3 items from 2014
UK music video star Jonathan Glazer took a decade to follow up his first two films, 2000's paeon to kinetic violence, "Sexy Beast," which earned raves and gave Sir Ben Kingsley and Ray Winstone careers as villains, and 2004's reincarnation drama "Birth," starring Nicole Kidman, which met a more mixed reaction. (For his part, Toh's Ryan Lattanzio defends it.) So what took Glazer so long to finish the visually stunning "Under the Skin," starring Scarlett Johansson as an alluring alien trawling for human specimens in the foggy crags of Scotland? The director insisted on making his own the film adaptation of Michael Faber's 2001 novel brought to him by longtime producer Jim Wilson--while testing his ideas on various music videos and commercials. Over the years he worked his way through various writers including Milo Addica and then ad writer Walter Campbell, who moved from two characters (Brad Pitt was going to play one) and a. »
- Anne Thompson
It may only be March, but I already feel comfortable saying that if 2014 winds up producing five films (hell, make that three) better than Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin," it'll have been a very good year indeed. After an uneven start at the fall festivals -- as he showed in "Birth" nearly a decade ago, uniting critical opinion isn't among Glazer's hobbies -- this dreamily desolate adaptation of Michel Faber's sensual sci-fi novel has acquired a justly ardent following, and is finally set to be unleashed on the general public. UK audiences get it on Friday; Americans have a short wait until April 4. With the marketable asset of a star turn from a never-better (and never-sexier) Scarlett Johansson, distributors on both sides of the Atlantic have done a good job of building an aura of enigmatic significance around the slippery project -- but what if they'd had Brad Pitt to work with too? »
- Guy Lodge
In early 2001, Jonathan Glazer began planning his next film. The director was then 35, a wildly sought-after maker of music videos and adverts who had just released his first film, the singular gangster movie Sexy Beast. His next was to be an adaptation of Michel Faber's cult novel Under the Skin. The project ended up on ice. Work didn't start until 2004.
Ten years later, Under the Skin is finished, and Glazer is in a publicists' office in Soho, a well-preserved Londoner with a thicket of dark hair, tall enough to verge on the looming. Having spent almost all his 40s getting the film made, he must feel like a different man from the one who began it?
"Well. Hmm. I … God. That's a teaser." He stalls. »
- Danny Leigh
3 items from 2014
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