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Author: Stefan Pape
“What I’ve always loved about you, Max…” is a line we hear uttered in Volker Schlondorff’s Return to Montauk – which, unsurprisingly, is a film by an author (the talented Colm Toibin – behind the novel that inspired Brooklyn) about an author. Naturally self-indulgent in parts, the film also suffers from the frustrating trope of having a writer converse with dialogue similar to the words he gets paid to write – rather than talk normally like a normal human being.
Stellan Skarsgard plays Max, embarking on a book tour which leads him to New York City, promoting his latest piece of literature. It’s the city where an old flame resides, and he decides – despite being in a relationship with Clara (Susanne Wolff) – to get back in touch, arriving, uninvited to the workplace of Rebecca (Nina Hoss). Initially she has no intention of seeing him, but as he pleads for her attention, »
- Stefan Pape
Return To Montauk review
The opening to Return To Montauk sees Stellan Skarsgard deliver an impressive five-minute monologue to camera, a speech about love that has been lost, regrets and Plato, which sets the scene for this bitter-sweet romantic drama.
The film revolves around Skarsgard’s character of Max Zorn, a sixty-something writer who is visiting New York on a book tour. There, he is reunited with his wife Clara, who is working on the American publication of said novel, a personal tale revolving around a failed love affair. While there, in between readings, Max seeks out German lawyer Rebecca (Nina Hoss), now a native of the city, who is clearly the subject of the novel. It »
- Paul Heath
First, there was that inexplicable half-hour climax in “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” which exported the entire cast to Beijing. Now, Matt Damon’s battling mystical forces in medieval China. Hollywood and China’s terminally awkward shotgun wedding continues with “The Great Wall,” a clunky, effects-riddled blockbuster in which a humorless Damon joins forces with major Chinese director Zhang Yimou for a project that suits neither of their talents. There’s little need for good performances or filmmaking when every scene has been calculated to serve the bottom line.
Assailed in the West for presenting a white savior at the center of an Asian cast, the movie’s racial violations aren’t as egregious as some early critics claimed. Instead, the bland story finds Damon and two other white actors surrounded by a largely Asian cast in a Chinese-approved adventure (where it’s already generating strong, though not blockbuster, box office »
- Eric Kohn
Volker Schlöndorff’s “Return to Montauk” speaks from both sides of its mouth telling two very different tales. Hear it one way, and you’ll get a story of time and regret, an august Euro-drama that asks if love lost can ever be found anew. But come a bit closer, listen past the din, and you’ll hear something entirely different. This time the film is not asking any questions, but flat out saying: Self-delusion is a powerful weapon, and its greatest victims are often those who dare to wield it.
The film’s opening scene offers a helpful key to unlock what then follows. In one long, unbroken take, a man stares right into the camera and tells a story. He speaks of philosophy and of his father, and says that on the older man’s deathbed, he told his son that there are two kinds of regret – regret »
- Ben Croll
The smartest choice that filmmaker So Yong Kim made when crafting “Lovesong,” an intimate exploration of the fluid nature of friendship, identity and sexual attraction, comes from the cast. Toplined by Jena Malone and Riley Keough, “Lovesong” leans heavily on the pair’s chemistry and ability to carry a slow-simmering storyline, but even their contributions can only carry the thinly-plotted film so far. While “Lovesong” fails to coalesce, Malone and Keough emerge with two of their best performances yet, bolstered by an on-screen bond that deserves far richer material that what is offered up here.
Sarah (Keough) is a stay-at-home mom with a cute kid (played at different ages by Kim’s own cute kids, Jessie Ok Gray and Sky Ok Gray) and a distracted husband (director Cary Fukunaga of season one “True Detective” fame, »
- Kate Erbland
To the cadre of fans who have followed South Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s work over the years, he’s best-known for repeating different versions of the same formula: Portraits of chatty, neurotic creative types, usually filmmakers and actors, all of whom usually wind up drinking a lot of Soju and arguing through their problems with alternately funny and insightful results.
More recently, Hong has also been known as one half of a marriage scandal that dominated Korean tabloids more than any of his movies. While the media speculated, the peripatetic filmmaker quietly stuck to his one-film-a-year pace while remaining silent on the topic. Now, he has provided a response in the best terms at his disposal — with a movie. “On the Beach at Night Alone” is a fascinating sublimation of autobiography into Hong’s precise creative terms, a bittersweet character study as poignant, witty and deceptively slight as much »
- Eric Kohn
There’s no denying that Billy Bloom is the most flamboyantly fabulous character in the history of high school movies — it’s not even close. A “trans-visionary gender obliviator” who’s been forcibly relocated from the liberal enclave of Darien, Ct (“hometown of Chloë Sevigny!”) to an anonymous red state somewhere in flyover country, Billy struts into the heartland like Boy George showing up for a round of golf at Mar-a-Lago.
In fact, he even dresses like Boy George on the first day of class, riling up the cartoonishly conservative student body in the process. The local teens, insufferable archetypes who range from a Trump-quoting mean girl to an All-American football star with half a brain and a heart of gold, have no idea what to make of the colorful new kid, and they don’t have the slightest prayer of keeping up with his restless creativity or the fearlessness »
- David Ehrlich
"We cross and re-cross our old paths like figure-skaters." That's a line from Cloud Atlas, but I kept thinking back to that film (and that storyline in it) while watching this one. Return to Montauk is the latest drama from German director Volker Schlöndorff, set primarily in New York following a few German characters around the city. It's a very tender, heartfelt film about the great regrets and lost loves in our lives, and how we attempt to get over what happened in the past (or, perhaps, not get over our past regrets). Maybe it's because I connected to it in a very personal way, but Return to Montauk kept me captivated and awake and intrigued from start to finish. Even if I didn't feel emotionally drained by the end I was certainly enthralled. The film opens with Stellan Skarsgård, playing a successful German author named Max Zorn, speaking almost »
- Alex Billington
The peculiar reconfiguration of a small family unit as it flies apart in slow motion under the strain of economic privation forms the rough structure of Teresa Villaverde’s overlong, opaque, yet impressively controlled “Colo.” Demonstrating a paradoxically sure grip on its elusive tone, and unfolding in Dp Acácio de Almeida’s detached but striking images that seldom frame the (in)action too closely, like Villaverde’s previous features, “Colo” feels full of authorial intent, and represents a sincere desire to toil toward a far-off, inexpressible truth about alienation and estrangement: the modern malaise of the economically unnecessary. But its nature remains guarded and mysterious, and the immediate effect can be a little like having someone forcefully try to communicate something important to you, by slowly and clearly enunciating every syllable in an elegant language of which you do not speak a word.
Caught as though in a flashbulb »
- Jessica Kiang
“Return to Montauk” is Volker Schlöndorff’s tasteful, high-minded Euro-literate version of a Lifetime Movie — and I mean that (mostly) as a compliment. It’s the story of a famous novelist, Max Zorn, played by Stellan Skarsgård (and based on Schlöndorff’s friend Max Frisch, the celebrated Swiss novelist who died in 1991). He arrives in New York from his home in Berlin for a week-long stay to plug his latest masterpiece, but once there all he can think about is reuniting with Rebecca (Nina Hoss), who lit his flame 17 years ago. It’s a tricky situation, since Max is married. His wife, Clara (Susanne Wolff), lives in New York, half a world away from him, and if that sounds like an unconventional arrangement, it speaks to the essence of Max’s nature. He’s in his early sixties, worldly and authoritative, not just a novelist but a Continental philosopher of fiction, »
- Owen Gleiberman
15 February 2017 10:30 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
Is there a snoozier narrative template than the middle-aged male intellectual torn between the spirited young woman who adores him and the cool beauty he allowed to slip through his fingers all those years ago? Perhaps, but you might struggle to recall one while watching Return to Montauk, Volker Schlondorff's emotionally inert drama about an author trying to reanimate the past. Stellan Skarsgard's burly physicality and innate humor are subsumed in an ill-fitting role that's basically a series of prolix, prose-style word dumps in search of a character. He's first encountered giving a public reading, setting the tone for a »
- David Rooney
“No one gets over anything,” remarks Stellan Skarsgård’s Max, rekindling with old flame Rebecca years after they last met. He was a fledgling writer, she an idealistic young student. But then they split up, he moved back to Europe and she became a hotshot lawyer in New York City. And neither ‘got over’ it. Now Max reflects in the words of his new novel: life is defined by what you did that you regret, and what you did not do that you regret; “The things that come between do not matter.” Seeing each other again, they travel to Montauk, the village at the end of Long Island, to look out to the open ocean and search for what they’ve lost. But all they can do is look back.
Volker Schlöndorff’s latest film has something of the Allen-esque themes of regret and unchangeable fate (the New York setting »
- Ed Frankl
Volker Schlöndorff’s scalding film of The Tin Drum shared the Palme d’Or with Apocalypse Now in 1979. The director turns 78 next month and is no longer at the peak of his powers. But Return to Montauk proves that he still has it in him to startle and wrongfoot an audience.
What appears to be a clunky, tasteful, middle-aged rehash of Before Sunset, with two former lovers reunited after one of them writes a novel about their affair, turns out at the eleventh hour to have a sting in its tail. Schlöndorff and the novelist Cólm Toibín wrote the screenplay, which is adapted in part from the memoir Montauk by the late Swiss playwright and novelist Max Frisch, to whom the picture is dedicated. »
- Ryan Gilbey
“Return,” which stars Stellan Skarsgard, Nina Hoss, and Susanne Wolff, follows Max, a writer who is about to publish a very personal novel about a great but failed love affair and who manages to reconnect with Rebecca, the object of his long ago affections.
Discussing the production — the first German title to unspool in competition at this year’s Berlinale — Schlöndorff, who also co-wrote and produced the film, touched on the film’s autobiographical elements. The filmmaker said he would have loved to have made the film with the late Frisch, noting that the story and experiences chronicled were based on real events and dealt with very universal and human themes, such as lost love and regret. “We always have some kinds of »
- Ed Meza
Berlin — Alejandro Fernández Mouján’s “Damiana Kryygi” and Laura Citarella and Verónica Llinás’ “Dog Lady” are some of the nine independent Argentinean films sold to streaming site Mubi by Juan Facchini and Rita Falcón’s Kino Bureau, a Buenos Aires-based sales company.
“Kryygi” is a documentary on an Aché girl, from eastern Paraguay, which won best documentary at the 2016 Biarritz Latin America Film Festival.
“There is a growing interest in Latin American cinema among international audiences, as well as in films produced outside of the U.S.,” Falcón stated.
Other films licensed are “About 12,” the directorial debut of actor Martin Shanly; a pubescent dramedy about a posh school misfit, “Kryygy” is co-produced by Gema Films and Oceano Films; and “About” From 2MCine and Nabis Filmgroup. »
- Emilio Mayorga
There was a time in the 1970s and early ’80s when Joseph Beuys’ name was on the lips of every self-respecting art lover. His liberating expansion of what art could be infuriated the conservative establishment and energized generations of fellow artists and gallery goers. Together with Andy Warhol (temperamentally Beuys’ polar opposite), no one since Marcel Duchamp had so shaken up how we categorize art, and his legacy is crucial for an understanding of today’s scene, from Ai Wei Wei to Marina Abramovic. Yet such are the vagaries of fame, and such the specificities of Beuys’ work, that younger generations now have difficulty placing his legacy. If Andres Veiel’s “Beuys” is meant to change this, the effort unfortunately fails. Messily organized and unable to convey the revolutionary importance of Beuys’ vision, the documentary will have little impact and will likely be relegated to museum screenings.
In remarkably prescient ways, »
- Jay Weissberg
Berlin — Buenos Aires-based sales company Meikincine has taken worldwide sales rights outside Chile to Lissette Orozco’s first documentary feature “Adriana’s Pact,” which world premiered Feb. 14 at the Berlinale’s Panorama Dokumente Section.
In “Adriana,” a woman living in Australia is arrested and accused of having collaborated with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. She will confront the reality of her country’s history and that of her family. Based on a true case, Adriana worked as a personal assistant to Manuel Contreras, the head of Pinochet’s secret police, who died two years ago. the film is directed by the protagonist’s niece.
“Adriana” is produced by Gabriela Sandoval, Carlos Núñez and Benjamin Band at Chile’s Storyboard Media as well, as Orozco’s Salmón Producciones, in association with Carnada Films, Ursus Films, La Post -all from Chile- and Colombia’s 235.
During its development stage “Adriana” received support from the Tribeca Film Institute. »
- Emilio Mayorga
Berlin—Confirming the market appeal of France’s Cedric Klapisch after his “The Spanish Apartment” trilogy, his latest film, drama comedy “Back to Burgundy,” will have been sold significantly across the world by the end of the Berlin Festival.
More than 20 territories have already been secured, more will be closed in the next few days.
“Back to Burgundy’s” powerful rollout comes as a promo of “Gauguin,” starring “Black Swan’s” Vincent Cassel, on which the Cohen Media Group has U.S. rights, was presented to buyers at Berlin. Directed by Edouard Deluc (“Welcome to Argentina”), and penned by Deluc, Etienne Comar,(“Django”), Tomas Lilti (“Irreplaceable”) and Sarah Kaminsky (“Raid: Special Unit”), “Gauguin’s” first major territory deals look set to go down in the next few days.
Written by Klapisch and regular co-scribe Santiago Amigorena and screened to buyers at Berlin’s European Film Market, “Back to Burgundy” turns »
- John Hopewell
Berlin—Partnering on an anticipated title from a distinguished Latin American woman director which offers an original take on Latin-America-u.S. emigration, Sandro Fiorin’s Miami-based FiGa Films has boarded Julia Solomonoff’s upcoming “Nobody’s Watching.”
One of the foremost sales companies of Latin American films, FiGa Films will handle international sales on this singular Latin American/U.S production.
Largely set in New York, and spoken in English and Spanish, “Nobody’s Watching” marks Solomonoff’s follow-up to “Sisters,” backed by Walter Salles, and “The Summer of la Boyita,” co-produced by Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s El Deseo. Solomonoff produced Julia Murat’s “Pendular,” which plays in this year’s Berlinale Panorama section.
“A film about immigration but not about a man searching for a green card,” in Solomonoff words, “Nobody’s Watching” stars Argentine actor Guillermo Pfening (“The German Doctor,” “Boyita”). Pfening plays Nico, an attractive Argentinean »
- John Hopewell
Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, whose credits include the Scary Movie franchise, “Epic Movie” and “Vampires Suck” are writing and directing the project, titled “Star Worlds Episode Xxxive=MC2: The Force Awakens The Last Jedi Who Went Rogue.” Covert Media’s CEO Paul Hanson (“District 9”) is producing the film alongside Broken Road Productions’ Todd Garner (“True Memoirs of an International Assassin”).
The film is currently in pre-production targeting a fall shoot. The film is being fully financed and produced by Covert Media, which launched worldwide sales on the film in Berlin.
“Star Worlds” has been acquired by Constantin Film for Germany, Eagle Pictures for Italy, Tripictures for Spain, and Gussi for Latin America. Rights have also been sold to Eagle Films for the Middle East, »
- Dave McNary
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