Monday, March 30, 2015

Danaholics report: Alan Rickman attends Irish Premiere of 'A Little Chaos' + Review

I attended another great event at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival yesterday. The Irish premiere of Alan Rickman's A Little Chaos occured at Cineworld Dublin and Alan Rickman and a few of the cast/production team were on hand to answer questions. Alan introduced the film humouring the audience with the fact that the film was neither historically accurate of biographical but telling about the long time it took to get to the screen and the power of the original text by Irish native Alison Deegan.
The panel took place after the screening which took questions from a professional interviewer and a few from the audience. It consisted of the writer Alison Deegan, director Alan Rickman, co-star and Red Rock femme fatale Cathy Belton, costume designer Joan Bergin and composer Peter Gregson.
Questions included:
To costume designer Joan Bergin: How did you go about creating a garment for a working girl in the 17th Century when there was no frame of reference for such a thing as women did not work?
Joan Bergin cited the types of styles and also that the outfits had to be practical to working in a garden.
To fellow actress Cathy Belton: Was the role of the handmaid you play to help us get to know Kate Winslet's character?
To writer Alison Deegan: What was the inspiration for this piece?
The writer mentioned the case of a hit-and-run of a friend's son as the starting point.
To composer Peter Gregson: How did you blend the modern and 17th century in your work?
To Alan: How was is like playing the Long Fellow (Eamon DeValera) in Michael Collins?
Rickman says, as with playing any real life person, not to be judgemental is key, even if the director has already decided.
To Alan: How was Kate Winslet to work with this time compared to over a decade ago in Sense and Sensibility?
Alan compliments Kate's hard work and fun attitude.
To Alan: What was it about this script that kept you going through the length it took to get to screen?
the director complimented the writing as being the key reason he worked so long and hard to get it to screen.
Videos of the questions for Alan will soon be up on our Youtube. There is already some images in our gallery on Facebook.

A Little Chaos is an exquisite example of the period drama beautifully shot in the UK with some talented Irish people on board. The story may have a fair bit of historical inaccuracies but the feel and the grandeur of the time in well presented via fantastic set design and  corseted costumes.
This is a touching story of Sabine who becomes a landscape designer to support herself after the death of her husband which we later find out died tragically. Winslet plays it with dignity and believability amd truly leads this film. Rickman offers both decadence and comic relief to this film in his portrayal of the King who needs perfection. There is a particularly good scene between Winslet and Rickman where Sabine mistakes the king for his gardener. It gives the king a more human feel and Sabine's ignorance about court and her inherent kindness is displayed with affection.
Fantastic support  comes from another deatheater alumni, Helen McCrory who adds a villain of sorts to the piece. Another support actor that is unforgettable is Stanley Tucci who plays a diva-esque Marquis.
Overall this is a story, despite it's inaccuracy, that draws you in and the majority of the characters are rounded just enough to have your liking or disliking.

A Little Chaos is in UK/Irish cinemas on the 17th of April and US cinemas 8th May. Please see IMDB for a full list of countries that have release dates so far.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Video Previews of #TomFeltonMeetstheSuperfans - Rupert Grint fans and Daniel Radcliffe on Obsession

As I'm sure all you Tom Felton Superfans are aware, Tom Felton's long awaited documentary from conventions and other fan events is to air tomorrow night. 

BBC3 have released some preview clips of the hour long feature which are now available below.
The first is of Tom Felton waiting (in terrible disguise) with Rupert Grint fans outside It's Only a Play earlier this year. This explains those photos of Tom in a wig!

The second is a snippit of Daniel Radcliffe talking about obsession.

The final clip features Rupert again, this time chatting about disguises.

The documentary will air on BBC3 Monday at 9pm before Bluestone 42 continues!

Kenneth Branagh at Jameson Dublin Film Fest + Cinderella Review

Last night I attended a very special screening of Cinderella, the Irish premiere in fact, with director and much adored Potter alumni Kenneth Branagh in attendance. It was an honour to be in the presence of such a talented actor and director, not to mention an incredibly kind and charming man as many who have worked with him would testify. Mr Branagh introduced the film, took part in a detailed post-film Q&A with members of the audience and was then presented with the festival award, the Volta.

The Q&A began with a few questions from the host about how he came to work on the project, the team behind the intensive candelabra and other beautiful architecture and other facets of the film-making process. He also spoke about his memories of Dublin, in particular when he worked on a Gaiety Theatre production of Hamlet when he was 27. Then followed some interesting questions from audience members which he politely responded to with memories of Helena Bonham-Carter's request to have wings and to play a less talented Fairy Godmother and the beginning of his 'classical approach' to film-making (with possible resonances of theatre) that he picked up a way of describing from Cyril Cusack. He also spoke about how he didn't consider his film a re-make, rather that it was a re-telling of one humankind's overarching plots on human nature that can be seen many times in a fresh way due to the 'elasticity' of these stories.
I am currently working on sourcing video of these questions. More pictures will also be on our Facebook soon.

Finally, Kenneth was presented with the Volta award, named after the first cinema in Ireland. Kenneth was humbled by receiving it and told an interesting story about a "tenuous" link between the project he made with his presenter Orla Brady, Wallander, and the awards title. He had been hugely interested in James Joyce and visited a place he once lived in Sweden, where it so happens Joyce discovered cinema technology which he brought back to Dublin which made the Volta Theatre possible. I thought it was an interesting connection!
The video of this presentation will be on our YouTube soon.
The video of the award presentation is now below:

In the meantime, below is my review of Cinderella.

There is a reason I gave this adaptation of the classic the highest possible audience award ranking - it was, if you'll excuse the pun, simply magical. The age-old tale was given new life with less focus on the musical numbers and more interest in the complexity of the characters. The musical numbers still appeared in the credits, never fear! Ella was less a silly girl seeking a prince than a ever-kind independent girl who wished to honour her parents by remaining in their home and even when times were tough tried to see the best in people. She tried to live by her mothers wise words of living with courage and remaining the kind little girl her mother left behind. That said, it is no surprise she eventually has enough and stands up for herself. It is important to note that her motives for disobeying her horrible step mother and going to the ball were not to meet and try and win the hand of the prince, rather to possibly see a new friend of hers who happened to be the prince. It is also nice that the film added some depth to the relationship between Ella and the prince, to her named Kit, and they didn't just meet once and fall madly in love. They of course get married after a short time as the story requires but efforts were made to give more credit to both characters' personalities and spirit for the  realtionship's development. 
Lily James played the part beautifully and helped in adding the depth of character mentioned. The director was right when he spoke of the musicality and sweetness held in her voice alone, an attribute he gave credit for why she first grabbed his attention. Her performance is indeed touching and makes one feel deeply her grief and frustration throughout the film and hope as she does for a better future. Although only in a short snippit of the film, Helena Bonham-Carter gives a vibrant turn as this ditzy version of the fairy Godmother, something she insisted on as I previously mentioned. As the director also mentioned the true affection she shows for Ella in this scene is a nice touch . There is a particular humourous moment when she has limited foresight in transforming the pumpkin into a carriage. Another great actor with limited screen-time but which is used to great effect is Derek Jacobi, who plays the King with dignity and poise, creating the prefect balance between the sterness required of a king and the kindness of a loving father. This is a large cast of talented side actors and Kate Blanchett is no exception - she adds a certain amount of understanding, although not enough, as to why the step mother is so bitter about life. Richard Madden also gave some much needed depth to a usually pretty flat Prince Charming. He is shown as somebody who values kindness and good over gain and beauty, who wants to honour his father but sticks to his principles.

The film is given incredible beauty and attention to detail by the many hardworking costume and set designers and of course the numerous people on the ground floor, sewing countless gorgeous dresses for the ball scene and scenes in Ella's house and those lighting the thousands of candles for the candelabra as Branagh mentioned! Not to mention the time and effort that went into researching dress and architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries to make the fairytale come to life with such vibrant colour and scenery. Case in point, the illustrious glass slippers,one of which was in attendance at the premiere, left.
Also in need of some serious recognition is the animation team who made the beloved mice from the original Disney film come to life. Although I'm told by somebody more in the know on Animation 101 that there were some flaws, I found the cute animals to be inspiringly real and rounded off the tale of kindness and  winning against the odds.
Hats off to Mr Branagh for creating his own take on Cinderella but keeping alive the hopes and dreams of a generation that held the original among it's beloved.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Moonwalkers Premieres in North America, Picked up, New Clips

Lots of great Moonwalkers news emerged in the last week. Not only did the film have its North American premiere but it also got picked up for release in USA. Further to this some first look clips emerged!

Rupert Grint and Robert Sheehan were among the guests for this year's SXSW festival (still ongoing) held annually in Austin, Texas. Left is one image of Rupert at the premiere (taken by Rob Sheehan) while more can be found in RG.US' gallery. Other Potter alumni at the fest included Domhnall Gleeson who was in town to promote his futuristic film Ex Machina. Thankfully the release of the film is not limited to the people who were lucky enough to grab tickets for the screening and has been picked up by Alchemy, formally known as Millenium Entertainment, for general release in America. Hopefully this will encourage European companies to pick up the film!

In previews for us non-attendees, some clips from the film have emerged online and can now be seen below.

A third more Ron Pearlman-centric clip can be seen on Instagram.

Some reviews have also come in, snippits from which are below:
 “Grint makes for a very personable straight man, teaming up well both with Sheehan, as his drug-addled mate, and Perlman, with whom he gradually forms a begrudging partnership.”

“decent performances from Grint as Jonny, the hapless manager of a terrible rock band” The Guardian

“But Grint is definitely an affable if hapless leading man, and can count this as another milestone toward putting Harry Potter behind him.” Vanity Fair

“Despite the winning pairing of Grint and Sheehan, whose mutual idiocy is always more endearing than annoying, this is undoubtedly Perlman’s movie. … He’s the surly, shotgun-toting Monty to Sheehan and Grint’s whimpering Withnail and I.” Little White Lies

“Grint plays the straight man, while Perlman gets to do some Neeson-like old-man ass-kicking (and also some Roger Sterling-like old man acid-dropping.) The cast is largely full of scene-stealers, most of whom are actors unknown to American audiences, like Robert Sheehan and Eric Lampaert.” Technology Tell

“Rupert Grint does the exasperated hero thing so well. He is charming and funny without coming off as too clownish.” Ain’t It Cool News

For older posts about Moonwalkers go to our thread here and check out our photo album here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Potterfest Galway 2015 - I didnt want to leave

Potterfest 2015 took place in the ambient surroundings of NUI Galway this past weekend. Although it didn't actually occur in the Quad (now being thought of for a Potter fan movie), the modern resources of the student building were used to great effect decorated with the best of Hogwarts placenames and the 'gofic' architecture could be perused for outdoor activities like Quidditch and during breaks from activity as it was very sunny weather. Although the events were outstanding, the company was the highlight and the staff were friendly, helpful, encouraging (when embarrassment came from falling flat on your behind at Quidditch etc) and I felt like one of a large family of Potter fans, even hanging out with the special guests for the weekend. But more on that later.

Along with the family feeling that arose among the staff, the opportunity to hang with fellow fans, the other attendees, was great and as with any con, there was the feeling of freedom to show your fandom on the outside. Many people showed up in robes and other cosplay and although I didn't really get the opportunity to photograph any cute kids, this cool pair, Rebekah and Adam, let me take their picture in full robes. Not everyone went all out but most people flashed their Primark Harry Potter gear with lots of house crest t-shirts on show. Another feature of cons is traders and this event did not disappoint in that department. There was stalls selling amazing art, handmade wands, chocolate frogs, official merchandise, broomsticks for the kids and one stall even had live animals.

Among the large array of events for fans young and old there was drawing workshops,  a games room, Cards Against Humanity Potter style and dramatic readings of Beedle the Bard and more mature content including the now infamous 'My Immortal'. There were many panels across the weekend including some on Pottermore, Luna Lovegood, the mothers of Potter (for Mother's Day), how Quidditch has become a real sport and one asking is Hogwarts really safe? Also in honour of Mother's Day there was a tea party with Mrs Weasley. There was wizard chess and classes on Divination, Charms and more. For the older people there was 18+ events about shipping and a screening of The Magic Circle.

My favourite events by far were Quidditch, Dueling, Sorting and Yule Ball. Quidditch was taught by members of the real life Galway Grindelows and followed official IQA rulebook 8 rules. Dueling class was assisted by staff who had lists of spells to refresh our memories. It turned out this was more necessary than you would think in the heat of a real duel. It started off tame but as people cared less about those watching, fans dramatically fell when hit with stupify, threw their wands with expelliarmus and grew stiff with petrificus totalus. Sorting, although quick, was also fun and stared a real talking hat that said things like 'don't drop me' and 'leave my tassles alone!'

The true highlights for myself were the two events with special guests; Yule Ball and the Mudblood Book of Spells panel. Bailey Hall 3 was dutifully decorated with tea lights, house colours and silver flair for the special appearance of Cork native and wizard wrock star Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldron who sang songs from her three albums such as spine-tingling Godric's Hollow, yuletide classic Sonorus and heartwarming Believe. More about the artist can be found on her Facebook page. I will post some videos on our Youtube soon!
 Mudblood: Book of Spells is a fan film project that has been in the works for awhile, but it has just gained approval from Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling. The story concerns a troubled muggle-born wizard Charlie Fowler who gets in with the wrong crowd 10 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Due to the problematic nature of the current ministry and fear over what has happened before, the government decides to figure out how to take magical power away from select wizards. It's an interesting concept from the intellegent mind of Cameron Cairnduff developed with the help of the incredibly artisitic creative director Riikka Enne with a talented upcoming award-winning actor behind the lead role, Mr Bretton Lord. 
And those are only the people from the cast and crew that attended! There is a fabulous team behind the pre-production effort including Potter make-up effects master Sean Harrison's best student, the Royal Northern College of Music providing an orchestra of scene-setting music and actors from Game of Thrones and some top secret a-list casting! This is a very brief overview of the project and we will be writing an extended report and posting more videos very soon so stay tuned! In the meantime, below is the awesome no-budget teaser to get you interested, because they need your input and interest. They may have WB backing but this is still a non-profit film and much funding is needed. To donate please go here! I will hopefully get a chance to look at the script and give you some more info in the next post.