29 November 2008

Das Ist Berlin

Via GreenCine, the Berlin International Film Festival, in its 59th year, will open with the premiere of Tom Tykwer's The International, starring Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Ulrich Thomsen on 5 February. The rest of the line-up has yet to be announced, but it had been previously announced that the lovely Tilda Swinton will be the jury president next year. Sony will release The International worldwide a week later. I will post more information about the festival as it becomes available.

Murnau and Others in 2009

Kino will release three silent works from director F.W. Murnau on DVD on 17 March. The first is a resorted edition of Faust; the second is The Finances of the Grand Duke [Die Finanzen des Großherzogs]; and the third is The Haunted Castle [Schloß Vogeloed]. Also in March from Kino are Wonderful Town on the 3rd and Nicolas Philibert's doc Back to Normany [Retour en Normandie] on the same day.

Fernando Meirelles' Blindness, which opened this year's Cannes Film Festival and was later ignored by US audiences, will be released on 10 February. Jirí Menzel's Czech comedy I Served the King of England will be available from Sony on 17 February. Also in February, Religulous on the 17th from Lionsgate and Takeshi Kitano's Takeshis' on the 24th from BCI Eclipse.

Sony announced another round of their "Martini Movies," which includes Stephen Frears' Gumshoe with Albert Finney, the sci-fi comedy Vibes with Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum, Carol Reed's Our Man in Havana with Alec Guinness, Burl Ives and Maureen O'Hara, Getting Straight with Elliott Gould and Candice Bergen, and the apocalyptic Five. All street on 3 February.

The Weinstein Company has delayed a few titles from February to March. Dante 01 will now be released on 17 March, and Martyrs on the 24th. The animated Azur et Asmar, which was delayed from November, should be released on the 17th of March as well.

And finally, the animated, highly-amusing The Life and Times of Tim will hit shelves on 24 March from HBO.

26 November 2008

You're a whore, darlin'

Because you know they just love doing it, Entertainment Weekly made another list... this time counting down the 50 Sexiest Movies of All Time (you can find 1-25 here, and 26-50 here), most of which is pretty asinine, although I (sort of) applaud their choice of Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight at the number one, even though I'm not sure it's "sexiness" resonates throughout the whole film enough for it to be the sexiest.

Shame, however, should be brought onto the mag for even mentioning 300 (which falls at number 50), which I will always lovingly refer to as gay porn for soccer moms (I didn't coin that, and forgive me for forgetting who coined it), a slice of ham like The Notebook, a cheese-fest like Dirty Dancing, an unsalted cracker like Cruel Intentions and a turd like Ghost. Shakespeare in Love and Mr. & Mrs. Smith could have also been omitted, and don't get me started on their ridiculous placement of fucking Once at #11. But props of course are to be given for the inclusion of In the Mood for Love, Mulholland Drive (duh) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (and, of course, that impossibly sexy scene in Don't Look Now between Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland)... If EW was so intent on choosing so many non-traditional "sexy" movies, where was Persona, which contains easily the hottest, fully-clothed, non-sex scene ever?

For a more inspired list, you can check out their 25 Least Sexy Movies of All Time, which goes from Showgirls to Batteries Not Included to Requiem for a Dream to Gone Fishin'.

23 November 2008

Previous 10: 23 November - Fest Wrap-Up

In wrapping up all of my festival screenings, this list of 10 is loaded with disappointments, though none of them major. Laurent Cantet's The Class is astounding, as is WALL·E, the only two of these ten worth getting excited about. Though both efficient on some levels, Waltz with Bashir and The Wrestler failed to live up to the excitement surrounding their earlier festival showings. I should, hopefully, have more to say about Burn After Reading as soon as I get my new computer (mine died this past week, leaving me with fairly limited access). Oh, I would urge you to avoid Garden Party about as strongly as I possibly can.

La Crème

The Class [Entre les murs] - dir. Laurent Cantet - France - Sony Pictures Classics - with François Bégaudeau

La león - dir. Santiago Otheguy - Argentina/France - Water Bearer Films - with Jorge Román, Daniel Valenzuela, José Muñoz

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies [OSS 117: La Caire, nid d'espions] - dir. Michel Hazanavicius - France - Music Box Films - with Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Aure Atika, Philippe Lefebvre, Constantin Alexander, Saïd Amadis, Laurent Bateau

WALL·E - dir. Andrew Stanton - USA - Pixar/Walt Disney Studios - with Jeff Garlin, Ben Hurtt, Elissa Knight, Fred Willard, Sigourney Weaver, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy

Les Autres

Burn After Reading - dir. Ethan Coen, Joel Coen - USA/France/UK - Focus Features - with George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, J.K. Simmons, Elizabeth Marvel

O' Horten - dir. Bent Hamer - Norway/Germany/France - Sony Pictures Classics - with Bård Owe, Espen Skjønberg, Ghita Nørby

Priceless [Hors de prix] - dir. Pierre Salvadori - France - Samuel Goldwyn Films - with Gad Elmaleh, Audrey Tautou, Marie-Christine Adam, Vernon Dobtcheff

Waltz with Bashir - dir. Ari Folman - Israel/Germany/France - Sony Pictures Classics

Wrestler, The - dir. Darren Aronofsky - USA - Fox Searchlight - with Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood

The Bad

Garden Party - dir. Jason Freeland - USA - Roadside Attractions - with Vinessa Shaw, Willa Holland, Richard Gunn, Erik Smith, Alexander Cendese, Christopher Allport, Patrick Fischler

17 November 2008

Gay Zombies, Exterminating Angels and Good Days to Be Black and Sexy

Strand announced the DVD release of Bruce LaBruce's wonderful Otto; or Up with Dead People for 10 February, just in time to make my Valentine's Day extra special. No word on the special features yet.

Sony Pictures Classics will have Courtney Hunt's Frozen River on 10 February, which would be good timing for a home-video push if actress Melissa Leo gets that dark horse Oscar nomination. Zeitgeist is releasing Chris & Don: A Love Story on 24 February. Kino is releasing Jan Schütte's Love Comes Lately on 3 February. The film stars Barbara Hershey, Elizabeth Peña, Rhea Perlman and Olivia Thirlby.

Set for February are three films from Magnolia. The first is Prachya Pinkaew's martial arts flick Chocolate, on 10 February. Dennis Dortch's A Good Day to Be Black and Sexy will street on 3 February. And Barry Levinson's star-studded What Just Happened? is set for 10 February. The film stars, among others, Robert De Niro, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis, John Turturro, Kristen Stewart, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, Michael Wincott and Robin Wright Penn.

I'm sure you've already seen Criterion's February line-up, but if you haven't, two Luis Buñuel films, The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert, will hit stores on 17 February. The only other new title is a comedy from David Lean, Hobson's Choice, which will be available the following week. John Cassavetes' Shadows and Faces will also become available to own separate from the Cassavetes box-set.

Under the "unnecessary" umbrella, Universal is re-releasing the video-game adaptation of Street Fighter in an "Extreme Edition." You may remember the film as being poor Raul Julia's final film, or as Kylie Minogue's futile foray at an acting career. Either way, it's available on 10 February.

HBO will have out Chris Lilley's hilarious Summer Heights High on 24 February; the show started airing about a week ago, and you can catch all the episodes on HBO On Demand, which I strongly suggest.

And finally, it looks like Music Box Films have delayed Tell No One yet again, this time set for 31 March.

16 November 2008

Previous 10: 16 November

This crop contains the rest of my pre-Saint Louis International Film Festival screenings, including a few others. I will be seeing at least four films this year, so they'll show up next round. Two brief observations: Sally Hawkins is incredible; The Unknown Woman is absolute shit.

La Crème

Blind Mountain - dir. Li Yang - China - Kino - with Huang Lu

Happy-Go-Lucky - dir. Mike Leigh - UK - Miramax - with Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Alexis Zegerman, Samuel Roukin

Les Autres

A Complete History of My Sexual Failures - dir. Chris Watt - UK - No US Distributor - with Chris Watt

The Grocer's Son [Le fils de l'épicier] - dir. Eric Guirado - France - Film Movement - with Nicolas Cazalé, Clotilde Hesme, Daniel Duval, Stéphan Guérin-Tillié, Jeanne Goupil, Liliane Rovère, Paul Crauchet, Chad Chenouga

Timecrimes [Los cronocrímenes] - dir. Nacho Vigalondo - Spain - Magnet Releasing - with Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Geonaga, Nacho Vigalondo, Juan Inciarte

Tropic Thunder - dir. Ben Stiller - USA/Germany - DreamWorks - with Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Jay Baruchel, Brandon T. Jackson, Tom Cruise, Matthew McConaughey, Nick Nolte, Steve Coogan, Bill Hader

The Wedding Director [Il regista di matrimoni] - dir. Marco Bellocchio - Italy/France - New Yorker - with Sergio Castellitto, Donatella Finocchiaro, Sami Frey, Gianni Cavina, Maurizio Donadoni, Bruno Cariello, Simona Nobili

Wonderful Town - dir. Aditya Assarat - Thailand - Kino - with Supphasit Kansen, Anchalee Saisoontorn

The Bad

The Good Boy [Segundo asalto] - dir. Daniel Cebrián - Spain - Picture This! - with Darío Grandinetti, Álex González, Eva Marciel, Laura Aparicio, Alberto Ferreiro

The Unknown Woman [La sconosciuta] - dir. Giuseppe Tornatore - Italy/France - Outsider Pictures - with Xenia Rappoport, Michele Placido, Claudia Gerini, Margherita Buy, Pierfrancesco Favino, Piera Degli Esposti, Ángela Molina

12 November 2008


I'm not usually in the habit of posting about films in production, but as I've already mentioned the Serge Gainsbourg biopic in addition to the casting of Todd Solondz's new film, why not add two more? It looks as if the Arrested Development film is back on again, after that little teaser on the show's farewell and numerous shot-down rumors.

And according to a friend-of-a-friend (yeah, sorry), Claire Denis' White Material, which stars Isabelle Huppert (her first time working with the director), Isaach de Bankolé and Nicolas Duvauchelle, should be ready in time for Berlin in 09. Then again, call me a skeptic, but 35 rhums was supposed to be ready for Cannes earlier this year.

Requiem pour un con...

After the worldwide success of La vie en rose, it looks like an official Serge Gainsbourg biopic has started filming in France. No title yet, but still photographs show actor Eric Elmosnino (L'heure d'été) looking remarkable as Monsieur Gainsbourg. I'll post more as it comes to me, like the casting of the many women in his life: Brigitte Bardot, Anna Karina, Françoise Hardy, Bambou, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin (and, of course, Whitney Houston). Fingers crossed that this breaks the lousy musician biopic mold! By the way, Raro Video released his film Équateur, with Barbara Sukowa, earlier this year. Anyone see it?

11 November 2008

Oh, Betty!

Also thanks to IndieWire, the studio CinemaLibre has acquired the rights to just about all of the films of Jean-Jacques Beineix (not including Diva). Their deal includes the rights to the director's cut of Betty Blue (with Jean-Hughes Anglade and Béatrice Dalle in her star-making performance), which went out-of-print shortly after Sony released it a few years back; Mortel transfert (with Anglade and Miki Manojlovic); La lune dans le caniveau (with Gérard Depardieu, Nastassja Kinski, Victoria Abril and Vittorio Mezzogiorno); Roselyne et les lions; IP5: L'île aux pachydrermes (with Yves Montand and Olivier Martinez); and his doc/shorts: Locked-In Syndrome, Otaku and Le chien de Monsieur Michel. Other than Betty Blue, this will be the first time these titles will be available in the US; no word on when these films will become available.

How'd you get to be Happiness?

Oh boy! IndieWire posted an update on Todd Solondz's new film, which is apparently a follow-up to Happiness probably in the same way Palindromes was to Welcome to the Dollhouse. The official cast includes Charlotte Rampling, Allison Janney, Michael K. Williams (aka, everyone's favorite character on The Wire, Omar), Paul Reubens (who was the first actor attactched to the project), Shirley Henderson, Ciaran Hinds and, last and certainly least, Paris Hilton. The IMDb also lists Natasha Richardson in the cast. The film should hit one of the big festivals next year.

07 November 2008

<3 Rose McGowan

Thanks IndieWire.

IFC, Where Are You?

With such a great year for IFC, I must ask, "Where are your DVDs?" Since 2006, around the time they released Lars von Trier's Manderlay on DVD, IFC has released their discs through Genius Products, now the home of the Weinstein Company. With the Weinsteins' exlusive deal with Blockbuster, it's allowed for Blockbuster to carry first-run IFC titles before they're available for purchase or rental elsewhere. However, in looking at Genius' DVD line-up for 2009, there are two full months without an IFC release.

Have they changed distributors? Image is released Jessica Yu's Ping Pong Playa, which IFC released theatrically and On Demand, but that film appears to be the only one they've announced so far. This therefore leaves a number of titles in limbo, including Catherine Breillat's The Last Mistress, Jacques Rivette's The Duchess of Langeais, Claude Chabrol's A Girl Cut in Two and Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, to name a few (and I'm not even referring to the fact that IFC has done nothing with either Abel Ferrara film they acquired, Mary or Go Go Tales). I haven't been able to find anything announcing a change of distributors or anything of that sort, but I hope this problem gets sorted out soon, as IFC was typically releasing two films per month, and with such a strong 2008 line-up (not counting Nights and Weekends or Filth and Wisdom), it'd be really upsetting to leave these titles hanging.

05 November 2008

...is the opiate of the masses

I posted something about the film La león earlier today, announcing its distributor change from Water Bearer Films to Music Box Films, but now TLA has cover artwork and a UPC code for WB's December release for the film... so it's safe to say that I have no idea what's going on with this title.

And like most of you, I'm not feeling particularly film-y today. I try to reserve politics to film writing, but I can't help but feel elation and disgust from Election Day 08. On one hand, Obama's victory announced the "change" everyone's been hoping for, but on another hand, California has proven that small-minded people still plague this nation with the passing of Proposition 8. I'm not a bleeding heart, someone who ever planned on getting married or even a fan of most of the gay people I know, but I've adopted a Raspberry Reich-inspired aggressiveness that's pretty hard to shake. To some I may be the Debbie Downer of Obama's party, but his victory, when combined with Prop 8's more-than-likely pass, isn't looking so much like the people of a nation looking after one another but selfish ulterior motives of the ignorant and hateful. On the bright side, at least this election proved that the United States isn't any closer to a reversal on Roe v Wade.

Previous 10: 5 November - Fest Overload 1

Thanks to the Saint Louis International Film Festival, I've fared a lot better on seeing decent films, as six of these ten will be playing there this year. As for Pierre Morel's Taken, you can sort of group that with Steve McQueen's Hunger as 2008 films that probably won't get their official release until 2009; 20th Century Fox delayed its fall release to January. Wendy and Lucy, the new film from Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy), was just as wonderful as I had hoped, and perhaps the biggest surprise was Mary Bronstein's Yeast, another m*mblecore flick that actually displayed tone, albeit one of utter frustration. I expect I'll have another ten by the weekend.

La Crème

A Christmas Tale [Un conte de Noël] - dir. Arnaud Desplechin - France - IFC Films - with Jean-Paul Roussillon, Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric, Anne Consigny, Melvil Poupaud, Chiara Mastroianni, Laurent Capelluto, Emile Berling, Emmanuelle Devos, Hippolyte Girardot, Françoise Bertin

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father - dir. Kurt Kuenne - USA - Oscilloscope Pictures

Let the Right One In [Låt den rätte komma in] - dir. Tomas Alfredson - Sweden - Magnet Releasing - with Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg, Ika Nord, Mikael Rahm

Wendy and Lucy - dir. Kelly Reichardt - USA - Oscilloscope Pictures - with Michelle Williams, Wally Dalton, Will Patton, Larry Fessenden, John Robinson, Will Oldham

Yeast - dir. Mary Bronstein - USA - Frownland - with Mary Bronstein, Greta Gerwig, Amy Judd, Ignacio Carballo, Sean Price Williams

Les Autres

Shelter - dir. Jonah Markowitz - USA - here! Films - with Trevor Wright, Brad Rowe, Tina Holmes, Jackson Wurth, Katie Walder

Taken - dir. Pierre Morel - France - 20th Century Fox - with Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Xander Berkeley, Lelard Orser, Olivier Rabourdin, Gérard Watkins

Untouchable, The [L'intouchable] - dir. Benoît Jacquot - France - Strand Releasing - with Isild Le Besco, Bérangère Bonvoisin, Parikshit Luthra, Marc Barbé

The Bad

Humboldt County - dir. Darren Grodsky, Danny Jacobs - USA - Magnolia - with Jeremy Strong, Chris Messina, Brad Dourif, Frances Conroy, Fairuza Balk, Peter Bogdanovich, Madison Davenport

Nights & Weekends - dir. Joe Swanberg, Greta Gerwig - USA - IFC Films - with Joe Swanberg, Greta Gerwig, Jay Duplass, Elizabeth Donius, Lynn Shelton, Kent Osborne