9 items from 2017
The New York Film Festival's 55th edition begins on September 28th and runs through the first two weeks of October. This year they're super hooked on France (not that there's anything wrong with that) and their longstanding compulsion to screen every single thing that the prolific South Korean director Hong Sang-Soo has ever shot results in him hogging 2 of the 25 slots. Predicting a Hong Sang-Soo at Nyff is like saying "Woody Allen is filming an untitled new project this year"... it's always true so you will always be prophetic.
The results of the Nyff lineup are helpful when planning your Toronto festival because many of the titles overlap. If it's showing at Nyff I try to avoid it in Toronto knowing I can see it in just two weeks time. But in some cases the need to shove something »
- NATHANIEL R
For years, video game fans have been looking forward to the day when Hollywood adaptations of their favorite properties would rise above the god-awful level of Street Fighter, and above the niche or mildly passable quality of Resident Evil. Last year, between Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft, we had hoped that the age of video game adaptations would be upon us, but it was yet another misstep of a year in an all-too-common narrative. But it seems like we may have rested our hopes in the wrong place. Perhaps the film medium wasn’t the one that was best suited for video game adaptations.
Enter producer Adi Shankar. About a year and a half ago, he teamed up with the animation studio Frederator to bring Castlevania to life in animated form. The series is hitting Netflix later this year, and Shankar promises it to be the best video game adaptation to date. »
- Joseph Medina
Opening in L.A. and other cities June 16, “Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe” is a stylishly accomplished and intellectually well thought out character study of a man who was the most popular author in the world in the 1920s and 1930s and who, today, is nearly forgotten. Told through six windows of 20 minutes each, this unique storytelling technique gives the film an immediacy as each part of Stefan Zweig’s life plays out in real time.
Stefan Zweig’s books have been made into 23 movies around the world, including his novel, Letter from an Unknown Woman, which was adapted to the screen in 1948 by Max Ophüls and starred Joan Fontaine and Louis Jourdain. His writings have also inspired Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel”.
Having just read his memoir, The World of Yesterday and having been on my own private search for what it means to have to leave your »
- Sydney Levine
Amber Heard is teaming up with Polish auteur Agnieszka Holland. Heard will topline Holland’s upcoming crime thriller “The Kind Worth Killing,” Deadline reports. The feature hails from Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions.
“The Kind Worth Killing” is based on Peter Swanson’s 2015 novel of the same name, which has earned comparisons to Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train,” recently adapted into a movie starring Emily Blunt, and Patricia Highsmith’s classic “Strangers on a Train,” the source material for the 1951 Alfred Hitchcock film.
The novel centers on Lily, “a mysterious and stunning killer who meets Ted Severson on a late-night flight from London to Boston,” Deadline summarizes. “Ted confesses that he’s had thoughts about murdering his unfaithful wife. Lily offers to help, and the two form a strange, twisted bond while plotting his wife’s demise.”
“[I’m] really intrigued by this story. It’s full of paradoxes and I love paradoxes,” Holland has said of “The Kind Worth Killing.” “The main heroine is tough as steel, but also as fragile as glass. Is she a victim? A psychopath? An avenger? What a great role for a talented actress!” She continued, “The storyline is unpredictable, the genre feels fresh. A psychological thriller, which sometimes veers off towards black comedy, mixing humor with gore, genuine emotions with a detective mystery.”
Holland’s “In Darkness” was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Oscars, and she received a nod in 1992 for her “Europa Europa” script, which she also directed. Her most recent film, “Spoor,” premiered at the Berlinale this year, where it won the Silver Bear. Holland has directed episodes of series such as “The Killing,” “Treme,” “House of Cards,” and “The Affair.”
Heard’s credits include “The Adderall Diaries,” “The Danish Girl,” and “Magic Mike Xxl.” She’ll play Mera, the Queen of Atlantis, in the highly anticipated “Justice League” movie, opening November 17.
Amber Heard to Star in Agnieszka Holland’s “The Kind Worth Killing” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
The worst choices for festival competition aren’t necessarily the worst films. Those which aim too high, go too far, try too hard often end up making a complete fool of themselves. But even spectacular failures could make for challenging, rewarding experiences, and more readily justify their presence at a platform meant to celebrate groundbreakers than movies that are just, thoroughly if inoffensively, unremarkable. Spoor, which marks Polish wrier-director Agnieszka Holland’s return to feature filmmaking after her Oscar-nominated Holocaust drama In Darkness, is sadly such an uninspired dud. Nothing about it screams gross ineptitude, but the universal below-averageness proves grating.
Set in a remote village surrounded by flora and fauna where at any minute wild hogs can stroll into your garden unannounced, the film stars Agnieszka Mandat-Grabka as retired part-time English teacher Janina. Although she obviously stays in a lot, Janina seems quite beloved by her young students, fellow townsmen, »
- Zhuo-Ning Su
Eagle-eyed viewers better versed in the Polish language will have to scour the end credits of Agnieszka Holland’s “Spoor” to find out if any animals were actually harmed in the making of this feisty, genre-bending film. Though far from perfect, this one part revenge thriller, one part eco-reverie, tied together with sumptuous visual brio, is the “John Wick”/ “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” mash-up you never knew you always wanted.
See MoreThe 2017 IndieWire Berlinale Bible: Every Review, Interview and News Item Posted During the Festival
A note about the filmmaker first: Holland has one of the more interesting careers in international cinema, directing period dramas in French, Czech and Polish for the Euro-art-house circuit, while at the same time working steadily as a hired gun on prestige American series. Having spent the past several years working with NBC, HBO and Netflix, Holland clearly relishes her return to the feature filmmaking, »
- Ben Croll
WestEnd Films has acquired worldwide sales rights to politically charged project “Gareth Jones,” the next film from twice-Oscar-nominated Polish director Agnieszka Holland, whose latest movie “Spoor” is in competition at the Berlin Film Festival.
“Gareth Jones” tells the real-life story of the eponymous Welsh journalist who exposed the Holodomor, Stalin’s 1933 genocide-famine in Ukraine. Research suggests that the reporter was murdered with the help of Soviet agents the day before he turned 30. His reporting of the famine was said to have inspired George Orwell to write “Animal Farm.”
Scriptwriter Andrea Serdaru-Barbul first approached Holland, who is the daughter of journalists, with her script two years ago. “Since then the story has become even more relevant,” Holland told Variety. “The situation around us has change, and you can find some similarities with the 1930s.”
Holland says she receives many scripts with political themes, but this one stood out. “I am always interested in politically charged subjects, »
- Leo Barraclough
‘Land of Mine’ (Courtesy: Toronto International Film Festival)
By: Carson Blackwelder
If there’s one thing for certain about the foreign-language film category at the Oscars it’s that the Academy sure has a soft spot for films about World War II. Just this year alone there are three movies on the Academy’s shortlist that are set during that very tumultuous time — Denmark’s Land of Mine, Norway’s The King’s Choice, and Russia’s Paradise. How often has the Academy nominated or given the win to films based specifically during the World War II era?
According to Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter, the best foreign-language film Oscar race is shaping up to potentially only feature one of these World War II-set movies in the official nominations. So far Land of Mine is listed as a frontrunner along with Germany’s Toni Erdmann, Iran’s The Salesman, »
- Carson Blackwelder
By: Carson Blackwelder
The greatest thing about the best foreign-language film category is the recognition of works from all around the world. Throughout the years, movies made outside the United States of America have gotten the recognition they deserve thanks to the implementation of this specific award. With the 2017 Oscars right around the corner, let’s take a look back at the distribution of nominations and wins across the seven continents that make up this big world we inhabit.
This year’s best foreign-language film contenders are: Toni Erdmann (Germany), The Salesman (Iran), Land of Mine (Denmark), A Man Called Ove (Sweden), Paradise (Russia), The King’s Choice (Norway), My Life as a Zucchini (Switzerland), It’s Only the End of the World (Canada), and Tanna (Australia). This site’s namesake, The Hollywood’s Scott Feinberg, lists the first five of those as frontrunners and the other four as major threats. »
- Carson Blackwelder
9 items from 2017
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