Slow movie day around here and since no one else around here is going to do it, I guess I will. The Love Guru topped the nominees with seven Razzie Nominations this year. Congratulations Mike Myers!
Really though, the only good to come of these worthless awards (seriously, how can you nominate someone three times as one nomination?) is to see if Uwe Boll actually shows up to receive his carreer (non)-achievement award and then beat the shit out of the presenter and tell the audience to “go f*ck themselves!”.
On a personal note, I think I may have set a personal best for actually seeing SIX of all the films nominated this year (The Happening, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, (half of) Postal and Star Wars: The Clone Wars).
The National Film Board has long been known as a staple in Canadian film but the once stuffy identity has been trying to shed its old suit for some hip new attire and doing a good job of it too. Over the last few years they’ve been investing in projects one wouldn’t immediately think of as “NFB Material” and along the way, they’ve also been making their website a hub of information; a hub that’s about to get that much better.
Though the official announcement won’t take place until tomorrow, the NFB has let it be known that on Wednesday, January 21st, they will be officially launching their “Online Screening Room” which will feature full length feature and short films added every week. The Online Screening Room will highlight and include an assortment of new and classic NFB selections and they’re certainly starting off with a bang offering up Alanis Obomsawin’s classic Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance and one of my favourite films of last year, Murray Siple’s Carts of Darkness (our review).
Lucky for you, you don’t have to hold your breath until tomorrow as the Screening Room is already in operation (though a little spotty at the moment). Head on over to the NFB for all the goodness. I can’t wait to see what else they’ll be offering up as they have an extensive library featuring some films that can’t be found anywhere else.
If ever two things were a heavenly match, it is Terry Gilliam and Don Quixote. They are kindred spirits in many was inso far a real person can have things in common with a literary creation. A decade ago, external forces, bad luck, and poor planning crashed and burned Gilliam’s attempt to make a modern/time-travel riff on Don Quixote (but yielded a very fine and interesting documentary Lost in La Mancha). The original (perfect) casting choice of Jean Rochefort is probably not a possibility at this point (He is 79 and had trouble riding a horse in even back in 2000 due to one ailment or another), although granted Rochefort was fabulous in a small role 2006′s Tell No One, so the guy is still working and Johnny Depp is not as edgy as he was 10 years ago (although bringing ‘Jack Sparrow’ back on board would probably make the financing easier), there are loads of possibilities with a second kick at Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s masterwork. Gilliam has currently re-acquired the rights and is reworking the old script with a fresh perspective. Let it never be said that his isn’t persistent, even if he often shoots himself in the foot (Sound familiar? Maybe Gilliam should cast himself in the lead.). Fingers crossed that this finally goes into production and makes it through the process this time. (And for that matter that Gilliam can salvage something out of his current project, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which was complicated by the untimely death of Heath Ledger.
Director: Steven Soderbergh (Schizopolis, Out of Sight, Traffic, Bubble, Ocean’s 11-12-13, The Limey ) Story: Ernesto “Che” Guevara Screenplay: Peter Buchman, Benjamin A. van der Veen Producers: Steven Soderbergh, Laura Bickford, Benecio Del Toro Starring: Benecio Del Toro, Demián Bichir, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Franka Potente, Joaquim de Almeida MPAA Rating: R Running time: 257 min.
PART ONE (The Argentine):
PART TWO (Guerrilla):
Presenting Che in a roadshow format is not only unorthodox in this day and age, but also refreshing and commendable. The roadshow presentation of course being reminiscent of how the epic films of sorts were presented in their day: overture, part one, intermission, part two, exit music and generally with no credits (a playbill in its stead – of which I did receive one). Of course, it would be much more commendable if Che were as deserving of praise as these movies of yesteryear: e.g. Gone with the Wind or Lawrence of Arabia.
Che is of course split into two parts (of which most of the movie going audience will have to pay twice and see them as two separate screenings). Part one takes place mostly in Cuba and begins with the mere conception of the revolution to overthrow the dictatorship and spans several year through the battles and to the ultimate victory; juxtaposing snippets of Guevara’s later years addressing the U.N. and an overall enveloping candid interview with a reporter (notably played by Julia Ormond). Part two takes place approximately ten years later in South America, specifically Bolivia. Che, as promised, has decided to continue his revolution against dictatorial governments and spread communism as far as he can push it. This time though, Guevara does not have the same support that he did in Cuba and of course he fails. Unfortunately, Part Two is also where the film nearly fails as well. Would you like to know more…?
Each of us, if called upon, has in our respective collections a film that we are most eager to share with friends. This particular kind of film that I am thinking of is obscure enough that one feels a certain pride when presenting it, and yet there remains something so universal about it that it plays to virtually all audiences; meaty enough to satisfy the subtext-insistent cinephile, such a film is, first and foremost, deliciously watchable.
For me, this is Federico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria. I have shown it to all sorts of people, snobs and neophytes, and always with the same positive response. It is in my top five favorite films, a shamefully overlooked masterpiece that I rate as Fellini’s best.
I suppose the perception of the film by anyone who gleans a synopsis or looks at the cover artwork is that this is a sordid story of an Italian prostitute as she goes about her unhappy life, rendered with the neo-realism flourish that Fellini and other Italian directors of this period were accustomed to doing. While that’s kinda true, what actually transpires onscreen is far grander in its ambitions, far more comedic and buoyant, and this in very large part has to do with the performance of Giulietta Masina as Cabiria.
Not really a full post, but I’m just getting back to -25C weather from +30C weather (do the math) and my brain is a bit addled. Glancing around the internet, I realized I had never come across this particular still for Spike Jonze‘s adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are until now. It is worth sharing.
Also: The Road, Coraline, Ong Bak 2, Moon (that Sci-Fi with Sam Rockwell), gorgeous Canadian sci-fi flick Splice, Mammoth parasites in Thaw, Sean Ellis’ Broken, Swedish drama Mammoth, Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, Nicholas Winding Refn’s 1-2 punch with Bronson and Valhalla Rising, A Clive Owen double shot with The International and Duplicity, Upscale comic book crime with Watchmen, Alex Proyas’ Knowing, seeing Pontypool and Che in the cinema again, low budget (and non-Spiderman) Sam Raimi, with Drag Me to Hell, gangster goodness with Public Enemies (and the gritty French Vincent Cassel starrer Public Enemy No.1 parts 1 and 2), John Cusack and Gong Li in Shanghai, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds finally seeing the light of day and hopefully a DVD release of Tears for Sale.
There may be a bit of a wait with January to March dumping-grounds/deadzone and there are many more projects that will not hit the radar until later in the year. Anything I missed? What are you looking forward to in 2009?
Asimov fans can start sharpening those pencils (who needs pens that write upside down?) for the hate mail they’ll be writing or, depending on their level of affection, to gouge out their eyes.
Isaac Asimov’s well loved and respected “Foundation” series, which spans about 500 years and tells of the story of a humans scattered on planets throughout the galaxy and living under the rule of the Galactic Empire, has been optioned for the big screen.
In and of itself this could be fantastic news. Though I’ve yet to read the series, I understand it’s a fairly complex story which requires some care and attention to detail and with the right director, this could turn into an excellent and lucrative franchise but when I say the right director, I mean someone of Peter Jackson calibre. Sadly that’s not going to happen because the project is apparently being picked up as a directing vehicle for none other than Roland Emmerich.
So the guy is known for big budget effect pictures (at least we know it’ll look good) but story never seems to be too much of a concern for his films and I’m afraid that this series and Asimov’s message will get trampled and bogged down, if not entirely disappear, under Emmerich’s direction and that would be a great shame. The last thing we need is another I, Robot.
Joaquin Phoenix says he has retired from acting to pursue a music career. We’ve all heard that news. I had noticed that Casey Affleck had been hanging around Phoenix everywhere he has showed up since. He was with him on the red carpet when Phoenix announced his retirement (saying “I’ve been through that, I’ve done it. It seems like it’s Casey’s time now”) during an extremely awkward quick interview. He’s been spotted around with him here and there, including at a club where Phoenix took the stage to freestyle rap.
Well, file this under “What in the wide world of sports?” It turns out, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Casey (who, remember, is married to Joaquin’s sister) is going to be directing a feature documentary on Phoenix’s new career as a rapper – and apparently, Phoenix (or Fee-Nix, Lil’ Joaq, whatever he decides to go by) is working on his first album with the daddy of puff himself, Sean Combs. He is going to be giving his first public performance tonight at an unspecified Las Vegas club, which Casey will be attending to begin filming.
Umm… first off. Huh? Second of all… huh? Thirdly… nevermind. That’s all I’ve got. I’m at a loss.
Hooray for good ol’ Pete over at /Film for snagging some vids of 500 Days of Summer while at Sundance (he doesn’t explain how he got them, so I can only assume torture, murder, and/or thievery – movie previewing is serious business, folks). This, if you haven’t heard, is the upcoming offbeat lil’ comedy starring two of the most talented young actors out there, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who is beyond his years brilliant) and Zooey Deschanel.
The film doesn’t hit theatres until July 24th, 2009 – but those fortunate enough to be at Sundance are going to be among some of the first to catch a screening of it. This is the first footage from the film I’ve seen, so I never knew what to expect before this, but just knowing these two were working together had me looking forward to it quite a bit. JGL sure knows how to pick interesting projects. Now that I’ve seen some footage, the official Anticipation Meter is showing a drastic increase.
This is, of course, not the first time Joe and Zooey have been in a film together. They were opposite each other in 2001′s excellent Manic, and they proved then to have some great chemistry. Now that they’re even more seasoned as actors, I’m expected a lot from these two.
Here’s the official story: “This post modern love story is never what we expect it to be — it’s thorny yet exhilarating, funny and sad, a twisted journey of highs and lows that doesn’t quite go where we think it will. When Tom, a hapless greeting card copywriter and hopeless romantic, is blindsided after his girlfriend Summer dumps him, he shifts back and forth through various periods of their 500 days ‘together’ to try to figure out where things went wrong. His reflections ultimately lead him to finally rediscover his true passions in life.”
UPDATE: Thanks to Andreas for the heads up! The official teaser trailer has been released. It gives you a good sense of what the film is going to be like. I think “unique” will be a good word to describe it. I actually chuckled at the addition of the cheesy voice-over, as the tone of it indicates that the film isn’t going to take itself too seriously (I’m thinking it was done like this purposely, although I could be mistaken). I have a feeling this is going to be a big indie hit when it finally makes its way to theaters.