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Oscar-Nominated Film Series: Poorly Cast Hoffman as Polemical Stand-Up Comic and Free Speech Advocate in Timorous Biopic

Lenny Bruce: Dustin Hoffman in the 1974 Bob Fosse movie. Lenny Bruce movie review: Polemical stand-up comedian merited less timid biopic (Oscar Movie Series) Bob Fosse's 1974 biopic Lenny has two chief assets: the ever relevant free speech issues it raises and the riveting presence of Valerie Perrine. The film itself, however, is only sporadically thought-provoking or emotionally gripping; in fact, Lenny is a major artistic letdown, considering all the talent involved and the fertile material at hand. After all, much more should have come out of a joint effort between director Fosse, fresh off his Academy Award win for Cabaret; playwright-screenwriter Julian Barry, whose stage version of Lenny earned Cliff Gorman a Tony Award; two-time Best Actor Oscar nominee Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy); and cinematographer Bruce Surtees (Play Misty for Me, Blume in Love). Their larger-than-life subject? Lenny Bruce, the stand-up comedian who became one of the
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Duplass Brothers' 'Manson Family Vacation' To Open 18th Annual Brooklyn Film Fest

  • Indiewire
This year's Bff will include 108 films, a mix of shorts and features, from 26 countries spread over five continents. Of these, 17 are world premieres and 30 Us premieres. Ryan Carmichael's "But Not For Me" is the only narrative feature world premiere. This New York City film stars Marcus Carl Franklin and Elena Urioste. "The 2015 fest has a number of fantastic films from local filmmakers that shows the diverse creative visions of our city's filmmakers," said Director of Programming Bryce J. Renninger. "Work from across the country and the world round out the lineup, exploring and exemplifying this year's theme of 'Illuminate' with their intelligence and ingenuity." Other special events during the fest include the 11th annual KidsFilmFest 2015 on Saturday, May 30; the Filmmakers Party on June 3; the Bff Exchange series of panels and a pitch session on June 6; “The Illuminate Party,” also on June 6, and the June...
See full article at Indiewire »

Top 10 biopics

Cinema has always liked telling a good life story, and all kinds of biography – from the humblest to the starriest – have been given a filmic going-over. The Guardian and Observer's critics pick the 10 best in a very crowded field

• Top 10 animated movies

• Top 10 silent movies

• Top 10 sports movies

• Top 10 film noir

• Top 10 musicals

• Top 10 martial arts movies

• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s

10. Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

This is the most radical of all biopics. It does exactly what it promises, breaking the Canadian pianist's intense and troubled life into concentrated fragments. Reassembly is left to the viewer. When he began working on the screenplay with Don McKellar, the writer-director François Girard recognised the pitfalls of the genre. "There are many traps," he said. "The main temptation is to try to cram everything about a life into one film. What you need is a radical idea
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Dylan biopic I'm Not There: a ragtag and Bob tale

He's one of our most enigmatic and hyperactive musicians, and this film takes the same approach to Dylan's mythology

Director: Todd Haynes

Entertainment grade: E

History grade: D

Bob Dylan is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the last century.

Health

The film opens by invoking Bob Dylan's motorcycle accident of 1966, which marked a turning point in his career. The accident was real – probably. The details are obscure and inconsistent, leading some to questioned whether it happened at all. "There certainly was an accident, or rather an incident," wrote Dylan biographer Howard Sounes. "But it was not as serious as was reported at the time." I'm Not There isn't particularly literal about anything, but it does show Dylan dying after the accident, which in literal terms at least he did not.

Childhood

Back in the 1950s, a young African-American Dylan (Marcus Carl Franklin) rides boxcars
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Readers' panel: what's the best music biopic?

Four readers tell us about their favourite film portrayals of real-life musicians. But what's yours?

Earlier this week we asked readers to tell us about their favourite music biopics. Here are four of our favourite responses.

Steve Bent on The Doors

I can see how 60s psychedelic blues rockers The Doors would not be to everyones taste. I can also imagine that if the frenetic, colourful & loud film director Oliver Stone were a poet he'd be rhyming Road with Toad and West with Best. It's the marriage of such a band (good tunes, cod philosophy, rock icon frontman) with this particular director that makes the Val Kilmer led Doors movie such a Rock N' Roll experience.

The Doors film is like a themed roller coaster ride. It crashes from first meetings to breakthrough gigs to infamous incidents with a woozy verve. The soundtrack is spliced together in a way that
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Rt Features Find Blood On The Tracks

Rt Features Find Blood On The Tracks
We've had a couple of Bob Dylan films in recent years, in Martin Scorsese's brilliant documentary No Direction Home, and in Todd Haynes' oddball biopic I'm Not There, in which the iconic singer songwriter was played by Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, Christian Bale, Ben Whishaw, Cate Blanchett and Marcus Carl Franklin. Now, Brazilian production company Rt Features has picked up the rights to Dylan's 1975 album Blood On The Tracks, with an eye to producing a "classic drama".Blood On The Tracks was released in the fallout from Dylan's acrimonious separation from his first wife Sara, and its ten tracks are widely assumed to be inspired by that break-up. Jakob Dylan says the album is "my parents talking". Dylan himself once told an interviewer that he found it hard to fathom the album's popularity, since it implied "enjoying that type of pain," but he's also denied that it's in any way autobiographical.
See full article at EmpireOnline »

Competition: The Art of Getting By – Prize Giveaway

  • Pure Movies
This is a UK competition for The Art of Getting By, directed by Gavin Wiesen and starring Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Sam Robards, Jarlath Conroy, Ann Dowd, Marcus Carl Franklin, Sasha Spielberg, Rita Wilson and Blair Underwood. The Art Of Getting By stars Freddie Highmore as George, a lonely and fatalistic teen who has made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work. He is befriended by Sally (Emma Roberts), a beautiful and complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.
See full article at Pure Movies »

Win Goodie Bags & Signed Poster from The Art of Getting By

  • HeyUGuys
To celebrate the release of The Art of Getting By on 2nd September, Fox Searchlight Pictures have given us two goodie bags and two posters signed by Freddie Highmore to give away!

The movie is written and directed by Gavin Wiesen and stars Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Sam Robards, Jarlath Conroy, Ann Dowd, Marcus Carl Franklin, Sasha Spielberg with Rita Wilson and Blair Underwood.

The Art Of Getting By stars Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as George, a lonely and fatalistic teen who’s made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work, who is befriended by Sally (Emma RobertsScream 4), a beautiful and complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.

Iframe Embed for Youtube

To be in with a chance of winning these great prizes, simply answer the following
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Exclusive: The Art of Getting By Ditching School Featurette

  • MovieWeb
Exclusive: The Art of Getting By Ditching School Featurette
Gavin Wiesen directs Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts in the romantic summer comedy The Art of Getting By, which revolves around two high schoolers from different sides of the tracks finding a common bond. We have an exclusive look at the film with a new featurette, which offers advice on how to ditch class from the experts themselves, Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts. Check it out below.

Click to watch Exclusive: The Art of Ditching School Featurette!

The Art of Getting By was released June 17th, 2011 and stars Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Sasha Spielberg, Marcus Carl Franklin, Ann Dowd, Maya Ri Sanchez, Blair Underwood, Ann Harada. The film is directed by Gavin Wiesen.
See full article at MovieWeb »

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Chicago Anytime Passes to ‘The Art of Getting By’

Chicago – In our latest romance edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 25 admit-two run-of-engagement movie passes up for grabs to the film “The Art of Getting By”!

The Art of Getting By,” which opens on June 17, 2011, stars Emma Roberts, Freddie Highmore, Alicia Silverstone, Sasha Spielberg, Marcus Carl Franklin, Ann Dowd, Maya Ri Sanchez, Blair Underwood, Ann Harada, Rita Wilson, Jarlath Conroy, Elizabeth Reaser, Andrew Levitas, Sam Robards and Michael Angarano from writer and director Gavin Wiesen.

To win your free run-of-engagement “The Art of Getting By” movie pass, all you need to do is answer our question in this Web-based submission form. That’s it! These movie passes are valid during the film’s theatrical run at participating Chicago movie theatres. Directions to enter this HollywoodChicago.com Hookup and immediately win can be found beneath the graphic below.

The movie poster for “The Art of Getting By” with Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore.
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Bob Dylan In The Movies

The legendary Bob Dylan turned 70 years old on May 24th. This article takes a close look at his association with the movies…

Bob Dylan had his first acting gig aged 21 on British TV with a play called Madhouse on Castle Street. His eponymously-titled first album had been released but few people in Britain would have known him; this was a few months before Freewheelin’ hit the shelves and Dylan-fever (which is like Beatlemania, only less wild and more pretentious) swept the Western world. He was intended to play the lead but quickly proved that he wasn’t interested in learning lines and was perhaps more interested in his recent discovery of cannabis, so David Warner was hired as the lead and Dylan provided a Greek chorus to the action.

In its wisdom, the BBC has long since destroyed the footage so it’s not easy to gauge how people would
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Oscar Nominee Trivia File: Michelle Willams

  • Extra
Oscar Nominee Trivia File: Michelle Willams
She first became known as Jen Lindley on the popular "Dawson's Creek," now Michelle Williams, 30, has a noteworthy acting resume, having starred in such films as "The Station Agent," "Brokeback Mountain" and "Shutter Island." The actress has often appeared in dramatic and serious indie films that have frequently been under the radar.

In 2005, Williams was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2005's "Brokeback," and five years later received another nod for "Blue Valentine,
See full article at Extra »

All the film highlights this Christmas

Penguins, Nicole Kidman and Narnia – Paul Howlett picks his film highlights

Christmas Eve

Over the Hedge

(Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick, 2006) 4.25pm, BBC1

A DreamWorks animated adventure in which Rj, the cynical racoon (laconically voiced by Bruce Willis) teaches a burrowful of innocent woodland animals to forage off the waste of an encroaching housing estate rather than rely on boring old natural food, before inevitably seeing the error of his ways. Plenty of good slapstick fun for kids and cine-literate gags for adults, although it all seems a bit glib compared to Shrek and co.

Corpse Bride

(Tim Burton, Mike Johnson, 2005) 6pm, ITV1

Life, in Burton's typically weird and ghoulish fantasy, is a dull, grey affair: death is much more colourful and fun, as young Victor (voiced by Johnny Depp) discovers when he is whisked into the underworld by the maggoty Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter). Trouble is, he's in love
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

All the film highlights this Christmas

Penguins, Nicole Kidman and Narnia – Paul Howlett picks his film highlights

Christmas Eve

Over the Hedge

(Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick, 2006) 4.25pm, BBC1

A DreamWorks animated adventure in which Rj, the cynical racoon (laconically voiced by Bruce Willis) teaches a burrowful of innocent woodland animals to forage off the waste of an encroaching housing estate rather than rely on boring old natural food, before inevitably seeing the error of his ways. Plenty of good slapstick fun for kids and cine-literate gags for adults, although it all seems a bit glib compared to Shrek and co.

Corpse Bride

(Tim Burton, Mike Johnson, 2005) 6pm, ITV1

Life, in Burton's typically weird and ghoulish fantasy, is a dull, grey affair: death is much more colourful and fun, as young Victor (voiced by Johnny Depp) discovers when he is whisked into the underworld by the maggoty Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter). Trouble is, he's in love
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Heath Ledger Interviewed by The Inside Reel

  • ShockYa
The Inside Reel recorded a really nice interview with the late Heath Ledger on his role in the Bob Dylan biopic “I’m Not There” by director Todd Haynes and starring Christian Bale from “The Dark Knight” , Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Ben Whishaw, Kris Kristofferson and Heath Ledger as Robbie. Synopsis: Director Todd Haynes’s unconventional biopic of the legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan features different actors playing the part of the Minnesota native at various stages of his remarkable career. Among the actors playing the singer are Cate Blanchett, who portrays the man during his Don’t Look Back era incarnation; Heath Ledger, as an actor playing one of the fictional Dylan’s in a movie within the movie; Christian Bale, [...]
See full article at ShockYa »

Spirit nominations announced

Spirit nominations announced
UPDATED 5:21 p.m. PT Nov. 27, 2007

Film Independent's 2008 Spirit Awards took on an international accent as nominees were announced Tuesday. Best feature noms went to the French-language "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and the Pakistan-set "A Mighty Heart", while the starring duo of Tony Leung and Tang Wei of the Shanghai drama "Lust, Caution" both figure in the top acting categories.

But Americana also ruled as "I'm Not There", Todd Haynes' kaleidoscope deconstruction of the work of Bob Dylan, led the field. With four nominations, including best feature, director and supporting noms for Cate Blanchett and Marcus Carl Franklin, it also was named the inaugural winner of the Robert Altman Award, recognizing Haynes, casting director Laura Rosenthal and the ensemble cast.

While the Spirit Awards focus on American independent film, a film can qualify if at least one U.S. citizen or permanent resident is credited in two or more of the categories of writer, director or producer, which opened the door for this year's globetrotting noms.

In addition to "I'm Not There", "Diving Bell", a film told from the point of view of a stroke victim, and "Mighty Heart", the dramatization of the search for kidnapped journalist Daniel Pearl, the other contenders in the best feature category are "Juno", a comedy about an unintended pregnancy, and "Paranoid Park", the account of a teen who accidentally kills a man.

Four of the best film nominees saw their helmsman nominated for best director: Haynes ("I'm Not There"), Jason Reitman ("Juno"), Julian Schnabel ("Butterfly") and Gus Van Sant ("Paranoid"). But instead of Michael Winterbottom for "Mighty Heart", the fifth slot went to Tamara Jenkins -- who also was nominated for best screenplay -- for the family drama "The Savages".

"There wasn't a dominant genre or even a film. It was a mix of emerging filmmakers and veteran filmmakers like Gus Van Sant and Todd Haynes. I felt like it was a wide spectrum of talent in all areas," FIND exec director Dawn Hudson said at the ceremonies that Lisa Kudrow and Zach Braff hosted at the Sofitel Hotel in Los Angeles.

"You want all these films to gain some momentum," she added. "There's such a glut of films this season that you hope that this will shine a spotlight on these lower-budgeted films that are so deserving."

The best actress contenders are Angelina Jolie for portraying Mariane Pearl in "Mighty Heart"; Sienna Miller, seen as a soap actress facing off with a journalist in "Interview"; Ellen Page, who appears as the pregnant teen in "Juno"; Parker Posey, who finds herself embarking on an affair in "Broken English"; and Tang, who becomes entangled in love and espionage in "Lust".

Nominated as best actor are Pedro Castaneda, who plays an undocumented farm worker "August Evening"; Don Cheadle, who stars as a radio host in "Talk to Me"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose character struggles with an ailing father in "Savages"; Frank Langella, who appears as the older half of a May-December relationship in "Starting Out in the Evening"; and Leung, who plays a spy in "Lust".

Still, several performances that have excited critics failed to make the cut: Among the missing were Ryan Gosling ("Lars and the Real Girl"), Laura Linney ("Savages"), Nicole Kidman ("Margot at the Wedding"), Keri Russell ("Waitress") and John Cusak ("Grace Is Gone").

Along with Blanchett, who seems to channel Dylan in "Not There", the nominees for best supporting female are Anna Kendrick ("Rocket Science"), Jennifer Jason Leigh ("Margot"), Tamara Podemski ("Four Sheets to the Wind") and Marisa Tomei ("Before the Devil Knows You're Dead").

Best supporting male nominee Franklin plays a young musician who calls himself Woody Guthrie in "Not There". In the nominees circle, he joins Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Talk to Me"), Kene Holliday ("Great World of Sound"), Irfan Khan ("The Namesake") and Steve Zahn ("Rescue Dawn").

Screenplay nominees are Ronald Harwood ("Butterfly"), Jenkins ("Savages"), Fred Parnes & Andrew Wagner ("Starting Out"), the late Adrienne Shelly ("Waitress") and Mike White ("Year of the Dog").

In the adjoining category of best first screenplay, the nominees are Jeffrey Blitz ("Rocket Science"), Zoe Cassavetes ("Broken English"), Diablo Cody ("Juno"), Kelly Masterson ("Devil") and John Orloff ("Mighty Heart").

The Spirits also recognize films made for less than $500,000 with its John Cassavetes Award.

Spirit nominations announced

UPDATED 6:36 p.m. PT Nov. 27

Film Independent's 2008 Spirit Awards took on an international accent as nominees were announced Tuesday.

Best feature noms went to the French-language "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and the Pakistan-set "A Mighty Heart", while the starring duo of Tony Leung and Tang Wei of the Shanghai drama "Lust, Caution" both figure in the top acting categories.

But Americana also ruled as "I'm Not There", Todd Haynes' kaleidoscope deconstruction of the work of Bob Dylan, led the field. With four nominations, including best feature, director and supporting noms for Cate Blanchett and Marcus Carl Franklin, it also was named the inaugural winner of the Robert Altman Award, recognizing Haynes, casting director Laura Rosenthal and the ensemble cast.

While the Spirit Awards focus on American independent film, a film can qualify if at least one U.S. citizen or permanent resident is credited in two or more of the categories of writer, director or producer, which opened the door for this year's globetrotting noms.

In addition to "I'm Not There", "Diving Bell", a film told from the point of view of a stroke victim, and "Mighty Heart", the dramatization of the search for kidnapped journalist Daniel Pearl, the other contenders in the best feature category are "Juno", a comedy about an unintended pregnancy, and "Paranoid Park", the account of a teen who accidentally kills a man.

Four of the best film nominees saw their helmsman nominated for best director: Haynes ("I'm Not There"), Jason Reitman ("Juno"), Julian Schnabel ("Butterfly") and Gus Van Sant ("Paranoid"). But instead of Michael Winterbottom for "Mighty Heart", the fifth slot went to Tamara Jenkins -- who also was nominated for best screenplay -- for the family drama "The Savages".

"There wasn't a dominant genre or even a film. It was a mix of emerging filmmakers and veteran filmmakers like Gus Van Sant and Todd Haynes. I felt like it was a wide spectrum of talent in all areas," FIND exec director Dawn Hudson said at the ceremonies that Lisa Kudrow and Zach Braff hosted at the Sofitel Hotel in Los Angeles.

"You want all these films to gain some momentum," she added. "There's such a glut of films this season that you hope that this will shine a spotlight on these lower-budgeted films that are so deserving."

The best actress contenders are Angelina Jolie for portraying Mariane Pearl in "Mighty Heart"; Sienna Miller, seen as a soap actress facing off with a journalist in "Interview"; Ellen Page, who appears as the pregnant teen in "Juno"; Parker Posey, who finds herself embarking on an affair in "Broken English"; and Tang, who becomes entangled in love and espionage in "Lust".

Nominated as best actor are Pedro Castaneda, who plays an undocumented farm worker "August Evening"; Don Cheadle, who stars as a radio host in "Talk to Me"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose character struggles with an ailing father in "Savages"; Frank Langella, who appears as the older half of a May-December relationship in "Starting Out in the Evening"; and Leung, who plays a spy in "Lust".

Still, several performances that have excited critics failed to make the cut: Among the missing were Ryan Gosling ("Lars and the Real Girl"), Laura Linney ("Savages"), Nicole Kidman ("Margot at the Wedding"), Keri Russell ("Waitress") and John Cusack ("Grace is Gone").

Along with Blanchett, who channels Dylan in "Not There", the nominees for best supporting female are Anna Kendrick ("Rocket Science"), Jennifer Jason Leigh ("Margot"), Tamara Podemski ("Four Sheets to the Wind") and Marisa Tomei ("Before the Devil Knows You're Dead").

Best supporting male nominee Franklin plays a young musician who calls himself Woody Guthrie in "Not There". In the nominees circle, he joins Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Talk to Me"), Kene Holliday ("Great World of Sound"), Irfan Khan ("The Namesake") and Steve Zahn ("Rescue Dawn").

Screenplay nominees are Ronald Harwood ("Butterfly"), Jenkins ("Savages"), Fred Parnes & Andrew Wagner ("Starting Out"), the late Adrienne Shelly ("Waitress") and Mike White ("Year of the Dog").

In the adjoining category of best first screenplay, the nominees are Jeffrey Blitz ("Rocket Science"), Zoe Cassavetes ("Broken English"), Diablo Cody ("Juno"), Kelly Masterson ("Devil") and John Orloff ("Mighty Heart").

The Spirits also recognize films made for less than $500,000 with its John Cassavetes Award.

'I'm Not There' Leads Spirit Nominations

  • WENN
Director Todd Haynes' quirky, all-star Bob Dylan-inspired movie I'm Not There is set to be the toast of the IFC Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, Los Angeles in February, after landing the event's first Robert Altman Award. Announced at the Spirit Awards last year, the honor is given to the director, casting agent and cast of an outstanding indie movie. In I'm Not There, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere and Cate Blanchett are among the actors who conjure up the spirit of Dylan at different stages of his life for the offbeat biopic. The movie was also nominated for the Spirits' Best Film prize, where it will compete with Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, Juno, A Mighty Heart and Paranoid Park. Blanchett and Marcus Carl Franklin earned Best Supporting Actress and Actor nods respectively for their portrayals of Dylan, and Todd Haynes is a Best Director nominee. Other four-film nominees are acclaimed coming-of-age film Juno, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly and The Savages. Meanwhile, Ang Lee's controversial Lust, Caution is also a multi-nominee; the film's stars Tony Leung and Tang Wei are up for Best Actor and Actress honors, while Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography is also under consideration. French actress Julie Delpy's 2 Days In Paris earned her a First Feature nomination; she'll be up against Jeffrey Blitz's Rocket Science, which garnered three nominations. In the lead acting categories, Angelina Jolie is an immediate favorite for her role as grieving Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart. Jolie will compete against Sienna Miller (Interview), Parker Posey (Broken English), Ellen Page (Juno) and Tang Wei. Leung will be up against Pedro Castaneda (August Evening), Don Cheadle (Talk To Me), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Savages) and Frank Langella (Starting Out In The Evening) in the Best Actor category. The nominations were announced on Tuesday morning by Lisa Kudrow and Zach Braff.

2007 Indie Spirit Nominations: commentary & predictions!

  • Dysfunctional loving families undergoing reality checks, a paralyzed man checking out and a checklist of Dylan figures are the film narratives that have collected the most noms for the 2008 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Sparkling Fox Searchlight titles of Tamara JenkinsTamara Jenkins
[/link]’s The Savages and Jason Reitman’s Juno each grab a significant amount of noms, but it is Todd Haynes’ I’m not There and Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly that have collected the most kudos with the Dylan kaleidescope already leading 1 to zero by winning the inaugural Robert Altman award: given to one film's director, casting director and its ensemble cast (Haynes gets cred and so does Laura Rosenthal for casting Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Bruce Greenwood). As noted in the Hollywood Reporter, these American independent films have a distinct international flair
See full article at ioncinema »

I'm Not There

I'm Not There
Venice International Film Festival

VENICE, Italy -- Todd Haynes' highly impressionistic docudrama "I'm Not There" is "inspired by the life and work of Bob Dylan," though pop's leading troubadour is not mentioned, barely seen and not heard very much in the production.

Instead, an eclectic mix of actors including Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Richard Gere portray characters whose lives run parallel to or are informed by Dylan's life. There's plenty of the singer-songwriter's music on hand but sung by others. Filled with incidents that echo famous moments in Dylan's life, the goal is to summarize all the disparate elements in his career.

A long film, at 135 minutes, it's difficult to see who the prime audience will be for the picture, screened in competition at the Venice Film Festival. It's a curiosity that could delight or turn off loyal Dylan fans and may prove too oddball to draw in younger and mainstream audiences.

The guiding principal of Dylan's life is declared right at the start as a character who calls himself Woody Guthrie, an 11-year-old black guitar picker played by Marcus Carl Franklin, is advised to "live your own time, child, sing about your own time."

Woody rides the rails and tells stories about the days of the Depression, but in another incarnation, Jack Rollins (Bale), he starts to create the songs that stunned and inspired a generation.

The film jumps all over the place, introducing Arthur (Ben Whishaw), a view of the man as young poet, and then as an actor named Robbie (Ledger), who shows his romantic side. Many scenes are given over to Jude Quinn (Blanchett), the colorful, wisecracking Dylan from the '60s. But then it's back again to Bale, only now he's Pastor John, in a role that illustrates the performer's Christian conversion and decade as a gospel singer.

Finally, there is a passage about Billy the Kid (Gere), who survives his encounter with Sheriff Pat Garrett to live a quiet life in a place named Riddle until events conspire to bring him to public attention again.

Haynes directs all of these people and places with great flair, helped immensely by cinematographer Edward Lachman and his mostly inspired cast. Whishaw, an intense young British stage actor, speaks directly to the camera, while Bale inhabits both the younger Dylan and the religious convert with typical concentration.

Gere is effective in the Western sequence, though that segment's relevance is difficult to grasp. True, Dylan co-starred in Sam Peckinpah's film about William Bonney.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Blanchett, who has great fun playing Dylan as a showboat who quite knowingly goes about creating his reputation for rebellious independence.

Randall Poster and Jim Dunbar put together the musical soundtrack, which features the obscure Dylan title track from "The Basement Tapes", which he recorded with the Band at Woodstock in 1967. There's also a new cover version by Sonic Youth.

The film is said to have the endorsement of Dylan, which must have taken some courage given the ragged edges of his life on display. But the film fits well with his singular ability to reinvent himself while really putting us nowhere nearer to fully understanding the man.

I'M NOT THERE

Killer Films

Director: Todd Haynes

Writers: Todd Haynes, Oren Moverman

Producers: Christine Vachon, James D. Stern, John Sloss, John Goldwyn

Director of photography: Edward Lachman

Production designer: Judy Becker

Music: Randall Poster, Jim Dunbar

Costume designer: John Dunn

Editor: Jay Rabinowitz

Cast:

Jack/Pastor John: Christian Bale

Jude: Cate Blanchett

Woody: Marcus Carl Franklin

Billy: Richard Gere

Robbie: Heath Ledger

Arthur: Ben Whishaw

Claire: Charlotte Gainsbourg

Allen Ginsberg: David Cross

Keenan Jones: Bruce Greenwood

Alice Fabian: Julianne Moore

Coco Rivington: Michelle Williams

MPAA rating R, running time 135 minutes
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