9 Songs (2004) - News Poster

(2004)

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Jim Parsons To Star in NBC’s ‘Elf’ Animated Holiday Special

Jim Parsons To Star in NBC’s ‘Elf’ Animated Holiday Special
Jim Parsons will bring holiday cheer this winter, starring in NBC’s special “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas.” Parsons will voice Buddy, made famous by the 2003 film “Elf” starring Will Ferrell and Broadway production “Elf: The Musical.”

The hourlong, stop-motion animated special is set to air at 8 p.m. on Dec. 16, and will blend the look and feel of classic Christmas specials with the sensibility of a modern-day holiday film.

In the special, Santa narrates the story of Buddy’s travels to New York City to meet his father. Along the way, his unrelenting cheer transforms the lives of everyone he meets and opens his father’s eyes to the magic of the holiday. Nine songs will be featured, including “Happy All the Time,” “A Christmas Song” and “Nobody Cares About Santa Claus.”

Voice cast also includes Mark Hamill, Ed Asner, Fred Armisen, Jay Leno, Matt Lauer, Gilbert Gottfried,
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Sundance Stills: The Voices, War Story, Song One

One can never be fully caught up at festivals but one does what one can. So today, three quick takes on movies I saw yesterday during a five-film day. Let's use their festival guide images as a framing device just because I always find it interesting which images movies use to promote themselves, don't you?

The Voices

This still from Marjane Satrapi's (Persepolis) horror comedy looks nondescript enough until you pair the title with a man looking at his cat. Yes, they're "talking". The cat is the Scottish brogued "Mr Whiskers" and like 99% of cats in films he is unrepentantly evil. (Can we form a Anti-Cat Defamation Cinematic League or something?) And then you notice the woman's head (Gemma Arterton's to be precise) to the left. Gross! One thing you don't get at all from this still is the film's hard working production design, which is relentlessly candy
See full article at FilmExperience »

Watch: Teaser Trailer For François Ozon's Cannes Entry 'Jeune & Jolie'

Yes, the Cannes Film Festival train keeps rolling today. We've already had the official line up announcement, scrutinized the surprises and omissions, and have received two trailers for Nicolas Winding Refn's entry "Only God Forgives," a teaser for Johnnie To's "Blind Detective" and a newly English-subtitled version of Asghar Farhadi's "The Past." And another taste of what's to come has arrived. A one-minute and sadly not-subtitled teaser trailer has dropped for François Ozon's somewhat mysterious "Jeune & Jolie." Details on the movie have been kept very closely guarded, but all that will be allowed is that it stars Marine Vacth in the story of a 17-year-old girl that will follow her through four seasons and four songs. Hmm. It certainly seems sex is part of the equation, so is this a hybrid of "Nymphomaniac" and "Nine Songs"? We'd guess it's probably not that kinky, but it seems provocative.
See full article at The Playlist »

Edinburgh Film Festival Diary #6 – Sexual Chronicles of a French Family & More

‘Taboo-busting’ is a phrase that is often heard in connection with Film Festivals; I have seen several films at the Festival over the years that have tried to resolve the problem of ‘real’ sex in movies, usually to spectacular dull or unpleasant effect (the aptly-titled “Anatomy of Hell” springs to mind). The only film I’ve seen that features real sex that actually works as a movie is “Shortbus,” which had the good sense to include some humour and drop all the navel-gazing.

In most European countries films get higher certificates for violence than sex, and isn’t that fairly reasonable? That several of these movies are French may not be surprising, nor that the country that sees an orgasm as a ‘little death’ would make such glum movies. Perhaps they were so determined not to be pornographic they made sure the audience had a grim time, a trend continued
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Review: David Mackenzie's Music Festival Rom-Com 'Tonight You're Mine' Has A Tin Ear

Not many films are set at music festivals. D.A. Pennebaker’s documentary, “Monterey Pop” is vital, we’ll grant you, and other rock docs that expose something fundamental about the artists they’re profiling (“Don’t Look Back,” “Gimme Shelter”) remain compelling portraits of some of the most important artists of the twentieth-century. But, much like stand-up comedy or running for high office, fictional recreations of what compels a human being to get up onstage in front of thousands of people and expose themselves to the public at large, are far and few between.

With this in mind we turn to “You Instead,” which is director David Mackenzie’s seventh feature film, not that you’d known it from anything on display here. It has all the manufactured, forcible ‘fun’ of a T-Mobile flash-mob advert although it attempts to weave a spontaneous star-cross’d romance out of a happenstance meeting
See full article at The Playlist »

The Comedy Critic - Steve McQueen's 'Lame'

Adam Hollingworth casts a satirical eye over Steve McQueen's Shame...

Guys, have you ever woken up one morning, taken a long hard look in the mirror, and thought to yourself, “You know what? I’m really having far too much sex and this isn’t very good for me.” Well, Michael Fassbender does just that in a stark, hauntingly un-erotic scene in his latest collaboration with artist-cum-filmmaker Steve McQueen, Shame. He even has the temerity to have this dawning moment of sexual realisation in the midst of a hard-core threesome with two unfeasibly attractive prostitutes. Some people are so ungrateful.

It may well be the case that he’s had sex with more women during the course of the film up to this point than I’ve had in my twenty two years of British amorous bashfulness, and has done so with a Magneto the size of a small Oompa Loompa,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Beatles film 'Longest Cocktail Party': Michael Winterbottom to direct

Michael Winterbottom is to direct a biopic of The Beatles titled The Longest Cocktail Party. The director has previously made films centring around music scenes including 1990s Britpop in Nine Songs and Manchester in 24 Hour Party People. The Longest Cocktail Party is based on Richard Dilello's memoir of the period between 1967 and 1970. Dilello was initially an intern at Apple Records before he became director of public relations at the legendary label. Winterbottom announced the development of the project last year, to be produced with regular producing partner Andrew Eaton and Oasis singer Liam Gallagher. Peep Show's (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Michael Winterbottom's The Killer Inside Me: it's not the violence, it's the misogyny

Michael Winterbottom's latest film The Killer Inside Me attempts to deglamourise violence. Shame the film is so chauvinistic

The extreme violence of Michael Winterbottom's latest film, The Killer Inside Me, has been the subject of much stir, not least a Channel 4 News report this Tuesday and an excellent piece by Rachel Cooke in the Observer.

I've seen the film too; and, like Rachel, felt pretty grim about the lengthy and brutal depictions of beatings-up and killings. But to me, the most troubling aspect of The Killer Inside Me is not the violence, it's the misogyny.

I can see what Winterbottom is trying to achieve: an "honest", deglamourised, portrayal of violence. I found it painful to watch, but I respect Winterbottom's experimental impulse. In a way it reminds me of the project of his 2004 film Nine Songs (Ok, not a great film). But Nine Songs was all about
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Sadomasochist Inside

  • Shadowlocked
“I hope that it has got a complexity that will cause different people to have different feelings about Lou Ford. Lou is a killer – but people in the story love him as well. He is an incredibly complex, interesting character.”

Thus says Director, Michael Winterbottom, of his latest controversial release, The Killer Inside Me. Winterbottom has directed everything from literary adaptations to science fiction, comedy, family drama, westerns and road movies, and is no stranger to controversy after critics attacked his depiction of sex in Nine Songs.

The premiere of The Killer Inside Me at this year’s Sundance Film Festival ruffled feathers for its excessive graphic violence and portrayal of women. Winterbottom’s adaptation of Jim Thompson’s pulp novel certainly elicited strong feeling, although perhaps not in the way he had hoped after the first audience question came from an outraged woman demanding: “I don’t understand how Sundance could book this movie.
See full article at Shadowlocked »

Tribeca Film Festival: Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, & Kate Hudson Court Controversy in The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me took its place among the most debated films on Tribeca’s slate at its star-studded screening, Tuesday night. Cast members Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson defended the film’s explicit violence during a Q&A session following the NY festival premiere (it debuted at Sundance in January).

The 2nd film adaptation of Jim Thompson’s 1952 novel (Stacy Keach starred in the 1976 version) follows Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Affleck) who spends most of his time on the other side of the law. It’s sparked controversy with two scenes of extreme violence toward women, including one where Ford repeatedly pummels a female (Alba) in the face. The provocative film has set off another exploration vs. exploitation argument over the work of director Michael Winterbottom (Nine Songs, The Road To Guantanamo). Hit the jump to hear the full discussion, including why Alba wanted the original scene
See full article at Collider.com »

SXSW 2010: This Movie Is Broken Review

I feel like such a musically ignorant cuss, but I'd never really heard of Broken Social Scene before watching the latest movie by Bruce McDonald (Pontypool, Hard Core Logo). And now I'm a fan, both of Broken Social Scene and of the film, which takes place in and around a free concert by the group in Toronto last summer. 

This Movie is Broken captures the warmth and vitality of a percolating musical performance in the great outdoors, topped by the champagne buzz of an affair reaching a turning point. The script by Don McKellar fabricates a longtime relationship between Bruno (Greg Calderone) and Caroline (Georgina Reilly). We meet them as they're waking up in bed together on a makeshift rooftop bed. Their friendship stretches back to childhood; for Bruno, it is the realization of a lifelong dream to have sex with Caroline. 

Looming over the next step in their relationship,
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Sturgess, Winterbottom Enter "Promised Land"

Michael Winterbottom ("Nine Songs") is next set to direct the $5 million indie "Promised Land" for Revolution Studios reports Variety.

The story details with the events that lead up to the 1948 partition of Palestine and the subsequent creation of the state of Israel.

Jim Sturgess ("Across the Universe," "21") will star as a British officer hunting down the extremist Jewish factions.

Andrew Eaton will produce and filming kicks off in the Summer.
See full article at Dark Horizons »

First Images from Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me

Hey, look, it’s Jessica Alba as a prostitute! A really classy looking prostitute, anyway. I was expecting truck stop dirty, but apparently Michael Winterbottom’s adaptation of Jim Thompson’s “The Killer Inside Me” is a period movie, with fedoras, classic cars, and movie picture shows and all that period stuff. From the guy who gave us “Nine Songs”, this is not quite what I was expecting. Aw, well, you can’t always get what you want. Some images from the movie, set for sometime in 2010, have surfaced over at Quiet Earth. Based on the novel by legendary pulp writer Jim Thompson, Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me tells the story of handsome, charming, unassuming small town sheriff’s deputy Lou Ford. Lou has a bunch of problems. Woman problems. Law enforcement problems. An ever-growing pile of murder victims in his West Texas jurisdiction. And the fact he’s a sadist,
See full article at Beyond Hollywood »

Review of "The Panda Candy"

Chun Sue (left) and Taki Zhang in The Panda Candy

The Panda Candy is a quirky, unconventional film from Chinese musician/painter/filmmaker Peng Lei. Shot in a pseudo-documentary style with non-professional actors, the piece is certainly different, though audiences may disagree strongly on whether this is a good or a bad thing.

The story — such as it is — follows the adventures of two young women, played by Chun Sue (who penned the story that inspired the film) and Taki Zhang.

Taki’s character is a lesbian who floats around with the rock band New Pants (of which Peng Lei is the front man), dating all of the girls she meets as the band tours across China. The other woman, Chun, is more interested in guys, dating a string of men until she meets her apparent soul mate in Taki.

Instead of presenting a traditional narrative of the beginning-middle-end sort,
See full article at AfterEllen.com »

Inside Deep Throat

Inside Deep Throat
PARK CITY -- Deep Throat is still the most successful indie film ever made, a $25,000 porn flick released in 1972 that may have grossed -- no one was really counting -- $600 million. So what better place to premiere Inside Deep Throat, a film by Sundance veterans Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), than here at the king of indie fests?

The docu turns out to be an often provocative and perceptive look at the history of the porn business in America, the cultural wars the movie fed into and the lives of some who worked on the film.

Since forces on the right are currently galvanized for a renewed attack on civil liberties and freedom of expression, Inside Deep Throat is making a timely appearance. The film, which Universal will release nationally Feb. 11, looks like another documentary boxoffice winner.

When asked about the landmark film he made more than 30 years ago, director Gerard Damiano (a.k.a. Jerry Gerard) admits, "No, I don't think it's a very good movie." Which has to be the most irrelevant fact one can state about Deep Throat.

A poorly shot, absurd sex comedy constructed around its star's remarkable ability at fellatio, the movie opened in Times Square at the height of the war being waged by the counterculture and sexual liberation movements against a belligerent establishment. While Erica Jong's comment that suddenly sex was out of the closet may be overstating things, the movie certainly marked the first time grandmothers stood in line to watch porn and talk show hosts and The New York Times could make references to a sex act, then considered illicit in some states, which few had any trouble understanding.

The movie traces several themes emanating from this cultural phenomenon. First there are the damaged lives of the film's stars, Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems, an assistant camera drafted into the male starring role while on location in Florida. Then there is the growth of porn, which many filmmakers and artists saw as having artistic as well as commercial potential if it could cross over into the mainstream. That never happened.

The film also navigates through the legal and political battles this film and others faced including a presidential commission's investigation into pornography and society, which was roundly ignored by the government when the commission reached the "wrong" conclusions.

For the most part, Bailey and Barbato succeed in weaving together these various themes, thanks to smart editing by William Grayburn and Jeremy Simmons. Linda Lovelace, who disowned the film in a memoir that claimed she shot it under duress, later seemed to embrace her former image in a sexy magazine layout. She died in an auto accident in 2002 dead broke, according to her sister.

Reems suffered federal prosecution. While he prevailed, this sent his life into a downward spiral of alcoholism. Thankfully, he has recovered and lives here in Park City, where he has a real estate license.

For interviews, the filmmakers astutely cast a wide net, bringing before their cameras people not always connected to the film yet with insight into the issues it raised. These talking heads include Norman Mailer, Helen Gurley Brown, Susan Brownmiller, Alan Dershowitz, Camille Paglia, Gore Vidal and Reems' zealous prosecutor, Larry Parrish. A narration delivered by Dennis Hopper is unobtrusive, appearing only when necessary.

The salient point here is that Deep Throat can be seen as one of the first battles of the culture wars that still divide this nation. The choice of interviewees tilt the viewpoint heavily in favor of freedom of expression, yet both sides conclude that damage has been done and the wars are far from over.

There seems to be no middle ground on this issue, just as there never was any intersection between mainstream and porn. Movies such as Last Tango in Paris and, more recently, 9 Songs hint at the possibilities. But when an actor such as Reems can be hauled into court for accepting a movie role, little wonder those possibilities remain unexplored.

INSIDE DEEP THROAT

Universal Pictures

An Imagine Entertainment in association with HBO Documentary Films presentation of a Brian Grazer Production in association with World of Wonder

Credits:

Writers/directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

Producer: Brian Grazer, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

Co-producer: Mona Card

Executive producer: Kim Roth

Directors of photography: David Kempner, Teodoro Maniaci

Editors: William Grayburn, Jeremy Simmons

Music: David Steinberg

MPAA rating: NC-17

Running time -- 88 minutes

Inside Deep Throat

Inside Deep Throat
PARK CITY -- Deep Throat is still the most successful indie film ever made, a $25,000 porn flick released in 1972 that may have grossed -- no one was really counting -- $600 million. So what better place to premiere Inside Deep Throat, a film by Sundance veterans Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), than here at the king of indie fests?

The docu turns out to be an often provocative and perceptive look at the history of the porn business in America, the cultural wars the movie fed into and the lives of some who worked on the film.

Since forces on the right are currently galvanized for a renewed attack on civil liberties and freedom of expression, Inside Deep Throat is making a timely appearance. The film, which Universal will release nationally Feb. 11, looks like another documentary boxoffice winner.

When asked about the landmark film he made more than 30 years ago, director Gerard Damiano (a.k.a. Jerry Gerard) admits, "No, I don't think it's a very good movie." Which has to be the most irrelevant fact one can state about Deep Throat.

A poorly shot, absurd sex comedy constructed around its star's remarkable ability at fellatio, the movie opened in Times Square at the height of the war being waged by the counterculture and sexual liberation movements against a belligerent establishment. While Erica Jong's comment that suddenly sex was out of the closet may be overstating things, the movie certainly marked the first time grandmothers stood in line to watch porn and talk show hosts and The New York Times could make references to a sex act, then considered illicit in some states, which few had any trouble understanding.

The movie traces several themes emanating from this cultural phenomenon. First there are the damaged lives of the film's stars, Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems, an assistant camera drafted into the male starring role while on location in Florida. Then there is the growth of porn, which many filmmakers and artists saw as having artistic as well as commercial potential if it could cross over into the mainstream. That never happened.

The film also navigates through the legal and political battles this film and others faced including a presidential commission's investigation into pornography and society, which was roundly ignored by the government when the commission reached the "wrong" conclusions.

For the most part, Bailey and Barbato succeed in weaving together these various themes, thanks to smart editing by William Grayburn and Jeremy Simmons. Linda Lovelace, who disowned the film in a memoir that claimed she shot it under duress, later seemed to embrace her former image in a sexy magazine layout. She died in an auto accident in 2002 dead broke, according to her sister.

Reems suffered federal prosecution. While he prevailed, this sent his life into a downward spiral of alcoholism. Thankfully, he has recovered and lives here in Park City, where he has a real estate license.

For interviews, the filmmakers astutely cast a wide net, bringing before their cameras people not always connected to the film yet with insight into the issues it raised. These talking heads include Norman Mailer, Helen Gurley Brown, Susan Brownmiller, Alan Dershowitz, Camille Paglia, Gore Vidal and Reems' zealous prosecutor, Larry Parrish. A narration delivered by Dennis Hopper is unobtrusive, appearing only when necessary.

The salient point here is that Deep Throat can be seen as one of the first battles of the culture wars that still divide this nation. The choice of interviewees tilt the viewpoint heavily in favor of freedom of expression, yet both sides conclude that damage has been done and the wars are far from over.

There seems to be no middle ground on this issue, just as there never was any intersection between mainstream and porn. Movies such as Last Tango in Paris and, more recently, 9 Songs hint at the possibilities. But when an actor such as Reems can be hauled into court for accepting a movie role, little wonder those possibilities remain unexplored.

INSIDE DEEP THROAT

Universal Pictures

An Imagine Entertainment in association with HBO Documentary Films presentation of a Brian Grazer Production in association with World of Wonder

Credits:

Writers/directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

Producer: Brian Grazer, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

Co-producer: Mona Card

Executive producer: Kim Roth

Directors of photography: David Kempner, Teodoro Maniaci

Editors: William Grayburn, Jeremy Simmons

Music: David Steinberg

MPAA rating: NC-17

Running time -- 88 minutes

9 Songs

9 Songs
Screened at the Toronto International Film Festival

TORONTO -- Prolific British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom -- who, in the past three years, has turned out the well-received 24 Hour Party People, In This World and Code 46 -- is back with another, and this one's a certified envelope-pusher.

An examination of a sexual relationship that's about as viscerally explicit as hardcore can get, 9 Songs is shot fast and dirty -- on handheld digital video relying on existing light and unscripted dialogue.

The murky, grainy result, which still offers ample visual evidence that nothing has been left to the imagination, is certain to cause a sensation.

But as satisfying viewing experiences go, the film comes up mighty short in terms of story, interesting characters and technical prowess, not to mention a 65-minute running time.

Winterbottom claims to have taken inspiration from a sexually explicit novel by controversial French author Michael Houellebecq for the graphic liaisons shared by Matt (Kieran O'Brien) and Lisa (Margo Stilley) after meeting at a rock concert in Brixton.

Matt's a glaciologist who's working in Antarctica when he reflects back on the time he spent with Lisa, an American who was studying in England.

Their sticky encounters are interspersed with concert performance footage featuring a bunch of popular bands, including Franz Ferdinand, the Von Bondies and The Dandy Warhols, as well as a 60th birthday piano performance by composer Michael Nyman, who contribute the titular 9 Songs.

Maybe the lyrics of the songs are meant to represent various points in the couple's relationship. Maybe not. Because those live recordings have all the sonic fidelity of a bootleg tape, only Mr. Winterbottom knows for sure.

Toronto fest sets slate for 3 programs

Toronto fest sets slate for 3 programs
TORONTO -- The Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday announced world premieres for U.S. filmmaker David Gordon Green's Undertow and U.K. helmer Michael Winterbottom's Nine Songs and a North American premiere for Claire Denis' L'intrus. In all, 62 titles were announced as Toronto programmers unveiled film bookings for the Discovery sidebar for emerging talent, the Vision program for experimental film and the Wavelengths forum for video artists. Toronto's Discovery lineup will present 28 features from 23 countries, including German director Hendrik Holzemann's feature film debut, Off Beat; Xiao Jiang's Electric Shadows, from China; U.S. filmmakers Lori Silverbush and Michael Skolnik's On the Outs, which portrays three Latino girls in New Jersey; Oyster Farmer, an Australia/United Kingdom romantic comedy by Anna Reeves; French director Lucile Hadzihalilovic's coming-of-age tale Innocence; Saving Face, which stars Joan Chen and comes from U.S. filmmaker Alice Wu; Macedonian filmmaker Svetozar Ristovski's Mirage; Ra'up McGee's thriller Autumn, a French-American film; Pete Travis' Omagh, an Ireland-United Kingdom co-production looking at a tragic 1998 IRA bombing in Ireland; and from Germany, Marco Kreuzpaintner's Summer Storm.

Tartan tunes up 'Songs' lawsuit

Tartan tunes up 'Songs' lawsuit
LONDON -- U.K. distributor and financier Tartan Films said Thursday that it plans to sue British production banner Revolution Films for £2 million ($3.7 million) for breach of contract in a dispute over U.K. and U.S. rights to Michael Winterbottom's Nine Songs. In a statement issued at the end of business Thursday and greenlighted to be released to the press by its lawyers, Tartan said it is suing for "loss of profits as a result of Revolution's attempt to renege on the distribution contract for the U.K. as their actions will prevent Tartan from releasing the film in 2004." The statement goes on to say that Tartan will also miss out on capitalizing "on the publicity generated by Revolution and Tartan during the Cannes film festival (in May)."

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