In celebration of opening weekend for The Seattle International Film Festival, taking place in my own backyard, the following are 20 hand-picked trailers (both Do’s and Don’ts) for films scheduled to screen in Week 1. Look for another round for weeks 2 and 3, coming soon. Because we’re nothing if not hunter-gatherers around here.
Click on titles for summaries, showtimes, venues, and tickets.
Eagle vs. Shark – (New Zealand – 5/31, 6/1) Costumed comedy. Geek Love. “Mimicking Jared Hess’s penchant for static, center-of-frame compositions and infatuation with weirdo kitsch (both of which were modeled after the work of Wes Anderson)…photocopied Napoleon Dynamite-style gags…so many that the film’s imitativeness becomes out-and-out embarrassing. – Slant [Trailer]
Exiled – (Hong Kong – 5/27, 5/31) “While it is tempting to label it a simple triad-action film [director Jonnie] To has much larger designs than that, filling the film with an unusual grace and beauty, a playful sense of humor, and a concern for his characters…between the Election films and now Exiled one thing is very clear: Johnnie To is simply the most vital, muscular figure in Hong Kong cinema today and he deserves comparison to the all time greats – Twitch [Trailer]
The Golden Door – (Italy/France – 5/25, 5/27) “Emanuele Crialese’s beautiful dream of a film, is hardly unfamiliar. Some version of this immigrant’s tale — setting out from the old country, crossing the Atlantic in steerage, arriving at Ellis Island — is part of the family history of millions of Americans. But what makes Mr. Crialese’s telling unusual, apart from the gorgeousness of his wide-screen compositions, is that his emphasis is on departure and transition, rather than arrival.” – A.O Scott, New York Times. Features singer-songwriter Charlotte Gainsbourg (also in The Science of Sleep). [Trailer]
I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone – (Malaysia 5/30, 6/2) Master of all things silent and solitary, Tsai Ming-Liang (What Time Is It there?, Vive L’Amour) makes his first dreamscape in his native Malaysia, after 7 previous features. [Trailer]
Knocked Up (U.S. – 5/26) – If you haven’t heard of Hollywood’s current wet-dream slash go-to comedy director, Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin), and his soon-to-be summer 2007 hit, maybe you’re one of those that shows up at the movies after the trailers, or use TiVo liberally to fast forward though commercials. Knocked Up is everywhere, and SIFF gives it to you a week early. (Though if you haven’t secured a ticket for the one showing by now, you can probably continue to ignore it.) (R-rated trailer, via SlashFilm)
La vie en rose – (France/Czech Republic/U.K. – 6/1, 6/2) Musical biopic of Edith Piaf. “Anchored by the sublime performance of Marion Cotillard in the leading role…At 2 hours and 20 minutes, the movie occasionally threatens to numb one’s posterior, but then Miss Marion’s face lights up the screen and all is well visually, if awfully downbeat emotionally.” – GreenCine Daily [Trailer]
Life in Loops (Austria – 5/25, 5/26) Touted as ” The first Filmremix in History”, this award-winning experimental documentary incorporates a Sofa Surfers soundtrack with cut and collaged footage of the urban underclass in Mexico City, New York, Moscow and Bombay from the 1997 Michael Glawogger documentary Megacities. – [Trailer]
Manufactured Landscapes – (Canada – 5/27, 5/29) “Art and environmentalism collide…with results that are more fascinating for their ambiguity. An easy sell to art lovers, it also offers a new tangent for discussions encouraged by An Inconvenient Truth. Prospects are good in the doc arena, where it appeals to two niches that don’t always overlap.” – The Hollywood Reporter. [Trailer]
Monkey Warfare – (Canada – 5/26, 5/28) “Hapless protags are two 40-ish bicycle-riding, dumpster-diving bohos whose off the grid lifestyle attracts a youngster with more aggressively radical ideas…an above-average entry in the Canadian cinematic tradition of loser comedy” – Variety [Trailer]
Once – (Ireland – 5/27) Winner of the Audience Award at Sundance. A modern-day musical and love-story currently awash with critical love, Once is essentially a can’t miss, no brainer pick for SIFF audiences. “Imagine Belle And Sebastian remaking In The Mood For Love as a heartbreaking low-fi musical, and you have a fair approximation of the film’s melancholy, unexpected genius.” – A.V. Club [Trailer]
Paprika (Japan – 5/25, 5/28) – “I’m being a big, wet girl for admitting this, but halfway through the credit sequence for PAPRIKA, the new animated film from Satoshi Kon (PERFECT BLUE, TOKYO GODFATHERS), I got choked up. I wasn’t near tears because anything sad was happening, but because I was happy…If it wasn’t for all the talk of DC Minis and giant robots, naked dreamgods, and psychotherapy machines this would be the perfect date movie.” – Kaiju Shakedown [Trailer]
Paris Je T’Aime – (France – 5/26, 5/28) Olivier Assayas, The Coen Brothers, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, and Alexander Payne are just a handful from the international conglomerate of directors that created 18 short love letters to Paris. Cast includes Marianne Faithfull, Buscemi, Dafoe, Binoche, Portman, and Depardieu. [Trailer]
Red Road (UK – 5/25, 5/26) – A young security guard spots a dangerous man from her past (what he’s done is not revealed early on), and looks to track him down to exact revenge. “The Rear Window-style atmosphere and tension are expertly maintained, and the sense of impending horror has the feel of a Michael Haneke film.” – Peter Bradshaw (via GreenCine) [Trailer]
Severance – (UK/Germany – 5/27, 5/28) Horror spoof follows a group of salespeople for a multinational weapons company on a team-building getaway in the wilderness, where spirits are dampened by revenge-fueled killers. [Trailer]
This is England – (UK – 5/25, 5/29) Introduced to skinhead culture in 1983 England, 12-year old Shaun ages quickly as his “friendly gang” is divided by a racist and brutal newcomer. Voted Best Picture, 2006 British Independent Film Awards. [Trailer]
Tags: SIFF 2007
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 25th 2007 | 4 Comments
The past two years have treated author/spoken-word/performance artist Miranda July kindly. After a well-fawned over feature film debut as idiosyncratic screenwriter-star-director, and a Zen-site that in some ways has overshadowed the book it was constructed to promote (and another in the works for a hugs and kisses project), what’s happening this very instant? A herky-jerky starring spot in Blonde Redhead’s new video, put together by (boyfriend still? No matter.) Thumbsucker director Mike Mills (previously). Somewhere in the future timeline, a backlash seems imminent.
Video 2: a reading for her new book, No One Belongs Here More Than You, hosted by The Stranger (Seattle – 5/17/2007).
Video 3: Short Film – Are You The Favorite Person of Anybody? (2005) Starring John C. Reilly. Written by, and featuring Miranda July. Directed by Miguel Arteta.
Previously: Things We Don’t Understand and Definitely Are Not Going to Talk About – her next film?
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 23rd 2007 | 11 Comments
This past weekend marked the one-year anniversary of Big Screen Little Screen. Thanks go out to all the websites and bloggers who’ve helped me out in one way or another, and to you for reading. Back to our regularly scheduled bullshitting.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 21st 2007 | 4 Comments
A recap of news and novelties from the past few days:
— In light of recent director power-packaging (RE: The Three Amigos): “A plan is afoot to create a director’s company, with Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Spike Jonze and perhaps Sam Mendes and Mike Nichols in a venture that will give them full creative control and copyright ownership. The company would be run by Laura Bickford, who produced “Traffic” and Soderbergh’s upcoming “Che,” and it is expected they would pursue private equity financing.” – Variety
— Related: “For financial reasons, Coppola said the truly creative directors — he mentioned Wes Anderson, Spike Jonze, and David O. Russell, in particular — can’t do what they want. “[ ‘Boys Don’t Cry’] Director Kim Peirce . . . Where’s her second film?” he grumbled.” – The Boston Globe on Francis Ford Coppola’s dissatisfaction with the studio system. Coppola’s wine business allows him to subsidize his own films.
— Less Related: At Cannes, Spike Jonze makes his pitch for Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. You may remember that the two were previously paired, with Jonze as director on the Kaufman scripted Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. Synecdoche will mark Kaufman’s directorial debut, with Jonze producing the epic mindbender with stars Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, and Tilda Swinton.
— Michael Haneke’s shot for shot remake of Funny Games (updated with Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, cell phones, DVD instead of VHS, and the English language) looks to be in the can, but not in Cannes. Talk shifts to Haneke’s following picture: historical epic The White Ribbon – The Guardian.
— “French Customs officials have quarantined a 35mm print of the controversial film “Last Looks,” which was on its way to a world premiere showing out of competition at the current Cannes Film Market…A source close to the production described the film as showing the actual deaths of actors and behind-the-camera crew members during production of a low-budget American indie horror film called “The Evil Eye” that was filmed in the summer of 2006 among the Turkish and Greek Islands in the Mediterranean Sea…It’s all pretty compelling stuff – except that it’s a fake. Far from being cinema verite, Last Looks is a hoaxumentary (arguably mockumentary’s poorer cousin…) directed by Barry Alexander Brown, aka Spike Lee‘s editor and the director of four low-budget, low-profile films.” – Filmmaker
— Casting News: Audrey Tatou is set to play Coco Chanel in her earlier years, but as Filmstalker points out, there are another two pictures in the works about the Fashionista. Juliet Binoche to star as an art-gallery owner in Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy. William H. Macy to star in a “conflicted criminal” series for TNT, entitled Family Man. And if you’re really late to the party: De Niro & Pacino – Righteous Men.
— “She would have to make all those tones, and it would give her a much more important job. So I was having this idea to make my girlfriend happy…In the meantime, she left me.” Michel Gondry on his four, soon to be five music videos for The White Stripes. Via Director File
— Televisionary, with some hand-wringing over the disappointing pilot for The Return of Jezebel James, the brainchild of Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino featuring Parker Posey and Six Feet Under‘s Lauren Ambrose as estranged sisters: “So why doesn’t The Return of Jezebel James work? For one thing, it’s mostly shot as a multi-camera traditional sitcom, complete with an obnoxious and off-putting laugh track that literally makes you not want to laugh”. Jace has some notes and suggestions for the Fox series, scheduled to debut mid-season, after the rush of fall pilots. Related: Entertainment Weekly with Sherman-Palladino fresh from the conclusion of Gilmore Girls, about her new series.
— Your network TV fall-lineups: the short of it – Variety. The long of it – Deadline Hollywood Daily. Related viewing: Watch the pilot episode for HBO’s Flight of the Concords – free. Also, preview videos for ABC’s fall lineup. Dirty Sexy Money (!).
— “Then a woman I have literally never seen before in my entire life started talking very loudly about something involving Halpert. She was agitated, I’d say. From what I could guess, she was definitely on drugs of some kind, perhaps cocaine, or maybe ‘drines. Also, she is a knock-out.” – Creed’s Blog
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 21st 2007 | 2 Comments
Viewing tip 1: Larry David, as himself (a “frustrated restaurant patron“) in Disney’s Hannah Montana tonight. David’s two daughters, big fans of the show, roped him into an appearance. Chances of a re-creation of Curb‘s Tourettes scene (NSFW): slim to none.
Viewing tip 2: Human Giant takes over MTV and MTV2 today and Saturday. Related video: the greatest child actor performance since Paper Moon.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 18th 2007 | 0 Comments
Early on, the official Cannes site pales in comparison to this unofficial site (again, plug the non-sanctioned site into Babelfish for English translations). A quick perusing will lead you to notes, images, and sometimes trailers for the selected films. Some you may have seen floating around previously, some not.
A few points of interest include shots of Samantha Morton as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator in Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely, Anton Corbijn’s biopic of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis – Control (also with Morton), plus Willem Dafoe and Bob Hoskins in Abel Ferrara’s Go Go Tales. In addition: Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Red Balloon, the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park, and Michael Moore’s Sicko. Cannes begins today. More to come.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 16th 2007 | 0 Comments
In a series of firsts for legendary Hong Kong director Wong-Kar Wai (profile), debuting today at The Cannes Film Festival, My Blueberry Nights. Starring: Norah Jones as Elizabeth, Jude Law as Jeremy, Rachel Weisz as Sue Lynne, Natalie Portman as Leslie, David Strathairn as Arnie, and Chan Marshall as Katya. For your approval:
— Discovered by The Golden Rock – A Blueberry press-kit for the Cannes premiere(pdf): featuring bios of the director and cast, and some images (such as Jude Law and Chan Marshall together, above) unseen until now. (Non-French readers – you can cut and paste the text into an online translator, such as Babelfish.)
— More high-res images – via Rope of Silicon
— Norah Jones, on her screen debut, and working with WKW, excerpted from Variety:
“It was a very basic script, and we only received it about a week before we started shooting,” Jones says. “Before that, we had a very, very loose treatment. The script changed quite a bit. Often we would come to work and not know what scenes we were doing … and then it would all change and we’d get new pages 15 minutes before we’d go out. But I liked that. Coming from playing music that’s loose and improvisational, I really enjoyed that part of it.”
Reviews coming out of Cannes, and a respite from our MBN fixation to follow shortly.
Update: Just about the first words online about the press screening before the actual premiere: “Through it all, the visuals are seductive, but the English-language dialog by Wong and Lawrence Block falls flat…At the first press screening, a few fans tried to generate some applause, but the screening room quickly fell silent.” – Greg Kilday – Risky Biz. Gulp.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 16th 2007 | 1 Comment
While there’s plenty of tabloid photos taken on or near shooting locations (many posted at Nicole Kidman United) for the Noah Baumbach dramedy Margot at the Wedding, this image featured on French movie site Les Films appears to be the first production still.
Margot, the follow up to Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, stars Kidman, Jack Black, Jennifer Jason Leigh (Noah’s wife), and John Turturro. The film follows Kidman (as Margot) over the course of a weekend as she travels with her son to visit sister Pauline (played by Leigh). Already generating some early, early Oscar buzz for Baumbach’s script and turns by Kidman and Leigh, the film is scheduled for an October 12th debut.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 14th 2007 | 3 Comments
Post-Pearl – Will Farrell offers up another Funny or Die short (via Michael Newman). I’m going with Adam McKay’s lost 2001 short, featuring Will and Michael Imperioli of The Sopranos in the ever-so-timely Three Bonehead Frat Boys Confront the Crushing Inevitability and Overwhelming Mystery of Death. “That wasn’t porn. That was knowledge!”
— Unencumbered by aesthetic obsessions, Bottle Rocket is arguably Wes Anderson’s best film. Nerve presents the original 13-minute version of the epic-length script written by Wes and Owen Wilson that eventually fell into the hands of executive producer James L. Brooks, who brought the film to Columbia Pictures for a proper re-shoot.
— Daily Film Dose’s compilation of famous long-takes that was making the rounds last week is ever-expanding with reader suggested films, boasting the likes of P.T. Anderson, Robert Altman, John Woo, Scorsese, Chan Wook Park’s Oldboy, and Antonioni’s The Passenger. (via Anne Thompson)
— Neglected trailers: Parker Posey in Hal Hartley’s Fay Grim, Will Arnett, Will Forte, and Kristen Wiig in The Brothers Solomon, Adam Samberg and Deadwood‘s Ian McShane in Hot Rod, John Krasinski in Must Relieve Agent of His Duties.
— “I chucked in Minority Report. Hell of a Movie!” The following video, filmed for the TRL-like Transmission (UK, Channel 4), is supposed to be about Samantha Morton’s role as the wife of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis in the biopic Control, but it’s much more about whether she was roped into Scientology by Tom Cruise, or what books Kelly Osborne read while in rehab, or why Samantha wore flip-flops to meet the Queen of England. Really, it’s a video about what it feels like to have your eyes wired open (ala A Clockwork Orange), forced to watch the worst in vapid, multi-camera brain-erosion that television has to offer. There is, at least, a short mention of her work as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator in Harmony Korine’s latest Mister Lonely.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 14th 2007 | 0 Comments
Forgo the introductions, and keep it short and stupid, stupid.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 12th 2007 | 1 Comment
— A.V. Club interviews Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer, and Rob Huebel of MTV’s new diamond in the shit-pile: Human Giant. Besides Run’s House, this is the only keeper of the lot.
— “He is the busiest man in comedy. He has more films in production than DreamWorks” – if you still don’t know Knocked Up director and Hollywood golden boy Judd Apatow, you will by the end of the summer. The New York Times and USA Today want to make introductions.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 08th 2007 | 0 Comments
First shown off in 2005 at the South by Southwest Film Festival, and already on DVD in parts of Europe, The Wendell Baker Story – a slacker con-man picture which looks to have a bit of Bottle Rocket slash Raising Arizona era Coen Brothers feel to it – has been picked up by THINKFilm and will finally hit a few select U.S. theaters this month. With a cast of Luke and Owen Wilson, Seymore Cassel, Harry Dean Stanton, Eva Mendes, and Eddie Griffin – Luke co-wrote the film with director-brother Andrew Wilson, who Wes Anderson fans may remember as Future Man in Bottle Rocket and as Rushmore‘s Coach Beck. So a Wilson family affair it is.
Considering the names involved in the production, the fact that the film has been sitting on the shelf for two years lends to the perception of damaged goods, though only the few who have seen it up to this point could answer definitively. Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood-Elsewhere had some positive notes on it, save for its ending. The Wendell Baker Story opens in limited release on May 18th.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 07th 2007 | 18 Comments
In the most predictable of developments – in part due to the parallels drawn between the images released by the Virginia Tech shooter and some found in Chan Wook-Park’s Oldboy – IGN reports (via Movieweb) that plans for a remake of the original Japanese teenager-on-teenager, kill-or-be-killed cult classic Battle Royale have hit major snags. Words from producer Roy Lee, via NYT:
Lee is still willing to go ahead with a Battle Royale movie, but ‘we might be a little more sensitive to some of the issues” in light of Virginia Tech. He said that, had the film been in production before the shootings, ‘We would have been slaughtered by the press.’
As we noted back in June of last year, an Americanized version of Battle Royale was never going to come to pass without major conceptual concessions (read – watered down, with a cast probably aged 10 years older) and should never make it past the talking stages – for cinematic, not political reasons.
And then there’s Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke (creator of one of 2005’s best films –Caché), who recreates his 1997 picture Funny Games for The States. Featuring Naomi Watts (production still via IONCINEMA / Goldenfiddle) and Tim Roth in a harrowing story of family vacationers taken hostage and tortured by a pair of psychopaths – the film is being recreated by Haneke, and as opposed to Battle Royale, will be stay true to the original. So true in fact, that the director is doing a shot-for-shot re-creation, even using the blueprints from the original set design. One significant difference is that the new version will be shot by cinematographer Darius Khondji (SE7EN), but besides that, “what’s the point?” asks Filmstalker.
— Battle Royale trailer (2000),
— Battle Royale in 2 1/2 minutes (Bloody)
— World Wresting sanctioned – opened, and flopped last month – The Condemned trailer. Not a Battle Royale remake, just a rip-off.
A DVD recommendation, bringing everything full circle – a chilling and hypnotic pre-Columbine cautionary tale by Michael Haneke: 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994).
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 07th 2007 | 8 Comments
— Tina Fey, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, and Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera among names like DiCaprio, Scorsese, and Blanchett in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influencial People list (complete listing). Video: Fox News takes issue with a snicker-worthy omission.
— With the broadcast networks set to reveal their plans for fall lineups between May 14th and the 17th, both Deadline Hollywood and Broadcasting & Cable drop names of all the most-buzzed about pilots to look for in the coming months. A name that keeps popping up in the positive buzz bracket is ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money, and frankly, we’re not surprised.
— Why Gilmore Girls is ending, according to TV Guide’s sources: Gilmore stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel were offered “sizeable salary bumps for both in exchange for a shortened 13-episode season. As is now obvious, that offer was rejected” (via TV Tattle).
— Lost also has an end in sight, though it’s probably three shortened seasons away. Variety reports that both ABC and the show’s creators saw the need for a hard end-date so that storylines could be tightened up, and so fans might not feel as yanked around as they have in seasons past.
— Another series that may not be long for this world is Scrubs, as NBC counts down the episodes in ads, it’s not yet clear whether they’re referring to a season or series end. The network has until May 16th to renew the comedy, but even if they drop it, ABC may be interested in picking it right back up. If this is the end for Scrubs, you won’t be seeing us losing any sleep over it, and Zach Braff will just have more time freed up to rehearse those failed pick-up lines in the clubs, although without the aid of record scratches, breaking glass, or kazoos in the background for comedic effect.
— Still reeling from new ratings lows, NBC dreams big, giving consideration to moving The Office to 9pm, effectively taking Grey’s Anatomy and CSI head-on. And could a full-hour of the Dunder Mifflin staff be in the cards?
— Sony announces plans for an online reto mini-eps network, initially to be featured on MySpace. Get your Charlie’s Angels, T.J. Hooker, and Starsky and Hutch fixes in five-minutes flat.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 06th 2007 | 5 Comments
This will warrant a shrug of the shoulders from some, but what we speculated on last September had not been confirmed until now: Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power, will be making her first feature film appearance in Wong Kar Wai’s first American picture, My Blueberry Nights. The singer-songwriter whose current album The Greatest was played time after time at shooting locations to set the mood, was asked by the director to join the production to play Jude Law’s ex, and she obliged. Excerpt from Papermag (via Pop Candy):
Most people who know the name Chan Marshall know that she is the one-woman powerhouse behind Cat Power. But today, Chan (pronounced “Shawn”) Marshall is an actress who was up until 5 a.m., shooting a scene for her first role in a major movie, My Blueberry Nights, directed by auteur-prince Wong Kar-wai. She’s also a giddy girl who got to kiss Jude Law, unscripted. (In the film, Marshall plays Law’s Russian-born ex-girlfriend). “How was it?” I ask, about the kiss. She responds with a dreamy roll of the eyes, and we both laugh, because, as any girl will tell you, to say how it was in actual words is to diminish how it really was. And for Marshall, it’s a well-deserved moment to savor unsaid.
My Blueberry Nights is set to debut on opening night at The Cannes Film Festival – May 16th.
- Posted by Ted Zee on May 03rd 2007 | 5 Comments