Wednesday, August 31, 2005

James Bond to get Million Dollar polish

"Casino Royale", the Bond movie currently under preparation, will receive a final script polish from "Million Dollar Baby" and "Crash" writer Paul Haggis. The film has been written by the British team of Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, already behind the highly-rated "Let Him Have It" plus Bond's "The World is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day". They also scripted the Brian Jones bio-pic "Stoned" that will premiere in Toronto soon.

Speaking to Screen International, Wade said: "Everything is written, including the structure – it just needs a polish. If you can bring in a hot talented writer to polish it then great, it is normal on this size of movie. I am sure Paul Haggis will do a great job."

Old interview of Wade and Purvis on Infocus (2002)

James Bond on Amazon UK
"Let Him Have It" on Amazon UK
James Bond on Amazon US

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Bulgaria's "Lady Zee" picks up Sarajevo award

With over 162 films in 19 sections, the Sarajevo festival that closed on August 27 is now a major event internationally - and a showcase for Balkan cinema. This year, the main award went to "Lady Zee" (Leidi Zi), a tragi-comedy directed by Georgi Bulgjerov and co-written with Marin Damyanov, out of 11 films in competition.

The co-production market CineLink, linked to the Rotterdam Film Festival Cinemart, hosted 180 participants, up double on the previous year. The Bosnia-Herzegovina Minister of Culture Gavrilo Grahovac and Serbian Minister of Culture Dragan Kojadinovic also signed the "Ohrid Initiative" at the festival, a regional film co-production agreement which will include all former Yugoslav republics, plus Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Greece.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Edinburgh festival unveils new British hopefuls

If the line-up and reaction to the films is anything to go by, British cinema might be in for a great season. According to a report in Screen International, the news from the Edinburgh International Film festival (August 17-28) has "provided some cause for optimism". Films singled out for both their merit and critical reception include Richard E Grant’s "Wah Wah", Nick Love’s Costa del Crime gangster drama "The Business", Gaby Dellal’s "On A Clear Day", Lexi Alexander’s football hooligan drama "Green Street" (starring Elijah Wood playing against character, and one of the draws of the festival), Julian Jarrold’s "Kinky Boots", Stephen Woolley’s Brian Jones bio-pic "Stoned" and Gavin Hood’s townhip drama "Tsotsi".

Monday, August 22, 2005

Luc Besson: "secret" movie to follow "Unleashed"

Just as "Unleashed" (aka "Danny the Dog" in many territories) is being relased in the UK to mixed reviews, it has been rumoured that Luc Besson has been filming a "secret" film called "Angel A" with French comedian/actor Jamel Debbouze ("Amelie Poulain"). The black and white romantic comedy would mark a welcome return to directing for Besson, whose last outing was 1999's "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc". Since that time, he has been producing extensively through his Europacorp studio, with action titles such as "Michel Vaillant", "Taxi", "Banlieue 13" and the recent "Unleashed" (which he scripted) and "The Transporter", both directed by Louis Leterrier.

"Unleashed" has been called Jet Li's best film so far - a sentiment echoed by the actor himself. When it was released in Japan last June, the film drew in 60,000 viewers over the first weekend, the best French release since "Deux Frères/Two Brothers".

"Danny The Dog" on Amazon FR
Luc Besson on Amazon UK
Luc Besson on Amazon US

Monday, August 08, 2005

Writer/director Gutiérrez Aragón to receive award

Spain's Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón will receive an award from Spain's film academy ICAA in September "for the value of his view, somewhere between realism and fantasy, on Spanish society over the last 30 years, embodied once again in 2004 in the film La vida que te espera (Your Next Life)". Aragon also wrote "Visionarios"(2001) and "La Mitad del Cielo" (Half of Heaven). He is currently doing post-production on "Une Rosa de Francia", set in 40s Cuba. He previously directed "Things I Left in Havana".

Aragon on Amazon US
Aragon on Amazon UK

Friday, August 05, 2005

Stop press: masterclass with Jim Jarmusch in London August 16

In what they call "something of a coup", London's The Script Factory with the National Film & TV School have managed to plan a masterclass with Jim Jarmusch on August 16. The occasion is an exclusive preview of his Cannes favourite "Broken Flowers" at the Screen on the Green (Upper Street, Islington, N1). The agenda: finding the balance between bitter and sweet, working with major stars and changing direction.

We recommend moving fast on this one. Whet your appetite on the Script Factory site but most importantly, call 020 7226 3520 to book a seat!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"Death of Mr Lazarescu" picks up more awards

We haven't seen it yet, but great things are being said about Cristi Piui's "Death of Mr Lazarescu". The Romanian film just picked up both the main award and the Amnesty International Human Rights Award at the 7th Motovun Film festival in Croatia. Prior to that, it received awards at the Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF) and Hungary's Alba Regia International Film Festival. It also garnered good reviews at the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes.

The tragi-comic story focuses on an ageing resident of a block of flats that involves his neighbours when he feels ill. An ambulance eventually arrives, but the doctors can't agree on a diagnosis. So Lazarescu is shipped from one place to another in the Bucharest night. The script was written by Piui and Razvan Radelescu. Piui was previously the scriptwriter for the Franco-Romanian "Niki and Flo".