30 August 2007

Release Updates

Todd Haynes' hotly-anticipated Bob Dylan film, I'm Not There, which stars Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Ben Wishaw (Perfume), and Marcus Carl Franklin as Dylan, will be released by the Weinstein Company on November 21st in limited release. The film also stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Julianne Moore, Bruce Greenwood, Michelle Williams, and David Cross (who plays Allen Ginsberg). Too bad the rumors that Haynes wanted to cast either Beyoncé or Oprah Winfrey as one of the Dylans fell through.

IFC Films has picked up Catherine Breillat's Une vieille maîtresse, releasing it as The Last Mistress, for early 2008. Asia Argento stars, along with Fa'ud Ait Attou and Breillat regulars Roxane Mesquida, Anne Parrillaud, Sarah Pratt, Amira Casar, and Lio. The film is based on the novel by Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly.

There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson's first film since Punch-Drunk Love, will make the Oscar cut-off in New York and Los Angeles just before the new year. The film is based on an Upton Sinclair story and stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano. Paramount Vantage and Miramax will co-release the film.

Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi's Perespolis, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes this year, will also do the Oscar cut-off business from Sony Pictures Classics. This animated film about an Iranian girl's upbringing features the voices of Chiarra Mastroianni, her mother Catherine Deneuve, and Danielle Darrieux (which will mark her fifth time playing the mother of Deneuve, after 8 femmes and The Young Girls of Rochefort, among others)... though it looks like the film will be overdubbed by American actors for its U.S. release, including Sean Penn, Gena Rowlands, and Iggy Pop.

IFC Films has acquired the rights to two Cannes entries, Christophe Honoré's Les chansons d'amour (Love Songs) and Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park. Both don't have set release dates, but it looks likely that they won't be around until early 2008. Tartan also acquired Kim Ki-duk's Breath, which also debuted at Cannes this year.

29 August 2007

Zero Gravity

Oh, please let the rumors that Robert Rodriguez is going to cast Rose McGowan as Barbarella in his upcoming remake be true. Granted, the original, with Jane Fonda, is quite bad... but Planet Terror was such a joy that I can't imagine Rodriguez would have difficulty adding some spunk to the remake. And, with Rose (whom he's currently dating), the deal has been sold... at least to me.

Adults Only

It looks as though Ang Lee's latest, Lust, Caution, will be the first NC-17 rated theatrical release since New Line released John Waters' A Dirty Shame in 2004. It's a risky move for Focus Features, but they apparently believe in the strength of Lee and the film (plus it's Lee's first film since Brokeback Mountain). This could be a good move for the studio system and its fear of the NC-17 rating, but time will tell... we probably thought the same thing when The Dreamers came out.

18 August 2007

Up with Dead People

My friend reminded me with a text this afternoon to check out the production stills of Bruce LaBruce's latest film, entitled Otto; or Up with Dead People, a self-described post-gay zombie film. LaBruce sure has a lot to live up to after his previous The Raspberry Reich, which was truly his finest hour. The film features the wonderful Susanne Sachsse of The Raspberry Reich as Hella Bent, German pornstar Marcel Schlutt, and a nineteen-year-old French boy named Jey Crisfar as the title character. You can check out the official website for more information; LaBruce says he's about to start editing it... so hopefully this Sundance, we'll be able to see Otto.

15 August 2007

(S)he's Lost Control 2

Riddle me this: Is anyone finding it troublesome to return to Inland Empire? It seems to be selling well on the Internet (with multiple covers for those Lynchian losers who felt the need to own both the Naomi Watts and Laura Harring covers of Mulholland Drive), but I'm concerned. I revisited the film (or, the DVD) over the weekend and couldn't even get a fourth of the way through it. I also attempted More Things That Happened, a companion piece to Inland Empire that runs about the same length with stuff Lynch cut out (I know, you're surprised anything was cut out as well), and found it to be even more troubling than Inland Empire. Did Lynch really go as wrong as I was afraid he had? Should we be thanking all those French producers who've breathed over Lynch's shoulder in the past for not allowing him to give us this?

I get the feeling that the die-hard Lynch fans are jumping on the Inland Empire bandwagon out of guilt for initially rejecting Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. I think, now, most people see FWWM as one of his finer endeavors, something completely unexpected and thoroughly unsettling. Lynch's weirdness in IE makes FWWM pale in comparison, but is that the reason why it has such a high IMDb rating? I think it's quite obvious, when viewing IE, that he had no idea what he was doing, with parallel storylines that almost scratch the surface of another just enough to make people think, "maybe it does make sense." And, in a grand scale, IE does make sense, but you have to trim all the fat to get to just a meager understanding of what exactly is going on.

And, really, for the most part, IE isn't so much to look at in its digital format. A beautiful image or two barely justifies three hours. Please, share your thoughts, particularly if you have revisited the film since its theatrical release.

14 August 2007

Sit and Spin, Motherfucker

Thanks a helluva-fucking-lot, Lionsgate, for your shitty Doom Generation "re-release." Instead of giving us fans a widescreen version of Gregg Araki's second installment in his Teen Apocalypse Trilogy, Lionsgate simply repackaged their old, shitty-transfer disc that actually still has a Trimark intro. Lionsgate acquired Trimark nearly 7 years ago. I'm outraged and might actually consider writing the studio a rather scathing e-mail.

In better news, Fantoma has announced the second volume in the collected works of Kenneth Anger, set for October 2nd. The collection will include Scorpio Rising, Kustom Kar Kommandos, Invocation of My Demon Brother, Lucifer Rising, and (apparently) a new version of Rabbit's Moon, though I thought they included the extended version on Volume 1. The disc will also include a 2002 film from Anger, entitled The Man We Want to Hang.

11 August 2007

In looking ahead...

As the summer comes to a close, I’ve chosen not to do a wrap-up (after all I didn’t see most of the second installments of the franchises that rolled out their thirds this year), but instead look forward to see what’s on the horizon for Oscar season 2007.


First off, the Yari Film Group will release Jake Paltrow’s film debut, The Good Night, starring his sister Gwyneth, Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz), Danny DeVito, Martin Freeman (BBC’s The Office), and most excitingly, Penélope Cruz’s first post-Volver role (I sure hope she keeps it up). Word on the street is that it’s a weird one, and to quote one of my friends, “the older I get, the less I become interested in ‘weird films’.”

Strand will have, in very limited release, Eytan Fox’s follow-up to his moderately successful Walk on Water, entitled The Bubble. The film deals with queer youth and politics, and unfortunately, does not star Walk on Water’s magnificent Lior Ashkenazi.

It seems like A History of Violence just came out, but David Cronenberg has a new one, starring Viggo Mortensen again and Naomi Watts, entitled Eastern Promises. Watts plays a midwife trying to solve the murder of a dead prostitute, though I suspect the similarities to Mulholland Drive end there.

The Accused 2, you say? I wish. Neil Jordan pairs up with Hollywood’s favorite closeted lesbian, Jodie Foster, with The Brave One, which sounds like a classier I Spit on Your Grave, as Foster enlists payback on some rapists. With a handful of pre-production big-budget features, Jordan needs to prove himself bankable with this film, which will be out September 14th.

By now, you’ve surely heard the controversy surrounding Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe. Revolution Studios still haven’t revealed whether Taymor’s original version of the Beatles musical will be playing across the country or lame-ass studio head Joe Roth’s edited version. The film stars Evan Rachel Wood and newcomer Jim Sturgess, as well as smaller roles from Salma Hayek, Bono, and Fay Grim’s James Urbaniak.

I never really cared for François Girard’s The Red Violin, but plenty of classical music and history buffs sure do love it. Girard’s first film since Violin will star Michael Pitt and Keira Knightley and will be titled Silk.

Ang Lee will follow his Oscar win for Brokeback Mountain with a Mandarin-language thriller starring Tony Leung and Joan Chen, entitled Lust, Caution. In other September news, Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited will be coming at the end of the month. Count me out.


The unexpected sequel of the year is no longer Fay Grim, but Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Shekhar Kapur’s continuation of Elizabeth. Cate Blanchett is back, and I’m sure, if nothing else, it’ll be really pretty.

Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider (All the Real Girls), and Kelli Garner (Bully) star in Lars and the Real Girl, a comedy that seems based on an HBO Real Sex episode. Gosling falls for a plastic girl he gets off the internet, and hilarity ensues. This could be really bad.

From the director of Hotel Rwanda, Joaquin Phoenix, Jennifer Connelly, Mira Sorvino, and Mark Ruffalo plays the leads in Reservation Road about the death of a young child. Sounds like fun to me.

Things We Lost in the Fire is not a cinematic adaptation of the Low album of the same name; instead it’s After the Wedding’s Susanne Bier’s attempt at some Oscar juice. Halle Berry and Benicio del Toro, both previous Oscar winners who’ve done shit since then, will weep it up, I’m sure.

According to the Internet Movie Database, Michael Haneke’s Funny Games remake will be in limited release just before Halloween. I’ve talked about this before, so it’s pretty clear that no matter what Haneke is up to, this is my most anticipated release of the year.


Also according to the IMDb (I heard different reports prior), Richard Kelly’s abysmal Southland Tales will make its way, finally, to theatres on the 9th of November. No word yet to whether it’ll be the Cannes version, which was murdered by critics, or a new cut. Either way, Donnie Darko fans can finally rejoice.

Number two most anticipated film of the year: No Country for Old Men. The Coens’ latest has gotten across-the-board praise (though it left this year’s Cannes empty-handed). Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem are supposed to be fantastic. Meet me in line.

Noah Baumbach’s latest, Margot at the Wedding (which sounds like an Eric Rohmer title), will star Nicole Kidman and the always-wonderful and always-overlooked Jennifer Jason Leigh. Let’s hope he doesn’t fall face-first after his wonderful Squid and the Whale.


Another year, another Woody Allen movie. Cassandra’s Dream will take place in London, à la Match Point, and will not star Scarlett Johansson, thankfully (though she’s currently in the one he’s making for 2008). The cast includes Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Wilkinson.

Tim Burton’s long-awaited adaptation of the Broadway hit, Sweeney Todd, will hit theatres a week before Christmas. Unfortunately, his muse/soon-to-be-baby’s-momma Helena Bonham Carter will play the romantic lead opposite Johnny Depp.

Julian Scnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, starring Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Max von Sydow, Jean-Pierre Cassel (in one of his final roles), Isaac de Bankolé, and Emma de Caunes, will be out from Miramax just before Christmas as well (though I doubt it will spread wider until the new year). The film won a best screenplay award at this year’s Cannes.

Certainly more releases will pop up in the few months, so keep your eye out and let me know.

06 August 2007

S'mother DVD announcements

Gregg Araki's Smiley Face (which was pushed back theatrically from its original 4/20 release date) will be released by First Look on the 19th of August, over a year after its premiere at Sundance.

Not so far into the future, you can pick up Paris je t'aime on the 20th of November.

A Barbara Stanwyck/Warner Brothers box-set will be out on the 30th of October. The set includes Annie Oakley, East Side West Side, Executive Suite, My Reputation, To Please a Lady, and Jeopardy. The John Waters doc/stand-up film This Filthy World will be out the same day.

You can get your special editions of all of Kubrick's films (other than Dr. Strangelove, The Killing, Paths of Glory, and Spartacus) on the 23rd of October. A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, and 2001 will be double-discs, though no word as to the content of EWS, whether it will be censored or not. Lindsay Anderson's long-awaited O Lucky Man! will also be out in a double-disc from Warner; the film stars Malcolm McDowell. If low-art is more your cup of tea, Lionsgate is releasing Cutting Class, a 1989 slasher film that stars Brad Pitt (pre-Thelma and Louise), Martin Mull (!!), Roddy McDowell, and Donovan's son, Donovan Leitch.

Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy will be the next box-set from Criterion's Eclipse. The films include Blood Wedding, Carmen, and El Amor brujo. The set will be available on the 16th of October. The 1997 HBO original movie, Subway Stories, will also be available. The film stars, among others, Lili Taylor, Denis Leary, Bonnie Hunt, Peter Sarsgard, Mercedes Rheul, Gretchen Mol, Rosie Perez, Sam Rockwell, Mekhi Phifer, and Steve Zahn, and is directed by, among others, Jonathan and Ted Demme, Bob Balaban, and Abel Ferrara.

For some sleaze (both high art and sexploitation), pre-order Just Jaeckin's Emmanuelle and the Sylvester Stallone soft porn Italian Stallion, both due on the 9th of October. Reportedly, the hardcore porno version of Italian Stallion has been lost (though some sites report that the German DVD, under a different title that cashes in on the Rocky franchise, is the full version), but don't get upset, Stallone didn't actually take part in the dirtier bits. Do you ever wonder what Sylvia Kristel looks like now? I'd rather not know. On another sleaze level, Rise: Blood Hunter, with Lucy Liu as a bisexual vampire huntress will also be out.

The Imperial Edition of Caligula, which contains 4 discs, will be available on the 2nd of October. The exciting feature is that Image Entertainment allowed Malcolm McDowell (wow, 2007 sure is his year for DVD) and Helen Mirren conduct a no-holds-barred commentary on the notoriously awful film. Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr's One to Another (Chacun sa nuit), which got some pretty solid reviews in limited release, will be out the same day from Strand Releasing and Red Envelope Entertainment.

On the 18th of September, Genius Products have boxed up their Wellspring titles into sets: Catherine Deneuve (Pola X, Kings and Queen, Dangerous Liaisons, Place Vendôme); Werner Herzog (White Diamond, Wheel of Time); Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, Le petit soldat, Les carabiniers, Notre musique); and Pedro Almodóvar (What Have I Done to Deserve This?, Dark Habits).

Naturally, if there's anything else worthy of mention announced in the near future, I'll let you know.

You probably didn't hear it here first...

...but this weekend, Paramount officially announced the complete Twin Peaks box-set, 10-discs of dancing midgets, cotton drape-runners, talking logs, and the finest way to dispose of your cherry stem. The set will include both the original and international versions of the pilot (finally) and both seasons. After years of waiting, you can finally throw that Twin Peaks party you've always wanted to, with the entire series and optimal picture and sound quality. Catch it on October 30th, just a day before Halloween. Let's see if the fully uncut Cannes version of Fire Walk With Me shows up in France this winter, as planned, and Peaks fans can finally shut their holes.