20 items from 2014
In Czechoslovakia circa 1983, a state under the grip of a seemingly all-powerful communist regime, a talented young sprinter risks her career by resisting the “special care” program designed to boost her competition times in the solid, well-acted drama “Fair Play.” In her straightforward but involving third feature, Czech helmer-writer Andrea Sedlackova uses a sports story to explore how totalitarianism exacted a high price from those aspiring to preserve their dignity and principles. The result should see plenty of play on the international fest circuit; its domestic rollout in March garnered some 60,000 viewers.
Despite her dubious family background (a father who emigrated to Germany and a mother with dissident sympathies), 18-year-old Anna (rising Slovak star Judit Bardos, saddled with an unflattering hairstyle) is being groomed for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She is expected to unquestioningly follow the edicts of coaches and trainers at the National Sports Center, even when it »
- Alissa Simon
The acclaimed German actress, here in Jerusalem on the Israeli Feature Film Jury, will star alongside Devid Striesow in the cast of the Ufa and Warner Bros Germany production, adapted by Jane Ainscough and Christoph Silber from Hape Kerkeling’s best-selling comedic book about a man’s pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Shooting is due to take place later this summer on the German-language feature.
Gedeck is then due to star alongside Thomas Kretschmann in Arsen A Ostojic’s Second World War drama Man In The Box about an Austrian family who take a Jewish doctor into hiding.
Also on the »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Andreas Wiseman)
The 10 pics championed by variety critics selected to screen at the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival next month are an eclectic mix of the year’s best-reviewed Euro-backed features. Representing a wide sample of different genres, countries and languages (and yet still managing to include two films with “Blind” in the title), the choices range from French indie “Insecure” (fresh from Cannes) to Fantastic Fest favorite “Grand Piano” (an ultra-tense Spanish thriller starring Elijah Wood), pictured above.
The sidebar is presented in conjunction with European Film Promotion.
A lithe, quicksilver portrait of a woman whose loss of sight only serves to sharpen her creative imagination, this standout debut feature for screenwriter Eskil Vogt retains many of the literate, self-reflexive touches Vogt brought to his collaborations with helmer Joachim Trier while finding its own alternately droll, sexy, heartbreaking rhythms.
About the director: Though Vogt graduated from the directing »
- Peter Debruge
The Weekend Watch is an open thread where you can share what you’ve recently watched, offer suggestions on movies and TV shows we should check out (or warnings about stuff to avoid) and discover queue-filling goodies from other Fsr readers. The comments section awaits. I’ll get the ball rolling with the movies/TV my eyeballs took in this weekend. The Final Member is a documentary about a guy who collects penises, but don’t let that fool you. For one thing it’s a Drafthouse Films release — they’re the folks who also gave a home to docs like A Band Called Death and Act of Killing — but for another it’s a damn fine film. It feels like something that would be silly on its face, but it’s actually a fairly profound and endearing look at what motivates us in life and in death. For as much as I love international cinema, I »
- Rob Hunter
You can find Part one of our interview here.
The birth of Hinterland and the emergence of its title character find Thomas and Harrington walking out onto the vast landscape of a genre. Despite being at the beginning of his journey, Tom Mathias has joined a heritage of crime detection, and therein has become a chapter in its storied history. From a discussion of the birth of Hinterland to the place of Tom Mathias within this heritage; to the creation of a world caught between genre and reality is now the “traffic of our stage.”
“Every detective is a cliché in lots of ways, because you are trying to compare him to the one’s that have gone before” offers Harrington. “I grew up with the Columbos, and I was a massive fan of Hill Street Blues. But the one thing I was consciously avoiding was portraying Mathias like anyone else. »
- Paul Risker
TrustNordisk has picked up the international sales rights for the hacker-thriller WhoAmI.
The company will be introducing an early sneak peek from the upcoming thriller, which is currently in post-production, to international buyers for the first time in Cannes.
The outsider Benjamin and the charismatic Max share one mutual interest: hacking. Together with Max‘s friends, they form the subversive hacker group Clay, which provokes with hilarious hacks and connects with a whole generation. But when Clay is suddenly investigated by German Secret Service and Europol, Benjamin must face the consequences of his actions.
WhoAmI is director Baran bo Odar’s second feature film. His debut feature in 2010, The Silence, was nominated for numerous awards and won the Director’s to Watch Award at Palm Springs International Film Festival »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
TrustNordisk will be unveiling in Cannes an early sneak peek of the pic which is now in post.
Pic turns on Benjamin, an outsider who forms a subversive hacker group known as Clay becoming very popular and suddenly gets investigated by German Secret Service and Europol.
Baran bo Odar’s feature debut “The Silence” played at Palm Springs. Odar also made it into Variety´s 10 directors to watch list in 2011.
“Woami” is produced by Quirin Berg and Max Wiedemann for Wiedemann and Berg Film, the team behind “The Lives of Others.” Justyna Muesch is exec producing. Seven Pictures and Deutsche Columbia Pictures and co-producing. Sony Pictures Releasing will distribute in German Speaking territories on Oct. »
- Elsa Keslassy
Godzilla 1954, Mickey Rooney, Giant Ants, Fascists, and rarely seen ‘Musty Stuffer’: Eclectic Packard Theater movies in May 2014 (photo: ‘Godzilla’) Godzilla 1954, Mickey Rooney, military fascists, deadly giant ants, racing car drivers, and The Mishaps of Musty Suffer, a super-rare slapstick comedy series from the 1910s, are a few of the highlights at the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus Theater in May 2014. Godzilla 1954 and fellow movie monsters Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla 2014, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe, and Bryan Cranston, opens on May 16 in much of the world. On May 8 at the Packard Theater, you’ll get the chance to check out Ishiro Honda’s Godzilla 1954 aka Gojira — in the original, Toho-released, Japanese-language version (i.e., without Raymond Burr). As part of its Godzilla double bill, the Packard Theater will also present Motoyoshi Oda’s Gigantis, the Fire Monster aka Godzilla Raids Again (1955). Besides Godzilla, the Packard Theater will »
- Andre Soares
With a big budget, great writers and two beautiful stars, this could have been a classic. Instead it's boring mumblefest with a rubbish twist – and it's on Channel 4 at 9pm tonight
[Warning: contains spoilers]
"This man is a tourist!" – Elise
The Tourist should have been a raging success. A sumptuous $100m Hitchcockian thriller, set in the most impossibly scenic slivers of Europe, starring two of the most intimidatingly beautiful people alive. A script by Christopher McQuarrie from The Usual Suspects and Julian Fellowes from Downton Abbey. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who won an Oscar for The Lives of Others, in the director's chair. What could have possibly gone wrong?
A lot, it turns out. Although blame has been assigned to everything from a constant churn of writers, directors and stars to the incredibly short production turnaround, the fact is that The Tourist is a colossal hodgepodge of wasted opportunity. Or at least »
- Stuart Heritage
Has the current gaggle of cinematic releases gotten you down? Perhaps it’s time for a small screen pursuit.
Set in the early 1980′s, The Americans follows two deep-cover Kgb spies posing as ordinary suburbanites, Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell). The pair, who are part of an arranged marriage, have also raised two children as part of their cover and over the years have seen their Russian identities wither away. While they continuously risk their lives for the Motherland, and do so while sporting some fabulous disguises, the two have found that their faux relationship has grown into something authentic.
These real feelings pose a grave threat to the two, who must brush emotions aside when they’re killing and/or bedding a string of different people. The Jennings must also be extra cautious as they live next door to Stan (the magnificent Noah Emmerich), an FBI agent. »
- Justine Browning
The battle for the Foreign Language Film Oscar has been one of the most interesting races in the past few Oscar years. We’ve had a mix of classics (A Separation, Amour), solid wins and upsets (The Secret in Their Eyes, The Lives of Others). So what will the category leave us with this year?
Two films that seem to be in the “happy to be nominated” roles are Omar and The Missing Picture. Omar was a film many prognosticators had in their lineups. It’s a Palestinian film that has an incredibly dense structure and is thematically pretty weighty. If you were to look over the recent history of the Academy a film such as this has upset a few times. But unfortunately there are bigger contenders and given the politics of the film will probably keep it from triumphing. The Missing Picture was »
- Terence Johnson
More news is coming out of the European Film Market as I Know What You Did Last Summer director Jim Gillespie will be shopping his latest project, Take Down, with one of the stars of "The Originals," Phoebe Tonkin, in talks to appear in the film.
Slated for an April 2014 start date, the film’s producing team is headed up by Ed Elbert, Sarah Ryan Black, and Stefan Brunner. Take Down is being packaged and produced by Pinewood Pictures, the offshoot of UK studio group Pinewood Shepperton Plc., whose Steve Christian will executive produce. Mimi Steinbauer’s Radiant Films International is handling foreign sales on the project.
Director Jim Gillespie added: »
- Uncle Creepy
Jeremy Sumpter ( Peter Pan , Soul Surfer ,upcoming Into the Storm ), Phoebe Tonkin (The CW.s "The Vampire Diaries," "The Originals," upcoming The Ever After ) and Sebastian Koch ( A Good Day to Die Hard , The Lives of Others ) are in talks to star in director Jim Gillespie's ( I Know What You Did Last Summer ) young adult thriller Take Down , which is based on a script by Alexander Ignon ( Ransom ). Slated for an April 2014 start date, the film.s producing team is headed up by Ed Elbert, Sarah Ryan Black and Stefan Brunner. The film is being packaged and produced by Pinewood Pictures, the off-shoot of UK studio group Pinewood Shepperton Plc., whose Steve Christian will executive produce. Mimi Steinbauer's Radiant Films International is handling foreign »
Sebastian Koch (“The Lives of Others”) has joined Gemma Arterton, Max Irons and Tim Roth in the crime thriller “The Keys to the Street,” adapted from Ruth Rendell’s novel by Christopher Nolan and Michael Stokes.
Filming is set to start in May with Czech director Julius Sevcik lensing the London-set film in the U.K. Myriad, which introduced the film at Toronto last September, is selling international markets at Berlin.
- Dave McNary
Mark Joffe is set to direct the drama adapted from Steven Carroll's novel The Art Of The Engine Driver, a 1957-set tale about a couple who attend a neighbour.s New Year.s Eve party where buried secrets are revealed.
Shooting is due to start in Melbourne and regional Victoria in the last quarter of this year. Studiocanal has the Australian rights. The producers are Morrissey Molloy Entertainment.s John Molloy, Essential Media and Entertainment.s Ian Collie and Joffe.
Koch played the villain in A Good Day to Die Hard and his other credits include The Weekend, »
- Don Groves
The 86th Academy Awards are just 30 days away! Still deciding on your favorites? Go Here for a list of the nominees.
The Academy has announced it will present a slate of public events leading up to the 86th Oscars where they’ll be celebrating this year’s nominees. If you’re in the Hollywood area (Feb 25 – March 1) and an Oscar fan, you wont want to miss these fantastic events!
Events at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills will focus on the films nominated for Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Foreign Language Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, and the Short Film categories.
Something new this year is the live concert at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles highlighting the nominated musical scores and songs.
The Oscar Week schedule is as follows:
Animated and Live Action Shorts
Tuesday, February 25, 7:30 p.m.
Hosted by actor Kevin Pollak. »
- Michelle McCue
After dealing with the revoked nomination for song this week, the folks at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are about to embark on another historic twist to the usual procedure, this time in the foreign language category. This experiment could have a huge effect on voting results; the problem is, there is no way to measure whether the experiment is working or not.
For decades, anyone who wanted to vote in the foreign-language race needed to show proof that they’d seen all the contenders. But this year, all 6,028 qualified voters can decide, without offering proof. And that’s worrying a lot of people. But the Academy could fix the potential problems.
Before the polls open Feb. 14, AMPAS will send out screeners of all five nominated films: “The Broken Circle Breakdown” (Belgium), The Great Beauty” (Italy), “The Hunt” (Denmark), “The Missing Picture” (Cambodia) and “Omar” (Palestine). The »
- Tim Gray
To mark the release of Out of the Furnace on 29th January, we’ve been given 3 Out of the Furnace posters and a selections of DVD’s to give away, including Brothers, The Hurt Locker, The Iceman, The Lives of Others and Reservoir Dogs.
Russell Baze (Christian Bale) and his younger brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) were born and raised in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a hardscrabble Rust Belt hamlet that has been home to generations of American steel workers. Russell followed their father into the mills, while Rodney took the only other option open to young men like him and enlisted in the Army, hoping to find a better life outside of Braddock.
But after four brutal tours of duty in Iraq, an emotionally and physically depleted Rodney returns to a recession-weary town that offers even fewer options than before he left. When a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, »
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2013—in theaters or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2013 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2013 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch in that perfect world we know doesn't exist but can keep dreaming of every time we go to the movies.
Tight, unnerving and masterfully constructed, Francis Ford Coppola's gripping thriller stars Gene Hackman as a surveillance expert whose obsessively guarded private life begins to unravel on his latest job. A professional eavesdropper, he's haunted by the time his 'bugging' cost the lives of three people and terrified that it's happening again. The concept was used to Oscar-winning effect in 2006's Best Foreign Film The Lives Of Others. »
20 items from 2014
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