9 items from 2014
The Gospel According to Pier: Ferrara Poetically Captures an Auteur’s Last Day on Earth
It appears that 2014 marks a resounding return for auteur Abel Ferrara, unleashing two new films comingled from actual noted events, both destined for diverse responses and uncompromising in their audacity. The first is, of course, the Strauss-Kahn film, Welcome to New York, which has already received a debilitated premiere after a botched release on the Cannes market (treated to an unwarranted, venomous response reeking of pretentious bias) and the Us distributor has come under direct fire from Ferrara for suggesting cuts—don’t listen to any of that drama and see it as soon as you’re able. The other title is Pasolini, reuniting Ferrara with Willem Dafoe to explore the last day in the life of the famed Italian auteur Pier Paolo Pasolini, who died on November 2, 1975, and whose murderer has never been found. »
- Nicholas Bell
brouillard passage #14
Many of the features you have told me about I have subsequently seen and very much like: Ferrara's tender, banal Pasolini (with a fantastic lead performance by Willem Dafoe, and, as you so justly pointed out, a truly moving homage with Ninetto Davoli), and the eccentric structural romantic comedy from Johnnie To, Don't Go Breaking My Heart 2. Two of the best films at Toronto, so far. Maybe I will return to these films later in the festival to tell you more of what I thought, but first somethings you may not have seen.
The much-anticipated shorts programs of the Wavelengths section wrapped up two nights ago and was presided over as always by indomitable programmer Andréa Picard—practically a cult figure in the festival world these days—who year after year has made it the most distinctive, the most personal, and the most engaged and engaging section at Tiff. »
- Daniel Kasman
I also rode the Tokyo Tribe rollercoaster, and my head hasn’t stopped spinning yet. Slamming together the most rabid excesses of the worlds of manga comics and hip-hop music, it’s a continuous blitzkrieg: Sono’s ne plus ultra of sheer brio, and, along with Godard’s Adieu au language, the festival’s most assaultive sensory experience so far. Its pinwheel neon hues, inflamed camera movements and acrobatic gangland mugging are straight-up dilations of Seijun Suzuki’s vintage gonzo pulp—indeed, the first time I ever heard Japanese rapping on screen was during a brief interlude in Suzuki’s mock-opera Princess Raccoon. I doubt even that veteran iconoclast, however, could have dreamed up the bit in Tokyo Tribe when the vile underworld kingpin (Riki Takeuchi), swollen like an obscene parade float, pulverizes a field of warring gangs with a Gatling gun held, of course, crotch-level. Such moments of absolute glee abound, »
- Fernando F. Croce
But it’s doubtful whether he would have found much else to admire about “Pasolini,” Abel Ferrara’s confused collage of the poet-provocateur’s final days, despite Ferrara’s conceptually audacious intent to mirror the form of his unfinished, fragmented magnum opus, “Petrolio.” Even the stunt casting loses some of its sheen once the other actors open their mouths, since Ferrara surrounds Dafoe with a mostly Italian cast, relegating this fest-bait offering to ultra-niche status.
Though his influence on Hollywood was relatively negligible compared with that of his compatriots, Pier Paolo Pasolini remains the most important filmmaker Italy ever produced — a visionary who was only just beginning to test the boundaries of cinema when his life was brutally cut short. Debate still rages as to whether Pasolini, whose body was found crushed by the tires of his own car on a beach outside Rome in late 1975, was killed by a »
- Peter Debruge
Willem Dafoe will take on the eponymous role as the controversial filmmaker in the biopic.
The film focuses on the filmmaker's final days.
After Pasolini was murdered, a prostitute confessed to the crime but later claimed that he had been forced to do so when his family was threatened.
The film is yet to announce a release date. »
As we look in the rearview mirror of the summer blockbusters, September heralds the start of the fall movie season. Filled with Hollywood heavyweights and A-listers, here’s our Big list of the most anticipated movies coming to cinemas this autumn and during the holidays.
Our exhaustive list includes films that are playing at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival as well the ones that already have a theatrical release date. With the awards season on the horizon, we also added a few bonus films at the end to keep your eye out for in the months ahead.
Pull up a chair, grab a pen and paper and get ready for Wamg’s Guide to the 100+ Films This Fall And Holiday Season.
We kick it off with what’s showing in Toronto at the film festival that runs September 4 – 14.
- Movie Geeks
Opening Night – World Premiere
David Fincher, USA, 2014, Dcp, 150m
David Fincher’s film version of Gillian Flynn’s phenomenally successful best seller (adapted by the author) is one wild cinematic ride, a perfectly cast and intensely compressed portrait of a recession-era marriage contained within a devastating depiction of celebrity/media culture, shifting gears as smoothly as a Maserati 250F. Ben Affleck is Nick Dunne, whose wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on the day of their fifth anniversary. Neil Patrick Harris is Amy’s old boyfriend Desi, Carrie Coon (who played Honey in Tracy Letts’s acclaimed production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) is Nick’s sister Margo, Kim Dickens (Treme, Friday Night Lights) is Detective Rhonda Boney, and Tyler Perry is Nick’s superstar lawyer Tanner Bolt. At once a grand panoramic vision of middle America, a uniquely disturbing exploration of the fault lines in a marriage, »
The 71st Venice Film Festival announced its lineup this morning, highlighted by films from American directors, including David Gordon Green, Barry Levinson, Peter Bogdanovich, Lisa Cholodenko, Andrew Niccol, and James Franco. As had been previously announced, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, starring Michael Keaton and many others, will be the opening film when the festival begins on Aug. 27.
Click below for the entire list of 55 films playing in Venice.
A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence, directed by Roy Andersson
Starring Holger Andersson, »
- Jeff Labrecque
Gianni Amelio’s docu “Happy to be Different” is yet another example of just how behind Italy remains on the ever-developing discourse of gay identity. Even the title, taken from a Sandro Penna poem, feels achingly old-fashioned, and nothing in this blandly made, superficial survey of Italian gay life from Fascism to the early 1980s counters that notion. Despite some moving interviews and old cautionary footage exposing the pervasiveness of homophobia, the film has no sum to its parts aside from the unsurprising fact that it was tough being gay. Liberal heterosexual Italians will be the main audience.
A March local rollout is sure to be small, and since there’s nothing cinematic here, “Different” will easily find its way into smallscreen rotation. International queer fests may use the docu for program filler, though anyone used to seeing pink-themed pics will come away thinking they’ve watched something made a quarter-century ago. »
- Jay Weissberg
9 items from 2014
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