Interviews Podcast

Interview: Matteo Garrone on Gomorrah

Matteo Garrone is the director of Gomorrah, a new film based on the best selling book by Roberto Saviano.

It explores the world of the Comorrah, the mafia-like organisation based around the city of Naples in Southern Italy.

The film follows five stories that are based on real life accounts:

  • A young boy named Toto (Salvatore Abruzzese) who is slowly sucked into the world of drug dealers near his housing estate
  • An elderly accountant named Don Ciro (Gianfelice Imparato) who acts as a courier for the relatives of imprisoned gang members
  • A tailor named Pasquale (Salvatore Cantalupo) who endangers himself by trying to work for new company that isn’t controlled by organised crime
  • A university graduate named Roberto (Carmine Paternoster) who starts working for a toxic waste company that has ties to criminal gangs
  • Two unruly young men called Marco (Marco Macor) and Ciro (Ciro Petrone) who fantasise about being mobsters when they uncover a stash of weapons.

I recently spoke to Matteo in London where we discussed various aspects of the film, including: his initial reaction to the book; how he approached casting the various roles; the issues the film raises about contemporary Italy; the reaction at the Cannes film festival back in May and the music in the film by Massive Attack.

N.B. Although Matteo conducted the interview in English, we had an interpreter handy for those trickier phrases and words.

You can listen to the interview here:


You can also download it as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here.

Gomorrah is out at UK cinemas from this Friday

> Download this interview as an MP3 file
Matteo Garrone at the IMDb
> Official UK website for Gomorrah
> GreenCine Daily with links to the various reactions to the film at Cannes
> Find out more about the Comorrah at Wikipedia
> Guardian feature on the film by Clare Longrigg
> Buy Roberto Saviano’s book at Amazon UK

Cinema Interviews Podcast

Interview: Tarsem Singh on The Fall

The Fall is the story of an injured stuntman (Lee Pace) in the early days of Hollywood who forms a friendship in hospital with a younger girl (Catinca Untaru) by telling her a fantasy story, which we then see in flashback.

Directed by Tarsem Singh, who’s previous work includes The Cell and numerous award winning commercials and music videos, it was largely funded out of his own pocket and took many years to make.

I recently spoke to Tarsem in London about the film and you can listen to the interview here:


You can also download it as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here.

N.B. We conducted the interview in a hotel with a rather loud swimming pool in the background, so apologies for the background noise.

The Fall is out at selected UK cinemas from today

Download this interview as an MP3 file
> Official site for The Fall and the IMDb entry
> Tarsem Singh at the IMDb
> Check out the R.E.M video for Losing My Religion which Tarsem directed in 1991
> Find a local cinema showing The Fall via Google Movies

Cinema cinema releases

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 3rd October 2008


How To Lose Friends And Alienate People: Paramount will be expecting this adaptation of Toby Young‘s bestselling memoir about his time at Vanity Fair magazine in the 90s to bag the top spot. On the surface it has many things going for it: an impressive cast (Simon PeggKirsten DunstJeff BridgesDanny Huston, and Megan Fox); a timely appeal (although inspired by the craziness of 90s celebrity culture, things have actually got worse);a director from a great TV show (Robert B. Weide of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame) and it will appeal to male and female audiences. The problem it faces is that given all the elements in it’s favour, the finished film is not as funny or clever as it should have been, so word of mouth and critical buzz won’t be that good. Despite that, the appeal of Simon Pegg is a major plus point – if he can help a comedy like Run Fat Boy Run top the UK charts for a month then he might very well have a similar effect on this film. Added to that the rise of Megan Fox should give a similar bump to its US prospects. Anything outside the box office top two would have to be considered a major disappointment. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

* Listen to our interview with Simon Pegg and Robert B Weide

Brideshead Revisited: Aimed squarely at lovers of period costume drama, this adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s classic 1945 novel of the same name. It faces a number of challenges, most notably in the looming ghost of the famous 1981 TV adaptation (screened on ITV, believe it or not). The other problem is one of costume fatigue, as this is just three weeks after Kiera Knightley swanned around country houses in The Duchess. Plus, Walt Disney will be concerned about it’s underwhelming performance at the US summer box office which practically killed it’s awards buzz and have dampened expectations here. But despite all this, it is actually rather good. By compressing the story of a young Englishman (Matthew Goode) who becomes involved with an aristocratic family, it not only covers all of the novel’s themes (the decline of the English aristocracy; faith and atheism; love and duty) but gives them a renewed power and urgency. The performances are all fine (especially Emma Thompson as the domineering matriarch) and the feel of the film is surprisingly contemporary despite the period setting. [Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

Listen to our interview with Matthew Goode and Hayley Atwell * 

88 Minutes: Back in Cannes 2007 (that’s nearly 18 months ago) I walked past a poster for this Al Pacino thriller which said it would be opening there that week. So why, you may ask, is this film opening here just one 7 days after his misguided team up with fellow icon Robert De Niro (the lumbering cop thriller Righteous Kill). Well, the answer is that this is an another film produced by Avi Lerner – an expert (it seems) at getting big stars to sign up for genre films that are then sold off to gullible distributors around the world. This is just such a project, a hacky thriller about a forensic psychiatrist (Pacino) who gets a phone call informing him he has 88 minutes to live. Directed by Jon Avnet (who also made Righteous Kill) it represents a new low for Pacino with it’s laughable dialogue, terrible plotting and bizarre Cique-du-Soleil-esque climax. Warner Bros are the UK distributors will presumably be hoping that either undemanding thriller aficionados or unsuspecting Al Pacino fans will be the ones to witness this dreck. [Apollo West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]



The Fall: This remarkable visual feast from director Tarsem Singh originally screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 2006 and finally makes it to the UK a full two years later. It is the story of a stuntman (Lee Pace) in the early days of Hollywood and the stories he tells to a little girl, which are then shown in fantasy sequences. Funded by Tarsem’s own work in commercials and a lot of favours from former colleagues, the locations for the film span the globe and although the story doesn’t always work, it really is worth seeing for the extraordinary images. Momentum will be hoping curious cineastes and more discerning audiences check it out on a cinema screen, which is where any true film fan should see it. [Curzon Soho, Ritzy, P’House Greenwich & selected Key Cities / Cert 15]

Fear(s) Of The Dark: Metrodome will be hoping for some art house action from this patchwork of tales using different black-and-white animation techniques tell several scary stories. They include: a story of a teenage boy who meets the wrong girl; a small community where people disappear and are never seen again; a little Japanese girl who suffers from horrible nightmares.  [Odeon Panton St, Ritzy & selected Key Cities / Cert 12A]

Fly Me To The Moon 3D: Aside from The Fall, Momentum will also be releasing this 3D family movie about three young houseflies stow away aboard the Apollo 11 flight to the moon. The synposis alone should tell you this isn’t going to be 2001: A Space Odyssey.  [Vue West End & Key Cities / Cert U]

Good Dick: The title of this one could mean all manner of things but is actually a comedy drama about a lonely introverted girl and a young video store clerk vying for her attention. The Works are releasing this in selected cinemas nationwide but the cinema run looks more like a dummy run for the DVD sales. [Odeon Panton St, Ritzy & selected Key Cities – Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow / Cert 15 ]

Heavy Load: A documentary charting a year in the life of the punk band, Heavy Load, whose members include some musicians with learning disabilities. Met Film/Miracle give it a limited run at the ICA in London [ICA Cinema – Previews 1st Oct / Cert 12A]

Import/Export: A grim but critically acclaimed drama about a nurse from the Ukraine who is searching for a better life in the West, while an unemployed security guard from Austria heads East for the same reason. Trinity Filmed Entertainment will be hoing for respectable for niche arthouse business. [ICA Cinema, Barbican Cinema & Select Key Cities / Cert 15]

Drona: An Indian film who’s central character is inspired by the character of Dronacharya from epic Mahabharata of Hindu mythology. Dronacharya is the guru or mentor of Kauravas and the Pandavas in the epic, and is well-known for his skill in advanced military. Eros release it in key cities. [C’worlds Shaftesbury Ave & Feltham, Odeon Greenwich & Key Cities]

How Ohio Pulled It Off: Mercury Media release this timely documentary chronicling elections from 2004 to 2006 in the bellwether state of Ohio. [P’Houses Clapham & Greenwich, Ritzy, Screen On Green & Nationwide]

Kidnap: Studio 18 release this film starring Sanjay Dutt as a father whose daughter is kidnapped and the story follows his struggle to get her back. [Nationwide / Cert 12A]


If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Check our latest DVD picks and the other releases this week (From Monday 29th September 2008)

Cinema Trailers

Afro Saxons

Afro Saxons is a new documentary that follows several hair stylists as they enter the Black Beauty and Hair awards – the biggest Afro hair competition in the UK.

There is Angela, a braid stylist to the stars; Wayne and Cyndia, the leading junior stylists at the UK’s biggest chain of Afro hair salons; George and Apple, a Thai couple obsessed with Afro hair; and Michael, Birmingham’s leading Afro stylist who is out to beat the all-powerful London salons.

Afro Saxons opens at selected UK cinemas on Friday 17th October

> Official site for Afro Saxons
> Find out more about local screenings of the film
> Official MySpace page and YouTube channel for the film

Cinema cinema releases

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 26th September 2008


Righteous Kill (Lionsgate UK): Although there will be considerable interest in seeing Robert De Niro and Al Pacino team up for the first time since Heat (1995), I would be surprised if this routine cop thriller does any real business outside of the opening weekend. The two stars play veteran New York cops on the trail of a killer but the hacky direction and plodding narrative make it a dull experience. This is all a great shame as the two screen icons at the centre of it all have only shared a few minutes together on screen in Heat and were in separate stories in The Godfather II. Here it is sad to see them wasted in such an average film and I expect it will only do moderate  box office numbers for Lionsgate once the negative reviews and word-of-mouth pile up. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Taken (Fox): Liam Neeson stars in this Luc Besson produced thriller as an ex-CIA agent who goes after his daughter when she is kidnapped in Paris. The fact that this came out in France back in February – and doesn’t come out in the US until next year – might have signalled problems but despite being an older version of Jason Bourne, Liam Neeson’s character is actually fun to watch as he wreaks havoc against all manner of sleazy types in Paris (who are presented in a massively un-PC light). There are some weak spots but this is a well paced, crowd-pleasing thriller that could earn a tidy sum for Fox. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Death Race (Universal): This loose remake of Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000 sees Jason Statham as a convict in a futuristic prison forced by the warden (Joan Allen) to participate in a death race involving souped up armed cars. Although, a lot of it is fairly mindless, the actual death races themselves are well done and there is a certain gritty charm to the look of the film. However, things like plot and character are not the strong points here. Universal will be hoping the car/action angle will entice male audiences away from Taken, so it will be interesting to see how they fare against one another. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Swing Vote (Delanic Films): This political comedy stars Kevin Costner as an Average Joe single father in New Mexico, who by an improbable series of events, comes to be the swing voter in the US general election. With an impressive cast including Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper and Nathan Lane this is actually not that bad, with some intelligent digs at the US political process. The problem it has is twofold: 1) It died at the US box office, which suggests the same will be true here, and 2) The real US election is far more entertaining. The marketing and awareness factor for this film appears close to zero, which is eerily reminiscent of it’s US release, which appears to suggest it will get voted out of cinemas rather quickly. [Cert 12A / Nationwide]

Appaloosa (Entertainment): Based on the 2005 novel by Robert B. Parker, this western centres around a  lawman (Ed Harris) and his sidekick (Viggo Mortensen), who are hired to defend a lawless town from a murderous rancher (Jeremy Irons). Renée Zellweger rounds out an impressive cast but given the lack of awareness and the poor track record of Westerns at the UK box office, this faces an uphill task to make decent box office for Entertainment.  [Cert 15 / Entertainment]



I’ve Loved You So Long (Lionsgate UK): Although it will be getting a selected opening around the country, this is easily the pick of the week’s cinema releases. Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein play two sisters who reconnect with one another after a prolonged absence and the result is a rich and deeply satisfying emotional drama. Scott Thomas is almost certainly a contender for end of year awards and Zylberstein is almost as good. Try to avoid reviews which give too much of the plot away and experience this gem with as little plot information as possible.  [Cert 12A / Key Cities]

Redbelt (Sony Pictures): David Mamet wrote and directed this drama starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert who comes across a popular actor (Tim Allen) and a legion of Hollywood folk before realising he has been the victim of a con. [Cert 15]

Alexandra (Artificial Eye): This story about a mother who goes to see her son at a military outpost during the Second Chechen War, was written and directed by Alexander Sokurov (who made the one-take 2004 film  Russian Ark). [Cert PG / Key Cities / Opens in Ireland on October 3rd)

The Foot Fist Way (Momentum Pictures): Made for just $70,000, this cult comedy sees Danny R. McBride play a deluded martial arts instructor. Well done for the budget in which it was made, it seems likely to find more of an audience on DVD. [Cert 12A / Key Cities]

Steep (Metrodome): An IMAX run for this documentary which traces the legacy of extreme skiing from its early pioneers to the daredevils of today. [Cert PG / BFI Imax]

A Matter Of Life And Death (bfi Distribution): A BFI re-release for this classic from the writer-director-producer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger which sees David Niven as a British World War II Royal Air Force pilot who forms an unlikely relationship with an American radio operator (Kim Hunter) based in England. [Cert U / BFI Southbank & Key Cities]


If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms