Jim Groom's "Room 36" Gets DVD Release

When writer-director Jim Groom conceived the idea for an unrelated follow-up project to his underrated 1992 comedy-horror, Revenge of Billy the Kid, little could he have predicted the series of unfortunate events that would set the project back a testing 11 years. But persistence and unfaltering willpower paid off as, with several years now elapsed since Room 36's inception and 2005 theatrical release, this labour of love has finally seen the light of its DVD release day. 

In addition to the smart Brit comedy/noir thriller feature that pitches a chain of unsavoury events in a suitably seedy setting, the DVD comes fully equipped with bonus features that will delight wannabe-filmmakers and those with an interest in the machinations of the industry. On top of trailers and deleted scenes, you'll find a 9-minute featurette on the gross-out, bestiality comedy film extraordinaire, Revenge of Billy the Kid and a feature-length documentary, 11 Years in the Making, which follows the trials and tribulations of the titular feature. 

Affectionately sub-headed The Most Informative Documentary On How NOT To Make An Independent Feature Film, 11 Years is an eye-opening and invaluable watch not only for those who've been following this epic release, but also for those with an interest in embarking upon independent film production themselves. 

Available now from Amazon UK and other quality retailers.


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Teaser trailer for the psychological drama movie The Artifice

"Imagine if you had the ability to see every tiny connection, every movement, every decision, every concept, and every consequence. Would you embrace this gift or try to hide it would you be able to use it without effect or would this knowledge change your life forever?"

Stylistically the promo reminds me of Jamin Winans' Ink and Tony Krantz's Sublime, mixed with a touch of Mamoru Oshii's Avalon. We don't have a lot more info on this project other than it's gained nearly a million fans on facebook on the strength of the intrigue created by the promo, but the crew behind it is going to send further details over.

www.the-artifice.com | www.facebook.com/theartifice | twitter.com/the_artifice


I bookmarked this short (Born That Way) from director Tony McNeal some time ago with the intention of posting it and then promptly forgot. Which is a shame because it's really is a very cool and very well put together. Anyway I've remembered now and you really should take a few minutes to check it out.

"When ex-con and hard-as-nails, Jake Green, finally gets a chance to see his daughter after six months, he takes her out for a quick bite only to wind up in the middle of an armoured car heist. The violent incident leaves a lasting impression on his daughter and influences her choice to pursue a dangerous and lucrative career later in life."

Born That Way stars Stars Kevin Gage (Waingro from Michael Mann's "Heat") who fits the role pretty perfectly.

www.unstoppable.tv


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Director Richard Kelly, The Box stars Cameron Diaz as Norma Lewis and James Marsden as Arthur Lewis, a suburban couple with a young child who receive a simple wooden box as a gift. However, this simple gift bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger (Frank Langella), delivers the message that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. But, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world.....someone they don't know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the crosshairs of a startling moral dilemma and must face the true nature of their humanity.

The Box is out now in the US and is released in the UK cinema's on the 4th of December

US website | UK website


A man, known as "Six," finds himself inexplicably trapped in "The Village" with no memory of how he arrived. As he explores his environment, he discovers that his fellow inhabitants are identified by number instead of name, have no memory of any prior existence, and are under constant surveillance. Not knowing whom to trust, Six is driven by the need to discover the truth behind The Village, the reason for his being there, and most importantly -- how he can escape.

Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ, The Thin Red Line) will play the role of Six; and two-time Oscar nominee Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings, The Da Vinci Code) will co-star as Two.

Prisoner Portal: www.amctv.com/originals/the-prisoner/premiere/

Also check out The Village Wiki, The Village Map and test your spying aptitude with SWAT.

The Prisoner premieres on Sun., Nov. 15 from 8PM to 10PM ET | PT.  The Prisoner will air over three consecutive nights, with two episodes each evening, from 8PM to 10PM ET | PT on AMC.

Via: www.amctv.com


H

Someone is killing women, most of whom have the connection of unwanted pregnancies. The vicious nature of the crimes and the choice of victims matches the M.O. of notorious Korean serial killer, 26 year old Shin-Hyun. The problem is Shin-Hyun has already handed himself in and admitted to 6 killings prier to this recent spate. Hard-bitten female Detective Kim Mi Yun, played by Yum Jung-ah (A Tale of Two Sisters, Three... Extremes,) and her new partner Detective Kang Tae Hyun race against time to solve the murders and put a stop to the horrific killings.

Jong-hyuk Lee’s debut feature film H is one of those twisty serial killer flicks with an obvious nod to David Fincher’s ever popular Seven. A team of detectives follow a twisty trail as they track down what appears to be one or maybe more copycat serial killers that are using the exact modus operandi as deadly lady killer and all-round twisted young psychopath, Shin Hyun (Cho Seung-woo). New boy Kang Tae, teams up with the masculine Kim Mi Yan who worked on the Shin-Hyun case and easy going detective Park, played by Sung Ji-ru (Public Enemy, Memories of Murder) as the three try and piece the evidence together.

Jong-hyuk Lee obviously has a good eye behind the camera as H is a good looking film with some great shots and a sensible moody atmosphere, unfortunately, or fortunately depending how you look at it, this is really the only thing which saves this film from falling the wrong side of OK. The characters are by the numbers caricatures, serial killer Shin-Hyun is not convincing as a charismatic and mentally superior “puppet master” manipulating the cops emotions (unless the actors aim was to portray someone you would happily slap about for half an hour because he is the worlds least creepy serial killer.) Kang Tae is meant to be somewhat emotional and volatile, but his overacting and rediculous outbursts when he is supposedly being wound up by the Shin-Hyun don’t make much sense at all. Sung-ru is passable as the chubby and blase third wheel in the team but again his character is very cliched. Competing with Shin Hyun in the crap character stakes is cold and hardened (women in a mans world cliche) Kim Mi Yan, who is, dare I say it … just crap, nothing about this character works, she’s a walking talking stereotype with zero screen charisma. Her “I must make myself a man to work in a mans world” hair and clothing mean she would likely get taken less seriously and the ridiculous look she has on her face most of the time was about as convincing as one of those emails from the wife of Omar Ahmed's widow asking you to open a bank account and look after his oil fortune. Gore wise, there are a few nasty moments with the highlight (If you can call it that,) coming near the beginning, as a still living fetus kicks its leg out through the sliced stomach of its dead mother (nice.)

The twisty plot (essential in this kind of movie) is a passable one, though in no way as clever as it thinks it is and many viewers will see certain things coming a mile off, but it works to a point and certainly is serviceable. Really though it’s the way the movie looks and sounds that means you make it to the end and feel like you haven’t wasted your time. Hyuk frames his shots nicely and achieves the stylistic look he was obviously going for. With a better plot and a bit more attention given to his characters, there is a good chance he could create a fantastic film, H however is not it.

Style not content makes H a watchable if not particularly satisfying film.


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Trailer for Whiteout whic is directed by Dominic Sena ((Kalifornia, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Swordfish)) and stars Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Columbus Short, Alex O'Loughlin, Shawn Doyle and Tom Skerritt. The film is adapted from the comic book of the same name by writer Greg Rucka and artist Steve Lieber.

"A U.S. deputy marshal, (Kate Beckinsale), the only one assigned to Antarctica, must investigate a murder on the frozen continent within three days before the arctic winter begins. She crosses paths with a UN operative (Gabriel Macht), also investigating the murder."


Vanishing Point

In case your wondering I'm talking about the 1971 classic and Viggo Mortensen made for TV re-make which I have not seen and pretty much have no interest in seeing either. Having just watched Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (A film which I like), it was time to throw on Vanishing Point (A film I love). Vanishing Point is another film with a simple premise, but one which is given a near perfect execution. Barry Newman (City on Fire, The Limey) stars as "Kowalski" (No first name is ever used). Kowalski is a man who has had a varied career from military service in Vietnam, a cop, a speedway motorcycle rider, a NASCAR driver and now he delivers cars across the states.

Arriving in Denver with a car to drop off "Kowalski" decides against the advice of the guy at the depot to pick up another car and drive right back to San Francisco. The car he chooses is of course an iconic white 1970 Dodge Challenger. Just before he leaves Denver "Kowalski" drops by a speed dealing friend to pick up some amphetamines so he can keep those nasty slices of death known as sleep away. He bets that he can be back in Denver in record time or will double the price he pays for the drugs at his next purchase. Wired on uppers and sitting on several hundred horses of American muscle car "Kowalski" starts his run and nothing will stop him from reaching his goal ... nothing.

On his high speed limited time journey "Kowalski" is chased by the authorities almost from the start when he fails to stop for some motorcycle cops. How ever he is aided by various outsiders and members of counterculture, 1% bikers, drug users, an old hermit and maybe most importantly blind radio DJ Super Soul played by Cleavon Little (Greased Lightning) who is best known for his role in Mel Brooks Blazing Saddles. As the film moves along Kowalski becomes a kind of hero for those who believe in true freedom and in turn he becomes a deadly pariah to those who would keep order. Although in reality his "crime" is nothing more than a simple mistermeaner, his refusal to stop (and the failure of the establishment to stop him) becomes an insult those who believe respect is bestowed (In this case with a badge and a gun) and not earned. "Kowalski" though is no simple hippy maniac giving a finger to the man; he was a cop who stood up when his partner did wrong and a decorated war hero. No doubt these things were included in the characters back story to make it less easy for certain viewers to dismiss. Unlike Dirty Mary Crazy Larry which is really just an excuse to drive cars around having fun (Nothing wrong with that) Vanishing Point is more complex, it’s a look at American culture as the innocence of the 60's is lost to the escalating backdrop of the Vietnam War and the changing times. "Kowalski" is a much a visual representation as an idea or a theme as he is a character. He is in the words of Super Soul " ... the last American hero, the electric centaur, the, the demi-god, the super driver of the golden west!"

The thing I like about movies like this is they know they won't resonate well with everyone. It really depends on your mind set. For some people while they may enjoy the fast cars and naked girl on a bicycle they will be thinking "Why doesn’t he just stop when they ask him to". The rest of us however will be right alongside Super Soul cheering on "the last American hero" and personal freedom. No nation no matter its history is more synonymous with the motor car than America and Vanishing Point is a great slice of America on film. This is a road movie and thriller with very few peers and one rarely bettered.


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Trailer for the re-make of 1987's The Stepfather which was directed by Joseph Ruben and starred Terry O'Quinn (Lost). The remake see's TV director Nelson McCormick take the rains and Dylan Walsh of "Nip/Tuck" fame take the O'Quinn role.

Elias Koteas look-a-like Christopher Meloni also stars along with Amber Heard (Zombieland), Sela Ward and Penn Badgley of "Gossip Girl".

It's doesn't look to bad from the trailer as remakes go, but the director, cast and look of the thing make me think TV movie.

welcometothefamily.com


Trailer for Pandorum, a terrifying thriller in which two crew members wake up on an abandoned spacecraft with no idea who they are, how long they've been asleep, or what their mission is. The two soon discover they're actually not alone -- and the reality of their situation is more horrifying than they could have imagined.

Christian Alvart who directed Antibodies takes the directors chair. Ben Foster, Dennis Quaid, Cam Gigandet, Antje Traue and martial artist Cung Le star

Pandorum - Poster

www.pandorummovie.com


First trailer for Guy Ritchie's take on the classic detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The film simply titled Sherlock Holmes is due for a boxing day release.

This adaption see's the titular hero revamped in a vain similar to the The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Sadly the film version and not Alan Moore's fantastic comic. The reactions across the net for this trailer have been very positive. I personally don't feel that excited, sure Basil Rathbone style fog and deerstalkers has been done to death and would not fly today. However I'm a bit surprised Richie and the screenwriters have taken it to such safe blockbuster action comedy ground. One would have hoped for a little touch of snatch / Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels infused to give it just a little more edge. After all Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell are meant to be taking on the roles of Holmes and Watson in a still "Untitled Sherlock Holmes Project", which one imagines will touch the comedic itself. Many feel it has a similar vibe to Pirates of the Caribbean, which was a fun franchise, so its probably going to fairly good popcorn munching fun.

Detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his stalwart partner Watson (Jude Law) engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.

Joining Downey and Law in the cast are Mark Strong, Kelly Reilly, Eddie Marsan, James Fox and Rachel McAdams (sporting a rather fetching corset in the trailer)

You can download an HD version of the trailer from Yahoo! Movies

Via: Yahoo! movies


Antibodies

In a dramatic and highly physical opener, a SWAT team swoops on wanted man Gabriel Engel. Captured after a reign of terror spanning more than six years and thirteen young male victims, it seems as though the cops finally have their man. Meanwhile, cop-cum-farmer, Michael Martens, is continuing to aggravate his townsfolk and further alienate himself by his obsession with the unsolved and brutal murder of a girl in his own village a year and a half ago. Will the capture of Engel bring closure for Martens, or will it in fact be just the beginning of a new and horrifying chapter? One thing’s for sure, Engel will shake Martens’ beliefs to their very foundations.

In one throwaway reference, Antibodies acknowledges the film to which it owes a considerable debt. Though Antibodies lacks the taught class of The Silence of the Lambs, and, indeed, much of the ‘horror,’ it does replicate the psychological mould of the interplay between killer and cop to good effect. Minus the charismatic charm of Hannibal Lecter, Gabriel Engel is a thoroughly nasty piece of work. And Martens, the Clarice to Engel’s Lecter, has a dour priggishness to replace her checked vulnerability. Like its better-known counterpart, though, writer-director Christian Alvart’s film pushes the psychological aspect of the serial killer sub-genre as well as the boundaries of our detecting protagonist.

Antibodies is more grit than gloss and following Engel’s goadings and revelations, along with Martens’ moral decline, is as grubby as it is expected. Alvart clearly seeks to implicate a link between sex and moral decay, which is fine but for the eve-increasing dominance of the religious overtones. His theologising descends from the sublime to the ridiculous and, whilst tackling such enormous subjects is undoubtedly admirable, his handling of them is not. You can’t help but feel that he has bitten off more that he can chew, that at only his second directorial feature, he has yet to develop the skills to engage his subjects with sensitivity and subtlety (if you’ve not picked this up by the heavy-handed channel-changing splice then there’s a good chance this will all slip by unnoticed anyway).

What he does have the skills to do, though, is create a decent if run-of-the-mill thriller. Following a tried-and-tested formula, Alvart does keep you guessing and works a twist well. Though you get the feeling that he has his head just above water with his ability to develop fully the magnitude of the issues he’s taken on, he does mesh nicely the opposition of small-town moral paranoia’s with seedy big-city strife. It’s hard to say if it’s Wotan Wilke Möhring’s performance as Michael Martens or his pious character that’s a trifle irritating, but again he works well in opposition to worldly-wise big-city cop, Seiler (Heinz Hoenig). It’s Hauke Diekemp’s rightly award-winning performance as Martens’ troubled son, Christan, though, which threatens to steal the show. Similarly show-stealing are the beautiful shots of rural Germany and the industrial score. It’s touches like these which flesh out the by-numbers plot.

Good, but not quite as good as it thinks it is. Fans of the serial killer genre will find the body-count low, but it’s well worth a watch for those partial to a psychological thriller


First Trailer to James Russo's and Tracy Coogan's "Dark Woods"

A young married couple moves to a secluded area to cope with the wife's terminal illness. As the wife's condition gets worse, the husband's growing detachment from her forces him into a tumultuous relationship with a local teenage girl whom he rescues from a sexual assault.

www.darkwoodsmovie.com | www.tracycoogan.com


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Trailer for the movie See Saw starring Aimee Muschamp, Michael Graves, Mike Digiacinto, Lou Martini Jnr. From director Tom Muschamp.

"A woman with no memory of her past utilizes the eyes and ears of New York's surveillance empire in a quest to find out who she is."

There is no release yet, but the trailer looks fairly strong for an independently produced thriller.


Trailer for Jeremy Alter's The Perfect Sleep which is set "against the backdrop of a noirish dreamscape, a tortured man returns to the city he swore he would never return to, in order to save the woman he has always loved yet can never have"

The screeplay is by Anton Pardoe who also stars along with Roselyn Sanchez (Without a Trace), Patrick Bauchau (Chrysalis, Carnivàle), Peter J. Lucas (Inland Empire)

www.theperfectsleep.com


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Korean language trailer for The Truck , directed by Hyung-jin Kwon and starring Goo Jin and Hae-jin Yoo.

Chul-min is a simple truck driver whose usual cargo is liquor, vegetables and other necessities. When his daughter is diagnosed with congenital heart disease, he scrambles to borrow money from friends to pay for the operation. Unable to raise the necessary funds, he tries his luck at gambling. When he loses everything, the gang boss who runs the gambling house gives him an unusual job: to deliver some freshly stabbed corpses to a faraway province. On his nerve-racking journey carrying dead bodies in his truck, Chul-min turns to the radio for company only to hear about a serial killer on the loose. After spotting a car that has fallen into a ditch, he is flagged down by a policeman who is heading to the same province. When Chul-min unravels the real identity of his passenger, his nightmare really begins...

Via: www.goldnetasia.com


The Exterminator

John Eastman (Robert Ginty) is a Vietnam Vet (aren’t all the best revenge movie / vigilante hero’s?) and when his best friend, Michael Jefferson (Steve James,) who saved his life out in The 'Nam is attacked and left paralysed by a gang of vicious street punks, Eastman decides to even the score.

The film starts off with its heroes fighting the Vietcong in the Vietnam war. After a vicious gun battle, Eastman, Jefferson and another comrade are captured and taken for interrogation. During the interrogation the 3rd comrade has his head hacked off in a surprisingly gory film moment, Eastman is next up for the chop, luckily Jefferson gets the drop on his guards and takes them down, machine gun blazing.

Back in New York, Eastman and Jefferson are honest Joe’s making a living from blue-collar factory jobs. An encounter with some thieves at the factory sets off a chain of events which lead to the birth of The Exterminator. Having put a stop to a robbery at work Jefferson is jumped by members of the same gang (The Ghetto Ghouls). Vastly outnumbered he is beaten badly and is left paralyzed. Eastman decides there is only one thing to do. This is the guy that kept his head on his shoulders back in the 'nam lying crippled in bed. So he picks up his M16 and goes in search of the perpetrators. Finding the punks in a flat, they seem to find it a little difficult to figure out what his problem is, saying Jefferson was "Only a nigger" to which Eastman replies "that nigger was my best friend". After dispatching the gang members Eastman still plagued by the memory of the beheading he witnessed back in Vietnam, decides to continue in his role as the vigilante The Exterminator. Taking out all kinds of other criminal trash, including a Mob Boss and Pimp who specializes in supplying young boys to rich male clients.

The Exterminator, which has the great tagline “The man they pushed too far”, is a great example of the Vigilante / revenge movie genre which was particularly popular in the late 70’s and early 80’s, dishing out classic action, gunplay and car chases. Jake Eastman just looks like a normal guy, which makes the film so much better than having a muscle-bound freak in the lead role. Robert Ginty gives a very understated performance in the lead role; he doesn’t exude any kind of charisma, crack cheesy one liners or even particularly fly into any kind of rage. He is, as he states at one point, “taking care of business,” and he deals with his foes just like a garbage man taking out the trash. Christopher George is top notch as the hard-bitten cop on the trail of The Exterminator and all the cast fit the feel of the film nicely. The rubbish strewn, impoverished streets of New York's 80’s underbelly are a fantastic backdrop for the action; these are the streets no-one cares about, these are the streets that could really breed “The Exterminator”.

If you like, The Warriors, Death Wish, Dirty Harry, The Gauntlet, and films of that type you should find The Exterminator a very enjoyable experience. This may not be mainstream action stuff, but its classic cult movie revenge fun.


Taken - Poster

I rather like this UK quad poster for the Liam Neeson thriller Taken. The trailer looks brilliant to. I normally don't attend any preview screenings, but I have an invite for this and I might actually make the effort to go.

www.takenmovie.co.uk


Corner Boy

I was looking at my bookshelf and all the books gathering dust. Its funny the way we hoard stuff for the sake of it, as once read I never pick these books up again. I figured I would start re-visiting some of the books I have read over the years. The other night I got my copy of Herbert Simmons Corner Boy down and started to read it.
Corner Boy was Herbert Simmons first novel and won the prestigious 1957 Houghton Mifflen Literary Fellowship. I would imagine a novel that encompassed drugs, poverty, racism and race mixing written by a then only 26 year old black man was a fairly controversial choice for the time. 5 years later Simmons second novel Man Walking on Eggshells was released to critical acclaim. Unfortunately influential people in both the power elite and amongst the black community managed to put pressure on the publisher and “upstart” Simmons found his second novel effectively buried. Aged just 31 and having written two “Great American novels”, Simmons never published another. In the 1960’s he became involved in the Watts writers workshop and in the mid 1990’s he retired from a teaching post at California State University Northridge.

Set in an unknown US city, although I suspect heavily influenced by Simmons experiences growing up in St. Lois Missouri. Corner Boy tells of the rise and fall of Jake Adams. Jake is the former president of notorious teen gang “The Termites” known as the “T’s”, whose rumbles with the “Ratz” a teen gang from across the tracks on the other side of town are the stuff of legend. Now out of the gang and just 18 he finds himself pushing dope for "The Organization". Jake's smart car, fancy clothes and luck with the women make him the envy of his peers and elders alike. As Jake whiles away his time hanging with his hustler friends in the Jazz drenched pool rooms and music halls of the 1940’s life is good. Until one day he is stopped by the local police with a white girl in his car …

I imagine some people will look at the description and think this should be written off as crime glamorising “Ghetto” fiction. Simmons book how ever is much deeper, much more skillful and much more powerful, in its study of what it means to fight for the American dream with one arm tied behind your back. While the characters and setting is almost entirely one of a black American (African American, if you prefer) it’s not such a world away from the experience of living in poverty for any other race including the poor white experience.

Jake (Black): ‘Yeh, but you know what? I bet there ain’t much difference in our worlds. I bet you got corner boys, gash hounds, and everything else, in fact I know you have. Well you got a dividing line that gives you more opportunities, but that’s about all. I mean everybody loves and hates and has babies and pulls creeps …”
Georgia (White):’Creeps?’
Jake: ‘Yeh sneaks in the back door when the ole man goes out the front. And everybody gets bills and go to church and don’t believe in it, and drinks whisky or shoots themselves with the plunger, and everybody lives and dies, don’t they?’
Georgia:’ But don’t you think those opportunities mean a whole lot?’
Jake: ‘Yeah they make a difference, whatever difference there is.’

In fact the world Simmons evokes around his young characters reminded me heavily of the world S.E. Hinton’s novels for young adults, The Outsiders and in particular Rumble Fish portray. Jake Adams could almost be one of the sharp black pool players Rusty James encounters when he and Steve travel across town with the Motor cycle boy. Simmons prose is fantastic the way he infuses the slang, the music, and the feel of the 1940’s almost leaves you able to see, hear and almost even smell the scene. The characters are so three dimensional as he evokes their dreams, their failings, their troubles and their joy’s. His characters internal and external thoughts and turmoil is laid bare before you. For those capable of a thought pattern deeper than just good and bad, wrong and right, black and white you really get to thinking about just how many shades of grey there really are.

Picking up corner boy again after all this time I had forgotten its true content and settled down for a thriller following the rise and fall of a small time gangster. What I found myself immersed in was a thought provoking tale that covers almost the full range of human emotions and experience. Bravado, love, success, failure, Joy, tragedy, Prejudice, snobbery, hatred, belief and many more find themselves wrapped up in a thought provoking package and set to prose that almost matches the rhythm of the Jazz soundtrack Simmons evokes.

Maybe the greatest and at the same time saddest thing about Corner boy, is that it reminded me that no matter how much things seem to change, just how much really stays the same in the human condition.


Tell No One

Pediatric Alex Beck (François Cluzet), still devastated by the savage murder of his wife Margot (Marie-Josée Croze) in the early days of their marriage eight years ago, receives an anonymous email.

When he clisks on the link he sees a woman's face standing in a crowd being filmed in real time - Margot's face. Is she still alive? And why does she instruct him to 'tell no one'?

Tell No One (Ne le dis à personne) is released in UK cinema's June 15th 2007.

www.tellno-one.com (Check out the trailer here)


Sharon Stone

Today sees the release of a sequel which has been in the pipeline for well over a decade now, which gives me cause to wonder, amongst other things, what the point is. Basic Instinct 2, previously going by the working title appendage of Risk Addiction, has already been unanimously panned by critics prior to its big screen release today in both the UK and US. But is this a case of the critics having a love-in on the bandwagon, or do they know something I think we all suspect?

Paul Verhoeven's 1992 original, which enraged the gay community with what it saw as an offensively negative portrayal of homosexuality, brought us some of the most enduringingly sexy scenes in cinema, and raised Sharon Stone's profile from star in limbo to fully fledged A-lister. With a worldwide gross of $350m, Basic Instinct rightfully cashed-in on its seductive formula, that of the highly eroticised femme fatale. Though, plot wise, it was flawed and sensationalist, the world was introduced to the irresistible character of Stone's Catherine Tramell, who embodied all that was dark cinema's 'fatal woman', but with a delicious modern spin. She was highly intelligent, dangerous, beautiful, sexy, complicated, mysterious, manipulative, aloof and wealthy, but she was also bi-sexual, highly sexual, wore no knickers and liked to be watched.

Though the Thriller is, like the Comedy, or Romance, cinematically a pretty steady genre, Basic Instinct was, like all cinema, a product of its era. Like 1987's Fatal Attraction, and 1992's The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Verhoeven's thriller made good use of the single white female. A new breed of predatory woman was stalking the urban streets and this meant danger for all concerned.

Cinema is one of the most widely accessible and exemplary forms of enforcing, questioning, and documenting changing social norms and values, and the sexual woman is no different. Post-sexual revolution where corporate dreams were thriving, 80's cinema reflected the worries the implications of this. 1987's Baby Boom, for example, is now an almost quaintly transparent big screen representation of the Daily Mail ideology - former career gal obtains baby and finds what really matters in life - which is very blatant in its message that, in an age where women were, rather worryingly it would seem, choosing careers over settling down, this spelled social catastrophe. It's ok, though, because Diane Keaton was on hand to show you the error of your ways, that true female fulfilment lies in domesticity, and anything else makes you look like a cold, materialistic bitch. You may have success and sex for pleasure only, but you're not really a 'woman'.

The knock-on effect of this came with this new trend in Thrillers – the threat of the independent, attractive, single, working woman. What did she want and why wasn't she conforming? Of course it wasn’t just women who were cinematically reprimanded, men had the moral lesson, too. And what was the lesson? Unattached women who like sex and are willing to use it are deadly in society, and guys need to keep it in their pants or else very bad things indeed will happen. Yes, these women were loose and libidinous on the streets and coming to a scene of domestic bliss very near you.

And so what does this all mean for Michael Caton-Jones risky sequel all these years later? Clearly, this film is riding on one thing and one thing only: that Sharon Stone is still fucking sexy at the age of 48. However, I think we've moved on and accepted female sexuality enough to feel less threatened by it now. The implications of this type of female figure are not what they used to be. Where Tramell liked sex and liked it with men or women, this is no longer as threatening or titillating as it once was. Basic Instinct 2 is clearly treading the same tracks as the original, or at least attempting to, with, apparently, no consideration of what it means to have 14 years pass between them. In this case, and without yet seeing the film, I'd have to at this point put my faith in the critics. I'm sure this film will function passably enough as a watchable film in its own right, but not as a sequel. It just cannot pack the sexual punch of the original.


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