12 items from 2014
Oscar-nominated writer Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries) has been tasked with writing the screenplay, which will be a modern-day adaptation based on the Jack London novel. The 1991 movie White Fang was set at the turn of the 20th Century, centering on a young Alaskan man (Ethan Hawke) who befriends a wolf dog during the Gold Rush, as they get into a number of adventures involving starving wolves, grizzly bears, dog fighters and Aboriginal settlers. That adventure spawned the 1994 sequel White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf.
The original novel was set in Canada's Yukon Territory, and told through the perspective of the wolf dog and his story of survival. The title animal's rescue from dogfighters by a young man was only »
Hany, an experimental drama made in one continuous shot by Czech director Michal Samir, has won the top prize at the 21st Oldenburg International Film Festival, the indie fest known as “Germany's Sundance,” which wrapped on Sunday. French crime thriller Fever, from director Raphael Neal, received a special mention from the Oldenburg jury. Newcomer Victoria Schulz won Oldenburg's acting honor, the Seymour Cassel Award, for her starring role in Christian Frosch's Von jetzt an kein Zuruck (From Here On, No Way Back), a period drama co-starring Ben Becker. Oldenburg's lifetime achievement honor this year went to Australian cult
- Scott Roxborough
John Cassavetes’ magnificent swan song, Love Streams receives the Criterion treatment this month, an addendum to the previously released five-title collection from the auteur. The film was surrounded and conceived amidst its own set of peculiar circumstances, and thus exhibits its own frenetic energy that sets it apart even within Cassavetes’ own oeuvre. After filming commenced, the director famously receiving a diagnosis that he would only live another six months due to cirrhosis of the liver. Unquestionably, this imbued his strange, wonderful, and reverential exploration of love’s complicated facets with a sharp melancholy. An adaptation of Ted Allan’s stage play, the film won the Golden Bear at the 1984 Berlin Film Festival, but wasn’t marketed properly and received a drowned out theatrical release. The film concerns the reunion of an estranged brother and sister, a pop writer Robert Harmon (John Cassavetes) and recent divorcee, Sarah Lawson (Gena Rowlands »
- Nicholas Bell
In this weekend’s specialty box-office debuts, IFC Films hopes to replicate the critical and commercial success of Michael Winterbottom’s first amusing little travelogue/talker of a feature, The Trip, with a semi-sequel, The Trip To Italy. The second Trip again stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon; the entertainingly garrulous pair on yet another jaunt across restaurants, countryside and philosophy. The latest Trip will bow in NYC and La this weekend after a successful Australian run earlier this summer (or their winter).
Frank, a British-Irish-American drama from Magnolia Pictures featuring Michael Fassbender that had runs at Sundance and SXSW, bows in only one U.S. theater this weekend. Frank centers on an eccentric band, giving Fassy fans a chance to hear the Oscar-nominated actor sing, albeit from behind a mask (he’s not bad, actually).
- Brian Brooks
Directed by John Cassavetes
Love Streams, John Cassavetes’ final film as an actor and penultimate film as director, is also one of his most unusual features. While his distinctive work can oftentimes be divisive, it’s easy to see how this film more than most others could be rather off-putting to those not appreciative of, or even accustomed to, his filmmaking technique.
Cassavetes adapted the film with Ted Allan, based on the latter’s play, and the film’s structure is one of the more vexing of its attributes. Dropped into two parallel lives, with little to no backstory, only gradually are we able to piece together certain details. First, there is Robert Harmon (a worn and weary Cassavetes, his failing health evident). Harmon is a writer, a drunk, and a womanizer, and he is supposedly working on a book about nightlife, »
- Jeremy Carr
The Criterion Collection has issued both The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Red River recently, and though the two would seemingly have little in common, it turns out there are a number of parallels. Both films begin with the main character losing someone close to them in a way that drives the narrative, both follow a driven and arrogant man who needs to see the error of his ways, both deal with great adventure, both deal with a father/son relationship, and both conclude with the main character coming face to face with their supposed enemy, only to realize violence may not be the answer. Bill Murray and Owen Wilson star in the Aquatic for Wes Anderson, while John Wayne and Montgomery Clift star in Red River for Howard Hawks. My review of both The Life Aquatic on Blu-ray and Red River follows after the jump. The Life Aquatic »
- Andre Dellamorte
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Aug. 12, 2014
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.95
The electric filmmaker John Cassavetes (Shadows, Faces) and his brilliant wife and collaborator Gena Rowlands (A Woman Under the Influence) give luminous, fragile performances as two closely bound, emotionally wounded characters who reunite after years apart in the 1984 drama Love Streams.
Exhilarating and risky, mixing sober realism with surreal flourishes, Love Streams is one of Cassavetes’s most truly personal works. It’s a remarkable film that comes at the viewer in a torrent of beautiful, erratic feeling as it examines the nature of love in all its forms.
Criterion’s new DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo editions of Love Streams contain the following features:
• New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New audio commentary featuring writer Michael Ventura
• New video essay on actor »
An older gangster is shaken out of a lifetime of blinkered amorality when he goes into hiding in Eche Janga’s striking debut, “Helium.” Impressively shot by Tibor Dingelstad, this moody chamber piece may be too unhurried for some, and the script doesn’t quite connect enough with the protag, yet Janga’s spare, evocative study of a hoodlum unexpectedly in touch with the natural world offers numerous rewards. Actor Hans Dagelet’s popularity at home as a TV star will give local B.O. something of a boost, though the pic is considerably artier than his usual fare. A small fest life is likely.
Rain sweeps across a solitary beach; a man sits inside his colorless apartment, the low camera angle revealing a drink on the floor and the ceiling’s omnipresence. He’s Frans Weeling (Dagelet), a criminal kingpin who needs to go into hiding until his henchmen »
- Jay Weissberg
After a success festival circuit run that included Boston, Cannes Independent, Rhode Island, Savannah and more, the U.S. and Canadian rights to "Fort McCoy" were acquired today by Monterey Media. Based on a true story, the film centers on a family living next to a Nazi Pow camp in Wisconsin during World War II. Writer and co-director Kate Connor stars as the central figure's wife, based on her real-life grandmother. The cast also includes Eric Stoltz ("Pulp Fiction"), Lyndsy Fonseca ("Kick-Ass"), Camryn Manheim ("Ghost Whisperer") and Wes Anderson favorite Seymour Cassel. "We are thrilled to be working with Monterey Media with their rich tradition of championing beautiful award-winning films" said Connor. "Not only is it a personal film involving the history of my family, but it is our collective history as Americans, so we can’t wait to bring this untold story to a wider American audience with Monterey. »
- Taylor Lindsay
This week we continue our ongoing “Six of the Best” series with a tribute to a wonderful, versatile performer who has appeared in some of the most popular movies of the last 30 years. He’s played heroes, villains, husbands, fathers, grifters, vampires – I think you get the point. Of course, I’m talking about Willem Dafoe.
Indeed, you’d be hard-pressed to find another performer who can match the success that Dafoe has found in Hollywood. He’s built a career out of mastering the role of “supporting actor”, no matter what the character calls for. One look at his resume confirms as much. After all, do you know any other actor who can play the Green Goblin and Jesus Christ?
- Damen Norton
It’s the re-imagining of the last days of Jim Morrison.
The upcoming “The Last Beat” is described as an erotic, lyrical and music-filled portrait of a fictionalized character that was inspired by Jim Morrison’s last days in Paris. It follows an American rock star Jay Douglas with poetic ambitions and living in Paris who becomes involved in a love triangle.
The indie film stars Shawn Andrews (“Dazed and Confused”), Cameron Richardson (“Shameless”), Martha Higareda (“Street Kings”), Kevin Corrigan (“The Departed”), and Seymour Cassell (“Rushmore”). It is directed by Robert Saitzyk.
Latino-Review received an exclusive four-minute extended opening scene for “The Last Beat.”
There will be a crowd raising campaign for film fans to part of the project, which will be posted on its Facebook site at www.facebook.com/thelastbeatmovie. You can also follow its Twitter or visit its web site at www.lastbeatmovie.com.
Check out the exclusive clip and still below. »
- Gig Patta
Director Wes Anderson’s newest The Grand Budapest Hotel, opens March 21st. The trailers trot out the usual Anderson calling cards: dry humor, beautiful shots, a killer soundtrack, and of course, Bill Murray Jason Schwartzman, and Owen Wilson. So much seems borrowed from Anderson’s earlier films that he might as well be following a checklist but though the director has consistently divided audiences, his films have always won over his many loyal supporters.
The chefs at Tenacious Eats are big fans of Wes Anderson and they have christened the month of March “Westrospective – Wes Anderson Month” as part of their film series Movies for Foodies. This is a one-of-a-kind event where food is prepared and plated in front of you while you watch a film on the big screen. Tenacious Eats only works with locally produced food procured by them and hard-to-find ingredients imported from places that specialize in them. »
- Tom Stockman
12 items from 2014
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