Submarine (Richard Ayoade)
Best known as Maurice Moss, the king of geekdom in the mighty British cult comedy 'The IT Crowd', Richard Ayoade's emergence as a burgeoning director will come as no surprise to those who have followed his wonderful music videos (Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Super Furry Animals being my particular favourites) and guest directing slots on the sitcoms he's best known to star in. What may surprise is the assurance, panache and skill he has brought to his debut feature and the praise that has followed since it's premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year. I get a little too excited when a new British talent emerges, something that happens less and less with every passing year (McQueen, Ramsay Arnold and Barnard the exception) so let's hope that Ayoade is the real thing.
Route Irish (Ken Loach)
And speaking of 'the real thing', Ken Loach's dalliance with the light side, 2009's brilliant comedy drama Looking for Eric, seems to be over for the moment as we're back on familiar territory with his latest feature. 'Consciously political', as described by Observer film critic Philip French, Route Irish is Ken Loach's 'response to the war in Iraq', with the legendary director battling themes he's pursued on several occasions throughout his long career. Loach's films can be a mixed bag of hit and miss but they never fail to stimulate debate and as an old fan of his persistent rhetoric, I look forward to whatever the old master puts on the screen.
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (Woody Allen)
At some point, in the past couple of years, I have mentioned, more than once, that I will never, ever, as long as I so lived, watch another NEW Woody Allen film. Yet, I can't help myself, it's like the fascination you have with a car crash, you know what you're watching is awful but somehow you can't turn your head away from the ensuing carnage. However, there are moments when that Woody you loved, you adored, fleeting though it may be, shows flashes of the genius, of the man you once knew, it's there in the DNA and you hope and you pray that one day, that a spark of recognition, a moment of clarity will engulf him and the Woody of old will spark into life onto our screen. I know and you know it's not going to happen and this film isn't the one that you hoped it would be but....you never know.
Although, you really do.
Ballast (Lance Hammer)
Finally securing a release in the UK, Lance Hammer's 2008 feature film debut was met with critical acclaim and harboured the emergence of a promising new talent. Featured on many critics top 10 of the year, Ballast picked up several awards as it traveled the festival circuit over the course of the year but has had to wait a long time until it secured distribution over here, something I afraid I'm having to get used to. Why it has taken so long to get released I just don't know, considering some of the dross that finds distribution easily it beggars belief but I for one am glad that it's finally here.
So that's the lot for this week, is there anything on the horizon stateside I should keep an eye out for? Or, what should I expect from Ballast? Let me know.