20 items from 2015
Spirit of the Wasp’s Nest: Diez’s Debut a Schlocky Creature Feature
African killer bees were once a common threat in disaster themed American cinema of the 1970s, reaching a penultimate plateau of ridiculousness with Irwin Allen’s famous 1978 celebrity packed stink bomb, The Swarm. Their aggressive cousins, mutant wasps, get a chance at bat in Stung, the directorial debut of Benni Diez. Previously a visual effects supervisor, whose most notable credit was Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia (2011), Diez utilizes his particular skillset to notable effect in his first feature. Unfortunately, some striking special effects are the only details saving the picture from being a complete waste of its audience’s time.
Julia (Jessica Cook) has recently had to take over control of her father’s catering business following his untimely death. She’s unsure if she’s up to snuff, relaying her fears to lone employee Paul (Matt »
- Nicholas Bell
Mexico’s Amat Escalante, whose “Heli” won Cannes’ 2013 best director award, is scaling up and branching out for sci-fi pic “The Untamed” (La region salvaje). To be made on a “significantly higher” budget than “Heli,” “The Untamed” will roll in the fall, shooting in Guanajuato, the director said.
“The Untamed” is lead-produced by Jaime Romandia’s Mantarraya, which also produced Carlos Reygadas’ 2012 best director winner “Post Tenebras Lux.” Jean Labadie’s Paris-based Le Pacte co-produces, as does Katrin Pors at Denmark’s Adomeit Film and Norway’s Mer.
Ndm, the Paris-Mexico City sales company launched by Mantarraya and Reygadas’ Nodream Cinema, will initiate pre-sales on “The Untamed” at Cannes. Manuel Alberto Claro, the d.p. on Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia” and “Nymphomaniac,” will serve as cinematographer. Peter Hjorth, the vfx supervisor on all Von Trier’s movies since “Dancer in the Dark,” will play a similar role on “Untamed. »
- John Hopewell
Sweden, with a celebrated film history of its own, has been playing an increasing role in hosting the production of both big- and small-screen projects. The country not only served as the location for the Millennium trilogy based on the novels of native son Stieg Larsson — it was also the shooting locale for the American adaptation of series’ first installment, David Fincher’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
Not wanting to lose momentum, members of the Swedish film and TV community are now lobbying the government to establish a production tax credit similar to that of many other countries. “Our main argument is the increased competition from countries in Europe who have the tax incentives in place,” says Ingrid Rudefors »
- Todd Longwell
Lars von Trier's "less is more" school of filmmaking, cofounded by Thomas Vinterberg, sought to break down to the medium to its most essential elements. They launched the movement with von Trier's "The Idiots" and Vinterberg's "The Celebration" in 1998, inspiring a generation of filmmakers to also try and do more with less, including Harmony Korine and Susanne Bier. Von Trier, like all practitioners of Dogme 95, started to bend the rules here and there, and then the manifesto became history -- though its spirit lives on in "Dogville," "Melancholia" and "Nymphomaniac." Read More: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier Watch as he explains, while making "The Idiots," the collective's ten rules, which are: 1. Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in. 2. The sound must never be produced apart from the image or vice-versa. 3. The camera must be handheld. Any movement or »
- Ryan Lattanzio
It could be said that Lars von Trier.s films have driven people to drink, because of the way that they push the envelope of dark, depressing human emotion. But now the director of Melancholia, Dogma and two Nymphomaniac films has revealed that alcohol cures his anxiety, which allows him to make those films. Ah, the bizarre circle of creativity and life. While speaking with The Guardian, Lars Von Trier admitted to attending AA meetings for the better part of a year and a half, but revealed that she has started drinking again "so that I can work." As he elaborates: When you shoot a film, it.s hard work, and you tend to drink more. . I.ve taken other drugs that helped me a lot . that was kind of the way I worked. But drinking is more to overcome some anxiety. It.s one of the least controversial statement »
Sequels to massive summer blockbusters arrive in theaters with a built-in audience who, like most people, want to see a story to its conclusion. An added bonus for those same moviegoers is when studios manage to corral the same actors back into the fold. You know, so you’re not left wondering why Tony Stark’s dad looks loads different to the last time you saw him. Luckily, Roland Emmerich has for the most part convinced the cast of Independence Day to reprise their roles for its sequel Independence Day 2 (which may be called Independence Day Forever: Part 1).
While Will Smith has turned down offers to star (’cause he’s busy filming a little movie called Suicide Squad), the majority of his onscreen chums have said yes to those same exact opportunities. Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox and even Brent Spiner have signed on for another battle with the extraterrestrials. »
- Gem Seddon
Filmmaker to give masterclass ahead of French theatrical release of Nymphomaniac Directors’ Cut.
Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier may not be headed to the Croisette this year but he will be touching down in France in May nonetheless for a masterclass at the Cinemathèque Française.
The special event on May 4 will tie in with the French theatrical release of Nymphomaniac Volume I and Volume II: Extended Director’s Cut by Les Films du Losange on May 6.
The distributor confirmed that it will be Von Trier’s first official visit to France since the “painful episode” at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, at which he made an ill-judged joke about being a Nazi during the press conference for Melancholia.
The episode led to him being temporarily declared “persona non grata” by the festival as well as a French police investigation into whether he violated a law on war crime denial.
The charges were dropped six months later and Cannes »
There seems to be some kind of movement out there where low-key indie dramas of personal tragedy cloak themselves in the veneer of heady science fiction concepts: films like Mike Cahill's Another Earth, James Byrkit Ward's Coherence, Lars Von Trier's Melancholia, and what is perhaps the sub-genres most recent peak, Shane Carruth's Upstream Color. Spaceships, laser guns and time portals are replaced with hand-wringing, self-doubt and self-destruction. There is metaphor aplenty. William Blake and his wife Jules are a seemingly normal, over-worked, slightly distracted parents. As the opening moments of The Reconstruction of William Zero unfold, he is distractedly scrambling to get to work, she is busy in the kitchen preparing a breakfast that nobody seems to want, and their son Kevin is itching to...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Casting on Roland Emmerich’s long-awaited blockbuster sequel continues today as The Wrap reports that Travis Tope is now circling a part in Independence Day 2. Should he lock down the gig, Tope will be the latest in a long line of franchise newbies destined to duke it out with the extraterrestrials in another global battle.
Those fresh faces include Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nymphomaniac, Melancholia), Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games series), who is expected to play the son-in-law of Bill Pullman’s President Whitmore from the 1996 original, and Jessie Usher (When The Game Stands Tall), who will bust out the quips as the stepson of Will Smith’s fast-talking pilot Steven Hiller.
With specifics on Tope’s role under wraps, there’s a good chance he may also play a character tenuously linked to the original as well. Forging a stronger connection to that first outing are a small ensemble of »
- Gem Seddon
The cast of Indepenence Day 2 is growing as THR has reported that Nymphomaniac star Charlotte Gainsbourg is in talks to join the sci-fi action flick. Gainsbourg has appeared in three of Danish director Lars von Trier’s films; Antichrist, Melancholia, and Nymphomaniac, but I’m a bit more familiar with her work in 21 Grams and The Science Of Sleep. Joining the cast of Independence Day 2 would be quite the departure from her usual roles, but everyone deserves to take some »
- Kevin Fraser
Charlotte Gainsbourg, who most recently starred in director Lars von Trier's controversial Nymphomaniac Volume I and Nymphomaniac Volume II, is in negotiations to join the cast of 20th Century Fox's sci-fi action sequel Independence Day 2. No details were given for her character, but if a deal is finalized, she will join Jessie Usher, Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum, who reprises his David Levinson role from 1996's Independence Day. While Will Smith is not returning as Air Force pilot Stephen Hiller for the follow-up, it is believed that Bill Pullman will be back as Thomas Whitmore.
We reported earlier this month that Jessie Usher is playing the son of Will Smith's Stephen Hiller, but in the original Independence Day, it was never revealed that Hiller had a son. His girlfriend, Jasmine Dubrow (Vivica A. Fox) did have a young son named Dylan (Ross Bagley), but Hiller was not the father. »
It appears Independence Day 2 has found its female lead, as The Hollywood Reporter reports Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nymphomaniac) is in talks to star opposite Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, and Jeff Goldblum in Roland Emmerich's sequel, which comes 20 years after the first film made its way into theaters. I'm not terribly well-versed in Gainsbourg's oeuvre, in fact Melancholia is a film of hers that's just been sitting idle in my Netflix queue for the last couple years, so perhaps I ought to get on that, and no, no Nymphomaniac or Antichrist in my life either. As for this Independence Day sequel, I quite enjoy Independence Day, and I had a bunch of toys related to the film when I was growing up, but I think the primary reason I enjoyed the film was the combination of Goldblum and Will Smith, the latter of whom unfortunately won't be back in the saddle for this one. »
- Jordan Benesh
In one of the most interesting pieces of casting news to land this week, THR reports that Charlotte Gainsbourg has entered talks to appear in sci-fi sequel Independence Day 2. The actress is known for her aggressively method performances in Lars Von Trier’s back catalogue of works including Nymphomaniac, Antichrist and Melancholia, so stepping away from character-driven pieces and into the realm of blockbuster fare is certainly an unexpected move for Gainsbourg.
The long-gestating follow-up to Roland Emmerich’s 1996 box office behemoth has hit headlines in recent weeks due to an influx of new cast members. In addition to today’s news, Emmerich – who’s back at the helm – took to Twitter not long ago to announce Jeff Goldblum’s return as scientist David Levinson. Along with original star Will Smith (who won’t be reprising his role), Goldblum knocked out the alien threat by administering a digital virus »
- Gem Seddon
Refresh for latest… The Weinstein Co has acquired U.S. distribution rights to The Eichmann Show, the feature-length drama that stars Martin Freeman and Anthony Lapaglia and charts the 1961 Trial of the Century of Adolf Eichmann. Directed by Paul Andrew Williams, the drama follows the televised trial of one of the key architects of the Holocaust in a behind-the-scenes look at how black-listed TV director Leo Hurwitz (Lapaglia) and ground-breaking producer Milton Fruchtman (Freeman) set out to capture his testimony. Rebecca Front, Andy Nyman and Nicholas Woodeson also star. Content Media is selling the Feelgood Fiction/BBC production that integrates actual footage from the trial which became the first truly global TV event — shown in 37 countries over four months — and was the first time the horror of the death camps had been heard live from the mouths of its victims. Simon Block wrote the script for the film which aired »
- Nancy Tartaglione
Exclusive: Shoot underway on Childhood of a Leader.
Berenice Bejo, Robert Pattinson and Stacy Martin have been joined by Liam Cunningham (Game Of Thrones), Yolande Moreau (Amelie) and Sophie Curtis (Arbitrage) for Brady Corbet’s directorial feature debut The Childhood of A Leader, which is shooting now on location in Hungary.
The film charts the birth of a terrifying ego during the rise of fascism in the early 20thcentury.
Protagonist reps international sales, Wme handles North America.
The drama is a Unanimous Entertainment and Mact Films production in association with FilmTeam in Hungary. Funding comes from Media House Capital, Bow and Arrow Entertainment, Scope Pictures and Scion Pictures.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Andreas Wiseman)
Controversial director makes rare appearance and speeches at Danish film awards.
Lars von Trier has once more broken his “vow of silence” to accept an armful of prizes at Denmark’s Robert awards.
The controversial Danish filmmaker’s Nymphomaniac: Director’s Cut scooped eight trophies including best feature and best director at the Danish Film Academy’s awards last night (Feb 1) – and von Trier was in attendance at the ceremony for the first time.
Accepting the Robert for best feature, von Trier said: “From Peter Aalbæk Jensen (his producing partner at Zentropa Entertainments), I know that some of the Robert awards are won by five votes, so I would like to thank those five persons in the auditorium. Thank you very much.”
The director of Antichrist and Dancer in the Dark has rarely spoken in public after being expelled from the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, where he brought Melancholia, after publicly joking that he was a Nazi »
- email@example.com (Jorn Rossing Jensen) firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
Hailing from the co-producers of Jonas Alexander Arnby’s “When Animals Dream,” the well-polished genre film boasts an international cast, headlined by Cosmina Stratan, who won the actress nod at Cannes for her role in “Beyond the Hills”; Ellen Dorrit Petersen, who won Norway’s Amanda award for her part in “Blind”; as well as Peter Christoffersen from “The Bridge.”
Script was penned by Abbasi and Maren Louise Käehne, whose credits include “Borgen” and “The Bridge.” Born in Iran, Abbasi moved to Sweden to study architecture at the Royal Academy of Science in Stockholm and later attended the Danish National Film School in film directing. He’s helmed two shorts: “The Box” and “M for Markus.”
Set in an isolated villa in the middle of the forest, »
- Elsa Keslassy
London — Frances McDormand, Logan Lerman, Brit Marling, Christian Slater and Jonathan Pryce have joined the cast of “The Wife,” which stars Glenn Close. Embankment will commence international sales at the European Film Market in Berlin.
Close stars as the cool, elegant Joan Castleman, a flawlessly gracious wife who gladly gave up her writing ambitions to play the role of helpmate to her husband, the philandering literary giant Joe Castleman (Pryce). On the eve of Joe’s Nobel Prize for Literature Joan decides to leave him.
Slater is the determined, unauthorized biographer who unwittingly becomes the catalyst that prompts Joan’s decision. A startling secret at the heart of Joan and Joe’s relationship is laid bare in a “poignant, funny and emotional journey about the conflicts of love and ambition.”
Marling will play the younger Joan, »
- Leo Barraclough
Veteran Dutch producer Stienette Bosklopper, owner and MD of Circe Film, is turning screenwriter and has written two projects already in advanced development.
Bosklopper, whose credits include Wolfsbergen and Brownian Movement, will be at this week’s Iffr CineMart in Rotterdam in a dual capacity - as screenwriter and producer of Nanouk Leopold’s new feature, Cobain.
The €1.6m film, which has already received backing from the Netherlands Film Fund, is being coproduced with Waterland Film.
“It’s part of a personal development you have at a certain stage in your career,” the producer says of her foray into screenwriting.
“I had been working with a lot of writers and directors. Somehow, there was an urge to contribute on a different level. To my own amazement, it is going very well. It comes quite naturally and I have the feeling that I will be continuing doing this.”
Cobain is the story of a teenage boy with a »
- email@example.com (Geoffrey Macnab)
Previously we looked at ten runners-up -- practically an alternate top ten if you will the year was so good. Now on to the list you've been waiting for as our own awardage begins.
The years best films marched in the streets in London and Alabama, cruised Scotland with nefarious intent, uncovered skeletons in Poland, and jogged around DC. They performed on the stages of Manhattan while also house hunting there; neither activity is for the faint of heart. Only two of them sprang from books though another cast its biggest spell while holding one. Two taught us about history in ways that felt absolutely relevant and useful to how we live now and one let us watch 12 years of it unfold. The thing that unites all ten is the imagination, fine judgement (when to employ a light touch and when to hit hard) and technical prowess of the filmmakers and actors, »
- NATHANIEL R
20 items from 2015
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