Friday, December 31, 2010


92 minutes

A group of Los Angeles friends awakens to a series of strange phenomena leading to a full-scale alien invasion. Low-budget War of the Worlds rip-off, but a smart-looking one made entirely outside the studio system by a crew of visual effects specialists, offering a non-stop array of loud action sequences with nifty trick effects and a surprisingly bleak cliffhanger ending to make up for its non-existent plot and character development.

Starring Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed, Neil Hopkins; with David Zayas; and Donald Faison.
Directors and visual effects supervisors, Colin Strause, Greg Strause; produced by Colin Strause, Greg Strause, Kristian James Andresen, Liam O'Donnell; written by Joshua Cordes and mr. O'Donnell; music by Matthew Margeson; director of photography (Technicolor prints, widescreen), Michael Watson; production designer, Drew Dalton; costume designer, Bobbi Mannix; film editor, Nicholas Wayman Harris; creature designers, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr. 
An Hydraulx Entertainment/Transmission production, in association with Rat Entertainment and IM Global. (US distributor, Rogue Pictures via Universal Pictures. World sales, IM Global.)
Screened: distributor advance press screening, Cinema City Campo Pequeno 2 (Lisbon), December 17th 2010.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


115 minutes

A young waitress escapes her native Iowa for Los Angeles and joins a burlesque troupe threatened by an unscrupulous real estate investor. Old-fashioned backstage musical updated with new-fangled pop songs and sex-appeal teasing; a harmless, undemanding time-passer.

Starring Cher, Christina Aguilera; Eric Dane, Cam Gigandet, Julianne Hough, Alan Cumming, Peter Gallagher; with Kristen Bell; and Stanley Tucci. 
Directed and written by Steven Antin; produced by Donald de Line; music by Christophe Beck; director of photography (DeLuxe prints, widescreen), Bojan Bazelli; production designer, Jon Gary Steele; costume designer, Michael Kaplan; film editor, Virginia Katz; musical sequences edited by David Chacel; choreography by Denise Faye and Joey Pizzi.
A Screen Gems presentation of a De Line Pictures production. (US distributor and world sales, Sony Pictures Entertainment.)
Screened: advance distributor press screening, Columbia Tristar Warner screening room (Lisbon), December 10th 2010. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010


The Illusionist

France/Great Britain
79 minutes

In the late 1950s, a French magician, finding work hard to come by with the slow death of music hall theatres, goes on an ill-fated British tour and starts a deep friendship with a young Scottish chambermaid. An unfilmed script by Jacques Tati becomes a touching, exquisite animated feature that perfectly evokes its writer's spirit and melancholy humour, down to the dialogue-free storytelling and painstaking attention to detail.

With the voices of Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin.
Director, music composer and film editor, Sylvain Chomet; produced by Bob Last, Sally Chomet; screenplay by mr. Chomet, adapted from an original screenplay by Jacques Tati; art director, Bjarne Hansen; character design, mr. Chomet, Pierre-Henry Laporterie. 
A Pathé presentation of a Django Films/Ciné B/France 3 Cinéma co-production, with the participation of Canal Plus, Cinécinéma, France Télévisions. (French distributor, Pathé Distribution. World sales, Pathé International.)
Screened: Berlin Film Festival 2010 advance press and market screening, Cinemaxx 3 (Berlin), February 16th 2010; distributor advance press screening, Castello Lopes screening room (Lisbon), December 14th 2010.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


105 minutes

Actor Joaquin Phoenix announces he is retiring from cinema to devote himself to a career in hip-hop, and his brother-in-law Casey Affleck films a documentary while mr. Phoenix's life disintegrates into an epic personality breakdown. Audacious, disappointing satire of celebrity, infamous for having actually been played for real by mr. Phoenix for two years while all around everyone wondered, only to be revealed as a stunt when the film finally opened to a general indifference from the public; the concept is sound, but its realisation hit-and-miss and severely underwhelming especially taking into account the stakes involved.

Starring Joaquin Phoenix.
Directed by Casey Affleck; produced by mr. Affleck, mr. Phoenix, Amanda White; written by mr. Affleck and mr. Phoenix; music by Marty Fogg (mr. Phoenix); camera (Foto-kem), mr. Affleck, Magdalena Gorka; film editors, mr. Affleck, Dody Dorn.
A Magnolia Pictures presentation of a They Are Going To Kill Us Productions production. (US distributor and world sales, Magnolia Pictures.) 
Screened: distributor advance press screening, Medeia King 1 (Lisbon), December 10th 2010. 

Saturday, December 04, 2010


93 minutes

A nine-year-old girl whose parents are divorcing improvises with her best friend ways to avoid her move to Japan with the mother. Charmingly melancholy, semi-improvised family drama about growing up.

Starring Noë Sampy and Arielle Moutel; Tsuyu, Hippolyte Girardot, Marilyne Canto, Jean-Paul Girardot, Koko Mori, Nonoka Imaizumi, Arisa Arai, Mahault Sampy, Momoka Omori, Ryane Alaoui.
Directed and written by Nobuhiro Suwa and Hippolyte Girardot; music by Foreign Office; director of photography (LTC, Imagica), Josée Deshaies; production designers, Emmanuel de Chauvigny, Véronique Barnéoud, China Suzuki; costume designer, Jean-Charline Tomlinson; film editors, Hisako Suwa and Laurence Briaud.
A Comme des Cinémas/Les Films du Lendemain presentation/production, in co-production with Bitters End, ARTE France Cinéma; with the participation of Canal Plus, Centre National de la Cinématographie; with the support of Région Île-de-France; in association with Films Distribution, Ad Vitam, Cofinova 5; supported by Agency for Cultural Affairs. (French distributor, Ad Vitam. World sales, Films Distribution.)
Screened: distributor advance DVD screener, Lisbon, November 13th 2010. 

Friday, December 03, 2010


128 minutes

A documentary about the late Portuguese Nobel-winning writer José Saramago and his Spanish wife and assistant Pilar del Río, during the two years of preparation of his penultimate novel. Surprisingly intimate documentary that elegantly uncovers both the personal side of a writer usually perceived as aloof and the strength of his marriage.

Directed by Miguel Gonçalves Mendes; director of photography (colour), Daniel Neves; film editor, Cláudia Rita Oliveira. 
A Jumpcut/El Deseo/O2 Filmes presentation of a Jumpcut production in co-production with El Deseo and O2 Filmes; with the support of Ministério da Cultura—Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual and ANCINE; in partnership with SIC; in association with YLE Teema; with the participation of Sveriges Television. (Portuguese distributor, Jumpcut.) 
Screened: distributor advance press screening, São Jorge 1 (Lisbon), November 12th 2010. 

Thursday, December 02, 2010


101 minutes

Two teenage friends from a Serbian smalltown spend one last summer together before adult life beckons: college for one, work for the other. Melancholy study of disenfranchised teenagers disguised as a loose coming-of-age tale.

Starring Marko Todorovic, Stefan Djordjevic, Dunja Kovacevic, Marko Milenkovic, Nenad Stanislavjevic, Filip Maksimovic.
Directed, written and edited by Nikola Lezaic; produced by Uros Tomic, Mina Djukic, Mr. Lezaic; director of photography (colour), Milos Jacimovic; art director, Nikola Bercek; costume designer, Biljana Grgur.
A Film House Kiselo Dete production.
Screened: Estoril FIlm Festival 2010 advance DVD screener (rough cut), Lisbon, November 9th 2010.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


91 minutes

A divorced mother attempts to rebuild her life without letting the needs of her young son and the disapproval of society over her carefree choices affect her. An interesting premise and nice observational handling are thrown away on underdeveloped scripting and a game but miscast lead – who also happens to be the writer and director.

Starring Marina Déak, Yann Guillemot, Renaud Dehesdin, Paul Cahen, Agnès Château; and Aurélien Recoing.
Directed and written by Ms. Déak; produced by Agnès Vallée and Emmanuel Barraux; music by Michele Cammelli; director of photography (Eclair), Alexis Kavyrchine; production designer, Marjolaine Grandjean; costume designer, Cyril Fontaine; film editors, Mathias Bouffier, Pauline Rebière.
A 31 Juin Films presentation/production, with the participation of Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image Animée; with the support of Région Picardie in partnership with CNC; and the participation of Cinécinéma; with the support of Commission Régionale du Film Picardie - ACAP - Pôle Image Picardie. 
Screened: Estoril Film Festival 2010 advance DVD screener, Lisbon, November 8th 2010.