Archive for February, 2009

Trailerama: Seraphine

February 28, 2009

Seraphine de Senlis was a “naive” painter who worked for years before being discovered. The film stars comedian Yolande Moreau, who won a Cesar in 2005 for Quand la mer monte. The film contrasts the drudgery of her rural existence with the spiritual ecstasy she expressed through her paintings. Martin Provost directs.

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Trailerama: Inglourious Basterds

February 26, 2009

Only Quentin Tarantino can cram a Leone reference and a nod to Aldo Ray into a trailer’s first five seconds. That, along with the Weinstein-mandated QT hagiography, is the dressing. The gristle is mostly Brad Pitt’s Dixie-fried exposition with a little war porn. Can’t be worse than Death Proof and really, who doesn’t love a dead Nazi?

Where It’s At

February 25, 2009

From William S. Burroughs’s The Soft Machine:

“But I was running out of veins. I went over to the counter for another cup of coffee … in Joe’s Lunch Room drinking coffee with a napkin under the cup which is said to be the mark of someone who does a lot of sitting in cafeterias and lunchrooms … Waiting on the man …”

Trailerama: Adventureland

February 23, 2009

Even in Superbad, there were traces of the warmth that director Greg Mottola displayed on his acclaimed debut Daytrippers. He’s written and directed his latest film, which recalls an ’80s summer spent working for a disreputable amusement park. Expect something with a little more charm than raunch. (At least we don’t see Jonah Hill anywhere.) Soundtrack by Yo La Tengo. Due to screen at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.

Oscars 2009

February 23, 2009

11:56 PM

Perhaps Mickey Rourke can help them clear the stage.

11:53 PM

Best picture winner is Slumdog Millionaire. Look in the trades tomorrow for Slumdog Jeopardy to come out of turn-around. The stage is more crowded than a Mumbai bazaar. But it’s nice that the kids are up there to experience an awards ceremony they had no idea existed a year ago.

11:50 PM

These montages would be a lot cleverer if it wasn’t ten minutes to midnight.

11:48 PM

Hugh Jackman has been let out of the witness protection program just in time to wrap things up.

11:44 PM

I really hope the ink is dry on Mickey Rourke’s Iron Man 2 contract.

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Trailerama: Мorfiy (Morphia)

February 22, 2009

Country doctors in Russia never come to any good. Just ask Chekhov. So it is with the fresh-faced protagonist of Mikhail Bulgakov’s Notes of a Young Doctor, who is driven to morphine on the eve of the Revolution. Alexei Balabnov’s film looks both sexy and a-swoon with a hallucinogenic intensity.

The Curious Case of the 2009 Oscars

February 22, 2009

Nikki Finke is a world class whiner and her commentators are cinematic flat earthers (“Sean Penn should be exiled from Hollywood permanently”). However, she’s got some interesting points to make in this post about the challenges producers face in putting on this year’s big shew.

I can report that this year’s producers are privately complaining that the biggest movie stars in the world like Jack Nicholson, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, and Kate Winslet gave them reasons galore — some serious, some trivial — for why they didn’t want to present awards, once considered a huge honor. (For instance, Kidman said she appear onstage without the “right” hairdresser. George Clooney wouldn’t reschedule his current visit to Darfur refugee camps in Africa. And Winslet, the Best Actress shoo-in, claimed she was too “nervous” to take it on.)

Elsewhere, she also reports that producers offered some stars the use of the side entrance at the Kodak Theatre. The reason given is that they want to keep the gowns, suits, etc., hush hush until the show airs. But I wonder if the shyness of the stars and smuggling stars into the theatre has more to do with the rise of t’Internet.

Could it be that Kidman, Clooney, etc., are starting to wise up to the acres of TMZ.com/Perez Hilton snark and realizing that less is more? Are they scared of being called out by the Twittering hordes for a stuttering delivery or a fulsome boob? When Kidman popping out for a latte is worthy of thousands of bitchy blog entries, why expose yourself to yet more ridicule … particularly if you don’t have a big movie coming out in the next month or so?

Trailerama: Katalin Varga

February 20, 2009

British filmmaker Peter Strickland beats the Eastern Europeans at their own game with this Romanian tale whose telling owes plenty to Tarkovsky and Sokurov. The past comes a-knockin’ for a Transylvanian rapist. Worth watching with the headphones on. Gabor ifj. Erdelyi and Gyorgy Kovacs’ sound design is something to hear.

Trailerama: Pelada

February 17, 2009

Just in time for the World Cup comes this celebration of soccer’s global appeal. The team of Luke Boughen and Rebekah Fergusson have travelled as far afield as Ghana, Uruguay and Iran to look at the grassroots of kick-about. That means kids who use twine to manufacture their own balls and games played during downtime at the factory. The trailer’s triumphalist tone implies that the filmmakers are holding out for a Nike sponsorship, but it’s hard to restrain a smile at the urge to convert any flat surface into a playing field.

Trailerama: Kanikosen (The Crab Cannery Ship)

February 15, 2009

Takiji Kobayashi’s 1929 novel has undergone a revival of late. Disaffected Japanese youth have rediscovered the book and it’s even been adapted into a popular manga. The 80-page work is similar to Battleship Potemkin. It tells the story of a cannery boat whose brutal regime leads to a radicalization of the crew. Hiroyuki Tanaka, directing under his pseudonym Sabu, adapts the tale for the screen as a combination of Metropolis and a Janet Jackson video. Kanikosen also stars Ryuhei Matsuda of Nightmare Detective fame.