10 items from 2017
Swipe Films has acquired U.K. and Ireland rights to “Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge,” the movie about the life of the trailblazing double Nobel Prize-winning scientist. The movie will premiere in London on Nov. 7, the 150th anniversary of Curie’s birth, before being released Nov. 24.
In a marketing twist, Swipe’s virtual reality production arm will make a Vr trailer for the film, which it said would be a first for a foreign-language release in the U.K. It will transport viewers to Curie’s lab, and allow them to explore her experiments with radioactivity. Swipe acquired the rights to the movie from Films Boutique.
“Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge” is a French-Polish-German co-production. Polish actress Karolina Gruszka stars as Marie Curie, with Charles Berling as her husband and research partner, Pierre. Marie Noelle wrote, directed and produced the film. The Polish producer is Mikolaj Pokromski of Pokromski Studio.
- Stewart Clarke
A golden-lit, refracted sequence of close-ups of a male body in motion — individual muscles stretching, flexing, tensing — opens “Reinventing Marvin,” as we assume we’re watching a dancer in preparation for an arduous ballet. We’re partly right: He’s an actor, not a dancer, readying himself for the spotlight. What he faces there, however, is not tricky footwork or strenuous physical performance, but the hard facts of his past. Skipping liberally across formative stages of a once-denigrated gay man’s self-made life, Anne Fontaine’s unsteady, overlong but rewardingly compassionate character study documents the painful coming of age that builds to cathartic creative process.
Harsh but unexpectedly even-handed as it documents the perils of realizing one’s queer identity in a largely uncomprehending working-class environment, “Reinventing Marvin’s” acutely observed, beautifully played childhood scenes ring a trad truer than its more abstract portrait of the artist as a (slightly older) young man. Still, »
- Guy Lodge
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling, Virginie Efira, Judith Magre, Christian Berkel, Jonas Bloquet, Alice Isaaz, Vimala Pons | Written by David Birke | Directed by Paul Verhoeven
When you hear the name Paul Verhoeven you can’t help but think of Showgirls. Then of course he has other, beloved (some would say classic) movies like Basic Instinct, RoboCop, and Total Recall. Elle is quite a jump from these movies, but the question that will be asked is, is it a Basic Instinct or a Showgirls? The answer is something very, very, different.
When Michèle Leblanc (Isabelle Huppert) is attacked in her own home, she surprisingly carries on like nothing has happened. The head of a successful video game company, she treats her life and relationships as ruthlessly as she does her business deals. When her attacker continues to goad her though it isn’t long before her obsession with him, »
- Paul Metcalf
Saddled with an English-language title that evokes a dust-caked educational video for classroom use only, “Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge” doesn’t have to clear a very high bar to be more entertaining than it sounds — and so it does, albeit none too smoothly. Instead, Marie Noelle’s evidently impassioned portrait of the trailblazing Polish-French physicist and chemist emerges as an odd blend of, well, formulae, following a starchy biopic pattern one minute and giving in to impressionistic abstraction the next. Neither approach does much to make the subject’s monumental scientific achievements pop dramatically, which was always going to be a tall order. That her love life is rather more engagingly presented is perhaps inevitable, though having fought hard to be judged by male peers on her work rather than her womanhood, Curie wouldn’t be thrilled to hear it.
“We should be less curious to know people, and »
- Guy Lodge
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
Ana Lily Amirpour’s second feature shoots for Harmony Korine meets Mad Max and would have nearly almost hit the mark were it not for the gratingly aloof attitude and the swaths of directorial license being taken. The Bad Batch — an ambitious, expansive dystopian sci-fi western which features partying, drugs, and cannibals — might come as music to the ears of diehard fans of films like Spring Breakers and Gummo (a kid doesn’t quite eat spaghetti in a bathtub, but a kid does eat spaghetti after being in a bathtub). However, beneath its dazzlingly hip surface the script and characters leave much to be desired. It’s like taking a trip to Burning Man: a pseudo-spiritual, uniquely punky experience perhaps, but one that’s full of annoying rich kids and ultimately emotionally shallow. – Rory O. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes
Though it may not feel fully inspired so much as competently pre-visualized, Kong: Skull Island fits snugly into the growing canon of reboots that exist within ever-expanding movie universes. That’s a first sentence to a positive review that perhaps reads a bit more cynically than intended. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by a bunch of dudes (Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly with a story credited to John Gatins), this umpteenth version of the King Kong story pulls from every available pop-culture source in building a fun creature feature. Much of the credit goes to the breathtaking effects and brisk pace, which distract from some lofty line readings and silly plot devices. – Dan M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google
One of the greatest prison escape dramas of all-time, Jacques Becker’s recently-restored Le Trou is a masterclass in tension. By putting us both in the physical and psychological headspace of our protagonists, it’s an enveloping experience as we see a number of close calls, leading up to one of the most unforgettable endings in cinema. – Jordan r.
Where to Stream: Mubi (free 30-day trial)
Moana (John Musker and Ron Clements)
It’s time for another Disney Princess movie, and you know how it goes. Disney knows too, and wants you to know that it knows. When the title character of Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) denies that she’s a princess, claiming that she’s merely the daughter of her island’s chief and the next chieftain, her adventuring partner Maui (Dwayne Johnson) asserts, “Same difference,” and that, “You wear a dress and have an animal sidekick. You’re a princess.” But Disney is doing its best to make the culture rethink cinematic fantasy princesses, countering the stereotypes of helpless femininity (which the studio largely put in place) with a new roster of highly capable action heroines. And Moana is, as they call it, a good role model. And the movie around her is fine. – Dan S. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press uses a salacious story and website as the launching pad to discuss where we currently are, so much so that I imagine director Brian Knappenberger — who uses footage from President Trump’s infamous press conference only a few days before the film’s Sundance premiere — may wish to stay on the story. Gawker, a site spun out of Gizmodo, was founded to share the types of stories mainstream news outlets would often shy away from, including celebrity sex tapes, outings, drug use, and allegations that have swirled but not picked up traction. They’ve featured Rob Ford smoking crack, Bill Cosby’s multiple accusers, Hillary Clinton’s emails, Tom Cruise’s prominent role in Scientology, and the one that brought them down: the infamous Hulk Hogan sex tape recorded for private use by Hogan pal and infamous Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, best known nationally for his stint on Howard Stern’s satellite channel. Bubba’s antics will no doubt some day be the subject of a documentary of their own, from his role in both the Hogan affair to his odd appearance in the David Petraeus saga. – John F. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Jim Jarmusch proved he was back in a major way with Only Lovers Left Alive a few years ago, and the streak continues with Paterson, a calm, introspective drama with such positive views on marriage and creativity that I was left floored. In following the cyclical life of Adam Driver‘s Paterson, a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey, who also has dreams of being a poet, Jarmusch superbly shows that one’s own life experience — however seemingly insubstantial — is the only requirement to produce something beautiful. Moreso than any other film in 2016, this is the kind of world I want to live in. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
After the pleasant fluff of its kick-off installment and the frog march of unpleasantness that was Into Darkness, the rebooted Star Trek film series finally hits a fun median between big-budget bombast and classic Trek bigheartedness with Star Trek Beyond. Does the franchise’s full descent into action, with only the barest lip service paid to big ideas, cause Gene Roddenberry’s ashes to spin in their space capsule? Probably, but in the barren desert of summer 2016 blockbusters, this is a lovely oasis. – Dan S. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
Perhaps a point of contention on New York Times’ top 25 films of the 21st century list, Olivier Assayas’ Summer Hours is a commendable top 10 pick. Led by Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jérémie Renier, and Kyle Eastwood, this drama follows a family reuniting following the death of their mother. Like the best of Assayas’ films, it’s an impeccably-crafted, subtly-moving experience, one that wades in the ideas of the value of what we hold on to and a graceful reflection on the passage of time. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: FilmStruck
The world of Daniel Clowes is one without manners, glamour, and tact, but it is also one of uncomfortable truth, as scathing as it might be. One may have never verbally conveyed the discourteous musings of his characters to the extent to which it is their everyday vernacular, but we’ve all had similar thoughts when life isn’t going our way. The latest adaptation of his work comes with Wilson, directed by Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins), featuring a role Woody Harrelson is clearly having the time of his life with. Despite his commitment to a lack of civility, there’s a darker film lying in the cynical heart of Wilson, one that gets squandered by its mawkish aesthetic and lack of interest in exploring these characters beyond their crudeness. – Jordan R. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google
The Zookeeper’s Wife (Niki Caro)
The Zookeeper’s Wife begins with those five famous words that hold the power to either become a film’s dependency (and therefore downfall) or its empowering catalyst, laying the foundation to convey a poignant tale: “Based on a true story.” Fortunately, The Zookeeper’s Wife sticks with the latter, and the true tale being told is one for the ages. Niki Caro‘s drama follows a couple who hide Jews in their zoo and use it as a point of passage and escape during the Nazi takeover of Warsaw. The narrative is a simple one, allowing The Zookeeper’s Wife to shine in its performances, imagery, and storytelling, which it pristinely accomplishes. – Chelsey G. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google
Also New to Streaming
Night School (review)
Rodeo and The Moment of Truth
Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? and Quadrophenia
An Actor’s Revenge
Mubi (free 30-day trial)
The Train to Moscow: A Journey to Utopia
Lost in Lebanon
Molly’s Theory of Relativity
The Stanford Prison Experiment (review)
Discover more titles that are now available to stream. »
- Jordan Raup
Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe. Check out last week’s Rundown here.
– The Orchard has acquired the North American rights to Jordan Ross’s directorial debut “Thumper,” starring “Orange is the New Black’s” Pablo Schreiber. The gritty crime thriller debuted at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and was written and directed by Ross. The movie also stars Eliza Taylor, Lena Headey, Ben Feldman, Grant Harvey and Daniel Webber. Set in a town of low-income and fractured families, “Thumper” is centered around a group of teens that are lured into working for a dangerous drug dealer. A new girl arrives into town hiding a dangerous secret that will impact everybody and change their lives forever.
Read More: Film Acquisition Rundown: Mubi Buys Philippe Garrel’s ‘Lover for a Day,’ FilmRise »
- Graham Winfrey
2017 / Color / 2.40:1 widescreen / Street Date March 14, 2017
Cinematography: Stéphane Fontaine
Film Editor: Job Ter Burg
Written by David Birke
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Michèle Leblanc, glamorous entrepreneur of a successful video game company, is the calm at the center of many storms. Her son’s girlfriend has given birth to another man’s child, an employee is stalking her with anime porn and her botox-ridden mother is betrothed to a male prostitute.
In the face of all this outrageous fortune, Michèle remains cool, calm and collected, even in the aftermath of her own harrowing sexual assault.
Elle, the new film from the Dutch provocateur Paul Verhoeven, begins with that already infamous assault, our heroine struggling under the weight of her attacker while an unblinking cat perches nearby, watching. »
- Charlie Largent
“Shame isn’t a strong enough emotion to stop us from doing anything at all. Believe me.”
The Golden Globe winner for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language and Certified Fresh (89% on Rotten Tomatoes), Sony Pictures Classics’ Elle debuts on Blu-ray, DVD and digital March 14 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Acclaimed international actress Isabelle Huppert also won a Golden Globe (Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama) for her role in the film, one of the best of her career. Directed by Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Basic Instinct), Elle is the compelling story of Michèle (Huppert), a woman who brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to her business. After an unknown assailant attacks her in her home, Michèle’s life changes forever. Consumed with the need for revenge, she hunts down her assailant drawing both into a curious and thrilling game that may, at any moment, »
- Tom Stockman
This is the Pure Movies review of Elle, starring Isabelle Huppert, Michèle Leblanc, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling and Virginie Efira, and directed by Paul Verhoeven. Written by Joshua Glenn. For all of his exploitative tendencies, Verhoeven is not interested in mounting some pseudo-feminist wish-fulfilment ‘fantasy’ a la I Spit on Your Grave. Instead, he takes one of society’s sickest and most disturbing problems and uses it to explore how we construct and consume ideas of femininity, sexuality and victimhood. His approach is typically brash and confrontational, but there’s a beating conscience beneath the bravado that is, ultimately, transcendental. Audacious, challenging and deceptively affirming, Elle is absolutely essential cinema. »
- Joshua Glenn
Witness Paul Verhoeven’s (Total Recall, Robocop, Starship Troopers) direction and writing, along with Isabelle Huppert’s Golden Globe-winning performance, for yourself in Elle, set to be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on March 14th from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Press Release: Culver City, Calif. (January 31, 2017) – The Golden Globe® winner for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language and Certified Fresh (89% on Rotten Tomatoes), Sony Pictures Classics’ Elle debuts on Blu-ray™, DVD and digital March 14 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Acclaimed international actress Isabelle Huppert also won a Golden Globe (Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama) for her role in the film, one of the best of her career. Directed by Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Basic Instinct), Elle is the compelling story of Michèle (Huppert), a woman who brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to her business. After an unknown assailant attacks her in her home, »
- Tamika Jones
10 items from 2017
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