has been made available on iTunes (only the US version). I couldn’t be happier. This was the only piece of an instrumental music to play over the entirity of J.J. Abrams’ produced Cloverfield, which was reserved for the end credits sequence.

There were only two elements of Cloverfield I enjoyed, in spite of how the filmmakers used their “hand held” camera like they were shaking a martini for 75 minutes. This brings new meaning to enjoying the end credits more than what preceded it. The music was like an award for enduring this tarnished hyped-up spectacle.

What I also enjoyed was really a who, Lizzy Caplan as Marlena. She was the only compelling character who had enough snark to go around the crowd of young, irritating drips surrounding her. To add insult to bug infection, she exited far too soon. With over a half-an-hour left, I was stuck the other survivors, too bored to cheer their deaths. At least, Marlena’s was kinda cool.

Followed by a strong cult following, the demand was as strong as the wait. Negotiations between iTunes over the release the Giacchino’s original cut of the score, which has been extended by five minutes, were met. Giacchino has said, “…there (were) a bunch of legal knots that need(ed) to be tied.”

Listening to the score again, I was reminded of Danny Elfman’s turbulently operatic score for Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks (1996). This main title sequence is so good that I could watch it forty-two times in the amount of time it would take to watch the actual movie.

The 2:06 mark is a killer.