20 to try: DIFF highlights

Must-see movies from the Dubai International Film Festival

The King's Speech
The King's Speech
Jack Goes Boating
Jack Goes Boating
Tron: Legacy
Tron: Legacy

The King’s Speech
Directed by
Tom Hooper
Starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush
Already being described as an ‘Oscar magnet’, this story of King George VI’s battle to overcome his stutter after he’s left holding the crown is tipped for a Best Picture nod and Best Actor for Firth, who portrays the monarch, the current Queen Elizabeth II’s father. After ascending to the throne following his brother’s abdication, many believed George (whose real name was Albert) was unfit to rule. Rush stars as eccentric Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, tasked with helping the King overcome his stutter, while Bonham Carter plays Queen Elizabeth, George’s wife and the late Queen Mother (both are expected to receive Best Supporting nominations). The Queen Mother herself is said to have requested the film not be made until after her death, as the subject was too painful.

127 Hours
Directed by
Danny Boyle
Starring James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara
Based on the real-life experience of mountaineer Aron Ralston and the gut-wrenching decision he was forced to make after being trapped beneath a boulder in a Utah canyon, this movie has caused people to faint in the aisles in the US. Ralston himself is said to be pleased with audience reactions, claiming to have witnessed at least seven faintings over the six screenings he has attended. James Franco is widely expected to receive an Oscar nomination for the role.

Tron: Legacy
Directed by
Joseph Kosinski
Starring Jeff Bridges, Michael Sheen, Olivia Wilde
Closing the festival this year is the long-awaited follow-up to 1982 sci-fi flick Tron, which saw Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) sucked into an arcade game. It’s a long way from Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital for House star Olivia Wilde, but all eyes will be on Bridges in this special-effects beast, which spent years in ‘development hell’. Already billed as this year’s Avatar, the film is expected to be an international box-office smash.

The Way Back
Directed by
Peter Weir
Starring Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess
Steeped in fact, this film follows the fortunes of soldiers who escaped a Siberian gulag during the second world war and embarked on a gruelling journey to India. Weir wrote the screenplay based on the (allegedly heavily fabricated) memoirs of Slawomir Rawicz, a Polish lieutenant imprisoned by the Soviets.

Morning Glory
Directed by
Roger Michell
Starring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton
A rookie TV producer played by McAdams is charged with turning around the fortunes of a floundering breakfast show with pitiful ratings. Harrison Ford is the cranky news presenter she hires to give the station a kick up the backside.

Winter’s Bone
Directed by
Debra Granik
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt
You may not yet be familiar with the film’s stars, but don’t let that put you off. Lawrence helped to earn this film recognition at Sundance and Edinburgh earlier in the year, playing 17-year-old Ree Dolly on a mission to track down the fugitive father who has left her family in an impoverished mess.

Jack Goes Boating
Directed by
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz
Based on the play of the same name, this romantic comedy set in New York features many of its original cast and is the directorial debut of Philip Seymour Hoffman. He plays a limo driver whose life changes after a blind date.

The Company Men
Directed by
John Wells
Starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner
Three men are faced with redundancy from a major corporation; this movie looks at the impact on their families, communities and quality of life, from white to blue collar.

Directed by
Nick Simon
Starring Billy Burke, Mark Kelly, Oz Perkins
At least you can’t say you’ve heard this one before: a prescription drug-addicted cleaner experiences gory hallucinations on the job.

My Joy
Directed by
Sergei Loznitsa
Starring Vlad Ivanov, Viktor Nemets
Set in Russia, this film follows truck driver Georgy for whom a seemingly normal day at work sees his life turned upside-down.

Directed by
Alejandro González Innaritu
Starring Javier Bardem, Maricel Alvarez, Hanaa Bouchaib
From the director of Babel, a man struggles to reconcile his involvement with the underworld and role as single father.

Directed by
Johan Lundborg and Johan Storm
Starring Daniel Adolfsson
Swedish thriller. Frank, a medical student, moves into a new apartment, but there is something odd about his new surroundings.

Suicide Club
Directed by
Olaf Saumer
Starring Klaus Dieter Bange, Andreas Beck, Andrea Cleven
Five strangers meet by chance at sunrise on the roof of a building, from which they have each come to jump in separate acts of suicide.

The Nutcracker in 3D
Directed by
Andrey Konchalovskiy
Starring Elle Fanning, Nathan Lane
This 3D retelling of the classic tale follows nine-year-old Mary and her adventures with a particularly special Christmas present.
World premiere

Directed by
Marc Fitoussi
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Lolita Chammah
A mother risks destroying her relationship with her adult daughter in this French flick.

Directed by
Nujoom Alghanem
Starring Hamama Obeid Al Tanaizi
This documentary follows Emirati healer Hamama, a local shaman who lives in Sharjah and is known for her healing work.
Emirati pick

Directed by
Kim Willming
Starring Rachel Dreiling, Stephen Halasz, Lindsey Rayl
There’s a big focus on character interaction here. Comedian Brian Walsh, whose dazzling career is juxtaposed starkly with his comparatively empty personal life, meets his 15-year-old daughter for the first time.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives
Directed by
Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Starring Sakda Kaewbuadee, Jenjira Pongpas, Thanapat Saisaymar
In this Thai comedy-fantasy, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Uncle Boonmee is visited on his deathbed by all manner of relatives (alive and dead), from which he recounts tales from his many past lives.

The First Movie
Directed by Mark Cousins
Imagination wins over circumstance as Northern Irish filmmaker Cousins visits Kurdish-Iraqi village of Goptapa and attempts to make a dream film, giving the children cameras to make short movies.

Directed by Xiaogang Feng
Starring Daoming Chen, Chen Li, Yi Lu
Based on the 1976 Tanshan earthquake, which left 240,000 dead, this Chinese drama follows its impact on one woman and her family.

How to get tickets!

Want to see these movies? Check out next week’s Film listings for the schedule, visit www.dubaifilmfest.com or call 04 391 3378. All regular screenings and ‘Conversation With’ events are Dhs25, or Dhs10 for students. Red-carpet gala screenings are Dhs80; Cinema with Children galas are Dhs50; and Rhythm and Reels events are Dhs45. Tickets are available from the CNN building in Media City, First Group Theatre, CineStar Mall of the Emirates and Madinat Arena. There is also a free mobile application for Symbian, BlackBerry and iPhone with summaries, venue details and a link to a payment centre. For screenings at The Walk, JBR, a box office will be open at JBR from 7am to 9pm on screening days.

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