Cinema Interviews music Podcast

Interview: Robyn Hitchcock on Rachel Getting Married

Robyn Hitchcock in Rachel Getting Married

Rachel Getting Married is a drama about a young woman named Kym (Anne Hathaway) who returns home from rehab for her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding.

It was written by Jenny Lumet and directed by Jonathan Demme in a naturalistic, documentary style.

Robyn Hitchcock is one of England’s most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters who also appears in the film as part of the wedding band. 

He has collaborated with Demme before on the 1998 concert film Storefront Hitchcock and released many acclaimed albums throughout a distinguished career. 

I spoke with him recently in London about Rachel Getting Married:


You can download this interview as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here

Rachel Getting Married is out now at selected UK cinemas

Download this interview as an MP3 file
Rachel Getting Married at the IMDb
> Official site for Robyn Hitchcock 

[Image:  Sony Pictures Classics  © 2008]


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 23rd January 2009

UK Cinema Releases 23-01-09


Frost/Nixon (Universal): A historical drama based on the play by Peter Morgan, writer of The Queen and The Last King of Scotland, which dramatises the 1977 televised Frost/Nixon interviews. Directed by Ron Howard, it stars Michael Sheen as David Frost and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon. I was lucky enough to catch the stage version in London in November 2006 and Howard has done a fine job in not imposing too much style to what was already a strong drama. He was also wise enough to retain Sheen and Langella in the lead roles as they are both bring a chemistry and technique that would have been hard to reignite with new actors. Although major studios have tended to shy away from making ‘prestige’ films like this, they deserve credit in green-lighting material such as this. Although there are a couple of missteps – notably a fictional scene towards the end – it is a deeply satisfying and accomplished film of an outstanding play. A high profile publicity campaign and Oscar nominations will give it a boost at the UK box office even if snagging the top spot might be a stretch.  [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Valkyrie (20th Century Fox): Set in Nazi Germany during World War II this drama/thriller depicts the July 20th, 1944 plot by German army officers to kill Adolf Hitler. Directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie, it stars Tom Cruise as Claus von Stauffenberg, one of the key figures in the conspiracy. It also features Bill Nighy, Eddie Izzard, Terence Stamp and Tom Wilkinson in supporting roles. Although the early buzz on this film had been negative due to controversy over Cruise’s casting and other production difficulties, it is a well made and absorbing thriller. Although in the age of a film like Downfall, the English accents occasionally detract from the sense of realism Singer has crafted a believable world even if there is too much of a reliance on British actors. However, Fox will be encouraged by its better-than-expected US gross and a high profile publicity campaign which saw a premiere and Cruise appearing on the first Jonathan Ross Show since the presenter got suspended. [Cert / 12A Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide]

Milk (Momentum): A biopic of the late American politician Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California in the late 70s. Directed by Gus Van Sant from a script by Dustin Lance Black, it stars Sean Penn as Milk and features Emile HirschJames Franco and Josh Brolin in key supporting roles. Penn dominates proceedings with one of the best performances of his career but there is also sterling work from the rest of the cast, especially Brolin as Milk’s eventual assassin, Dan White. It is an interesting story with a suprising number of modern echoes, with Milk’s hope and grass-roots campaigning feeling like Obama’s recent victory and the depiction of Proposition 6 feeling eerily like Prop 8. If you see the film this week and also observed the 44th US President get sworn in, note that the politician that announces Milk’s death at the beginning of the film (in archive footage) is Dianne Feinstein – the same woman who was master of ceremonies at the presidential inauguration. [Cert 15 / Barbican, Cineworld Kings Rd., Curzon Soho, Odeon Camden & Nationwide]

Underworld 3: Rise Of The Lycans (Entertainment): A prequel to the vampire films Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, which covers the origins of some characters.  It follows a young Lycan named Lucian (Michael Sheen) who emerges as a powerful leader who rallies the werewolves to rise up against Viktor (Bill Nighy), the cruel vampire king who has enslaved them. Lucian is joined by his secret lover, Viktor’s daughter Sonja (Rhona Mitra), in his struggle for Lycan freedom. Note that Sheen and Nighy are both in rival films out this week. Entertainment will be hoping that their vast army of posters across the UK will help the film crack the top three in a busy week. [Cert 18 / Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide]



Rachel Getting Married (Sony): A drama about a young woman named Kym (Anne Hathaway) who returns home from rehab for her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding. Tensions within the family lead to a bittersweet conclusion. It was written by Jenny Lumet, the daughter of director Sidney Lumet and directed by Jonathan Demme in a naturalistic, documentary style. A film with some considerable merits (the camera work and music) and flaws (some flimsy, annoying characters) it is also notable for featuring a scene with a dishwasher that ranks amongst the most bizarre in recent cinematic history. [Cert 15 / London & Key Cities]

Faintheart (Vertigo Films): This film about a geeky viking enthusiast (Eddie Marsan) is notable for being a collaboration between Myspace, Vertigo films and Film4. The resulting experiment, MyMovieMashUp, sought to harness the power and talents of the online community by involving them in the film-making process. Alas, the film is the usual British ho-hum loser-comes-good comedy, which makes you wonder why they bothered with the online stuff in the first place. Expect a limited run at cinemas followed by a swift DVD release. [Cert 12A / Key Cities]

Better Things (Soda Pictures): A drama about a group of young people growing up together in a small, rural community in the Cotswolds, directed by Duane Hopkins. [Cert 15 / ICA Cinema, Renoir & Key Cities]

UK Cinema Releases for January 2009
Get the latest showtimes for your local cinema via Google Movies
Check out our latest DVD picks (W/C Monday 19th January)


LFF 2008: Day 2

The London Eye and Big Ben

It was a bit of a muted day for me today as I am still trying to shake off a cold and had to catch up on some rest. 

However, nothing was going to stop me from the press screening this morning of Charlie Kaufman‘s directorial debut Synecdoche, New York

I’ve put up a more detailed post about the film here, but it really is a startling film that is going to spark off a thousand arguments about it’s meaning, overall quality and what the hell is going on in Kaufman’s head.

The plot involves a theatre director (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who moves his company to a warehouse where he attempts to create a life-size replica of New York as part of his new play. 

Catherine KeenerMichelle WilliamsSamantha Morton and Hope Davis co-star. 

It gets a gala screening next week, so I’ll write more about it then but I’m sure that it will be a film talked about in years to come as either a work of genius or madness – perhaps even both.

The response at the screening was respectful to begin with and there were some laughs sprinkled throughout but as it went into a third act I sensed a weary sadness taking hold. 

That is part of the theme of the film, but also because it is actually dealing in some rather heavy duty subject matter towards the end despite the surreal ‘Kaufmaness’ of it all. 

I’m very keen to see it again as it is an extremely dense and layered film – some of the concepts are truly ingenious – and will probably grow with repeated viewing. 

One of the main gala screenings tonight was Rachel Getting Married, which is directed by Jonathan Demme.

It stars Anne Hathaway as an ex-model who has been in and out from rehab for the past 10 years, who returns home for the wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt).

There are some interesting and accomplished things about the film, notably the raw and loose shooting style Demme has opted for as well as two fine performances from Hathaway and DeWitt.

But despite the Oscar buzz surrounding it I was disappointed at the lack of any real drama and the insufferable nature of many of the conversations in the film. 

Emotions and thoughts are too easily verbalised and at it’s lower moments the film plays like an unofficial sequel to Margot at the Wedding – another wedding set film from last year which explored similarly tedious forms of middle class self loathing.

There is also a scene involving a dishwasher that is so interminable that I would have actually rather washed some dishes for the duration of it.

Debra Winger is also utterly wasted in a small role which made you wonder why they bothered casting her in the first place.  

That said I think Hathaway has a good shot at an Oscar nomination for her work here, even if the film itself is something of a disappointment. 

If you have been to the festival or want to discuss any of the films then do leave a comment below or email me.

> My full review of Synecdoche New York
> Rachel Getting Married at the IMDb
> Gala screenings at the LFF this year