A handsome, sepia-monochrome, very Criterion-ish, poster for the 2017 restoration of Andrei Tarkovsky’s head-scratching sci-fi classic, Stalker keeps the grim, and grimy nature of the film on display, while also highlighting the puzzle-box nature by adding some text/symbol elements. I have seen a couple very scratchy, beat-up prints of the film over the years, and as the clear, razor-sharp nature of this poster indicates, I am looking forward to the new restoration of the film that will be playing in select cities before heading to Blu-Ray.
I am not sure how much of the trailer for Sophia Coppola’s new film is a spoiler or not. I’ve never read Thomas P. Cullinan’s novel, A Painted Devil, nor have I seen the Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood 1971 version of the film. I am guessing the marketing department figures with the existence of other properties, might as well sell the ‘turn’ to get butts in seats. Maybe. Either way, I am always interested in movies set in hermetically sealed boarding schools or orphanages, be in Picnic At Hanging Rock, Cracks, Melody, The Devil’s Backbone or If… And I’m all in with Sophia Coppola as a filmmaker, so when she assembles Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, Kristen Dunst and others to be in a highly sexualized Civil War pressure cooker, well, it’s a pretty easy sell, spoilers or no.
The Beguiled will be in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Hopefully it will get booed, because, as everyone knows, the films that get booed at Cannes are the ones that end up being pretty amazing. Coppola herself would not be new to the experience, because her own Marie Antoinette (an superb bit of contemporary film-making applied to a period piece) was rejected by the Cannes intelligentsia, but went on to be great, in spite of it.
The story unfolds during the American Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries./blockquote>
Sean Bean is alive and well and turns 58 today. We have watched him die on the big screen (and the small screen) for several decades now. While he was grinding away in the UK doing TV along the lines of the Sharpe’s series of telemovies, and small parts in arthouse features from Stormy Monday to How To Get Ahead in Advertising, before he slowly rose in popularity in the USA after a string of high profile movies such as Patriot Games, alongside 007 in GoldenEye, and his supporting but memorable role in the star-studded Ronin before landing Boromir in Lord of the Rings and headlining the iconic first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
It is a running meme that he dies in every movie or TV show he makes an appearance, and while (obviously) that is not entirely accurate, well, there is some truth to the internets collective sense of humour. He is not the most-dyingist actor out there, and has some way to go to catch Horror icons Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price for being killed on screen. (And surprising to me, the top of the killed-on-screen list was actually the often high-brow, Sir John Hurt.) But considering Bean is in fewer roles and still has presumably 25 years of his career left if he choose to work to the age of those other fine thespians, he could catch them.
Also, if are so inclined to do the math, Sean Bean dies across 32% across all of his TV and film credits, which, according to The Nerdist’s 2014 analysis, is actually the highest percentage, even though the older, more prolific guys have him beat with the raw numbers in the chart below.
I was a fan, but did not fall full head over heals for, Ana Lily Amirpour’s The Bad Batch when I caught it at TIFF. The film bold and sure is beautifully brutal. There is no doubt, by following up her first film, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, that the director has a unique voice with her brand of film-making, but, like her first feature, this one left me emotionally flat; when I have no doubt the intention was to make emotions soar. But each time they cut a new trailer for this movie, the second of which can be found above, I itch to revisit the film. I hope I can find the emotional resonance among all the stylish bravado and hipster-cool (Keanu’s sunglasses and porn mustache alone!) that glue this dystopian cannibal romance together.
Much like her L.A. contemporary, Sophia Coppola, Amirpour certainly has a great sense of ambient soundtrack. And that doesn’t even get into the Ace of Base moment in the film.
Katheryn Bigelow has, since The Hurt Locker, been effectively upping her game for complex pictures out of hot-button American issues. Here in the midst of a particular sharp peak of racial outrage over the past two years, comes her retelling of the Algiers Hotel murders and Detroit race riots in 1967. Detroit features John Boyega (Attack The Block, The Force Awakens and is unquestionably a high calibre movie star at this point), Anthony Mackie, John Krasinski, Jack Reynor (’71) and Game of Thrones’ Gilly, Hannah Murray, among many, many others. Seriously, the number of credited actors here is massive, as it was in the exceptional Zero Dark Thirty. I have no doubt the resulting film will command the ongoing conversation on racism in America when it is released this August.
On a technical level, this of course looks astounding, but I am probably safe in guessing that Detroit is going to pack some big intellectual and emotional punches. Here is a loaded line of dialogue: “It’s just a starter pistol, it starts races.”
I cannot believe I am taking the time to post a Marvel-Disney trailer. But Taika Waititi’s Thor movie has definitely been injected with the vibe of James Gunn’s Guardian of the Galaxy, a vibe I happen to quite like. And Waititi is a filmmaker I happen to like very much as well. I like his sense of humour, I like his editing and aesthetic choices, and I like it when he appears on screen too steal a scene or three. There certainly appears to be a joy at play here, with its Led Zepplin riffs (Obvious, sure, but can you really go wrong with it?) early 1980s vector fonts, and Chris Hemsworth channeling his Ghostbusters character as much as the hammer wielding title character. The film features an all-star roster of players including, Tom Hiddleston, a vampy, antler-sporting Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, glam-gorgeous Jeff Goldblum (!), Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins.
The whole thing also reminds me a lot of Escape From New York (only with much more primary colours) and I am very forgiving for filmmakers who noodle around with that premise. For example, James Mather and Stephen St. Leger’s delightfully awful, Lockout from 2012.
If you managed to catch the surprising Māori martial arts film from a few years ago, The Dead Lands, you will be well aware that Kiwi director Tao Fraser had big things ahead of him. His follow up picture, a 1980-set recreation of an Iranian hostage situation in the UK, 6 Days, just dropped its first trailer. There is a radical switch genre and aesthetic – out of the forest, and into the city, with sticks and tattoos replaced with flak jackets and rifles, but it is clear that the filmmaking is snappy and aims for adrenaline and impact.
In April 1980, six armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate, London, taking 26 people inside hostage. Over the next six days a tense standoff took place, all the while a group of highly trained soldiers from the SAS prepared for a raid, the likes of which the world had never seen before.
Norway’s answer to Olivier Assayas, already a master at his craft with only four features under his belt, Joachim Trier follows up the magnificent Louder Than Bombs, his English language debut, by returning to his native tongue and a supernatural sexual awakening story. Exhibiting a clean eye for visual film-making with an emphasis on people and character-study, I am curious to see what Trier can do with a more commercial project, than his past three films (which were firmly fixed on festival audiences).
“Describe in single words. Only the good things that come to your mind. About your mother.”
“My mother… I’ll tell you about my mother.”
The Nexus-6 replicant (Combat/Loader model) who had an itch he couldn’t scratch, and is sensitive in regards to questions about his parentage, would have been born today, April 10, 2017. Happy Incept-Day, Leon!