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Trailer Park: Kick-ass Review

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By Christopher Stipp

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Check out my new column, This Week In Trailers, at SlashFilm.com and follow me on Twitter under the name: Stipp

The Basketball Diaries - Blu-ray Review

I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it but this is without question the best film Leonardo DiCaprio has ever done.

A story about the young life of Jim Carroll, the film is an abrasive, dark, evocative portrait that showcases DiCaprio as an actor that seamlessly blends into the background of a story that is nothing short of compelling. Now in Blu-ray this is a wonderful chance to revisit a movie that helped Leo be known as an actor to contend with but, I think, the real joy in re-watching this movie is its dealing with drug culture that wasn’t proselytizing in nature but exposed it for what it was.

There was
See full article at Quick Stop »

'The White Ribbon' nominated for 13 Lolas

'The White Ribbon' nominated for 13 Lolas
Berlin -- Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" may have missed out on the best foreign film Oscar but the Austrian filmmaker is all but certain to sweep the German Film Awards after "The White Ribbon" received 13 nominations for the country's top prize, the Lolas.

"The White Ribbon" picked up Lola noms in all possible categories, including best film, best director and best acting noms for stars Burghart Klaussner and Susanne Lothar.

Cinematographer Christian Berger, whose stark black-and-white images earned him an Oscar nomination, is the favurite to win the Lola for best cinematography at the German Film Awards on April 23 in Berlin.

"When We Leave," a drama from first-time director Feo Aladag, was the big surprise, earning six Lola nominations including ones for best film and best actress for Sibel Kekilli ("Head-On") in her comeback role as a young woman banished from her devout Muslim family.

Hans-Christian Schmid's
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

The Baader Meinhof Complex Simplified on DVD and Blu-ray March 30th

You can bring home a German indie film on DVD and Blu-ray at the end of March. The Baader Meinhof Complex will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 30. We have no pricing details at this time, but you can take a look at the Bd cover art and the special features below. The film stars Martina Gedeck, Moritz Bleibtreu, Johanna Wokalek, Nadja Uhl, Jan Josef Liefers, Stipe Erceg, Niels-Bruno Schmidt and Vinzenz Kiefer.

Germany in the 1970s: Murderous bomb attacks, the threat of terrorism and the fear of the enemy inside are rocking the very foundations of the yet fragile German democracy. The radicalised children of the Nazi generation lead by Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin are fighting a violent war against what they perceive as the new face of fascism: American imperialism supported by the German establishment, many of whom have a Nazi past. Their
See full article at MovieWeb »

'Pope Joan' heads strong local German b.o.

Cologne, Germany -- Sonke Wortmann's "Pope Joan" crowned Germany's boxoffice this weekend, one of seven German productions or co-productions to make the top ten.

The Constantin Film production, which stars Johanna Wokalek as a 9th century female pontiff, grossed $4.4 million in its first four days, with 370,000 admissions over 461 theaters. The German-Spanish-Italian co-production was shot in English and also stars John Goodman and David Wenham. Summit Entertainment is handling international sales.

German productions crowded out most imports. Simon Verhoeven's romantic comedy "Men In the City," came in at number three, just behind Disney animated family feature "G-Force." A Warner Bros. release, "Men" stars Christian Ulmen, Til Schweiger and Nadja Uhl and has grossed more than $10 million in its first three weeks.

Besides "G-Force," only two other Hollywood titles made the German top ten: "Up," which came in at number five in its fifth week in release and Sony's romcom "The Ugly Truth,
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

European Film Awards 2009: Prix Eurimages

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Daratt (top); Kevin Bishop, Siobhan Hewlett, Marianne Faithfull in Irina Palm (middle); Nadja Uhl, Thekla Reuten in Twin Sisters (bottom) The European Film Academy has announced that the winners of the 2009 Prix Eurimages, an award "acknowledging the decisive role of co-productions in the European film industry," will go to two producers "who have combined their efforts to develop and promote European cinema": Diana Elbaum and Jani Thiltges, heads of, respectively, Entre Chien et Loup in Belgium and Samsa Film in Luxemburg. Additionally, they have joined forces with Patrick Quinet, Sébastien Delloye and Claude Waringo to create Liaison Cinématographique, a production company based in Paris. Under [...]
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

ZDF, ARD top German TV Awards

Cologne, Germany -- History repeated itself in several ways at this year's German TV Awards, held Saturday night in Cologne. Public broadcasters ZDF and ARD once again swept the honors, taking 16 of 21 trophies, and all the main winners were historic dramas looking at Germany's recent past.

ZDF's "Die Wolfe" (The Wolves), a docu-drama set in the 1940s, won three TV awards, helping the channel to a final tally of 10, far ahead of all competitors.

But it was ARD's "Mogadischu," a "Flight 93"-style drama tracking the infamous 1977 terrorist hijacking of a Lufthansa flight, that scooped the evening's top prize as best TV movie. Produced by Berlin-based teamWorx, the movie stars Thomas Kretschmann, Nadja Uhl and Said Taghmaoui.

For a change, the top winner was also a ratings hit. Roland Suso Richter's drama scored a 21% share in its first airing last November, with 7.3 million Germans tuning in.

Along with ARD and ZDF,
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Exclusive Video: New The Baader Meinhof Complex Red Band Trailer!

We have the exclusive red-band trailer premiere for The Baader Meinhof Complex, which will hit theaters nationwide on August 21. Click below to take a look at this upcoming German film, but only if you're 18 or older.

to check out our exclusive red-band trailer for yourself.

The Baader Meinhof Complex stars Martina Gedeck, Moritz Bleibtreu, Johanna Wokalek, Nadja Uhl, Jan Josef Liefers, Stipe Erceg, Niels-Bruno Schmidt, Vinzenz Kiefer and will be released on August 21.
See full article at MovieWeb »

Doerrie, Schmid back on familiar ground

COLOGNE, Germany -- German romantic comedy specialist Doris Doerrie ("The Fischer and His Wife") and art-house favorite Hans-Christian Schmid ("Requiem") are returning to familiar ground for their next projects.

Doerrie received €300,000 ($384,000) in production subsidies from Berlin's Medienboard on Monday for her upcoming project "Hamani". Monica Bleibtreu, Elmar Wepper and Nadja Uhl star in the feature from Olga Film, which Berlin distributor Majectic has picked up for local release.

Schmid, whose "Requiem" won a Silver Bear in Berlin and four German Film Lolas, received €170,000 ($218,000) in development funding from the Medienboard for a slate of seven projects at his Berlin-based 23/5 shingle.

Twin Sisters

Twin Sisters
Miramax Films

Already familiar to more than 3.5 million Dutch and German readers, "De Tweeling" (Twin Sisters), Tessa de Loo's acclaimed novel about the very different roads taken by twins separated at an early age, has been made into a handsomely appointed, solidly acted feature by director Ben Sombogaart.

One of the best foreign language Oscar hopefuls unspooled at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the drama possesses the epic sweep and historical perspective that appeals to older viewers, as domestic distributor Miramax is no doubt aware.

Working from a cleanly constructed adaptation by Marieke van der Pol, family film director Sombogaart first sets the clock back to 1925, when 6-year-old twins Anna and Lotte are separated by relatives following the death of their parents.

While Anna remains in Germany, where she's immediately put to work on the farm belonging to her abusive uncle and his wife; sickly sister Lotte is shipped off to the Netherlands home of distant relations where she's nursed back to health and given a good education.

The vastly different upbringings take the girls in very different sociological and political directions. College-educated Lotte marries the Jewish son of family friends, Anna finds employment as a maid and becomes the war bride of an Austrian officer who has joined the Secret Service.

A chance meeting at a spa half-century later, proves that time, alone, isn't necessarily an effective healer and the constant shifting back and forth between past events and the sisters' uncomfortable reunion would seem to undercut some potential emotional impact.

But the performances -- with Thekla Reuten and Ellen Vogel in the roles of Lotte young and old, while Nadja Uhl and Gudrun Okras play the young and old Anna parts -- are uniformly excellent.

And while the miniseries-ready concept may not be the most innovative in the world, "Twin Sisters" has many a reflective thought to provoke about the role of social conditioning in shaping individual destinies.

My Sweet Home

What does home mean when you live thousands of miles from your native country? This question gets a boisterous, comic examination in Filippos Tsitos' "My Sweet Home". In the film, a bargain-basement wedding shower in a scruffy Berlin cafe turns into a wild night of alcoholic self-scrutiny by a collection of expatriates who happen to drop by.

"Home" is a classic co-production. This German-Greek collaboration, directed by a Greek who lives in Berlin, features actors from throughout the world, including the United States, Germany, Portugal, Russia, India, Algeria and Japan. The music is Balkanized Western European, and the comedy is international.

The movie is certain to provoke huge laughs in Berlin, where mispronunciations and in-jokes add to the comedy. But the story could take place in any large, multiethnic city where ex-pats wake up each morning and wonder what the hell they're doing there. This gem, screened in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival, is ripe for export as long as distributors don't get turned off to the low budget and a mostly unfamiliar cast.

Most of the film occurs on the eve of the wedding of Bruce (Harvey Friedman), an American drifter, and his German girlfriend of one month, Anke (Nadja Uhl). A polterabend, or wedding shower -- called a "poltergeist" by one foreigner -- begins in a cafe where Bruce works as a waiter. No real guests come by -- only a group of strangers -- and their one acquaintance, Anke's disapproving mother (Monika Hansen), who turns up uninvited, is thrown out by Anke.

Along with the miffed proprietor (Mario Mentrup), who wanted to go to Los Angeles with Bruce were he to return home, are a married Brazilian student about to be deported, two Russian street musicians who steal from each other, a young Asian woman unhappy in her marriage to an aging German, a Moroccan construction worker romancing a Greek woman in hopes of settling down at her father's resort hotel and a defeated East Berliner who reminiscences about the "glory" days of the Wall.

Bruce slips away to mull his hasty decision to marry and encounters a Pakistani man angry at everyone and a cab driver whose claim to lead a highly organized life is suspect.

Back at the cafe, one ex-pat challenges the next to place a long-distance call home and admit his failure. This catches on as a game of dare. Accompanying the celebration of misery is the Balkan All-Star Band, which cheerfully plays music to fit each moment's dramatic event -- a chase around the tables, a near-fistfight or dances between new partners that enrage old partners.

As the celebration builds, Tsitos probes the isolation and need for community that all of the ex-pats feel. The movie becomes a comic and even an existential version of "Casablanca", where international refugees are trapped in jobs and situations on foreign soil but can hope for no exit visas and truly have nowhere to go. The dream that spurred everyone to go abroad has long been forgotten as everyone lives a life of ad-libs and compromises that suit no final purpose.

Performances are uniformly strong. Friedman is a marvel at comic ambivalence, while Uhl shines as a woman tired of being wary and determined to start afresh.

The cafe set never feels claustrophobic thanks to Hanno Lentz's energetic cinematography and Petar Markovic and Nebojsa Stanojevic's rhythmic editing. "Home" is Tsitos' graduation work from the German Film and Television Academy. Give this guy his diploma.

MY SWEET HOME

Twenty Twenty Vision, Pandora Film

and Ideefixe Prods.

in collaboration with ZDF-Arte,

the Greek Film Center, Prooptiki,

Deutsche Film und Fernseh Akademie Berlin

and the Hellenic Broadcasting Corp.

Producer: Thanassis Karathanos

Screenwriter-director: Filippos Tsitos

Director of photography: Hanno Lentz

Production designer: Peter Weber

Music: Dr. Nelle Karajilic, Dejan Sparavalo

Costume designer: Nebojsa Lipanovic

Editors: Petar Markovic, Nebojsa Stanojevic

Color/stereo

Cast:

Bruce: Harvey Friedman

Anke: Nadja Uhl

Cafe proprietor: Mario Mentrup

Anke's mother: Monika Hansen

Ino: Neil de Souza

Hartmut: Peter Lewan

Hakim: Mehdi Nebbou

Running time -- 87 minutes

No MPAA rating

Schmidt rolls with 'Tide'

Schmidt rolls with 'Tide'
BERLIN -- Production company Teamworx said Thursday that German television celebrity Harold Schmidt will star as former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt in the big-budget miniseries Storm Tide for leading commercial broadcaster RTL. The two-part series from producer Nico Hofmann (The Tunnel) follows the real-life story of a catastrophic 1962 flood in Hamburg. Schmidt will star alongside Gotz George, Ottfried Fischer, Hannelore Elsner, Elmar Wepper, Nadja Uhl and Heiner Lauterbach. Schmidt, often called Germany's David Letterman, wrapped up his critically acclaimed eponymous late-night talk show in December. Schmidt is currently shooting the romantic comedy Vom Suchen Und Finden Der Liebe (Looking and Finding Love) with director Helmut Dietl. Schmidt's feature film debut as an actor was Dietl's 1999 satire Late Show.

Twin Sisters

Twin Sisters
Miramax Films

Already familiar to more than 3.5 million Dutch and German readers, "De Tweeling" (Twin Sisters), Tessa de Loo's acclaimed novel about the very different roads taken by twins separated at an early age, has been made into a handsomely appointed, solidly acted feature by director Ben Sombogaart.

One of the best foreign language Oscar hopefuls unspooled at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the drama possesses the epic sweep and historical perspective that appeals to older viewers, as domestic distributor Miramax is no doubt aware.

Working from a cleanly constructed adaptation by Marieke van der Pol, family film director Sombogaart first sets the clock back to 1925, when 6-year-old twins Anna and Lotte are separated by relatives following the death of their parents.

While Anna remains in Germany, where she's immediately put to work on the farm belonging to her abusive uncle and his wife; sickly sister Lotte is shipped off to the Netherlands home of distant relations where she's nursed back to health and given a good education.

The vastly different upbringings take the girls in very different sociological and political directions. College-educated Lotte marries the Jewish son of family friends, Anna finds employment as a maid and becomes the war bride of an Austrian officer who has joined the Secret Service.

A chance meeting at a spa half-century later, proves that time, alone, isn't necessarily an effective healer and the constant shifting back and forth between past events and the sisters' uncomfortable reunion would seem to undercut some potential emotional impact.

But the performances -- with Thekla Reuten and Ellen Vogel in the roles of Lotte young and old, while Nadja Uhl and Gudrun Okras play the young and old Anna parts -- are uniformly excellent.

And while the miniseries-ready concept may not be the most innovative in the world, "Twin Sisters" has many a reflective thought to provoke about the role of social conditioning in shaping individual destinies.

Miramax has 'Twin' rights

CANNES -- Miramax Films executive vp acquisitions and co-productions Agnes Mentre said Monday that the mini-major had sealed a deal to acquire North American rights to Dutch Helmer Ben Sombogaart's epic feature "Twin Sisters" (De Tweeling). The film is based on the novel "Twins" by Tessa De Loo and tells the story of German twin sisters who are separated with one being raised in Holland and the other remaining in rural Germany. The sisters' lives take very different turns until they meet again 40 years after World War II. "Twins" was a bestseller in Holland and Germany with more than 3.5 million readers. De Loo's book was originally published in the Netherlands in 1993 and is the author's first to have been translated into English. "Twin Sisters" was written for the big screen by Marieke van der Pol and stars Thekla Reuten, Nadja Uhl, Ellen Vogel, Gudrun Okras, Jeroen Spitzenberger, and Roman Knizka. Anton Smit and Hanneke Niens produced.

My Sweet Home

What does home mean when you live thousands of miles from your native country? This question gets a boisterous, comic examination in Filippos Tsitos' "My Sweet Home". In the film, a bargain-basement wedding shower in a scruffy Berlin cafe turns into a wild night of alcoholic self-scrutiny by a collection of expatriates who happen to drop by.

"Home" is a classic co-production. This German-Greek collaboration, directed by a Greek who lives in Berlin, features actors from throughout the world, including the United States, Germany, Portugal, Russia, India, Algeria and Japan. The music is Balkanized Western European, and the comedy is international.

The movie is certain to provoke huge laughs in Berlin, where mispronunciations and in-jokes add to the comedy. But the story could take place in any large, multiethnic city where ex-pats wake up each morning and wonder what the hell they're doing there. This gem, screened in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival, is ripe for export as long as distributors don't get turned off to the low budget and a mostly unfamiliar cast.

Most of the film occurs on the eve of the wedding of Bruce (Harvey Friedman), an American drifter, and his German girlfriend of one month, Anke (Nadja Uhl). A polterabend, or wedding shower -- called a "poltergeist" by one foreigner -- begins in a cafe where Bruce works as a waiter. No real guests come by -- only a group of strangers -- and their one acquaintance, Anke's disapproving mother (Monika Hansen), who turns up uninvited, is thrown out by Anke.

Along with the miffed proprietor (Mario Mentrup), who wanted to go to Los Angeles with Bruce were he to return home, are a married Brazilian student about to be deported, two Russian street musicians who steal from each other, a young Asian woman unhappy in her marriage to an aging German, a Moroccan construction worker romancing a Greek woman in hopes of settling down at her father's resort hotel and a defeated East Berliner who reminiscences about the "glory" days of the Wall.

Bruce slips away to mull his hasty decision to marry and encounters a Pakistani man angry at everyone and a cab driver whose claim to lead a highly organized life is suspect.

Back at the cafe, one ex-pat challenges the next to place a long-distance call home and admit his failure. This catches on as a game of dare. Accompanying the celebration of misery is the Balkan All-Star Band, which cheerfully plays music to fit each moment's dramatic event -- a chase around the tables, a near-fistfight or dances between new partners that enrage old partners.

As the celebration builds, Tsitos probes the isolation and need for community that all of the ex-pats feel. The movie becomes a comic and even an existential version of "Casablanca", where international refugees are trapped in jobs and situations on foreign soil but can hope for no exit visas and truly have nowhere to go. The dream that spurred everyone to go abroad has long been forgotten as everyone lives a life of ad-libs and compromises that suit no final purpose.

Performances are uniformly strong. Friedman is a marvel at comic ambivalence, while Uhl shines as a woman tired of being wary and determined to start afresh.

The cafe set never feels claustrophobic thanks to Hanno Lentz's energetic cinematography and Petar Markovic and Nebojsa Stanojevic's rhythmic editing. "Home" is Tsitos' graduation work from the German Film and Television Academy. Give this guy his diploma.

MY SWEET HOME

Twenty Twenty Vision, Pandora Film

and Ideefixe Prods.

in collaboration with ZDF-Arte,

the Greek Film Center, Prooptiki,

Deutsche Film und Fernseh Akademie Berlin

and the Hellenic Broadcasting Corp.

Producer: Thanassis Karathanos

Screenwriter-director: Filippos Tsitos

Director of photography: Hanno Lentz

Production designer: Peter Weber

Music: Dr. Nelle Karajilic, Dejan Sparavalo

Costume designer: Nebojsa Lipanovic

Editors: Petar Markovic, Nebojsa Stanojevic

Color/stereo

Cast:

Bruce: Harvey Friedman

Anke: Nadja Uhl

Cafe proprietor: Mario Mentrup

Anke's mother: Monika Hansen

Ino: Neil de Souza

Hartmut: Peter Lewan

Hakim: Mehdi Nebbou

Running time -- 87 minutes

No MPAA rating

See also

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