Clips from Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster

Not exactly a trailer, but given the general weirdness intrinsic to the films of Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, ALPS), they could function as one. Much like his French contemporary, Quentin Dupieux (Rubber, Wrong), film-language and odd characters are the driving force to understanding the extreme ends of human behavior.

An architect checks into a hotel after his wife leaves him. Set in a society that highly values relationships, the architect has but 45 days to find a new partner or else he will be transformed into an animal of his choosing.

The Lobster is currently playing at Cannes, Lanthimos has a cast of international stars including Collin Farell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman and Lea Seydoux. Watch some of them speak in sublimely weird ways in the two clips which are tucked under the seat.

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Friday One Sheet: The Silenced

I have always been a fan of South Korean posters. They take a simple still, color and buff the hell out of it, and do not clutter it up with much else beyond a title and a release date. Often there is no credit block.

Such is the case here, for the upcoming horror-mystery film The Silenced. Beautiful symmetry of women standing in file, with the lead character (played by Park Bo-Young) looking pleadingly at the camera and the head of the institution facing away at the end of the line. This kind of poster tells you everything you need to know, tonally, without giving anything away plot-wise, and it does it with grace.

Also, I have tucked the trailer, which features some pretty lush production design, under the seat.

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Trailer: Arabian Nights

Playing at Cannes in three separate 2 hour parts, Miguel Gomes (Tabu) examines contemporary Portugal with dozens of short stories in the structure of the classic Arabian Nights structure. Gorgeously shot, but I’m sure ponderously pace, this is certainly not going to be for everyone, but I also expect if you get the chance to watch all six hours of it together, it will probably be a very rewarding experience.

A film that asks “Where are stories born?” and answers, “They spring from the wishes and fears of man.”

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MSPIFF Review: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared

 


 

For all of us who feel Robert Zemeckis’s Forrest Gump is a sentimental, condescending insult to cinema audiences everywhere, and Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is not any better, we finally have an entry into ‘the man who fumbles successfully through history’ nano-genre to call our own. Do not let the maladroit title fool you, Felix Herngren’s big screen adaptation of the bestselling novel by Jonas Jonasson, is a Swiss-fucking-watch in the plotting department, and savagely amusing in its come-what-may temperament. It sneaks up on you in similar ways as Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters even as it dazzles you with the sweep of history.

After a tone-setting and highly unfortunate incident involving a sweet kitty, a hungry fox and a bundle of dynamite, one of cinemas strangest heroes, Allan Karlsson, finds himself confined to a retirement home on the eve his centenary year on this little planet called Earth. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared (hereafter The 100 Year Old Man) is the delightfully absurd story of our eponymous very senior citizen who does indeed bail out the open glass portal of his tiny room right on the day while the nurses are attempting to count and light all those candles on his marzipan cake, but it is also the story of us as a conflicted and nutty species.

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Trailer: Kung Fu Killer

Mixing the police procedural and kung fu genres is an honored tradition going back to the Police Story films in the 1980s, and turning interesting new pages with both Sha Po Lang (aka Kill Zone) and Wu Xia (aka Dragon). In this tradition, it lends me to believe that Kung Fu Killer is probably the dumbed down English marketing title. But wait, it is in fact about a serial killer hunting down and killing martial arts masters, so there is kind of a directness in that title. Donnie Yen headlines a film filled with stunts, interesting locations for hand to hand fights, and all around style, given a little lift with CGI, but not over-doing it too much. Director Teddy Chan’s previous Bodyguards and Assassins was pretty flashy, pretty solid entertainment, and nothing leads me to believe that this will be otherwise.

In fact, I do really want to know what that room with the super-sized plastic skull is, and how the film gets there…

Trailer: 1001 Grams

Bent Hamer’s quirky, visually formal romantic comedy was one of the most surprising pleasures at last years Toronto International Film Festival. In matters of science and love, if you get down to the most first-principle measurements at atomic levels, it’s more of an agreed upon reference than actual fact. What a novel and unusual way to articulate a life! The film might be on the nose at times and it’s driest of dry Norwegian humour is a bit of an acquired taste, but it is so brilliant and beautiful in how it goes about itself, that I fell in love with 1001 Grams, unequivocally.

When Norwegian scientist Marie attends a seminar in Paris on the actual weight of a kilo, it is her own measurement of disappointment, grief and, not least, love, that ends up on the scale.

Trailer: Big Game

This ridiculously fun a, Amblin-esque popcorn muncher from Finland was a big hit at last years Toronto International Film Festival with the midnight crowd. Much of the Finnish cast from Jalmari Helander’s previous exercise in dead-pan holiday fun, Rare Exports return and are mixed in with a slew of Hollywood character actors Samuel Jackson, Ted Levine, Jim Broadbent, Ray Stevenson, Felicity Huffman, and Victor Garber to achieve maximum results on a limited budget. And in English, too. It is a shame that Big Game doesn’t have set release dates on this side of the Atlantic yet, but UK folks get a chance to see it on May 8th.

When Air Force One is shot down by terrorists leaving the President of the United States stranded in the wilderness, there is only one person around who can save him – a 13-year old boy called Oskari. In the forest on a hunting mission to prove his maturity to his kinsfolk, Oskari had been planning to track down a deer, but instead discovers the most powerful man on the planet in an escape pod. With the terrorists closing in to capture their own “Big Game” prize, the unlikely duo must team up to escape their hunters. As anxious Pentagon officials observe the action via satellite feed, it is up to the President and his new side-kick to prove themselves and survive the most extraordinary 24 hours of their lives.

Note: I interviewed both Jalmari Helander and his young star, Onni Tomilla, at TIFF over at Twitchfilm.

Friday One Sheet: Rated R-100

Japanese comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto specializes in delightful, deadpan movies. His previous efforts, Big Man Japan (aka Dainipponjin) and Symbol were both international successes, and great films as well. His latest is the bizarre S&M-dramedy, R100 that takes its title from the Japanese film rating system, indicating that nobody under 100 is authorized to view it.

Can a poster be dead-pan? I think the large amounts of text on this, and a woman in fetish-leather wear is both eye grabbing, and kind of self-deprecating at the same time. Good on you Drafthouse Films for capturing part of the spirit of this crazy film, without spoiling a darn thing.

Trailer: White God

White God

Winner of the Prize Un Certain Regard Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, White God is described as “a brutal, beautiful metaphor for the political and cultural tensions sweeping contemporary Europe”:

When young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen, because it’s mixed-breed heritage is deemed ‘unfit’ by The State, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called ‘unfit’ dogs rise up under a new leader, Hagen, the one-time housepet who has learned all too well from his ‘Masters’ in his journey through the streets and animal control centers how to bite the hands that beats him.