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Are you getting tired of Gilmore Girls yet? Do you need something to watch that will (maybe) mess your brain up a little? Lucky for you, Netflix Instant is chock-full of several mind-benders. Whether you’re looking for a time-traveling sci-fi love story or an animated philosophical ramble, these are the films that will make you scream at your laptop, "What the hell is going on?" In the best way possible, of course.1. Holy Motors (2012)Written and directed by French filmmaker Leos Carax, Holy Motors is composed of tiny vignettes strung together by the same protagonist. The film stars the director’s longtime muse Denis Lavant as "The Sleeper," an actor whose gigs are mysterious real-life roles booked throughout his extremely busy day. Donning different outfits and makeup, which he changes in the privacy of his giant limousine, we follow "The Sleeper" as he becomes the consoling father of a »
- Hazel Cills
30. Conspirators of Pleasure (1996)
Directed by: Jan Švankmajer
We’ve already seen two films from Jan Švankmajeron the list, but this elaborate movie about a number of separate, but connected people takes the cake. Conspirators of Pleasure follows six people, each with their own incredibly unsettling fetish. A letter carrier ingests dough balls every night before bed. A clerk is obsessed with a new anchor and creates a machine that pleasure him while he watches her. That anchorwoman has an odd obsession with live carp. One customer of the clerk’s practice paper mâché voodoo with a chicken costume and a doll resembling his neighbor. The neighbor has a doll of him that she brutalizes. Finally, the anchormwoman’s husband rubs homemade contraptions to rub all over his body. Conspirators could simply be a character study that, while still strange, would not be nearly as creepy. Švankmajer’s known for his animation and puppetry, »
- Joshua Gaul
Today I’ll be going back once again and looking at a recent Oscar lineup and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories. I mentioned that potentially I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, and while I’m going to be doing that here and there, there’s a chance that this could turn into a long running thing. Again, if nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of the year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit more. Alright, here goes nothing: Best Picture – Argo The nominees here for this ceremony were Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. »
- Joey Magidson
In the moviegoer’s hierarchy of needs, a PG-13 “Expendables” is about as essential as a Joel Schumacher remake of “Tokyo Story.” Or, to put it in terms more appropriate to its target audience: You need “The Expendables 3” like you need a kick in the crotch, and while this running-on-fumes sequel may not be quite as painful a thing to experience, it will waste considerably more of your time. From train-crashing start to back-slapping finish, Lionsgate’s latest and longest showcase for Sylvester Stallone and other aging slabs of B-movie beef — the marquee names this time around include Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford — smacks of desperation and teen-audience pandering, from the literally bloodless action to the introduction of a younger, hotter backup team of fighters (call them the Hip Replacements). It’s an obvious, half-hearted ploy to keep the beleaguered series going, when it would »
- Variety Staff
Yesterday, Tiff’s Wavelengths program unveiled a Locarno-heavy line-up of feature-length films that all aim to push the cinematic medium to its breaking point. Highlights include new films by Pedro Costa’s first “proper” feature in eight years, Horse Money (scarequotes because Ne change rien really is quite a singular, musky piece of work – see pic above); Eugène Green’s typically Baroque La Sapienza; 338 minutes of gruelling Filipino mastery from Lav Diaz in the form of From What is Before; Yoo Soon-mi’s essay film on the tensions between North and South Korea, Songs From the North; and The Princess of France, Matías Piñeiro’s follow-up to his breakout revisionist Shakespeare drama. Other features include Tsai Ming-liang’s sixth and longest entry in his Walker series, Journey to the West (complete with a Denis Lavant (Holy Motors) cameo); Cannes hits like Sergei Loznitsa’s Maidan and Lisandro Alonso’s Jauja »
- Blake Williams
• Kristin Wiig is set to make her directorial debut on an untitled buddy comedy that she and her Bridesmaids co-scribe Annie Mumolo will write together. The story is about “best friends who find themselves in over their heads and out of their depths, which were, perhaps, not too deep to begin with.” Wiig will also star in the pic, which TriStar chairman Tom Rothman joked will be “a searing and depressing drama, which is what the world needs right now.” [New York Times]
- Lindsey Bahr
Even though the movie is set in California, nearly all of it is being shot in Australia. Johnson portrays a copter pilot who rescues his daughter in San Francisco, where less than a week of shooting is taking place — mostly “plate” shots to establish location.
Brad Peyton is directing from a script by “The Conjuring” scribes Carey and Chad Hayes, with a previous draft written by Carlton Cuse. Beau Flynn is producing through his FlynnPictureCo. along with Village Roadshow.
- Dave McNary
It’s been shooting in Australia for weeks already, but director Brad Peyton and the team behind earthquake action adventure San Andreas have only now seen fit to announce that Kylie Minogue is joining the film.San Andreas already features Dwayne Johnson as a special-ops fire rescue operative who must team up with his ex-wife (Carla Gugino) to make the dangerous trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco to rescue their daughter (Alexandra Daddario) when a massive earthquake rocks California.Minogue, who has pulled back from her acting career in recent years to focus on music (and to be a judge on the UK version of The Voice), still makes time for the occasional movie, and was last seen on the big screen in the barnstormingly good, utterly baffling Holy Motors. Details about her role in San Andreas have yet to be released, but we do know she’s joining »
Australian pop star and actress Kylie Minogue has joined the cast of the 3D disaster adventure San Andreas, which is currently shooting on the Gold Coast of Australia, the actress' home country. The actress/singer is also expected to contribute to the soundtrack.
While Kylie Minogue's character is being kept under wraps, she joins a cast that includes Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Colton Haynes and Art Parkinson. The story centers on a Los Angeles special ops firefighter (Dwayne Johnson) who travels to San Francisco with his ex-wife (Carla Gugino) to rescue their daughter (Alexandra Daddario) after a massive earthquake strikes.
Brad Peyton is directing from a script that was originally written by Jeremy Passmore and Andre Fabrizio, which was reworked by Allan Loeb, Carlton Cuse, Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes. Warner Bros. has issued a June 5, 2015 release date.
Though Kylie Minogue is best known for her singing career, having won a Grammy Award, released 12 albums and served as a judge on the U.K. version of The Voice, she actually got her start as an actress on the soap opera Neighbors. Since then, she’s dabbled in acting a few times, appearing on an episode of Doctor Who and in films like Moulin Rouge!, Jack & Diane and Holy Motors. Now, she’s signed on for another supporting role, in the Dwayne Johnson-led earthquake thriller San Andreas.
Minogue’s role is being kept under wraps for the time being, but the film stars Johnson as a special ops firefighter who, along with his ex-wife (Carla Gugino), makes the perilous trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco in search of their daughter (Alexandra Daddario) after the ‘Big One’ hits and utterly decimates California. Johnson’s protagonist faces threats not only from Mother Nature, »
- Isaac Feldberg
If you want an unnerving, truly disturbing cinematic experience, be sure to check out Borgman, from Dutch helmer Alex van Warmerdam. It’s a scary, eerie, darkly humorous flick filled with questions about identity and the true nature of evil, and it’s sure to stick in your head for long after you leave the theater.
Now, you can check out a new clip from the film, in which the title character (played creepily by Jan Bijvoet) innocently requests a bath in the home of an upper class family, but soon grows more taunting as he baits the houseowner (Jeroen Perceval) with the claim that he knew his wife Marina (Hadewych Minis) when she was a nurse by the name of Maria.
The clip comes courtesy of The Playlist over at Indiewire. Check it out below:
Our own Matt Donato just recently reviewed the film (and you can check out »
- Isaac Feldberg
Dutch filmmaker Alex van Warmerdam has done something amazing with his 2013 Cannes hit Borgman – he’s struck me almost completely silent. Assembling a cautionary tale of true evil’s many charismatic forms, no 2014 watch has personally unearthed such conflicting reactions thus far, and this is coming from a horror lover who adores filmmakers who can sneakily establish a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Borgman represents broody, unnerving filmmaking, that fact remains undeniable, but does Warmerdam’s haunting suburban nightmare possess enough sense to remain watchable? As Van Warmerdam expresses a darker, more dangerous Michel Gondry style, Borgman becomes something of an art-house horror film aided by perception, not understanding – a strong stylistic choice, but one that might thin out hordes of viewers.
- Matt Donato
Itself loosely based on a true story, the 19th century novella by Heinrich von Kleist, “Michael Kohlhaas," has been adapted several times for screen, notably by Volker Schlöndorff in 1969, even spawning “The Jack Bull," a pretty good HBO restaging starring Johns Cusack and Goodman, in 1999. But with Schlöndorff himself telling us in an interview that he considered his version his "biggest failure” it would have seemed that there was still room for the definitive, high-profile, straight-up adaptation. And on paper, that’s what Arnaud de Pallières’ “Michael Kohlhaas” was meant to be -- just check out its impeccable line-up of European stars-with-major-arthouse-appeal: Mads Mikkelsen (last year’s Cannes Best Actor for “The Hunt”), Bruno Ganz (whose sclerotic Hitler in “Downfall” spawned its own remarkably resilient meme) and Denis Lavant (coming off his chameleonic performance in the critically worshipped “Holy Motors”). But stacked with a »
- Jessica Kiang
Jeez. Time sure does fly by. It’s hard to fathom that we’re now in year number four with our world film critic on the La Croisette gallop poll, which we conveniently refer to simply as: our Cannes Critics’ Panel. I’m proud to say that a good dozen of us have remained a tight bunch. Back in 2011, our critics decided to “vote for Pedro” and La piel que habito over Von Trier, Kaurismäki, Dardennes and Palme d’Or winner Terrence Malick. In 2012, Haneke’s golden Amour won by a nose over 2nd place vote getter Holy Motors while last year’s Blue is the Warmest Color (aka La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2) was the unanimous pick (and tallied the highest score ever) not only by the Spielberg jury, but our own collective. How will the stars align for the eighteen Palme hopefuls? Where will our set of »
- Eric Lavallee
In “Journey to the West,” helmer Tsai Ming-liang’s perennial protagonist, Lee Kang-sheng, inches with excruciating slowness through Marseille’s land- and cityscapes in a series of 14 magnificently composed shots. Garbed in a monk’s red robe that makes him immediately discernible within the city’s subdued palette, his barely moving presence turns the frame itself into narrative, with all passing figures in the tableau defined by their reactions to him. Like some ambulatory anachronism, his stillness conjures up an alternate space-time continuum, another dimension slowly unfolding from within the core of urban hubbub. This exquisite 56-minute gem should glow at fests and museums.
Loosely based on the life of Xuanzang, a seventh-century Buddhist monk who trekked across Asia for 17 years in search of “the void,” “Journey to the West” marks the sixth such snaillike cinematic perambulation from Tsai and Lee. “The walker,” as Tsai refers to Lee’s monk, »
- Ronnie Scheib
So let’s get one thing straight: the stylistic tendencies of the jury president’s own work doesn’t make much of an impact in the grand scheme of things. Spielberg didn’t fall for Kore-eda’s treacly Like Father, Like Son last year; Burton awarded Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – perhaps the least commercial, most artsy-fartsy Palme d’Or winner ever – debunking predictions that the 2010 would land in the lap of a simpleton like (egad) Doug Liman or Alejandro González Iñárritu; while David Lynch’s jury, back in 2002, gave the top prize to Roman Polanski’s bland, decidedly not brooding or subconsciously terrifying Holocaust drama, The Pianist. Which is to say that the noise about women having an advantage this year (all two of them) because Jane Campion is the Jury president is just that: noise.
Recently, the Palme has gone to consensus »
- Blake Williams
‘Maps to the Stars’ trailer and clips: Julianne Moore goes ballistic after losing a role, Robert Pattinson learns that Mia Wasikowska’s parents are brother and sister (photo: Robert Pattinson in ‘Maps to the Stars’) The Hollywood satire Maps to the Stars, the second David Cronenberg-Robert Pattinson collaboration to be screened in competition for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival — following Cosmopolis two years ago — is one of the most anticipated films at the festival for obvious reasons: although an international box office disappointment, the brainy, stream-of-consciousness Cosmopolis earned a number of enthusiastic reviews and was the runner-up (trailing only Leos Carax’s fellow white limo movie Holy Motors) on the list of Best Films of 2012 compiled by the prestigious Cahiers du Cinéma. Check out below the "international" (as in, with French subtitles) red band trailer for Maps to the Stars clip, and you’ll »
- Andre Soares
If you're a serious film buff, you're a fan of Wild Bunch, the European financiers behind films like Enter The Void, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Holy Motors, Only God Forgives and a number of the most exciting, confrontational foreign films to reach American shores. They serve as backer for these and other arthouse sensations, while distributing some of the more exciting American pictures overseas. And at Cannes, Wild Bunch has prepared an incredibly exciting slate of diverse, unusual, and surprisingly commercial pitches. For example, are you ready for another Spring Breakers? Leading the Wild Bunch Cannes slate is Spring Breakers: The Second Coming according to Screen Daily. The project is seeking funding, and will follow the Spring Breakers as they battle "an extreme militant Christian sect that attempts to convert them." "It's not a direct sequel, although there are allusions to some of the characters in the original, »
2012 saw her win critical acclaim in Leos Carax's surreal fantasy-drama Holy Motors, while this year sees her reunite with Nick Cave (listen to their ballad 'Where the Wild Roses Grow' here) for 20,000 Days on Earth.
Kylie spoke to Digital Spy about her new Cave collaboration and why she feels like "Kylie with lights on" when she's performing.
And Street Fighter? We didn't dare go there!
Additional reporting by Rob Copsey »
One of the great performers in cinema in the past 30 years, the acrobatic, elastic, kinetic Denis Lavant has defined some of the best films from the world's best filmmakers. Appropriately associated with the films of Leos Carax, in which he has appeared in 4 of 5 features (as well as a short), and one of the greatest endings in movies, the dance sequence of Claire Denis' Beau travail, the stage and film actor is something of an idol of cinephiles, almost exclusively lending his talent to auteurs. Now, Lavant can add another master to his resume: Taiwanese master Tsai Ming-liang, with whom he made Journey to the West—which we've already covered in Notebook here and here—a film that again takes advantage of the actor's physicality, but in a new way.
Adam Cook: You're best known for your physical presence in your movies, but there is also a strong »
- Adam Cook
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