31 August 2012

The Venice Film Festival kicked off this week with the world premiere of Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, starring Riz Ahmed as a Pakistani living in America when the 9/11 attacks change his life forever. So far, red carpet A-listers presenting new films have included Kate Hudson (with husband Matt Bellamy), Naomi Watts (with husband Liev Schreiber), Zac Efron, Winona Ryder and Michael Shannon. Florence Welch even made a typically colourful appearance.

North America's biggest film festival starts next week in Toronto. And one of the anticipated films is The Impossible, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage). A new trailer promises a thrillingly emotional true story of a couple (Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts) searching for each other in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. Tissues at the ready.

Another inspirational true story set largely in the water, Chasing Mavericks is about a salty old surfer (Gerard Butler) who reluctantly coaches a teen (newcomer Jonny Weston) whose goal is to surf a mythically gigantic "maverick" wave. The film is directed by veterans Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) and Michael Apted (The World Is Not Enough), and the trailer is packed with astonishing footage of turbulent seas and tenacious surfers.

A noticeably thin Matthew McConaughey. seen returning to his hotel in Manhattan. New York City, USA - 30.08.12

Speaking of salty old surfers, Matthew McConaughey took his family, including their pet dog, for a day out this week in New York, where they were caught on camera by the paparazzi. He's accompanied by his wife Camila Alves and their two children: 4-year-old Levi and 2-year-old Vida. If McConaughey is looking a bit thin, it's because he's currently losing weight for his role as an Aids patient in The Dallas Buyers' Club.

Meanwhile, we're finally starting to get some festival favourites from earlier in the year in our local cinemas. Opening in the US this weekend and in Britain next week is the Cannes hit Lawless, a true 1930s bootlegging drama starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jessica Chastain.

And movie geeks in the UK finally have a chance to experience Peter Strickland's acclaimed horror romp Berberian Sound Studio, which stars Toby Jones as a sound engineer working on a grisly 1970s Italian thriller. The outrageously clever film had its world premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June.

Rich Cline