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Stellan Skarsgard tricked Paul Bettany into appearing in 'Dogville'. The 40-year-old actor agreed to appear in Lard von Trier's movie after his friend told him being on set was like a constant party - only for Paul to have a ''hideous experience'' as it was nothing like his pal had claimed. Paul said: ''It was a hideous experience. I did it because Stellan f***ing Skarsgard fibbed to me. He said, 'You gotta turn up, it'll be fantastic, it's like a party all the time.' ''And after three weeks and not one bit of fun, I said, 'Stellan, »
2011 was one of the best years for film in recent years. There are about 25 films that could have made my top ten list and each film in my top 5 could be my number one. I saw about 100 films this year and I still wish I could have seen more. I feel very comfortable with my top ten and I feel like it was a good representative of the year in film. However I do feel that people looking at this article should go over to Sound On Sight and see all the staff’s individual lists, as well as the honorable mentions that just missed my list. You will find a great collection of films on those lists.
Directed by Sean Durkin
I saw Sean Durkin’s directorial debut in August and knew as soon as the last frame came up that this was the best picture of the year. »
- Josh Youngerman
With that whole ugly (and blown out of proportion) Nazi comment controversy now behind him, Lars Von Trier can start focusing on his next film "The Nymphomaniac," and it looks like a regular player is coming back into the fold. Variety report that "Antichrist" and "Melancholia" star Charlotte Gainsbourg has taken the lead role in the picture. While the director has a usual roster of actors to pull from, on the actress side of things, a reputation for being difficult has made it more difficult to get female leads to make more than one film with him. Bjork swore of acting altogether after a contentious shoot for "Dancer In the Dark," while Nicole Kidman never bothered to return after "Dogville," in what was supposed to the be first part of a loose trilogy (Bryce Dallas Howard took over for "Manderlay," while "Wasington" remains unmade). But it will likely help Von »
Though time will only tell if Baz Luhrmann is the right filmmaker to tackle The Great Gatsby, I remain a skeptic. The material may suggest a certain grandiosity that Luhrmann has proved to be able to bring to life but the story remains fundamentally simple and down to earth. The novel is highly critical of the extravagant lifestyle the characters live, as well as the culture that allows them to flourish. In many ways, it is the anti-epic, a small story with a large scope. The extravagant parties that Gatsby throws, which seem to be the primary motivation for hiring Luhrmann are beside the point. They are largely a display of greed and posturing throughout the text.
As a means of softening the blow that one of my favourite novels will be adapted by a filmmaker whose talents are not only questionable but ill-suited to adapting this particular work, I »
In conjunction with (or at least happening as the same time as) indieWIRE's redesign, Eric Kohn is launching a new biweekly feature, "Critical Consensus." The idea: he'll be talking with two critics about films currently in theaters, and he's starting off with a bang, discussing Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar (see the roundup, updated through today) and Lars von Trier's Melancholia with J Hoberman and Amy Taubin, both of whom admire both films. All three critics compare their first viewings of Melancholia in Cannes with their second viewing a few months later under less hectic conditions back in New York. Hoberman: "I was enthralled from the first images on; when the movie ended, I was amazed that von Trier had carried it off; it was a tour de force…. I'm not prepared to call Melancholia von Trier's best work, but I do think it's up there with Idiots and »
What with all his provocations and (usually) self-manufactured controversies, it's sometimes easy to forget that Lars von Trier is a truly gifted filmmaker, who yes, is a prankster and trickster as well, but also a man who imbues his characters with a rich sensitivity, even if the conditions they face can be cruel and harsh. Not all his films are masterpieces, but he's been turning heads at home and abroad for getting on 30 years now with films like "Europa," "Dancer in the Dark," "Breaking the Waves" and "Dogville" making some of the biggest waves internationally. Never easy watches, but always rewarding, he's slowly been assembling one of the most interesting back catalogues in recent memory -- ranging from period dramas to musicals to comedies -- even if accusations of misogyny and misanthropy aren't easily dismissable. »
Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Lars von Trier is one of the world’s most important filmmakers.
When the “Dogville” auteur showed up at the Cannes Film Festival with his latest masterwork, “Melancholia,” early pundits positioned it as the film to push him into the mainstream. No wonder. It marks von Trier’s first stab at science fiction and stars “Spider-Man” star Kirsten Dunst in a special-effects laden drama about the end of the world. If there ever were a film to bring him a new legion of admires, "Melancholia" would be it.
Now, despite glowing reviews and a Cannes Best Actress win for Dunst, the potential for “Melancholia” to become a crossover hit is up in the air, and it's the filmmaker’s own doing.
For the uninitiated: At the press conference for "Melancholia" in Cannes, von Trier made some remarks saying he sympathized with Hitler. »
- Nigel Smith
Melancholia is famous for being the topic of conversation at Cannes when Lars Von Trier ran off the rails ranting about Jews and Hitler and Nazis. I.m putting aside Von Trier.s ridiculous, inflammatory remarks to focus on the film - his first in years and the one he did instead of the final chapter to Wasington, which would have rounded out the trilogy begun with Dogville and Manderlay. Von Trier has always put forth a deeply depressed vibe, indicating some kind of obsessions with sadness, death and destruction, and it comes to full flower in his most commercial film yet which takes place as the earth is about to be destroyed by stray planet hurtling towards it. Talk »
- Anne Brodie
Director Lars von Trier doesn't have the best reputation as an actor's director (he also doesn't have the best reputation as a public speaker, but that's a conversation for another time). He supposedly fought with Nicole Kidman on the set of "Dogville" and the star definitely didn't return for the film's sequel, "Manderlay" (she was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard). For years, rumors swirled that Bjork vowed never to act in a film again after the grueling experience making von Trier's "Dancer in the Dark." She later claimed she never wanted to act at all but made an exception for von Trier. Then again; she has acted a couple more times, including in the film "Drawing Restraint 9," so who knows.
What I do know is talking to the cast of von Trier's "Melancholia," which opens this Friday, gives you a different portrait of von Trier. Maybe his style has changed, »
- Matt Singer
Lars von Trier's Melancholia is neither the provocation nor the yowl of anguish that his last picture, Antichrist, was. For those reasons, it's less effective and also far less of a workout: Antichrist was the first von Trier movie I genuinely loved, after a decade's worth of railing against the sufferdome atmosphere of pictures like Dogville, Dancer in the Dark, and even the mildly bearable Breaking the Waves. Antichrist stunned and upset me, but it also filled me with compassion toward the man who made it, a feeling I'd never imagined I could have. The gift of Antichrist -- with its horrific depictions of emotional suffering, its wailing-wind subtext of "Nature is everywhere, inside you and outside, and it is not your friend" -- was that von Trier had surprised me. That is a critic's greatest pleasure -- or at least it's mine. »
• Don't spare us the graphic detail, post your own review of American Splendor – or get comical in the comments
The underground comic writer Harvey Pekar didn't really do happy, but he did truth and humour in spades, which is why American Splendor, a 2002 film about Pekar (in which he also appears), got under my skin in a big way. "If you're the kind of person looking for romance or escapism or some fantasy figure to save the day," warns his rasping narration at the start, "guess what? You got the wrong movie." Sometimes, a little cinematic holiday from the gloss and fantasy of Hollywood is just what the doctor ordered.
Pekar, a downtrodden hospital file clerk, chronicled the intricacies of his glum life in depressed Cleveland, Ohio, in his ironically named American Splendor comic books. »
- Amy Fleming
Alexander Skarsgård, Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia A contender for Melancholia this year, Lars von Trier has won a previous European Film Award in the Best Director category: for Dogville in 2003, in addition to a nomination for Antichrist in 2009. (The Best European Director category was eliminated from 1990 to 2000.) Two von Trier movies have won Best Film: Breaking the Waves in 1996 and Dancer in the Dark. Melancholia will quite possibly be his second win for Best Director and third for Best Film. Whereas the Hollywood Academy tends to shy away from controversial movies and filmmakers — unless Us-based film critics and organizations hand them lots of awards — the European Film Academy members seem to go out of their way to embrace "black sheep" filmmakers and difficult themes: von Trier and Melancholia this year, Roman Polanski and The Ghost Writer last year, Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah in 2008, Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in »
- Andre Soares
Depression is like an enormous rogue planet entering your solar system and ripping your world apart. Just ask Kirsten Dunst. She was an ordinary young woman until crippling clinical depression caused her to brush off her new husband on their wedding night -- geez, she was probably a disastrous mess long before then and should never even have agreed to marry the poor sap -- and when she tried to endure it alone, the Jupiter-sized planet Melancholia came out of nowhere and pulverized Earth. You don’t have to suffer alone -- or destroy your civilization, species, and in all likelihood all life in the universe in the process. Seek treatment... and ask your doctor about Larsvontrieramide, for clinical depression and symbolic planetary destruction syndrome. I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that Melancholia ends with poor ol’ lovely green Terra getting ripped apart by a much larger, much greener rogue planet. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
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Directed By: Lars von Trier
The most exquisite fashion promo ever made. Only a demeaning statement if you consider fashion a frivolous construct of self-expression; Lars von Trier does not.
Kirsten Dunst plays Justine, a despondent soul who cannot face the enforced happiness of her bourgeois wedding day yet can passively accept the annihilation of earth due to its collision with the planet ‘Melancholia’. Obviously the destruction of all mankind is a situation beyond her control, so she all but welcomes it. As someone who spends every single day trying to think of a reason to live, Justine is thankful the decision has been taken out of her hands.
- Chris Laverty
"Nearly all of the writing thus far on This Is Not a Film has concentrated on its political context and production circumstances — already legend — and the courageous gesture the film represents," wrote Girish Shambu late last month as he looked back on the highlights of Toronto and named Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi's collaborative effort as his personal "Best-of-Fest." "This is entirely appropriate, but the film also holds enormous potential for future analysis by film critics as a work of meta-cinema that asks fundamental questions like: What is the difference between a screenplay and a film? (Once upon a time, in the nouvelle vague era, an answer to this question was simply: 'miss en scene.') Is the 'director' of a film always a single, unified, human person? In a film, can the role of the director 'move around,' in non-human form, attaching at one moment to the »
Melancholia begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral. Actually, the new film from Danish provocateur Lars von Trier ends with the apocalypse – a funeral for everyone, as a vast planet rears up on the near horizon, lighting up the lawn and setting the birds chattering. Watching the movie at this year's Cannes film festival, Kirsten Dunst was surprised to find herself giggling, as if this was some sort of happy ending. "That's one thing you can say for the end of the world," she says. "It solves a lot of problems."
We're drinking coffee in the basement of a London hotel, with embroidered snowflakes on the wallpaper and an Indian summer raging outside. The actor is attired as though »
- Xan Brooks
Nearly every weekend since its premiere in Cannes, Lars von Trier's Melancholia has opened in theaters in this or that country around the world, and today it hits the UK. It's also screened at a good number of festivals, including Toronto, and sees its first date in the States at the New York Film Festival on Monday. The following Friday, it'll be available on demand from Magnolia before finally opening in Us theaters in November.
When and wherever you catch it, you may, like Farran Nehme, find the experience "unexpectedly marvelous. Divided like Gaul into three parts: a magnificently surreal flash-forward to the apocalypse that is about to hit in the form of a planet colliding with our own; a midsection showing the slow-motion cataclysm that is the wedding of Justine (Kirsten Dunst) to Michael (Alexander Skarsgård); and a finale focusing on Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), Justine's sister, as the »
But Wimbledon star Bettany did not enjoy his time making the movie - and as a result he's never seen the final cut.
He tells Britain's Guardian newspaper, "I found it a peculiarly unsatisfying experience because (Von Trier) has no interest in you being any part of the cerebral process with him. You're absolutely his puppet. But no, I don't want to be too down on Lars. He is extraordinary and he is a sensation.
"Everyone's really shocked about my not having seen that one because it's a work of art or whatever, but there's a bunch of my movies I haven't seen. I've seen a few, or you see (one of them) at a premiere." »
The Danish director's new film is almost a standard disaster movie – but there's no lantern-jawed hero to save the day here
In the course of promoting his new film, Melancholia, earlier this year, Lars von Trier said something intriguing. No – not the oafish faux pas at his Cannes press conference, duly whipped up into the year's silliest non-controversy. Altogether more worthy of note was an interview he gave a fortnight before, and the admission that the director himself was unsure about his lush new confection.
"I may have made a film I don't like," he lamented. "This film is perilously close to the aesthetic of American mainstream films."
In arthouse circles, he might have been better off saying he was a Nazi. But though his confession did involve a typical flourish of hammy overstatement, it's not so far from the truth. Much of Melancholia is high-gloss indeed, starring a couple of game, »
- Danny Leigh
Squaring an actor in the flesh with the person you've seen on screen is disorienting, but I'm having a particularly hard time with Paul Bettany. The man I've just been watching is a former boxer, broken in body and spirit after suffering a stroke. Pale and rheumy eyed, he spends much of Broken Lines cowed and meek, dabbing at the at the corner of his dribbling mouth before suddenly erupting into snarling, desperate rage. And now in front of me is this guy, tanned and animated and emanating enough warmth to power a fleet of electric cars.
"Oh, let me turn this off," he says, pocketing his iPhone as he shakes my hand. "Oh no, I shouldn't turn this off. »
- Hermione Hoby
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