14 items from 2011
Directors: Vladan Nikolic
Writers: Vladan Nikolic
Review by: Ben Austwick
Rating: 2 out of 10
There.s nothing wrong with being pretentious if you.ve got the intellect and ideas to back it up. Why not rewrite the rulebook and sneer at those around you if what you.re doing is better than everyone else? But it really has to be very good, otherwise you.re going to come over a complete idiot.
This confusing and badly-written film is set in the near future, where a population genetically modified into a permanent state of happiness seek out black market drugs just so they can feel something, even if that feeling is pain. Jack is a drug dealer, inhabiting a familiar underground of graffitied streets and sterile, gothy raves, who uncovers a murky conspiracy explained in a series of numbered tapes, discoveries of which introduce each chapter of the film. »
Some directors react angrily to remakes of their films, particular when it’s the title that helped launch their career. Others – such as Funny Games’ Michael Haneke – go so far as to tackle the remake themselves. Nicolas Winding Refn is taking the supportive approach as the UK version of his drug thriller Pusher announces a cast including Paul Kaye, Richard Coyle, Bronson Webb and Agyness Deyn.Refn’s 1996 original found Kim Bodnia as Frank, a drug dealer whose life seems to be a big bucket of win until a deal goes badly wrong and is busted by the police. He gets away and is able to ditch the dope in a lake, but that leads to a new problem – he’s now in serious debt to his supplier, and that’s a man you don’t want to be in trouble with. Frank’s world becomes a mad scramble to »
Based on its trailer, The Perfect Host appears to be one part Funny Games, one part Weekend at Bernie’s, and one part Frasier. And if that description isn’t enough to pull you in, watch the teaser purely for David Hyde Pierce’s hauntingly hysterical portrayal of a twisted man who turns the tables on a bank robber (Clayne Crawford) hiding out at his house by making him the abused subject of an eccentric dinner party. I do not want to know what Pierce’s host is preparing to do with the party’s tossed salad and scrambled eggs. »
- Kate Ward
Craig here with Take Three. Today: Michael Pitt
Take One: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Pitt’s weedy teenage wannabe rock imp Tommy Gnosis (The Jesus freak army brat formerly known as Tommy Speck – then, very nearly, Tommy Ache) got to grapple with Hedwig’s Angry Inch in unconventionally inventive ways back in 2001. John Cameron Mitchell’s slip-up-operation rock opera, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, was like nothing else on screen at the time. If you could avert your eyes from internationally ignored “icon” Hedwig’s shining beacon of starlight, then hidden in the flared remnants, and on the sidelines, was Pitt’s Tommy. He was initially willing to dote on her every word but eventually reluctant to acknowledge his own sneaky appropriation of her back catalogue. He became the big star; Hedwig toured the fish restaurants of America.
Pitt does the naive, overtly adoring rock moppet well. He also does the non-committal, »
- Craig Bloomfield
There is a terrific series titled ”Auto-Remakes” starting today at Anthology Film Archives in New York. The series, which runs through March 31, pairs films made and remade by the same director (in the way Michael Haneke did recently with Funny Games). C. Mason Wells, one of the programmers, writes “Anthology surveys the history of auteurs who – per Ken Jacobs – returned to the scene of the crime. Whether out of dogged perfectionism, playful abandon, or, yes, monetary gain, they changed their own films from black-and-white to color, from documentary to reenactment, from tragedy to comedy, from silent to sound, from noir to Western, from video to celluloid – reimagining the same stories, characters, or ideas with new collaborators, technologies, and formal strategies.”
What’s interesting about the pairs of posters for these films is that they are markedly similar. Aside from the casting, you can’t tell much about what differentiates the original and the remake, »
Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers? I'm interrupting this column to announce a sweet contest open to budding filmmakers who not only love the fake trailers that played during Grindhouse but »
- Christopher Stipp
A new online movie service specializing in independent and international films launches today. For $10 a month, Fandor gives members unlimited access to movies they can stream at any time. The company bills itself as a “curated” service that offers movies of artistic and historic merit. According to Fandor, “the catalog consists of a mix of film festival favorites, award-winning documentaries and short films such as ‘Happy Together,’ ‘Old Joy,’ ‘Carcasses,’ ‘Funny Games,’ ‘Searchers 2.0,’ ‘Black Gold’ and ‘Cairo Station.’” Jonathan Marlow, Fandor’s founder and VP content development and acquisitions, told TheWrap that the »
- Joshua L. Weinstein
I should first say, for those of you just joining us, that my “Flashback” posts are not necessarily recommendations of each film; usually my intent is to point out something specific about each film, whether good or bad, or just revisiting them for no reason other than I recently watched them again.
It’s a low-budget, b-grade exploitative genre flick; but I’d also consider it something of a guilty pleasure, with Ice-t being the weakest link. This was made 3 years after New Jack City (another guilty pleasure), and Ice’s acting skills don’t seem to have much improved over that time period, during which he co-starred in 4 other films.
It’s one of several adaptations of Richard Connell’s short story, »
Who ever heard a bad word about Naomi Watts? And don't expect to read one here. Still, her latest film, Fair Game, where she plays the outed CIA agent Valerie Plame, with Sean Penn as her husband, made too little impression on all of us who like her. It seemed promising: attractive married people plus international intrigue, along with the suspicion of there being more to the case than we ever heard. Directed by Doug Liman, the movie turns out rather dull. Is playing opposite Sean Penn anti-chemical (this was the third time Watts had tried)? Or did the drama need to be shifted towards comedy? Being married to a "spy" may play best as a version of "Can you trust your wife?"
But if the Anglo-Australian Watts »
- David Thomson
James Marsden and Patrick Wilson are both currently in talks to star in a dark indie thriller entitled Loft. Based on Erik Van Looy’s disturbing 2008 Belgian film, the plot follows five men who hold keys to a penthouse apartment where they go to exorcise their lustful demons. But when a dead woman turns up in the apartment, chained to a bed, all hell breaks loose. Taking his cue from Funny Games helmer Michael Haneke, Van Looy will direct the English-language remake of his earlier film, with a script from A Nightmare On Elm...
- Josh Winning
So yet another not very old foreign film is getting the remake treatment. And much like, say, Funny Games, it's getting remade by its original director. The film is called Loft, a remake of a 2008 Belgian film from director Erik Van Looy (The Memory Of A Killer), about "five married friends who decide to rent a loft together where they can bring their mistresses. When the body of an unknown woman is found in the loft, they realize that they don't know each other as well as they »
- George Merchan
How well do you know your friends? It’s a subject tackled by tricky Belgian thriller Loft, and now Patrick Wilson and James Marsden are putting the idea to the test, signing on to star in the American remake.The 2008 original, directed by Erik Van Looy, followed five married blokes who all chip in to rent a swanky pad together as a place they can bring their mistresses for a little extra-marital fun away from the prying eyes of their other halves.But then a seemingly unknown woman turns up dead in the loft, and the five turn on each other as their suspicious minds start trying to figure out which among them may be (insert dramatic musical sting here) a murderer!Wesley Strick, whose last attempt at writing a remake script brought us the rebooted A Nightmare on Elm Street, is scribbling the screenplay. And in the tradition of Michael Haneke and Funny Games, »
Reviewed at the Sundance Film Festival 2011.
There are bleak films and then there's "Tyrannosaur," a movie so dark it's like a cinematic black hole, a film from which no light escapes. Just how dark is it? The most cheerful scene in this movie is a funeral.
By the end, "Tyrannosaur" arrives at a deeply moving place, but before it arrives at that deeply moving place the viewer must endure one of the tougher sits of any movie in recent memory. Put this one alongside "Requiem For a Dream" and "Funny Games" on the Mount Rushmore of One-Timers, movies you have to see once, but can't imagine seeing twice. It's a powerful film you can't shake and won't want to revisit anytime soon.
It tells the story of two desperately sad people in Leeds in the UK, a man and a woman, united by their shared sense of helplessness. Joseph (Peter Mullan »
- Matt Singer
"Five tales that will mess you up for life." That's the tagline for Burning Palms, which opens in limited release on January 14. Written and directed by Christopher B. Landon (who wrote Disturbia, Paranormal Activity 2), the film follows five separate stories all across Los Angeles that delve into very taboo territory. It stars Zoe Saldana, Jamie Chung, Dylan McDermott, Paz Vega, Nick Stahl, Shannon Doherty, Rosamund Pike and more. Check out the trailer - which has a very Funny Games feel - after the jump. Thanks to Shock Till You Drop  for the below trailer. But first, read the plot description. It helps inform the trailer immensely. Burning Palms is a dark comedy, interlacing multiple stories where no taboo is left unexplored. Framed as a graphic novel come to life, the film unfolds in five popular neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Each story from the sandy beaches of Santa Monica, the »
- Germain Lussier
14 items from 2011
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